Nagata Kabi’s Sabishi-sugi Rezu Fuzoku ni Ikimashita Report (さびしすぎてレズ風俗に行きましたレポ) was just licensed by Seven Seas as My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness, so I bumped it up on the to-read pile, because I wanted to have my own impression of the work before reading it through the filter of a translator.
Nagata’s work was popular on the Japanese art platform Pixiv before it was picked up by East Press, a publisher that has given us a number of LGBTQ comic essays in the past few years. The story is an autobiographical account of her struggle with depression, anorexia and anxiety far more than it is an account of her life as a lesbian.
The story begins as she is about to have sex with a woman, then immediately rewinds to ten years early as Nagata graduates high school. We watch as depression strips her of everything society holds up as the ideal of a human life. It’s a hard read, especially if you’ve been depressed, and know how heavy the burden is.
Nagata’s art isn’t super sophisticated, but it’s not bad. It isn’t a pretty manga – not that it has to be or that I expected it to be. The pink, white and black color scheme, and her art style combined to make it a more jarring experience, which I believe was the intent. The color scheme and art make it hard to avoid the prickly emotions of the story.
She ends up with a life and a career, but the loneliness is still there, although lessened. One closes the books with a prayer that she has some good people in her life now, who will fill some of those emotional and physical needs.
I think the story will resonate for a lot of people, although I am not one of them. I’m accustomed to my own bouts of depression and burn-out, but do not find solace in other people’s tales of their own experience. (I understand that this makes me atypical, but why should today be any different? ^_^) Nonetheless, I can easily imagine a lot of people will feel validated by this book and the knowledge that they are not alone in their travails.
I’ll be very interested to see what you all have to say about the English-language version of this when it is released next year!
Art – 6
Story – 7
Character – 7
Service – 2
Yuri – 7
Overall – 7