Thursday, October 11, 2012

5 More Great Coming Out Examples in Yuri Manga

In honor of National Coming Out Day, in no particular order, here are some more excellent examples of manga characters coming out as women who love women. My previous Coming Out Day posts are here and here. This post is also of interest.

1. Omoi no Kakera by Takemiya Jin:
The funniest example on this list.

When Mika leaves a lesbian bar in Shinjuku Nichoume ("I come here once a month. I'm not out of the closet, so it's like a paradise to me."), she sees her classmate Harada breaking up with his boyfriend. (The boyfriend decks Harada before running away, so good riddance.) Harada assumes Mika is one of his fans from school, and she's like "...Seriously? We're in a building full of gay and lesbian bars in the gay district. I'm here because I'm gay."

Now Mika has a friend she can be out to at school. ^_^ The bad news is that after Harada starts acting chummy towards Mika at school, his fans start bullying her. Thankfully, Mika doesn't let it get to her and Harada gets the bullies to stop asap.

Mika and Harada's mutual coming out isn't the only great example of coming out in this series, but it's the one that sets the series' gears in motion. Harada has a younger sister, who starts- to her chagrin- to develop feelings for Mika.

2. "Sweet Lovin' Baby" in Sweet Lovin' Baby by Yamaji Ebine:
Last year I praised Poor Poor Lips' Ren for being an out business owner, even though it meant having to put up with assholery from people like Furui and most of the job applicants who interviewed to work at her shop. "Sweet Lovin' Baby"'s protagonist Kyou is not an employer but an employee- an OL at a company who comes out to her co-worker Megu (who wouldn't shut up about getting Kyou a boyfriend before that) at the risk of, you know, Megu creating a Lonely Wolf, Lonely Sheep scenario and getting Kyou fired.

Given the risks of coming out at her job, I would completely understand if Kyou hadn't come out to any of her co-workers. But she did, and that's pretty badass.

3. Gunjo by Nakamura Ching:
In Gunjo, the ex-wife of one of the protagonists (let's call her "B", since she is nameless in the story) comes out to her mom, who responds wonderfully and brings some welcome levity to B's situation. (LISTEN TO HER, B.)

But B's dad's response to her being gay- specifically, to her feeling like she has disappointed her parents by not being able to have kids- is beautiful, and addresses an issue that I haven't seen dealt with in a satisfactory way before in manga. (Usually when the issue of gay couples not being able to have kids in Japan comes up in manga, it's in a "She's leaving me because she wants kids'" context.) He tells B that it's fine because he loves her more than he could love any grandchild.

4. "Ayumi & Aika" in Mermaid Line by Kindaichi Renjuuro:
After Aika comes out as a woman to her ex-girlfriend Ayumi, who she dated when she presented as a man, Ayumi assumes that Aika likes guys. Nope. Aika's gay, and makes it clear that she has always loved women as a woman. Aika only broke up with Ayumi because she figured Ayumi wouldn't want to be with her any longer. Ayumi realizes that she still loves Aika, and they get engaged. ^^ This series not only debunks the assumption that trans women's gender identities have anything to do with who they like, it's really sweet.

5. Kuchibiru Tameiki Sakurairo by Morinaga Milk:
In last year's Coming Out Day post, I hoped that Morinaga would finally write a "grand coming out" in this series. And she did.

Hitomi comes out to her friend Chie and deflates a stupid idea some would posit about her and Nana's relationship. Despite her good intentions, Chie is insensitive for using that idea to bait Hitomi into coming out (although on the plus side, Hitomi's counter against it is excellent), but she later feels bad and apologizes for it and is otherwise a great friend and ally to Hitomi after she comes out. Most of all, it's great to see Morinaga explore what it's like to come out and why it can be such a relief to do it.

Fu~fu no Hon by Minamoto Hisanari:
I'm cheating here. Fu~fu's creator, Minamoto Hisanari, drew Fu~fu no Hon as a doujinshi side story to Fu~fu. Here we see how Kina and Suu started out, as high school sweethearts. Suu confesses her feelings for Kina, scared as hell and expecting to be rejected, but nope. ^^ The entire thing is adorable, but the most adorable bit is Kina's flashback to how blatantly gay her older sister Kana has always been, causing her to think of liking girls as no big deal. I do love Fu~fu, and I have a soft spot for yuri stories in which a woman who likes women has an easier time being herself because she has a role model.

The picture at the top of this post comes from Rica'tte Kanji!?, in which Rica meets her soon-to-be girlfriend Miho. I've listed Rica in a Coming Out Day post before because of Rica's coming out to her family. I don't want to list the same title twice, but I'm mentioning it again (as I did with Aoi Hana and Hanjuku Joshi last year) because that moment- Rica's first time being out to another lesbian, after going off to college- is wonderful also.

Agree with the titles I've mentioned? Disagree? Other recommendations? Feel free to share!

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