Nakatani 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.
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.