Saturday, June 11, 2022

Adachi and Shimamura volume 3 (Manga review)

Manga cover. Two Japanese teens sit on a train, one holds the others hand, the girl whose hand is being held is shyly freaking out. They have scarves on due to the cold.
I think I am going to stop reading the "Adachi and Shimamura" manga. So this review of volume 3 will probably be my last stop with this series (however, that does mean that I can pick up a new series to start - gotta respect the 'ole budget after all).
    In Volume 3, Adachi and Shimamura exchange chocolates for valentines day. I mean seriously, that's about the only thing that happens all volume, and although it introduces a new character (an old friend of Shimamura's who is likely to cause trouble/confusion somewhere down the line) there's basically nothing go on.
    And it's not the good kind of nothing either. I'm fine with those slice-of-life, no real plot sort of stories if they are well done. However, this series is becoming the worst form of yuri (well, 2nd worst after the male-oriented, hentai-light type). It's the type of yuri that is neither a deep and meaningful exploration of the complexities and depths of female friendship, nor an actual romantic coupling (or even better, an actual lesbian couple - the distinction I'm making is better left for a later date). 
    No, this is the super bland, queer baiting, non-committal, meaningless dreck kind of yuri. The kind of yuri where the actions, feelings, inner-monologues, and everything else feels fake, contrived, and confusingly vacant all at the same time. Nothing they say in their inner monologues makes sense. Nothing they do in their interactions makes sense. The actual writing has horrid pacing, abrupt jumps and transitions, and is just generally really poor. 
    I think the closest current series that I can think of to compare it with is something like "A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow" and yet I think (9 volumes in to that series so far) that that series might actually turn romantic (god I hope so). But that series too suffers from some of these same non-committal, confusingly non-realistic depictions of teenage girls' minds and hearts. However, at least "A Tropical Fish" is slightly more interesting, with characters that have some actual depth to them. "Adachi and Shimamura" just doesn't know how to create that. It's so poorly written. And it's queer-baiting with no real sense that there will be a legit romantic and/or LGBTQ+ payoff that makes it's frustratingly vapid storytelling worth it.
    I thankfully am at the point in life now, and with the increasing availability of LGBTQ+ media to consume (I doubted you "Heartstopper" - but 5 episodes in you are very very adorable), that I don't need to waste my time or my money on such a less-than-mediocre "yuri" (maybe it's not even queer-baiting, maybe it's just yuri-baiting) manga like Adachi and Shimamura. Volume 3 is likely to be my last for this series. 


Please legitimately purchase or borrow manga and anime. Never read scanlations or watch fansubs. Those rob the creators of the income they need to survive and reduce the chance of manga and anime being legitimately released in English.

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  1. "And it's queer-baiting with no real sense that there will be a legit romantic and/or LGBTQ+ payoff that makes it's frustratingly vapid storytelling worth it" Umm, Adachi and Shimamura is based on a yuri light novel of the same name and the girls begin dating at the end of Volume 06 and in the light novel there has been flash foward chapters to their domestic adult life as lovers together so no, it is not queer-baiting.

    1. I'll have to go back and reread volumes 1-3 (and also, I swear there was nothing in the anime either) to see those flash forwards you're talking about. I haven't read the light novels, so I don't love the spoiler in your comment, but I also see the importance of why you mentioned it to counter my writeup, and I do appreciate the heads-up that it's actually going somewhere. I supposed I jumped the gun because there are so many so-called yuri manga series or slice of life ones that seem non-committal to me that I may be oversensitive. However, I still also struggle, even if this isn't queer baiting, with the obtuseness of the writing/characters-inner-dialogue, etc... I think it's okay that people are questioning, exploring, and unsure, but I don't think the way this author does it here is very elegant from a quality of prose standpoint. I've read great yuri, and then I've read this? But I also have volume 4 on my coffee table and we'll see? :) Thanks for the comment.


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