My Week in Manga: August 24-August 30, 2015

My News and Reviews

Last week was a bit slow at Experiments in Manga as I decided to take it a little easy on myself, but I did still post a couple of things in addition to the usual My Week in Manga feature. The most recent manga giveaway was posted, for one, and there’s still time to enter for a chance to win a complete set of Yumi Tamura’s shoujo action thriller Chicago. I also posted an in-depth review of Minae Mizumura’s award-winning A True Novel which I absolutely loved. In part it’s a reimagining of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights set in postwar Japan, but it’s not at all necessary to have read Brontë’s novel to appreciate Mizumura’s work.

Elsewhere online, Mangabrog has posted a translation of an interview of Parasyate‘s Hitoshi Iwaaki from 2005. Justin interviewed Sekai Project for Manga Bookshelf about the company entering the manga market. In licensing news, Kodansha Comics has picked up some Fairy Tail and Noragami side stories and Vertical Comics confirmed its acquisition of Maybe’s The Abandoned Sacred Beasts. Also of note, Humanoids will be releasing an anthology in 2016 called The Tipping Point which will include contributions from mangaka Katsuya Terada, Naoki Urasawa, Taiyo Matsumoto, and Atsushi Kaneko in addition to other comics creators from Europe and the United States.

Quick Takes

Dorohedoro, Volume 13Dorohedoro, Volumes 13-16 by Q Hayashida. Even though I love Dorohedoro, it’s been a while since I’ve read the series; I like to save up a few volumes to read all at once. The manga is now entering what I believe will be its final story arc. Granted, Dorohedoro tends to be all over the place with all sort of plot lines weaving in and out, so its difficult to identify distinct story arcs, but Hayashida is now bringing it all back together again. She’s even tying in what initially seemed to be extraneous side stories from earlier in the series more cohesively. Dorohedoro is such a bizarre manga, somehow managing to be sweet and charming at the same time it is disgusting and grotesque. Hayashida’s artwork is marvelous, creating horrific, nightmare-inducing images and an atmosphere that’s dank, dirty, and dingy. But the series is also fun and funny, with a quirky sense of humor and a peculiar fixation on food. At this point, though there is still comedy, Dorohedoro is actually getting pretty serious and dramatic. En’s dead and the rest of the family is currently homeless and on the run; the Cross-Eyes have taken over, but they seem to be losing control of the extremely deadly situation.

Evyione: Ocean Fantasy, Volume 1Evyione: Ocean Fantasy, Volume 1 by Young-Hee Kim. Back in the day, Udon Entertainment had a line of manwha which, sadly, didn’t end up going very far. Tragically, only the first volume of Kim’s twelve-volume series Evyione: Ocean Fantasy was translated and released. It’s admittedly disappointing that there isn’t more, but the first volume of Evyione serves as a sort of prologue and is well worth checking out even though the rest of the story will likely never be translated. The manhwa is in part inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid except that in the case of Evyione, it’s the king of the sea who has fallen in love with a human princess. The artwork in the series is stunningly gorgeous. The ocean scenes and merfolk are beautiful, sensuous, and slightly disconcerting. There’s a touch of horror to the king’s transformation into a human, keeping with the darker aspects of the original story. On land, Kim pays particular attention to the characters’ clothing and attire, the dresses especially are intricately detailed. Although Evyione is obviously based on The Little Mermaid, it’s not a simple retelling and incorporates political and court intrigue as well as additional plot elements.

Say I Love You, Volume 9Say I Love You, Volume 8 by Kanae Hazuki. I continue to really enjoy Say I Love You. Hazuki’s forthright portrayal of teenage sexuality in particular tends to be handled quite well. After focusing on some of the series’ supporting characters, the eighth volume of Say I Love You largely turns its attention back to Mei. Most of the volume is dealing with a popularity contest being held as part of the school festival that thrusts Mei into the spotlight when she becomes a finalist—some students voting for her because they like her, and some students voting for her in hopes that she will utterly embarrass herself. Yamato is a participant in the contest as well and out of all of the boys he’s expected to win, meaning he’ll be going on an arranged date with whichever girl receives the most votes. All together, this is a very challenging situation for Mei. She doesn’t really want all of the attention and yet she feels compelled to try to win. Hazuki avoids the pitfall of a makeover suddenly changing a person into someone completely unrecognizable. It’s not so much that Mei’s outward appearance is drastically altered, it’s that she’s starting to overcome some of her insecurities and reclaim her femininity for herself.

