Yuri Manga and Anime Fanlisting

OnTV1It’s a happy day here at Okazu!! We have a new Guest Reviewer, Mariko S who has bravely decided to wade back into a series I panned back in 2008. Buckle in and get ready for a completely different perspective. Take it away, Mariko!

Welcome back to Otome no Teikoku, Volume 1, a world that, on first glance, you may find difficult to love. I had similar feelings to the ones Erica expressed in her original review when I first read this manga. However, because I was a big fan of the art style and realistic sexiness of author Kishi Torajiro’s MAKA-MAKA books, unlike her I persevered through the subsequent volumes. And, as it improved more and more and I started to really look forward to reading it, I thought, it’s really worth Yuri fans taking a second look at it. Erica invited me to do guest reviews for the series, so here we are. Let’s restart at the start, so we can understand later how things are changing.

The opening frame of the first chapter seems to announce a particular intention – an upward shot of a high school girl in uniform with hershirt hiked up, bra undone, breasts peeking out, and a skirt so short that it doesn’t touch the chair she’s sitting on. It seems to warn away anyone who’s not here for pure titillation. Given that the author’s previous works featured adult content it’s a forgivable assumption. But those works were not just mindless porn – they hadwell-developed, attractive but believable characters in relatable situations. So please bear with the growing pains here as we work
through the challenges of an adult author fumbling with what exactly
he wants this series to be.

As for what OnT is *now,* though, warm up your eye-rolling muscles. The first volume does feature a ton of service of every flavor – most every chapter has some assortment of panty shots, nip slips, groping, or nudity. Maybe it was demanded by the publisher, maybe Kishi-sensei felt like he needed to grab readers’ attention some way while the characters’ personalities weren’t developed yet. In some ways it is a little refreshing to have a series where things are a little more physical, rather than your standard akogare blushing, longing looks, and perhaps a chaste kiss at the end of it all. Humans are sexual
beings and sexy things are entertaining. It’s just that here, to start, all of the “sexy” stuff is either purely voyeuristic or too over the top, removing any sense of a moment between the characters.

Each chapter is composed of a number of vignettes. In this volume they tend to be very short, with 3-5 per chapter, but later there will usually only be 1 or 2. Each vignette focuses on a pair or small group of the girls. One of the things I find refreshing is that despite going to the same school, not all of the characters know each other or hang out together – they each have girls they are usually with, as well as some they interact with occasionally and others not at all. For now, let’s only talk about one of the pairings, Chie and Ai, which is the earliest example of character progress. We first meet them in chapter 2, through a ridiculous setup where Chie is thinking weirdly nasty thoughts about what Ai’s nipples look like, until she gets a downblouse glimpse of the real thing. The characters here have none of their eventual personalities – Chie will be rewritten entirely to be a sweet, friendly, self-conscious girl. The next times we see them, in chapters 3 and 4, they’re just doing servicey stuff – nothing to do with who they are. In chapter 7 though, we see some changes. It’s still “boob stuff,” but mixed in there Chie shares some honest feelings about why she behaves the way she does and the way others treat her body, along with the beginnings of a confession. Finally, chapter 11 continues the positive trend and is mostly about Chie giving Ai a Takarazuka hairstyle and roleplaying a dramatic moment with her that turns a little heart-pounding… until Kishi-sensei’s early favorite ending, the comical interruption, intervenes. Take heart that the other stories will similarly improve!

One of the really positive things to say even at the start – Kishi-sensei is a very talented artist. He draws details others wouldn’t think of, and with a  distinctive, more realistic style.

Another early positive is that some genuinely funny things happen. As eye-rolling as much of the copiously unrealistic service is, you can see the hints of things to come in the comical and cute parts sprinkled in between the pervy stuff.

Finally, I would say, the off-kilter creativity of the vignettes is a real strength. Rather than your standard schoolgirl setups of commuting, club activities, school festivals, and eating snacks, Kishi-sensei sets up a lot of casual, everyday situations and conversations that only improve as the ecchi elements get dialed down. Eventually his talent for expressing more subtle eroticism will really start coming out of these unique setups.

