Yukarism 4

November 28, 2015

Chika Shiomi – Viz – 2015 – 4 volumes

I had a big, unhealthy shoujo splurge today, as I read this, Idol Dreams, and Black Rose Alice.  They were all released earlier this week (note: the first week of November, I’m posting this late), and just arrived in the mail.  Reading them all on the same day was ill-advised, because they were all awesome, and now I don’t have more to look forward to.

I’m lying, I love lots of manga.  But seriously, that was a high concentration of shoujo goodness, and such things are hard to come by.

It’s hard to talk about the ending of this one without spoiling it.  Yukari has to figure out how the past and present are intertwining, and needs to somehow stop possessed-Mahoro from killing Katsuhiko.  We do find out how Yumurasaki died, although the big reveal at the end, why the killer did it, wasn’t nearly the surprise twist that the story made it out to be.  I thought we were supposed to have figured this out way back?

The ending sequence, where Mahoro has to twist a bunch of curses, figure out how the past lives are intertwining and connected, and… basically be by him/herself at the end… it’s heartbreaking.  I LOVED the very ending, where Yukari really comes through for Mahoro.  It’s got nothing to do with their past lives.  It’s pure shoujo manga, and it’s beautiful.

I love Chika Shiomi, and this is exactly the type of dark magic/contemporary series she pulls off so well.  This was exactly the right length, too, and I loved the past lives and the little bit of mystery.  I even liked learning about Oiran! It’s a quick read, and comes recommended if you’re looking for somewhat unusual shoujo.

I’d read another one of Shiomi’s series, too.  Just sayin’.

Yukarism 3

November 10, 2015

Chika Shiomi – Viz – 2015 – 4 volumes

This is always satisfying.  And Shiomi’s art is well-suited to this series.  She draws some very fancy Edo-era scenes.  My favorite was an outdoor lantern festival.  I learned, and it was pretty to look at.

The story escalates, and Yukari figures out who’s who in the present.  He tries to learn more about them in the past, but the black magician Shizuka, who can tell when Yukari’s “spirit” takes over Yumurasaki, advises him that going back and forth between the past and present is ill-advised.  This catches up with Yukari, and everyone else, at the end of the volume.

Honestly, I like this because I can’t tell where it’s going from here.  There’s… not really a romance.  What I thought was a romantic triangle turned out not to be, so the couple is undisputed… but not much ground is made there.  And I also like the past couple of Yumurasaki/Shizuka better than the present Yukari/Mahoro pairing.  To be fair to Mahoro, she doesn’t spend much time as herself, so we haven’t gotten a chance to like her.  But that’s all right, because Yumurasaki’s life is kinda more interesting.

We don’t find out a lot about Shizuka in this volume, but we get the sad back story about Yumurasaki and Kazuma.  That was wonderful, too.

Again, I’m not the biggest fan of historical-themed series, but I love Chika Shiomi, and I am really digging Yukarism.  It’s nice and short, I like not knowing where it’s going, I’m enjoying Shiomi’s detailed historical artwork, and she’s also really good at setting a creepy mood and drawing a fairly compelling fast-paced story, no matter what’s going on.

Ah, but the fourth volume doesn’t come out until November!  That’s quite a wait.  I guess I have plenty to read until then, though.  (note:  this review is old.  It came out on Tuesday, and was fantastic).

Yukarism 2

August 23, 2015

Chika Shiomi – Viz – 2015 – 4 volumes

Actually, I like this series quite a bit as of volume 2!  Shiomi is great at setting up a creepy, uncanny mood, even though what’s going on isn’t particularly spooky.  And I’m liking the limited cast of characters right now, too.

There was a non-recurring character in volume 1, who was replaced here by someone who is likely a permanent part of the triangle.  What’s interesting in this series is, because past lives are involved, this is a guy-guy-girl love triangle where the girl is a different person depending on the era.  It hasn’t done anything super-interesting with this yet (and actually may have side-stepped an interesting approach), but it’s still fun to see.

We get to see more of the past, and Yukari realizes that Mahoro may not be who he thought she was.  We are also introduced to a new character named Satomi, who’s likely to stick around to the end.  He’s Yukari’s new caretaker, and obviously a key figure in Yukari and Mahoro’s past life.  He and Mahoro rub each other the wrong way, and periodically lapse into other personalities that seem to want to fight each other to the death, while Yukari is passed out dreaming of Edo in the other room.  Nobody remembers anything when they wake up.

On one hand, it hinted at one identity for Mahoro last volume, but this volume hints strongly at a different one.  I’m not sure whether to trust that yet or not.  It would be interesting if it was somehow able to switch back and forth, or if Mahoro were somehow two people.

I also really like the outfits Yumurasaki wears, mostly in the chapter illustrations (she’s usually in a state of undress during the story this time around).  For not liking to draw period clothes, or knowing anything about them, Shiomi does a great job with Yumurasaki.

I like the short length of this series, too.  It should be finished up by the end of the year, which will be perfect for me.

Yukarism 1

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!