My Week in Manga: June 8-June 14, 2015

My News and Reviews

Two reviews were posted last week at Experiments in Manga. First up was my review of the short comic The Ring of Saturn by Kaiju, a creative team made up of Kate Rhodes and Jennifer Xu. I had previously read the comic online at Sparkler Monthly and loved it, but now it’s available in print! The second review was of Takako Shimura’s Wandering Son, Volume 8. The series is an incredibly important one to me, and I’m very glad that it’s being released in English. The eighth volume ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, and I have no idea when the ninth volume will be released, so now I’m doubly anxious.

Elsewhere online, the MASSIVE/Gay Manga tumblr talks a bit about the success of Gengoroh Tagame’s first manga for a general audience, My Brother’s Husband. It sounds like there’s an ongoing effort to license the series for an English-language release, which I really hope happens! Drawn & Quarterly made an interesting licensing announcement of its own, Yeon-sik Hong’s Uncomfortably, Happily. You don’t hear about many new manhwa being released in English these days. (Although Netcomics does seem to be making a quiet comeback.) Frederik L. Schodt spoke briefly on To the Best of Our Knowledge about Osamu Tezuka and his works. Finally, Organization Anti-Social Geniuses continues its Manga Advice series, this time interviewing four manga designers.

Quick Takes

My Little Monster, Volume 8My Little Monster, Volume 8 by Robico. The last volume of My Little Monster got my hopes up as the series seemed to be regaining its momentum. I wouldn’t say my hopes were dashed reading the eight volume since there were plenty of funny and dramatic moments, not to mention the introduction of a new character as well as several confessions of love, but the series still isn’t going anywhere fast. Both Robico and the characters know this, too, and even comment on the fact that nothing has really changed all that much from the beginning of the story. Although, I do suppose that it’s an important development that Shizuku and Haru are now officially a couple. (Except that I thought they already were? Guess I was wrong.) My Little Monster does frustrate me a little with all of its one step forward, one step back approach to storytelling and relationships, and it seems to have forgotten some of the major plot threads that were started earlier, but I do still like the series as a whole. My Little Monster can be very funny at times and the quirky characters continue to amuse me. So, I’ll likely keep reading.

Say I Love You, Volume 7Say I Love You, Volume 7 by Kanae Hazuki. Although Mei and Yamato are clearly the main characters of Say I Love You, large portions of the series are actually devoted to their friends, classmates, and families. After showing the outcome of Mei and Yamato’s date (which his sister crashed before his older brother was able to drag her away) and the result of their first night spent completely alone together, the seventh volume largely focuses on Megumi’s story. After Megumi was rejected by Yamato, who remains devoted to Mei, she has been trying to ruin all of Mei’s new-found friendships. She actually ends up making herself miserable in the process and ends up withdrawing more and more from the people who legitimately care about her. Like many of the characters in Say I Love You, Megumi is dealing with some pretty serious personal issues. Her self-confidence has been destroyed, she doesn’t trust other people, and her relationships are falling apart. As unlikeable as she can be at times, it’s still heartbreaking to see her intense unhappiness. But the growth and development of the characters in Say I Love You is excellent.

Wuvable OafWuvable Oaf by Ed Luce. I was introduced to Ed Luce and his work thanks to TCAF 2014’s Queer Mixer where I learned that Fantagraphics would be releasing a collection of his most well-known creation, Wuvable Oaf. The volume opens with “Music Is My Boyfriend,” the first major Wuvable Oaf story arc which follows the titular Oaf, an ex-pro wrestler who now spends his time crafting handmade dolls (stuffed with his own body hair) and working at Oaf’s Home for Wayward Kitties Who Are Really Cute & Need Lotsa Love, and his relationship with Eiffel, a much smaller and extremely surly fellow who is the lead singer of Ejaculoid, a disco grindcore band. The volume also includes a collection of Wuvable Oaf short stories and “The Official Handbook to the Oafiverse,” which contains detailed (and humorous) character profiles among other things. Oaf himself is adorable and an absolute sweetheart. Although occasionally kind of gross, Wuvable Oaf can be surprisingly sweet and charming, filled with all sorts of marvelous queerness. Wuvable Oaf is also very, very funny. And it just so happens to be a cat comic, too!

Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, Volume 2Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, Volume 2 by Miki Yoshikawa. Despite the manga’s title, the witches of Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches have yet to make their presence known, though I’m assuming it’s only a matter of time. I enjoyed the first volume Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches a great deal. I enjoyed the second as well, but it didn’t manage to leave as big of an impression on me. The fanservice seemed a little more forced in the second volume, too. Still, the series is a comedy more than anything else and I continue to find it to be highly entertaining. (But then again, I do have a proclivity towards stories that include body-swapping and gender play.) Yamada has discovered that he has a strange ability that allows him to switch bodies with another person if they kiss. He doesn’t know why he has this power, nor does he completely understand how it works. But even so, he and the few people who know about it are more than willing to use Yamada’s peculiar skill to their advantage, whether it’s appropriate or not. (Often it’s not.) This of course means there’s all sorts of kissing and other antics going on.

My Week in Manga: March 23-March 29, 2015

My News and Reviews

Well, it wasn’t really intentional, but last week at Experiments in Manga was apparently Viz Media week. Both of the in-depth manga reviews posted as well as the most recent manga giveaway feature Viz Media titles. The winner of this month’s giveaway will be announced on Wednesday, so there is still time to enter for a chance to receive Chika Shiomi’s Yukarism, Volume 1. The first review posted last week was of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Part 1: Phantom Blood, Volume 1, the very beginning of Hirohiko Araki’s long-running, outlandish, supernatural epic. It can be pretty brutal and the manga certainly won’t be to everyone’s taste, but I’m very happy to finally see it being released in English. Over the weekend I posted my review of Aya Kanno’s Requiem of the Rose King, Volume 1, a moody historical fantasy inspired by William Shakespeare’s Henry VI and Richard III. The debut of this series was one of the manga I was most looking forward to this year. I’m very happy to say that I loved it.

And speaking of Aya Kanno, it was recently announced that she will be one of the featured guests at this year’s Toronto Comic Arts Festival! (TCAF is currently the only large comics event that I attend.) Gengoroh Tagame, who was a featured guest in 2013, will be returning to TCAF this year as well. Ken Niimura (whose collection of short manga Henshin I thoroughly enjoyed and reviewed back in February) will also be an exhibitor. And since I mentioned Niimura, I would also like to point out Organization Anti-Social Geniuses’ interview with him from last week. Completely unrelated to TCAF, Seven Seas made a new license announcement—the first volume of Arata Yamaji’s manga series A Certain Scientific Accelerator is currently scheduled for release in October.

Quick Takes

The Man of TangoThe Man of Tango by Tetuzoh Okadaya. Originally licensed but never actually published by Aurora’s Deux Press, I was very happy when Sublime Manga picked up Okadaya’s boys’ love manga The Man of Tango. The English-language edition of The Man of Tango includes the story’s debut one-shot as well as previously unpublished material, making it the most complete version of the manga currently available. Though technically a boys’ love manga, with its burly character designs and emphasis on physicality, the tone of The Man of Tango is fairly masculine and the volume feels more like a gay manga. (Interestingly enough, Okadaya apparently didn’t even know what BL was before being invited to create the story.) As can be safely assumed from the title alone, tango plays a very prominent role in The Man of Tango. Dance is portrayed as a means of passionate expression and communication. Angie is a skilled dancer who teaches Argentine tango in Japan. Although he has been in many relationships, it isn’t until he meets Hiro, who exhibits a natural talent for tango, that he has completely fallen for someone.

Say I Love You, Volume 5Say I Love You, Volumes 5-6 by Kanae Hazuki. I become more and more impressed with Say I Love You the more I read of the series. Hazuki has captured the turmoil and insecurities of adolescence incredibly well. Sometimes the characters do seem a little wise or mature for their age, but generally the series remains well within the realm of believability. At the very least, the constantly shifting and messy interpersonal relationships of the series feel very realistic. Say I Love You excels at character growth and development. The recent introduction of new characters have complicated matters greatly for Mei and Yamato. Kai has started to develop feelings for Mei and he tends to be honest to a fault, which results in a significant amount of drama and strife as Yamato struggles with how to deal with his jealously. Another source of discord is Megumi. Her advances were rejected by Yamato and so she is doing everything that she can to disrupt Mei’s friendships and make her miserable. Mei, who is still learning to have confidence in herself and in her relationships with other people, is particularly susceptible to this sort of attack.

