In 2009, before the creation of Yuri Danshi, Kurata Uso was a regular artist for Yuri Hime magazine who actually drew Yuri. Yuri that Yuri readers enjoyed and which starred girls, falling for one another. The book Linkage was a lovely example of shorts that fulfilled these simple criteria.
It’s hard to imagine that we’re 8 years later, but we are and that book is being re-released as Linkage Perfect Edition (リンケージ 完全版). The stories remain the same as they did in the original edition (reviewed here on Okazu in September, 2009) with the addition of a new story “Pierce” about femininity and love in school. But I wanted to step back and sort of re-evaluate my original dismissal of the book as containing lightweight “girl meets girl” romances.
I was wrong.
This collection is not just a series of small occurrences that bring people together for that moment when they suddenly realize 1) their feelings and that, 2) the other girl’s feelings are the same. The linkage I missed was NOT between Girl A and Girl B, but between Girl A and herself. And those moments of profound self-recognition (a theme we will return to several times in the next week) is the first, critical link made. Only then can a person find connection to others.
The story in this collection that I like best is “Present” in which an alienated and conflicted (and subsequently disengaged) girl meets and befriends…and ultimately loves and is profoundly changed by…a blind girl. It’s a beautiful story and I can understand why I dismissed it as a frivol originally, but my perspective has changed. I can now see that the linkage Haruka drives is in Keiko’s relationship with herself and her detachment from her own life. From there she frees herself to be open to sharing her feelings with Haruka. It’s a quiet story with so little conflict it almost seems superficial but, for Linkage, it’s the perfect metaphor.
Art – 8
Stories – Average 8
Characters – 7
Yuri – 7
Service – 1
Overall – 8
Ironically, my original review ended with “I would very much like to see a longer story by Kurata. I think there’s some solid story-telling potential in there, and hope to see something beyond just a one-shot.” Then I got my wish and it was Yuri Danshi and I hated it. Hah. ^_^;