krpalmer: (anime)
[personal profile] krpalmer
Of late I’ve taken some note of domestic manga publishers other than Seven Seas dabbling in “girls’ love” manga as well. Viz has put out two series I’ve bought, and Yen Press offered an “anthology” of short pieces by a number of artists. Now, Kodansha Comics has begun publishing a series the title itself of which seems a signal, Yuri Is My Job! I’ll admit that after that got my attention I wondered on general principles whether I was “starting too many manga series of late,” but also have to admit buying its first volume in the end.

The story started off with its main character Hime Shiraki admitting via internal monologue she’s been polishing her cuteness to become “the trophy wife of a billionaire!” Before she can get far into high school, though, she winds up in the quite familiar situation of injuring someone by accident and having to fill in at a new job. That job just happens to be at a cafe themed as the salon of an elite girls’ school, with the servers dressed in respectable long-skirted school uniforms but forever delivering light innuendo to each other the customers show great enthusiasm for. While Hime isn’t enthusiastic about the whole thing, she resolves once more to “fake it to the max!” Before long, though, she’s fumbled her way into becoming the pledged schwestern of the taller, slightly older Ayanokouji, who acts as refined as anyone else in the eyes of the customers but lapses into furious looks and angry criticism of Hime in private.

That sense of “playing roles” continuing through the story did get my attention and keep up my interest even as I supposed the cafe’s setup was reminiscent of the anime series Maria Watches Over Us, one of the first “girls’ love”-flavoured stories I took in. (The manga uses German words for spice rather than the anime’s French as I recall, but both series might first of all be takes on “Class S,” the oldest and perhaps safest Japanese “girls’ love” stories.) I did get to the point of buying four DVD box sets of the anime for all that its relationships seemed sublimated to the point of more recent series that also involve a “shared hobby,” which I always seem to focus on to shrug off “slashy innuendo” the way I’ve long done. “Girls’ love” manga perhaps amounts to my elaborate dodge past the seeming risk of “personal fantasies” making actual stories seem somehow incomplete or “too safe.”

It could be, too, that when I see the word “yuri” my thoughts creep towards things “not safe for work,” which makes the title a bit overblown for me even as I suppose “Shoujo-ai Is My Job” wouldn’t be quite as punchy. The first volume did end on a bit of a cliffhanger, which does mean I might see what happens in the next. It’s easy enough to suppose things will deepen and flip around between the two main characters, although I can also admit that if the contrast between roles played and less refined selves gets played up for a while longer I can imagine myself capable of accepting that too.

April 2019

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