Sunday, January 10, 2010
Yurara, vol. 3
The story: High schooler Yurara and her friends, Mei and Yako, can see spirits and have the spiritual powers to help the wayward ghosts pass on to the other side. After romantic confessions from both Mei and Yako, Yurara's all a tizzy when it comes to the men in her life. Does she like the goofy, perverted, yet secretly sweet Mei, or the seriously aloof and smart Yako? Regardless, she's determined to find out if it's her they really like, or just her beautiful guardian spirit. And, if things weren't complicated enough, her grandfather stops by for an unannounced visit, too!
Reaction: This volume was all about romantic entanglement and the confusion it brings. While Yurara's worries about who really loves her are unique in their supernatural origins, it's a question many girls and women ask themselves: does he like me for who I really am, or just superficial reasons like beauty? By doing so, it turns this story into a more easily relatable one, freaky ghosts notwithstanding! Meanwhile, there's some intriguing background provided on why Yurara has a guardian spirit in the first place, and the connection between the two.
Deep thoughts: Yurara's grandfather asks for curry when he first arrives at Yurara's home, and Mei suggests adding bananas to it. While adding bananas is certainly non-traditional, Japanese curry is still rather different from Indian curry, as is that of other Southeast Asian countries, like Thailand, where coconut milk is used. Introduced to Japan by the British Navy, Japanese curry is more of a stew mixed with a sweet, savory and spicy curry sauce served over rice.
Artwork: Since this volume focuses a lot on our comedic trio's romantic trials and tribulations, there's plenty of magically floating floral backgrounds. But, other than that, there's some really great comedic moments, like when Yurara's rival pelts her with tennis balls, or when Yurara's grandfather tries changing his appearance to look more hip. Unsurprisingly, there are also some slightly scary evil spirit moments.
The verdict: If only... While I can appreciate that there was a need to get this love triangle resolved quickly, I wish it hadn't taken so much of this volume. The subplot involving Yurara's guardian spirit and her grandfather was much more interesting to me and I would have loved to see more development on that front. Hopefully, the next volume will explore it more in depth! Yurara is available in the U.S. from Viz.