I am not quite as down as Erica was on the way sexuality is depicted here. I’m not sure it really is the default assumption that these girls are bi, (or gay or straight for that matter). It’s not as evident in the first volume, but as the series goes on the relationships of the pairs will take on many different shadings, not all of them sexual, and not all the characters have a pair. Granted, since this is after all an all-girls-school Yuri story, there’s a disproportionate skew toward “likes/loves girls in some way.” While this is a frustrating trope of every all-girls-school Yuri series, I feel it’s not so problematic here due to the vignette nature of the chapters. By not having an overarching narrative or insisting that all the characters interact, and cutting between a large number of characters, it’s easier to appreciate the separate dynamics of each pair. The way sexual orientation is used here is not all that muchdifferent from other all-Yuri-all-the-time schools in things like
Strawberry Panic and Sakura Trick, at least in concept. It’s the execution that is failing right now, missing or mistaking characterization for too much unrealistically exhibitionist goofing around.

Ratings: (leaving these from Erica’s review, as I basically agree for this volume.)

Art – 7
Story – 3
Characters – 3
Yuri – 2
Service – 4 million

Overall – 3

E here: Well thank you Mariko for balanced second look at Otome No Teikoku! I know I’m looking forward to your discussions of the later volumes.

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About a year ago, it was my very real pleasure to read and review Fantasy Sports No. 1 by Sam Bosma. It had everything I ever wanted from a kid’s comic. “Giant robot evil undead conquerors, wizards, treasure, skeleton hordes, tea, adventure, puzzles, and basketball. Gosh, this book was so wonderful.” I have been on […]

Buenas noches yurifans.
Noche de sábado y por fin puedo subir lo que debió haberse subido ayer.

Respecto al strip de hoy, es un tema un tanto sensible, por el tema del bullying.
Me imagino que algunas personas pueden sentirse identificadas de alguna manera y sabemos que no es una experiencia bonita.
Siempre hay que alzar nuestra voz en casos de abuso, incluso si nosotros no somos víctimas del mismo. Nunca seamos cómplices de este tipo de situaciones, que realmente pueden ser muy dolorosas.

Dicho esto y tema aparte, sigo teniendo problemas con mi tableta digitalizadora, ya estoy pensando en comprar una nueva, pero bueno, haremos durar esta al máximo (4 años de valiente servicio).

Buen fin de semana.

– Ali Dagos

Okazu News Expect some slight weirdness from posts for the next two weeks, as I’ll be in transit. I’ll probably be writing some from my destination, but making no promises. ^_^ So if Okazu seems to be sort of dormant for a few days I assure you I’m just out having fun – hopefully along with […]

It’s not *quite* what I hoped, but the continued quality of the entire series is so generally elevated over…well, everything…that I’m inclined to be forgiving. ^_^ We’ve met Hotaru, and had some time with Kaolinite, yay! Eudial, you came and went and we hardly knew ye, but I can’t wait to spend time with you […]

The May 2016 issue of Comic Yuri Hime has a little faux sticker on the cover that reads “Inside is the same Comic Yuri Hime as always.” There’s little else to say about it. ^_^ The first half is mostly series I’m not reading for any number of reasons. Ohsawa Yayoi’s “2DK, G Pen, Alarm […]

The May 2016 issue of Comic Yuri Hime has a little faux sticker on the cover that reads “Inside is the same Comic Yuri Hime as always.” There’s little else to say about it. ^_^ The first half is mostly series I’m not reading for any number of reasons. Ohsawa Yayoi’s “2DK, G Pen, Alarm […]

Hola gente, hace relavitvamente poco tiempo volví a charlar con Sanji sobre cuestiones variadas, incluyendo, cómo no, el ser yo un Administrador de LMS en vez de seguir siendo sólo un Autor del blog…

Pero no sirvió de nada pues Sanji sigue negándose tércamente ante mi pedido…

Porque si yo fuera Admnisitrador de Love Makko Suki me comprometería a tener actualizado el blog todas las semanas ya que me notaría mucho más motivado para hacerlo pero váyase a saber por qué el Sanji no quiere saber nada con esto…

Así que mi, digamos, “venganza”, será utilizar este blog casi muerto para hacerle propaganda a mi propio blog Yuri el cual se titula “Fanfics Yuri en Castellano”:

http://chikaneehimeko.blogspot.com.ar/

¡Nos leemos por este otro blog, gente de LMS!

PD: Lo de la venganza es sólo una joda, eh… xP.

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