xxxHolic, Omnibus 3xxxHolic, Omnibuses 3-4 (equivalent to Volumes 7-12) by CLAMP. I only read the first few volumes of xxxHolic when it was initially being published in English by Del Rey Manga, so the material included in these omnibuses is completely new to me. While Watanuki still tends to be extreme in his reactions—quickly moving between utter joy and absolute despair—for the most part the tone of xxxHolic has started to even out and the balance between the series’ humor and the horror is better. There continue to be comedic elements, but the manga’s more serious nature has come to the forefront. Though frequently it’s deliberately cryptic, at times the manga can actually be fairly thought-provoking. xxxHolic has turned out to be far less episodic than I thought it was going to be. Some of the chapters don’t have a dramatic or direct impact on the story, but an overarching plot has developed. The series also ties in with Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, but the connection between the two manga occasionally seems a little forced. I find that I enjoy xxxHolic more when it’s completely free to be its own work.

My Week in Manga: December 29, 2014-January 4, 2015

My News and Reviews

Happy New Year, everyone! Things are already off to a good start at Experiments in Manga. The last manga giveaway of 2014 is currently underway and there’s still time to enter for a chance to win No Matter How I Look at It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular!, Volume 1 by Nico Tanigawa. All you have to do is tell me a little about some of your favorite otaku. The honor of the first in-depth manga review of the year, and in fact the very first post of 2015, goes to Hiroaki Samura’s Vigilance, the thirtieth and penultimate volume of Blade of the Immortal. I still love the series after all this time, and this installment has some particularly nice fight sequences. Finally, December’s Bookshelf Overload was posted over the weekend as well.

There were a few interesting things from Vertical this week, including a roundup of the happenings of 2014 and what fans can look forward to from the publisher in 2015. Another enlightening read from Vertical’s Tumblr account tackles sports, sports fiction, and sports manga and the challenges it presents to the North American market. Also, in case you missed it, Vertical is now on and is answering all sorts of questions there. Last but not least, thanks to the success of its release of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, Vertical is looking into publishing more Gundam manga. If you’re interested and haven’t already, be sure to take Vertical’s Gundam survey which will be open through the end of today.

Elsewhere online, Khursten has made a manga resolution for the year to feature josei more at Otaku Champloo. Organization Anti-Social Geniuses debuted a new feature, Inside the Industry, with Inside the Manga Industry with Lillian Diaz-Przybyl. The Hairpin has an excellent interview with Anne Ishii who, among other things, is the translator and one of the editors of the newly released Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It (which I recently reviewed; it’s great).

Quick Takes

Blue Morning, Volume 1Blue Morning, Volumes 1-5 by Shoko Hidaka. I’ve been meaning to read Blue Morning for a while but have only now gotten around to it. The benefit of this is that I had five volumes that I could read all at once. The drawback, of course, is the long wait until the sixth volume is released. I loved Blue Morning. It’s a moody, slow-burning boys’ love series with beautiful, elegant artwork and well-developed, subtly nuanced characters. A dramatic period piece, the manga takes place during Japan’s Meji era in which the country’s social, political, and economic structures underwent great change. The story focuses on Akihito Kuze who, after being orphaned, is suddenly thrust into Japan’s peerage as a viscount at the age of ten. Tomoyuki Katsuragi, the Kuze family steward, becomes his tutor and guardian. As he grows Akihito ends up developing feelings for Katsuragi and their relationship undergoes an intense evolution and power reversal. The romantic elements of Blue Morning are important, but much of the plot is actually focused on the political maneuverings of both Katsuragi and Akihito to raise the family’s status, though the each of the men have their own reasons for doing so.

KnightsSidonia10Knights of Sidonia, Volumes 10-12 by Tsutomu Nihei. I decided to save up a few volumes of Knights of Sidonia since they read so quickly and I wanted to enjoy a larger chunk of the story. But even though there are quite a few major developments in these particular volumes, including the introduction of an important new character, somehow it just feels like Nihei is stalling for time and that there wasn’t actually much forward movement in the series. Even so, it was still an enjoyable read and I still like the manga. Knights of Sidionia remains a rather peculiar series, a combination of horror, science fiction and, of all things, romantic comedy. Sidonia’s hero Tanikaze, despite being incredibly awkward socially, has managed capture the romantic interest of quite a few of the other characters, basically amassing one of the most unusual harems that I’ve ever come across in manga. And while he has all sorts of domestic challenges to deal with now that his house has five residents more or less living there, he’s also one of humanity’s best pilots in the fight for survival against the Gauna. The war is entering a new stage, new technology has been developed, and the Gauna continue to gain new abilities.

