Yuri Manga: Yagate Kimi ni Naru (やがて君になる )

January 6th, 2016

YKNN-275x390Nakatani Nio’s Yagate Kimi ni Naru (やがて君になる ) is a sweet little Yuri romance that I both enjoyed a lot and also have several real problems with.

Yuu begins high school with a major burden. A guy she went to middle school with has confessed his feelings and has been waiting patiently for her answer. Yuu really has just no idea at all whether she “likes” this guy. He’s nice, but her feelings for him are…nothing. She doesn’t find herself getting the kind of heart-pounding that the girls around her talk about.

Touko is a popular honor student and member of the Student Council who is well-known for rejecting all suitors. Thinking that she’s found someone like her, Yuu offers to help Touko in her duties for the Council.

But not too long after, Touko leans over and kisses Yuu, admitting that she’s fallen in like. Yuu feels conflicted – she likes Touko, and admires her, but she feels betrayed, as well. But after this, Yuu finds it in herself to give the guy who confessed an answer – she says a gentle sorry, and his response is a gentle thanks.

Yuu’s like and admiration win out over her confusion and she is by Touko’s side as the older girl runs for Student Council President in the coming year.

Touko and Yuu have a talk, in which Yuu explains her position and Touko hers, and they agree to continue as they are and see what happens. Which brings us to the end of the first volume.

Before I offer criticism, let me begin with praise. All the characters feel real. The school has boys in it and they are not disappeared and only one has been drawn faceless, a shortcut I find rather grotesque. This is a world with males and females and they aren’t all the same. There are admirable and decent guys, as well as admirable and decent girls. This, above all things, is a refreshing change in what has increasingly become a cloistered Yuri world.

The art is clean and typical for a shoujo manga – which this not. It is from Dengeki Comics and I think that’s notable. Yuri is not uncommon from Dengeki, but more often than not is of the highly service-y kind. So it is super encouraging to see them putting out a nice, rather than vaguely icky, Yuri series.

All this having been said, I need to bring up two important issues I have with this manga. The first is that it is presented as a romance. The story is apparently that we’ll side with Touko as her sincere feelings for Yuu are eventually returned. This is a problem. I’ve very active on Quora, a Q&A site on which one of the most common questions asked goes something like this: “How come this girl said no to me, when my like is so sincere?” I’m not making this up. The presumption many young men have is that their sincere feelings are a kind of contract, which must be returned by the object of their affection. If not, she is of course a bitch (or worse).

The thing that is obvious to many not-young women is that no guy is owed anything just because he has an idea in his head of what he’d like.  This is a very serious problem globally, apparently. These guys feel that their sincerity means they deserve the girl. And, to some extent, that is how this scenario is presented. Touko’s feeling are honest and sincere, so of course Yuu will come around to falling for her. But why? If Yuu doesn’t feel it, why do we assume she must eventually do so? This bugs me a lot. In real life, on Quora and in media.

Which leads me to the, I think, obvious conclusion abut Yuu. What if she’s asexual? If so, she’s never going to have those feelings for Touko or anyone. She might come to love Touko and continue to admire and like her, but never have sexual interest in her. So, then I can’t help but see Touko’s coming on (to be crude) to Yuu as another burden, rather than a blessing.

Both these things nag at me while I read this manga. And I worry that Yuu’s agency will be stripped from her as the narrative continues.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 9
Yuri – 6
Service – 1

Overall – 8, with the above reservations

The upshot is, that while this manga has some good qualities and it definitely is making a splash in Yuri circles, I think the story also has some problems, which I hope Volume 2 address satisfactorily, rather than just throwing Yuu into the Yuri factory.

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23 Responses

  1. DezoPenguin says:

    I have always found that very question–that the sincerity of one character’s feelings is presented as a reason for them to eventually win in romance–to be extremely annoying. I like what you said about Yuu losing agency, because that’s basically what it boils down to: X loves Y, and therefore the narrative provides that X will win Y over; the only question is how will it happen. And in fiction you never, ever see it happen that Y does not return those feelings so long as X is a protagonist. The only variant is that sometimes, X will finally win Y over but “discover” that their feelings were just a crush (usually if Y proves to be somehow “not worthy” of their feelings) and turn to Z instead–perfect example, the original Teen Wolf. But even in this variant, X will still “win.” (Indeed, the use of the phrase “win over” describes exactly what’s wrong with the entire scenario, or at least the way we think about it. It is not a competition.)

  2. bcy says:

    The Yuri factory ? Sounds like an interesting place to work at.

  3. Red says:

    I like the disinterest that Yuu shows. I find it refreshing, probably for the reasons you stated. I also picked up a possible triangle-thing from the other blonde girl (forgot her name).

    I really dig the artwork as well. Very clean and well done.

  4. Lin says:

    The way you present this issue, it feels like it’s more a problem with the reader than the story itself. I mean, there’s nothing wrong if Touko manages to charm Yuu down the line. Not everyone falls in love at first sight, and falling in love doesn’t take Yuu’s agency in any way. What might be problematic is the reader assuming that it MUST happen. But you can’t blame the story for that.

    • There is nothing wrong with that, except that it presents a toxic view of relationships. No one should ever *have* to return an emotion.

