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Blastaar
Citrus discussion 28 Oct 09:32
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joined Jul 29, 2017

The defenses of the fiancé development are fairly convincing to me as far as the overall plot goes, but I still tend to side with those who think that just a couple more hints from time to time that this specific problem was still potentially on the table would have made it seem less abrupt, and would have constituted better storytelling.

Here’s hoping the whole thing blows over in a chapter or two, and our two incompetent lovebirds can get on with the task at hand.

last edited at Oct 28, 2017 9:33AM

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

I admit, the frequent references to Kase-san being "cool like a boy" do get pretty old,

I have no idea what’s actually being translated here, but I take that as being “cool, in a boyish way” as opposed to “cool the way that boys are cool.” Because in the world of Yamada and Kase, boys are generally not very cool.

I actually like the repetition of the whole “We’re both girls, but we’re going out, etc.” formula—feels kinda like a series theme song.

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

Takashima just writes fluff

This is certainly true in that the story takes a bunch of stuff out of the equation that would or could make the relationship between Yamada and Kase much more difficult: societal and peer disapproval, the presumption of heterosexuality by themselves and others, and, for the most part, even the mere presence of parents. And even the single antagonist/rival is just based on a misunderstanding.

That clears the decks for what the series does do well, which is to show how each of them helps the other to understand themselves and how they come to understand each other. Kase first gets interested in Yamada not from a glimpse of her luscious little thighs (that comes later), but from overhearing Yamada insist that her motivation for working hard is internal rather than external, which motivates Kase to do the same. Kase of course helps Yamada come to see herself as a capable, admirable, and attractive person.

It's certainly not "realistic" or dramatic, but I think the series does an extraordinary job of establishing and developing its characters. Plus world-class adorableness, of course.

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

[Kase] tried dating other girls but it never worked out.

I was wondering about this, and I think the story is kind of ambiguous about it. I’m pretty sure we can reject the rumours that Kase was a player—that’s the kind of thing that always seems to follow the “cool prince” types in yuri manga. And we know that the supposed affair with Green Drops Senpai was untrue.

But when Yamada says that Kase has more experience, she doesn’t really deny it (unlike the wonderful Girl Friends idiots, who are shocked to find out that they’re both virgins). The “girls shy away when they see my body” (and who can blame them?) statement is also a little ambiguous—some of the nakedness is P.E. related, but apparently not all. She also tells Yamada that she will never fall in love with anyone else, and (assuming the translation is precise) it’s notable that she doesn’t say that she’s never been in love with anyone else.

I don’t know how significant any of it is, but I did notice that, except for the sports senpai, every time Kase has the opportunity to disavow any previous experience with girls (as often happens in yuri manga), she doesn’t do so explicitly.

And she certainly seems like a gal who knows her way around another girl’s blouse buttons and bra strap.

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

So, I'd rather think Yamada started high-school as aromantic, then became Kase-sexual when she met her.

Technically true in terms of character type, I guess, but the contrast was with Akko and Mari in Girl Friends, both of whom had (rather unfortunate) het experiences as well as a good deal of angst before accepting their feelings for one another. Yamada’s resistance to her own same-sex attraction was precisely zero. And I’m looking in the “Yamada is not completely a lesbian” evidence folder, and finding . . .

Yamada did have some doubts at first about whether a love relationship with Kase was socially possible—her “but we’re both girls!” worries—but Kase got her squared away on that score quick enough.

last edited at Oct 27, 2017 7:36AM

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

I don’t know—unlike the Girl Friends duo, Kase and Yamada each knew they were in love with the other one from the start. After all, Yamada says, “Please let Kase-san be in love with me!” in Chapter 1, and they were both checking out each others’ bodies/lingerie in the locker room immediately, too.

Yamada’s been a little lesbian from the jump—she just took an extraordinarily long time to figure out the nuts-and-bolts of what that entails.

last edited at Oct 26, 2017 5:59PM

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

Like others, I too want to see Kase and Yamada progress in their new life together.

On the other hand, I’ve always thought that every moment of the origin, growth, and development of Kase-san’s desire to jump Yamada’s bones needs to be depicted in exhaustive detail.

So I’m good either way.

Blastaar
Citrus discussion 25 Oct 11:15
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joined Jul 29, 2017

Takemiya Jin is perfect and has no flaws, shut up.

Sorry to have to disobey--I adore Takemiya Jin, but the one problem I have in reading her is that sometimes there's not a lot of variance in the visual design of the characters, so I get confused about who is who more easily than usual (especially when I'm following a story/arc that's been spread over several different collections). That makes it harder for me to read a bunch of her work in a row, which I regret, because I adore Takemiya Jin.

Blastaar
Citrus discussion 24 Oct 23:14
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joined Jul 29, 2017

Just to clarify, although the chapter strongly implies that Mei has, or will have, an arranged fiancé, nobody has explicitly said so yet, correct? Himeko's lack of response on page 7, the subtext of the cafe owner's phone call, and Mei's reticence at the end all seem to point in that direction, but at the moment there's no actual evidence that "Mei's fiancé" is anything but an assumption by Shiraho and Matsuri.

