'Line' by Yua Kotegawa
- I had finished reading a 4-volume manga series a while ago
called 'Anne Freaks'. I didn't know what to think about it; it was
depressing and morally disgusting, if still captivating regardless.
Before I finished it, I bought the mangaka's (Yua Kotegawa) one-shot
work released back in September, 'Line,' and I just merely read it
right after 'Anne Freaks'.
'Line' is about a high school girl named Chiko who finds a cell
phone. The person on the other end tells her of the suicides taking
place all over the city, and she was chosen to locate them and stop
them from happening. She wonders how normal people could so easily
choose death over life. She is accompanied by a stereotypical
bookworm named Bando who literally tags along for the ride for the
sake of excitement. She is creepy at first, because her lack of
emotion and expression and the way she seems to study Chiko and take
an interest in the twisted cell phone game seemed to indicate she is
involved, but it turns out she isn't.
Yuri? When Chiko gathers with her friends midway through the
story, they tell her they believe Bando is a lesbian; why else would
she have kept staring at Chiko the way she did in school? Why else
would she have an interest in being by Chiko's side? Chiko then
remembers the moment where she almost fell, Bando grabs her by
hugging her from behind, and then just holds onto her for a longer
time than necessary. When Chiko dwells on the possibility, she
doesn't seem appalled; she doesn't have much of a reaction at all
besides mild surprise, although that could partially be because of
the plot she's enwrapped in. Later, when she trips, and Bando grabs
her arm, Chiko just gives her a curious, friendly-smiling look, and
that's all. In the end, Chiko is more concerned with establishing
connections with people in general to enjoy life, including her
newfound friendship with Bando.
Chances are Bando may not have special feelings for Chiko; she may
have been so interested in her mainly because she thought Chiko would
be her excuse for experiencing something new in life, and to start an
unusual friendship. On the other hand, I wouldn't know how else to
explain her one brief moment of intimacy; it's all just implicated.
I'd like to think it's possible their friendship goes somewhere after
the end of the manga.
The story as a whole makes 'Line' a weird little manga with some
disturbing imagery. So was 'Anne Freaks,' but next to that
one, 'Line' was a great uplifting relief.--Sincerely, Pachy_Boy