Monday, May 17, 2010
Kita Konno is probably most well-known among yuri fans as the creator of Himitsu no Kaidan, a slightly yuri-ish all-girls' school series that is, from what I've heard, one of the titles that Strawberry Panic parodied. (I will review Himitsu no Kaidan later on.) But Kita also wrote a charming, slightly yuri-ish one volume title called Cotton. (Props to my classmate Sara for recommending this book. ^^)
Cotton is about an OL named Natsuki, who meets a high school girl on a rainy day and gives her her umbrella. They see each other again at Natsuki's sister's wedding, where the same high school girl turns out to be the groom's little sister, Michiko. Michiko is a loner who doesn't normally open up to people, but she seems very much drawn to Natsuki. The two eventually become close friends. (And in this humble reviewer's opinion, Michiko has it bad for Natsuki- even if she doesn't realize it yet.)
This book is good for an afternoon of pleasant light reading, if you're in the mood for shoujo or josei. I'm not sure which magazine this story ran in- having the story focused on an OL lead feels josei-ish, but the airy, delicate art style feels very shoujo. (Especially the lightly sparkling gusts of wind and floral embellishments.) Cotton's simple, pretty art style combined with its good-natured story-telling makes it feel like the manga equivalent of taking a walk outside on a beautiful spring day.
The two leads are both likeable and balance each other's personalities well. Michiko is the most interesting character- she's smart and mature for her age in some ways, while being immature in other ways (because of her background, and of course, her age)- like many teens. Natsuki is dealing with her own problems, but without losing control like Michiko- and she's the first person to cut through Michiko's self-imposed isolation. (Michiko's personality actually reminds me of Rio from Pieta, even though they have very different reasons for acting the way that they do.) Natsuki and Michiko eventually have a fight because of a misunderstanding on Michiko's part (of course), but we know that this isn't the type of manga that will let things end badly. (My favorite scene was actually how they "fought" right before reconciling.) By the end, they've grown closer to each other and become more self-aware and mature as individuals.
Cotton is brief, but it's a prime example of a simple, good story told well. If you don't like shoujo and josei-type stories, this probably won't appeal to you. But if you do, this is a solid pick.
Kita has also done a few yuri stories in Yuri Shimai, and some yaoi.