Saturday, May 22, 2010
My goodness. I loved reading this manga. ^__^ (For my succinct reaction: "Kyaaa!!") Otsu Hiyori is a veteran contributor to Yuri Hime, and Mizu-iro Cinema ("Light Blue Cinema" or "Aqua Blue Cinema") is my favorite story by her yet. If you haven't read it, you really should.
Yui is a famous actress who is shooting a new movie at a seaside town. When she takes a break from filming and wanders to an isolated jetty to take in the view, a girl named Tae mistakenly assumes that she wants to commit suicide. (The jetty is a well-known suicide location.) But in trying to pull Yui away from the edge, Tae accidentally pushes her over. ^^;; The end.
lol But no- it isn't steep, so Yui's fine, just dripping wet. Tae takes Yui to her house, and lets her use the shower and get a change of clothes. Later, Yui realizes that the pendant that she normally wears, which has a lot of sentimental value attached to it, is missing and she and Tae go back to the jetty at night to search for it.
Believing that it's her fault, Tae jumps into the water to look for it. They can't find it, and Yui jokingly tells Tae that she'd "better take responsibility for it." (Code for: "I really like you, but I'm going to fabricate an excuse to spend more time with you by pretending you owe me money for the things I lost, and making you my personal assistant for the summer as compensation.")
Tae indeed becomes Yui's assistant, and as they spend more time together, Tae falls for Yui while Yui falls more in love with Tae- while still being a little hung up over her ex, Mizuki. Things become complicated when Yui and Tae go to Tokyo, where Yui lives, and Mizuki shows up wanting to get back together with Yui- but Yuri Hime followers know that Otsu isn't going to twist a knife into the heart of the story by pairing Yui with Mizuki and leaving Tae heartbroken. :)
The final scene, back at the jetty, is absolutely adorable. (Especially Tae's misinterpretation of Yui's "I finally got a day off. What's wrong with wanting to use it to come see the girl I love?" line. ^^ Cuuute!) My only little qualm is that we don't see a kiss in that scene. (But hey, considering their plans for the future....) Sorry if this review is too spoilery- but it shouldn't, really, surprise anyone that this title has a happy ending. (I mean- the cover! The author!! And the magazine!!)
The story isn't deep or artsy- but damn it, that isn't what I want from my romantic comedies. (Although Mizu-iro Cinema is as much of a drama as a comedy- but Otsu amalgamates enough humor into it for it to qualify. And "romantic drama" might make it sound more heavy-handed than it is.) I want engaging, entertaining, not-too-"perfect"-but-not-unlikeable leads, strong writing, character and relationship development that feels organic and believable (which would be more difficult to pull off in a short story), and enough doki-doki moments to leave me with a smile on my face by the end. To that end, Otsu succeeds.
There were a few other things that I especially liked. Even though Yui and Tae are both third-year high school students, making the story take place during summer vacation and using Yui's job as an actress as the main plot vehicle sets the story apart from the "two schoolgirls fall in love at school, the end" thing that we've seen a million times before. As with Aoi Hana and Sakurazawa Erica's Love Vibes (which I want to review later), I like how the protagonist had a love life before setting her sights on the person who she wound up with by the end of the story, instead of the usual "You are my first and only love!" type of story. It just feels more realistic to me. (And I know that Aoi Hana hasn't ended and Fumi and Ah-chan aren't together...yet. Close enough.) Additionally, I liked how the story clearly addressed that Yui likes women, without making it feel like an after school special, or as if the story is taking a break from its narrative to explain what "women liking women" is to the reader.
But most importantly- Tae and Yui are really cute together. (Ganbatte, Tae! Ace those entrance exams. XD )
Art: B (Understated, but pleasant.)