A: When it has no Yuri.
This may seem like a zen koan, but it is in fact, the subject of our attention today. Futaribeya (ふたりべや) frequently appears on Yuri manga lists, and yet, has no actually Yuri beyond a tense moment in a single panel once a volume.
<– This cover is wholly unrelated to the content of the volume.
This is sort of existentialist Yuri. Can Yuri exist only in the minds of the readership and the manga still be seen as “Yuri”? I’m going to have to say yes, as so many of the series reviewed here over the years existed as Yuri only in the headcanon of dedicated readers – Aria and Lucky Star spring to mind immediately. Neither had the slightest hint of Yuri, but both were obsessively seen as “Yuri” series. And now, we have Futaribeya to add to that voluminous list.
Note to angry Twitterer Whoops who sent me art of the two characters snuggling to prove I am wrong: That art, while by the creator, does not appear in or have anything to do with the actual printed content of Volume 1 and 2 of the manga. You can write whatever story you’d like in your head, you don’t need my validation.
Futaribeya, by Yukiko, is a 4-panel comic strip about two girls who share an off-campus apartment close to their school. Sakurako lives relatively far aaway nd so her parents wanted her to room with someone else.Her roommate is Kasumi, a beautiful girl, who always has a part-time job, does some light magazine modeling, is always hot and has narcolepsy. That’s pretty much all the jokes there are. Sakurako is the responsible one, Kasumi is a layabout at home, because she works so hard.
This cover is likewise wholly unrelated to the content. —>
The Yuri is thin. Sakurako’s younger sister has a crush on Kasumi, and every once in a while Kasumi and Sakurako are too close and suddenly looking too deeply into each other’s eyes, before they pull away in embarrassment. Bwah~ bwah~waaaahhh~.
And yet, this series consistently comes up on Yuri manga lists. I’m not entirely sure why. So, we come back to the question I began with – When is Yuri not really Yuri? When there is no Yuri between the covers, but entirely in between the readers’ ears. Surely we’ve moved beyond headcanon as primary criterium? I mean, sure, once upon a time, making up stories between the two principals was the bulk of Yuri, but it’s already more than a decade since we needed that kind of filler in our Yuri repertoire.
Art – 6 Not particularly great
Story – 4 Not actually existent
Characters – 4 Not geuinuinely developed
Service – 1 Not seriously annoying
Yuri – 0 Not literally there
Overall – 5 Not really worth it
There is no Yuri here. This is a generic 4-koma school life comedy that is considered Yuri only by the kinds of people who cannot imagine two women sharing a room who are not in love.