Saturday, January 2, 2010
Yurara, vol. 2
The story: Yurara's got more trouble on her hands when her female classmates get jealous of her relationship with Yako and Mei. When Yurara is attacked by an evil spirit possessing her classmate, she gets more attention from Mei than she bargained for and finds herself wondering if she's in love. While Yurara tries to figure out her feelings, Yako makes sure to tell her about Mei's romantic past. When the woman Mei once loved comes back into the picture, Yurara's guardian spirit finds herself working overtime!
Reaction: There's some pretty evil spiritual possessions in this volume, which reveals goofy Mei's heartbreaking past. I liked that there's more to Mei than his skirt-chasing ways; it gives him some much-needed character growth, too. I also liked the self-reflection Yurara starts to undergo in this volume. She grows a little by doing so and puts the boys under the microscope for their interest in her.
Deep thoughts: A couple of different times in this manga, Mei calls Yurara's guardian spirit "big sister." It's a reference to the term onee-san, which translates literally into big sister, but is also used as a nickname for a young woman. In manga, you'll often see a younger girl call an older girl onee-san, like in Skip-Beat! where Maria addresses Kyoko similarly.
Artwork: There's the usual beautiful boys, pretty girls, inexplicably floating flowers and an abundance of toner to help convey emotions and evil spirits. But, there's also a balance between the usually bare backgrounds seen in shojo manga and fairly detailed panels, especially in streetside settings. The action scenes throughout this volume keep the pacing clipping right along, and there isn't too much undue introspection to slow things down.
The verdict: If only... I like this series well enough, but it's fairly duplicative and it feels like it can't decide if it's a romantic comedy or supernatural thriller. While there was some decent character growth, if there was more focus on why Yurara has a guardian spirit, it would provide some much-needed substance. Otherwise, this is just another supernatural shojo love story set in a high school. Yurara is available in the U.S. from Viz.