Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rica 'tte Kanji!?

By Rica Takashima
Published in the US by ALC Publishing

Slugline: I've been teleported into an indy comic! What manga?!?

Rica is entering a Tokyo women's college, moving from the country and is hoping that the move will introduce her to the lesbian life she wants. If that is awkwardly worded, it is because I am finding it hard to draw useful comparisons to other "coming out" literature. That may because of the different cultural experiences of Japanese and American lesbians and some of it may be I have been reading the wrong type of 'coming out' literature. The point is, the early parts of the volume is more about Rica finding her place in this world with the second half about her relationship withMiho, her early guide to the gay and lesbian area of Tokyo, Nichōme. This book feels more like a thinly disguised indy autobiography than a more typical manga. Even the art style is a clean break from manga convention, being used to convey the feeling of first-person reportage rather than an attempt at art or telling a story. While the characters are interesting the book itself is feels without purpose. Not exactly preciselyplotless , but it feels like the characters are just wandering about and no overarching connection. While that may an accurate representation of reality, it doesn't make for an exciting story.


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