Say I Love You, Volume 4Say I Love You, Volume 4 by Kanae Hazuki. Four volumes in, Say I Love You continues to set itself apart from many of the other shoujo manga series that are currently being released with its very realistic approach to young adult relationships, romance, and sexuality. The characters show a believable mix of maturity and immaturity, at times handling themselves extraordinarily well and at other times ending up a mess of confused emotions. This volume also introduces a new character, Kai, whom I’m particularly looking forward to seeing more of. In the afterword Hazuki mentions that she believes that manga “isn’t just for showing the nice side of things,” a belief that I think comes through in Say I Love You. There are the wonderful moments between characters as they grow closer, but every relationship has its ups and downs and Hazuki isn’t afraid to show the emotional pain and turmoil experienced by her characters as part of that growth. Regret, jealousy, selfishness, and uncertainty all have a role to play as do happiness, affection, altruism, and confidence. None of the characters are perfect and they all make mistakes as they navigate new and sometimes surprising relationships.

Ping Pong: The AnimationPing Pong: The Animation directed by Masaaki Yuasa. Taiyō Matsumoto’s breakout manga was a five-volume series from the mid-1990s called Ping Pong. I’ve become a fan of Matsumoto’s work and would love to read Ping Pong, but it’s probably unlikely to ever be licensed. However, the eleven-episode anime adaptation made me very happy. The style of animation is somewhat unusual, reminiscent of Matsumoto’s loose but deliberate lines and uses a variety of palettes ranging from monochrome to pastel to vivid colors. I was particularly impressed by the series’ sound design and effective use of music. Smile and Peco are close friends and the strongest members of their school’s table tennis club but they both approach the game very differently. On its surface, Ping Pong is a fairly straightforward tale about competitive table tennis, but the series has prominent psychological elements and more depth than it might appear at first glance. Peco and Smile aren’t the only important players in Ping Pong; the protagonists and antagonists of the series are in constant flux. I enjoyed the Ping Pong anime immensely; I’ll definitely be picking up the physical release this summer.

My Week in Manga: October 20-October 26, 2014

My News and Reviews

I posted two reviews at Experiments in Manga last week. First up was my review of Baku Yumemakura and Jiro Taniguchi’s The Summit of the Gods, Volume 4. It’s the penultimate volume in one of my favorite manga series. It was also a particularly intense volume. The fifth and final book should be available sometime next year; I’m really looking forward to it. My second review last week was of Boogiepop Returns: VS Imaginator, Part 1, the second volume in Kouhei Kadono’s Boogiepop light novel series. I didn’t find it to be quite as dark as the first novel, but it still had an interesting mix of science fiction, horror, mystery, and even a bit of romance. I discovered Boogiepop late (the four novels and the four volumes of manga that were translated into English are now out of print) but I’m really enjoying the franchise so far. At this point I definitely plan on checking out the rest of the Boogiepop novels, manga, music, anime series, and live-action film.

On to other things online! Digital Manga has launched its most recent Tezuka Kickstarter project and it is…ambitious. At Manga Comics Manga, Deb Aoki has a nice roundup of some the concerns and criticisms fans have been expressing about the project. Justin has been busy posting more New York Comic Con content at Organization Anti-Social Geniuses, including interviews with Viz Media’s Andy Nakatani (editor-in-chief of Weekly Shonen Jump) and Leyla Aker (Vice President of Publishing). Also, in case you missed it (like I did), Brigid Alverson posted her NYCC interview of Takeshi Obata at Comic Book Resources a couple Fridays back. Ryan Holmberg’s most recent What Was Alternative Manga? column focuses on the proto-gekiga work of Masahiko Matsumoto. The post has great (and probably deliberate) timing—Matsumoto’s The Man Next Door is now available to order from Breakdown Press. Over at Manga Connection, Manjiorin is embarking on a new review project focusing on Crunchyroll’s digital manga. And speaking of manga reviews, Manga Blog’s inagural Bookmarked! feature was posted. I’m very happy to see Manga Blog so active again. Be sure to check it out for its link-blogging, too!