      Incidentally, insulting me is a waste of time. So don’t bother. This reader is just fine. ^_^ Here on Okazu, we encourage disagreeing with the premise without being disagreeable to the poster.

      • Lin says:

        Did it seem like I was insulting you? If so, I didn’t mean to. I meant “reader” in general terms.

        Anyway, I disagree it presents a toxic view of relationships. The story never suggests that Yuu has to return Nanami’s feelings. If she eventually does, that’s her choice, and there’s nothing toxic about that.

        • I may well have misread you and I apologize. Because the story is presented as a romance, it is indeed implied that Yuu will eventually return Touko’s feelings. I’d like to be wrong. I’d love the story to allow for Yuu to learn about asexuality and become comfortable about it. I don’t have any expectation of that.

          • Lin says:

            You have your expectation based on the genre, but the story itself never implies that Yuu HAVE to return Nanami’s feelings.

            It would be different if Nanami was convinced that Yuu will love her back. Then you could say Nanami is a surrogate for the kind people who feel entitled to get their feelings returned. This is not the case though. Nanami is very realistic about the situation. She just can’t give up yet, which is reasonable for someone her age.

          • If you’d like to think the romance genre is not about a character being in a romance, that’s fine. Pretty much everyone else on the planet does. You have made your point already. We understand your perspective. Thank you.

  5. Chris Driggers says:

    I think it’s an interesting angle to have a character who has never considered a relationship with the same sex to have issue brought front and center in this way. In the real world, obviously that wouldn’t automatically lead to a relationship, but in the context of a manga, it’s a platform to examine the non binary realities of human interaction.

    In a world full of tropes, I’m hopeful when a series deviates even a little from the standard storylines. I’m not sure I see this one exploring asexuality, as that could be a challenging story for the shounen demographic to support in enough numbers to make it a success for the magazine, I expect them to get together at some point and provide some fan service.

    The positive takeaway in my opinion is what Erica mentioned: this story is different than the usual, and is appearing in a place where it wouldn’t normally get an audience. That’s a good thing!

    • Fantastic thoughts, Chris. Dengeki has, from time to time, deviated with excellent results – Yotsuba! notably remaining service-free – so there’s always hope. Thanks for weighing in.

  6. Natalia says:

    I absoluty love this history, every aspect of it. I dont intent to sound rude but I don’t see the problem in the plot, I read the manga like 3 times already and if in the first time I didn’t see the interest in Yuu for Nanami the second time I could get the hints of the true feeling that Yuu has been holding. It’s scary falling in love, even more scary falling for a person of your same sex. Yuu is still a child, but she is growing up and part of it its face new thing. Nanami is a sweet genuinely in love girl, she know without a doubt that she is experimenting love, but also like Yuu as she is. Sorry for my english! :/
    And also, I loveee your blog, thanks for it :)

  7. makoto says:

    I don’t really see the issue you talk about being in Yagate Kimi ni Naru. The idea that Yuu is legitimately not attracted, never will be, and live on being asexual, yet she’ll eventually fall in love? Isn’t that a part of romance? It’s not as if as soon as the one on the receiving end has to say no as soon as they find out they’re being courted. I only have minimal experience in romance myself (which I’m content with since I’m very asocial) but love and romance can happen in many different ways. It can be love at first sight, or it can gradually build up from associating with one another, or it can be a result of attracting someone, or it can blossom from an event.

    Yuu has never felt romantic feelings towards anyone, not to her close friend, and not to Nanami. Yet Nanami doesn’t give up, she’ll still try to win Yuu over in the future, what’s wrong with that? It’s nice to see someone start from not being in love to falling in love.

    If its an issue with modern society with regards to influencing young individuals into thinking that, with enough sincerity, that their love will eventually be reciprocated, then its a valid concern, but not many will actually fall under it. At most people will see a beginning, a middle, and an end, not the key to getting the attention of that special other. Especially since it isn’t even a shoujo, which most people who would turn to manga for romance advice would look at first.

    That said, everyone has their own opinion, and even though I love to enjoy yuri romances I’d be interested in seeing Yuu settle with her asexuality. I think that something like this shouldn’t factor into a rating.

    • While your perspective is perfectly valid for you, telling a reviewer that their perspective “shouldn’t factor into a rating” is nonsense. Obviously people will factor their own opinions into ratings. Just as you have.

      It’s even more nonsense when you begin your opinion with “I don’t even see the issue.” If you don’t understand the issue, you feel it’s irrelevant. That’s pretty much exactly why I pointed it out.

      • makoto says:

        Fair point, it is your review and you can make it as biased as you want, that was honestly my mistake (no sarcasm).

        That was another of my mistakes, I guess a better way to word it is ‘I don’t see why that is an issue’. That said, its kind of disheartening seeing you disregard my entire comment other than the two mistakes I made. This is one of my favorite recent manga, so I thought it could turn into an enjoyable debate since you’ve thought about it so much

  8. Yuri Worshipper says:

    I found this manga really interesting. While other yuri mangas choose “fast and furious” way to make characters fall in love with each other, this manga walk on its own way. It is still soon to say that it will be great but at the very least it is refreshing. I wonder if it became popular in Japan?

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