Of course, when you think about it, just because Professor Slimeball McRapey was sent on his way doesn't mean that Mei's side of the family hasn't continued to expect her to eventually marry some more suitable prospect.

And they're unlikely to look favorably on "going off to be a lesbian with my stepsister" as an alternate life plan, either. (Although it works for me.)

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joined Jul 29, 2017

I love this one too, and it's a good example of where the official translation is fine in itself, but I like the Dynasty translation far better (and thanks, Yuri Girl 1001).

In particular, the character of Hirosawa loses some of the flavor that makes me like the character so much--"squatting as though to poop" becomes just "squatting," etc. I don't have the volume at hand at the moment, but her line "You are loved, kitten-chan" in Chap. 5, and her thought balloon, "These airheads are really something else" while the kouhai squee all around her, are a couple of my favorite moments in the series, and the official translation really flattens them out.

Also, I understand that the Mom's line, "If your sempai isn't the jewel of a palaquin!" might be a little opaque to some Western readers, but changing it to, "Maybe you'll marry rich!" makes her a much less sympathetic character. The official translation does clarify some phrasing in a couple of spots, but this series is an example of one that I'll tend to re-read here even when the hard copy is sitting right there on my shelf.

(And, "Yo! Seductress!" is obviously better than "Yo! Player!" on the grounds of rhythm alone.) :-)

last edited at Oct 23, 2017 10:16AM

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joined Jul 29, 2017

I don't know why Girl Friends is so popular among men

In my case, since I mostly favorite by creator rather than by title, I was really just saying "Morinaga Milk" by listing her best-known, complete long work.

(I probably like Secret of the Princess even more, although I think that Girl Friends is less flawed and more fully developed.)

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

I’ve wondered about this too, riverFlower, since there doesn’t seem to be any direct explanation of what that “something” would be.

But I have always assumed that, since immediately before that line Yuu mentions her desire to “stay by [Touko’s] side,” it was a foreshadowing of the shift from “I love you even though you don’t love me back” to “I’ll continue to love you only if you don’t love me back,” which is the weird and toxic emotional blackmail that makes this series so fundamentally unsettling.

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

I think it doesn't matter if she had won or lost the rock, paper, scissors match, the self-loathing would be the same.

Your reading is probably a stronger one for the story—I was going by a couple of things that happened to people I know. In one case, a person bugged someone else into doing a job they were supposed to do, and that second person got hurt pretty badly (not killed, thank what or whoever)—messed that first person up for a long time. In another case, a friend was supposed to go to a concert but had to bail because of work, and the person who did drive wrecked their car and three people were badly injured. That was more a “there but for the grace of what or whoever” thing, but the friend still felt bad and weird about it.

But I still think the story is at some pains to make clear in that scene that which kid went out was just a matter of chance—that it wasn’t literally Touko’s fault that her sister was killed. As you say, that’s sort of irrelevant to Touko’s feeling about it.

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

In fact, she should have died instead.

But in that scene it's clear that the mom asks someone to go to the store, and Touko's scissors beat Mio's paper (in our family we used to flip a coin to decide which kid would run out for milk/bread).

There's definitely guilt there, but there's a subtle but significant difference in degree between "It could have just as easily been me" and "It was supposed to be me, but I refused to go."

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

^
No, that's a great way to pull together what I was trying to get at. And I don't think your citation is cheesy at all--that's what the whole story has been pointing toward, and makes me think that things will turn out a lot more happily than we've been fearing.

After all, although we've been privy to Touko's darkest moments, looking at the series as a whole, when she's not being "perfect Touko" for the public, we (along with only Yuu) have mostly seen her being cute, vulnerable, and affectionate.

(Touko's squee in reaction to the picture sent by Yuu's sister is right up there among my favorite scenes in the series.)

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

Because she hates herself.

But why exactly does she hate herself, and which "self" is it that she hates?

There's what Yuu calls in Chapter 10 "your weak side and your perfect side," which together are what Touko says Yuu accepts: "all of me."

But we actually have:
1) "original Touko": shy, hiding behind her sister.
2) "perfect Touko," which she thought was an imitation of Mio Mk.2, but now has learned is not, at least not entirely.
3) "real Touko": the both sides that Yuu accepts

So does she hate herself for:
"Really" being original Touko all along but faking being Mio Mk.2
Failing to live up to being Mio Mk. 2 (and she thinks putting on the play will fix that)
"Really" being empty inside, like the girl in the play and not actually having an identity at all.
None, all, or some of the above?

She's clearly got some combo of survivor's guilt (if the rock-paper-scissors game had come out differently, she would have been the one killed) and imposter syndrome (where she feels like a fake no matter what she achieves). But it's not so clear what exactly it would take to redress that.

I'd prescribe a regular regimen of GBSs, but that's just me.

