Thursday, August 09, 2007

Shoujoai Ni Bouken: The Adventure of Yuriko

Written by Erica Friedman and Illustrated by Kelli Nicely
Published by ALC Publishing

Slugline: How often do con mascots get novels?

First of all this is not a manga, but instead a light novel, in a way. Yuriko is the mascot for Yuricon, an anime/manga convention dedicated to all thing yuri, aka lesbian relationships. As in, real lesbian relationships rather than what guys want to see. ALC Publishing, an arm of Yuricon, has been publishing OEL in that genre for several years now, and it is only recently that any other publishers have stepped into the breach, the only one having a deliberate yuri line/focus so far being Seven Seas.

Yuriko is a openly lesbian idol, with a reputation of being a little bit of a player, who has been shanghaied into returning to high school for a reality television show. So she has to juggle her professional commitments, her personal friendships and the return to high school -- something that no amount of money would ever entice me back to. And as an adult suddenly being dropped into high school, she has to remember all those things they promised in high school that you would need in life, like calculus, which she had quite reasonably forgotten as soon as she became an idol. Fortunately, she has a sempai, a girl almost a decade her younger, to guide her through the mess. I think the relationships she makes with the students, who may be younger than her but still face their own challenges, are interesting and realistic.

This rating is for the entire story arc, including the followup volumes that have not been published but have been made available online. In fact, everything has been made available online, but I believe from a quick perusal that the illustrations that grace the printed volume are not. I think for the most part the story is good, juggles relationships, both short-term and possibly longer, fairly well, but while I can believe Yuriko can fall in love, I have a hard time accepting the speed it happens in. The quality of the art, even when used as spot illustrations, is what I would charitably call uneven. While interesting, ultimately it still reads as a a very lightweight shoujo story that does not make a deep mark on the mind.

And as for the link, it is here.

- Ferdinand

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