When high school yuri reads a bit like queer YA lit.
Konatsu’s the new girl in town when her father’s job transfers him overseas, which leaves her having to move in with relatives in a relatively quiet seaside town. When she goes to take a look at her new school before her first day of classes, she ends up visiting the Aquarium Club, where solo member Koyuki strikes up a conversation with her. If Konatsu finds herself struggling in her new school with making friends due to her shyness, Koyuki’s faring no better despite being the epitome of the local girl, as her model student status prevents people from getting close to her. But Konatsu’s apparent lack of awe over her draws Koyuki to the other girl, and the two slowly, somewhat awkardly strike up a friendship that seems to have a spark of something other than a purely platonic bond.
“Awkwardly” is possibly an understatement there, as the primary aspect of my reading experience in these first two volumes is of feeling a bit irked over the start-stop nature of Koyuki and Konatsu’s relationship with one another. That the two struggle so mightily with communication isn’t exactly a bad thing, as it certainly rings true to life (“Thank god I’m not seventeen anymore.”, I reflected more than once), although it does not always make for a fun time for the reader. Perhaps interestingly, it put me in mind more of a queer YA novel than of a yuri manga because it read as bearing more resemblance to queer teen life than is often the case with schoolgirl yuri.
Viz Media’s release for both volumes is solid overall, but I want to express particular kudos for Eve Grandt’s lettering work. Lettering’s been getting more recognition from Western manga readers in the past couple of years, but it admittedly tends to get overlooked since it is generally a job done well when one doesn’t really notice it. But there are a couple panels here which called for a defter approach on the lettering, and Grandt did a fantastic job with them that helps underscore what’s going on in the scene and how the characters are feeling. I was really impressed!
On the whole, I’m a little on the fence about this one, as while I don’t think its bad and I appreciate its versimilitude to queer teen life, it also isn’t really for me, at least not at this point in my life. It’s getting a rather rapid release from Viz (volume one came out late in 2019 and volume four came out earlier this month), which does make it likelier I’ll pick up the third volume simply due to availability. I do think this is a decent option if you’d like to be able to give a queer teen girl in your life some manga that she could see herself in.
Pingback: A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow Vol. 2 Manga Review | GAR GAR Stegosaurus