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

She views as stepping in to force Touko to change as "low."

I'm not saying you're wrong, but I read that whole sequence completely differently. Sayaka acknowledges that both she and Yuu see the need for Touko to change, but Yuu was the one who had the courage to do something about it, so she's not interfering with Yuu's plan to spark a change in Touko. It would be "low" of her to side with Touko's wish to keep the old ending of the play, because she knows that the new one may well turn out to be better for Touko.

So Sayaka's annoucement of her love for Touko is the answer to Yuu's original question: "Saeki-senpai, why did you agree to use the new script?" (That's how I read it, anyway.)

Again, the new version of the play doesn't really force Touko to do anything (so it's not quite the same as enrolling someone in rehab against their will). It's just providing an opportunity to rethink the emotional/psychological box she's put herself in.

last edited at Sep 30, 2017 1:44PM

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

^
As long as we’re mentioning imagery that may or may not be significant, with this latest chapter I keep thinking of the Yuu-to-Sayaka baton relay in Chap. 14. But this feels like it goes the other way—Sayaka in some way passing something (I can’t quite say what, exactly) on to Yuu.

Maybe it’s just that the race prep is where Yuu and Sayaka make their first real connection (the chapter ends with the two of them agreeing that Touko can be a pain), and here they deepen their mutual understanding of one another.

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

I have a pretty high tolerance for melodrama--that's why I'm a k-drama addict. Coincidence, plot twists, over-the-top emotions--done well, they're great.

But this latest chapter has a good illustration of how this story isn't melodrama. When Yuu and Sayaka's first conversation gets randomly interrupted, a melodrama would ramp up the emotional intensity of the scene by using it as the occasion for a misunderstanding, either between the two of them or by someone (maybe Touko) overhearing them by coincidence, leading to further plot complications.

But the chapter uses it to shift to Sayaka's POV, so that we understand her answer to Yuu's question ("Saeki-senpai, why did you agree to use the new script?") as well as her attitude toward Yuu. Then later the two of them pick up the conversation again, and Sayaka asks but doesn't demand an answer to her own question ("Do you love Touko?").

So two questions asked and zero direct answers given, but the audience now has a much sharper sense of where the characters stand and how they're likely to interact going forward.

last edited at Sep 29, 2017 4:33PM

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

it's more accurate to TL it to "We talked about this before, didn't we?" based on the context of ch 14.

That was my guess (ignorant as I am of the Japanese language), because the wording echoed in both scenes is: "if that day came," a phrase which both Yuu and Sayaka think simultaneously in Chap. 14, and then each finishes the thought in their own way.

The way this series uses verbal echoes and visual callbacks to tighten the connections in the story is extremely impressive, but it kinda makes me dread the next time we see a train hurtling down the tracks.

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

I'm not entirely sure how the rest of the volume will play out. Will there be some catalyst prior to the play that can trigger a change in Touko's perception of her current situation?

I'm with you--after thinking through a bunch of possible paths that the story might take, at this point I'm officially "I don't know."

But I can't shake the image of a despondent Yuu (for a time, at least) huddled on her bed in the fetal position. Followed by, I hope, a happy ending subsequent to one or more GBS.

Blastaar
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joined Jul 29, 2017

Great comments on Chap. 26 so far. Yuu and Sayaka have indeed joined forces and become "Co-stars" in Touko's big drama, but it really is the case that, as Faust says, it's just a play; Touko isn't required to make any change in herself at all. It's up to her what happens after this.

I think it's clear that Sayaka realizes that Yuu does love Touko, so much so that she's willing to help Touko's emotional growth even at the risk of losing her.

This chapter effectively clears the decks for a big finale (the performance of the play and Touko's response to it), but I almost wish there had been some plot twist or emotional puzzle for us to chew over for a month while we're waiting to find out what happens next.

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joined Jul 29, 2017

haven't the girls also become somewhat… bustier?

I dunno--Chap. 11, p. 25 demonstrates that Ayaka has always had a certain . . . amplitude.

EDIT: As Yurine double-checks first-hand in "Do Your Best, Shiramine!" Part 2 in the Internet Shorts.

last edited at Sep 27, 2017 7:33PM

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joined Jul 29, 2017

Thanks, Kobalos. I see what you're saying about the eyes in particular. I think also there is less use of dark areas and fewer dramatic high-contrast pages in general, adding to that "shinier" effect you mention. I wouldn't actuallly find much to remark on about the art if not for the sense of change from earlier chapters.

And I want Shiramine's big hair back--those flowing locks were highly expressive themselves.

I'm halfway on the side stories--they make the world seem wider than just the central couple, and they do, as Reejun says, contribute to that ensemble feel, showing that Shiramine and Yurine affect and are affected by other people.

But it's the OTP that keeps me wanting more.

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joined Jul 29, 2017

^
Nice catch--I do believe you're right. That cheery email to an opponent sounds just like Kase-san.

(I don't know if anyone caught this before either.)

last edited at Sep 26, 2017 12:06PM