Two Nioi-kei type series
- Here are two manga that for some reason I have not seen mentioned yet
I feel need some highlighting.
The first: `Yozakura Quartet' I have mentioned before but I felt that
I could not say much about it as there was only one volume out and it
was just getting started. Now with the second volume well and truly
out (for some time now) I definitely can say that this series deserves
at least a mention.
Wonderfully drawn by Suzhito Yasuda (who some may remember from Robot)
the artwork is constantly gorgeous with deliberate interesting twists
to previously dull character archetypes. But the reason I am bringing
up this series is one of the main characters Kotoha Isone is openly
stated romantically interested in women in volume two. Although this
was in a scene that would cause most people's eyes to roll out of
their skull, up a hill and wind a toddler. Luckily that she is a
devilishly sneaky character who is great fun to read with an obsession
for world war two German weaponry that, using her ability to
materialise whatever she says, she pulls out quite often in fights.
In spite of all that I can not call Yozakura Quartet Yuri for two
reasons. One, in the end Isone is hardly the key to the story, the
main plot involves the demon/human town that all the characters live
in. Two, although Isone may love women there are no characters for her
to like or to like her. You know that old problem that a relationship
inevitably requires two people (or at least two things that look like
people). So if there is nothing to at least create a romantic sub-plot
then you can not really call Y.Q. Yuri.
The second manga is much easier to explain. `Shoulder a Coffin Kuro'
tells us the travels of Kuro, a black suited, black hatted, giant
coffin carrying traveller. Her wisecracking bat Sen, and two far too
disturbing cat girl, mini loli things Sanju and Nijuku.
The reason for mentioning this series is it holds the same appeal as a
wondering samurai version of YajiKita Gakuen Dochuuki. Kuro travels to
a town or settlement, something happens while she is there. Often she
hears about this from a generically cute local lady. Kuro resolves the
problem or Sanju and Nijuku act cute until the problem solves itself
all the while the lady falls into akogare with Kuro. Kuro then
continues her journey.
The nice and realistic part of that idea is that not every character
finds Kuro dashing and they do not disappear forever once Kuro wonders
away. Many of her previous encounters all meet up in volume one and
discuss the mysterious `traveller in black' that they have all met at
There is not one molecule of Yuri in Shoulder a coffin. But it has a
lot of what I wish more Yuri had. Well-dressed, very cool woman moving
around proving how impossibly cool she is by solving problems.
Only one word of waning. As it is mostly a comedy four-korma nearly
all the characters are under five heads in height. Now I understand
that is a sour spot for some people but I can only urge you to look
past that as it is a marvellous manga. Just not Yuri.