Saturday, March 5, 2011

Manga Review: "Instinct and a Chromosome" one-shot from 100okunengo no Kimi no Koe mo

Akiyama Maiko and Okai Haruko's "Instinct and a Chromosome" is an excellent one-shot that ran in Dessert in 2004 and was published in the two story collection 100okunengo no Kimi no Koe mo. In her afterword, Akiyama-sensei, the writer, happily notes that a lot of readers told her things like, "Love is the same for everyone!", "I feel like I could root for homosexual girls too!", and "I completely understood how they [the characters] felt!"

The story begins on a dark note. Okada Nanako confesses her feelings to the girl she likes, Miyuki. Unfortunately, Miyuki not only rejects her but starts bullying her. Nanako muses that she had considered slitting her wrists, but couldn't go through with it. (Given the recent highly publicized spike in gay teen suicides, this was more hard-hitting for me than previously.) Thankfully, this part only lasts a few pages.

We see Nanako as an adult living in Tokyo, working part-time at a restaurant while attending the Tokyo School of Business. Because of what happened in high school, she doesn't think that she can fall in love again. Instead, she's drawn to a gorgeous woman named Kayama Yuri, who notices and later tells her that she likes her too.

Lovey-doveyness ensues. Unfortunately, Nanako is a little nervous about losing Yuri because she's bisexual. (You don't see many stories that deal with this issue, much less as well as this one does.) One of my favorite scenes is when some doofuses at a night club try to pick up Nanako, and Yuri shooes them away with, "Sorry, *protectively hugs Nanako* but keep your hands off my honey. You see how it is. *smile*"

Eventually, Yuri tells Nanako that she's getting married. (Her parents set it up since they own a company, she's their only child, and she's 27.)

Heartbroken, Nanako wanders around. When a guy hits on her and she tells him that she's gay, he has the best reaction ever ("Woo-hoo! I dig girls too! We're two of a kind!") and takes her to dinner at a restaurant where he treats her like a friend, no strings attached. Since she's still in shock from her break-up, she cajoles him into having sex with her so she can try to be "normal." It's about as sexy as wood-whittling for her, and he's like, "Yeah, you really shouldn't force yourself. You love her, right? Go for it." When she goes back to her apartment, guess who's waiting for her. (Super-cute ending! While still being realistic. My one quibble is that I would have liked to see more of these characters now that they've overcome their biggest hurdles, both internal and external.)

As you could tell, this story covers a lot of ground (both chronologically and in terms of character development) for a one-shot- and incredibly well, at that. Definitely recommended if you're in the mood for something realistic and dramatic.

Story: B+
Art: B
Overall: A-

This is the only review I'm posting this weekend. I'll be back to two next week. (Yay, Spring Break! XD I'm flying home this Saturday.)


RaNdOm_rAnTs said...

just read it over dynasty's reader... loved it. the storyplot. Its a very realistic and I can imagine happening it in real life =] thanks for the review.

Katherine Hanson said...

@RaNdOm_rAnTs- I'm glad you liked it! :D I appreciated the realism of it also.