June 16, 2015
Chika Shiomi – Viz – 2015 – 4 volumes
I like Chika Shiomi a lot, and I’d heard of this series before. I’m putting an embargo on new series for myself, but this one I had to give a shot.
It made me laugh, because in the author notes, Shiomi mentions a few times her editor told her to do a historical series (it didn’t sound like she wanted to), she doesn’t know anything about Japanese history, doesn’t feel like researching, and doesn’t want to draw the elaborate costumes. It sounds like she’s really pouring some love into this one.
Having said that, this series is a lot like Oyayubihime Infinity (wow, I can’t believe I remembered that one), in that it’s about a group of young people who all sort-of remember a past life and are reincarnated together in the present. The main character, Yukari, seems to remember more than other people, and has recently been able to slip back into his old body and witness past events. The twist here is that Yukari, a high school boy in the present, was an Oiran, a high-ranking courtesan, in his past life. So that’s interesting, and I hope it goes places with that.
Yukari seems indifferent to the whole thing, but then again, he’s made a very good living for himself turning his (formerly indistinct) memories into bestselling novels. Its his novels that draw the other characters from the past to him in the present. He’s not very good at being an Oiran in the past, or even feigning interest in what he’s supposed to be doing when he’s Yumurasaki of Edo.
It occurred to me after I finished this volume that it does not actually contain that much history. Everything I know about Yoshiwara (the brothel district in Edo) came from Sakuran by Moyoco Anno. I know that the Oiran is the head of the house, and I know that she does a little walk/parade thing. Yukari also mentions how heavy the clothes she wears are. That’s the extent of my knowledge of that period of Japanese history, I think, and it made me laugh to think of Shiomi (who mentions she doesn’t like or know anything about history) tallying those same facts up to include in her series.
I’m intrigued, but not super into it right now, and I will keep reading. It will be one of the only series I’m following as it’s released right now!