Quick Takes

The Dawn of LoveThe Dawn of Love by Kazuho Hirokawa. Masahiro is infatuated with his fellow law student Takane and so is very happy to discover that Takane, like him, is also gay. Takane has multiple partners which doesn’t bother Masahiro at first, but eventually he decides that he wants Takane to exclusively date him. My biggest issue with The Dawn of Love is that Masahiro uses sex to manipulate Takane, basically forcing Takane to choose monogamy regardless of his own feelings about the matter; it’s really not a good basis for a healthy, long-lasting relationship. I think Hirokawa was trying to going for a sort of “true love conquers all” take with the manga, but The Dawn of Love isn’t successful in achieving that, mostly because I was never convinced that Masahiro and Takane were actually in love to begin with. Even Masahiro doesn’t bother to ask himself why he loves Takane until well into the story, and he never really answers that question. It’s obvious that the two of them enjoy having sex with each other (and there’s a lot of sex in The Dawn of Love), but sexual desire isn’t the same thing as romantic love. The Dawn of Love had great potential and was even rather funny in places, but overall I didn’t end up enjoying it much at all.

Magical Girl Apocalypse, Volume 1Magical Girl Apocalypse, Volume 1 by Kentaro Sato. I can’t tell for certain yet, but by the end of the first volume of Magical Girl Apocalypse it seems as though the series might actually be a parody. If that’s true, it makes the manga a little more interesting to me. If not, Sato is going to need to do something else to keep my attention. I’m more frightened that Yoruka will have a horrifying back injury due to her ridiculously large breasts than I am of the series’ “zombies.” Despite the inclusion of the creepy-cute magical girls instead of more traditional zombie-like monsters, the manga doesn’t really set itself apart yet. At this point, it somehow feels like a pretty generic zombie story. There’s plenty of disturbing scenes and well-drawn gore, and I appreciate that Sato isn’t afraid to kill off characters who in other series would actually manage to live for more than one chapter, but otherwise I found Magical Girl Apocalypse to be a fairly typical zombie survival manga. The series should be an entertaining read for those fond of the subgenre, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but personally I find myself a little zombied-out these days and prefer my horror to have a little more substance.

Say I Love You, Volume 3Say I Love You, Volume 3 by Kanae Hazuki. One of the things that really impresses me about Say I Love You is Hazuki’s forthright portrayal of teenage sexuality. The characters exhibit both maturity and immaturity in their relationships; they can be surprisingly levelheaded, but they can also let their feelings get the best of them. There’s conflict and selfishness in addition to the beginnings of new love and developing respect for others. The characters and their relationships are believable and have depth to them. The more I read of Say I Love You the more and more like Mei. She, like so many of the other characters, has been hurt in the past, but despite her nervousness and anxiety she’s at a point in her life that she’s able to stand up for herself and for others. (Bullying and dealing with bullies is a recurring theme in Say I Love You.) Though Mei tends not to take crap from other people, she is still vulnerable and she still experiences pain, especially now that she is beginning to open herself up to others again. She’s learning to trust, but it doesn’t always come easily for her. It’s this sort of realistic and layered characterization that Say I Love You does particularly well.

YU+ME: Dream, Omnibus 1YU+ME: Dream, Omnibuses 1-2 by Megan Rose Gedris. I only recently discovered YU+ME, a webcomic that was originally released online between 2004 and 2010. The comic is still freely available to read online, but the series has also now been collected into two omnibuses which include additional content. The first part of YU+ME comes across as a fairly standard girl-meets-girl high school love story. It’s certainly enjoyable, but not an exceptional story on its own. (Although it is noteworthy that the series may have been one of the earliest queer-focused webcomics.) What really makes the YU+ME outstanding is its second part, which places the first half within an entirely new context. Gedris wanted to turn the “but it was all a dream” trope on its head and she does so magnificently. Both the artwork and the storytelling are a bit rough in the beginning, but Gedris steadily improves and by the end the series has turned into something truly spectacular. The first part of YU+ME primarily uses a single art style while the second half explodes into a brilliant variety of design, color, and texture. YU+ME is an epic and surreal lesbian love story with a grand mythos to go along with it and a plot that is much more complex than it first appears.