Monday, December 19, 2011

12/11 Media of the month: Indigo Blue

By "media of the month" I really mean: "When I actually get around to posting something--which usually entails once every three months! Yay!" Yeah. I'm terrible at keeping up with these things, but that's why you guys love me, right? Inconsistency and procrastination are my most charming character flaws! 

Back to the subject at hand...ahem. *cough*  
I've written several posts about comic books on this blog. I love reading comics. I always have. As a closeted bi teen in my jr. high school days, I read an awful lot of yaoi manga (if you don't know what "yaoi" is, click on the link and get wiki'd). Secretly, I always wished for lesbian-themed, or "yuri," titles, but no such luck back then. No one I knew read/talked about yuri. In fact, I didn't even know what "yuri" was until my final years of high school! I just assumed (as is the case with fiction books) lesbian-themed mangas were either rare, written by heterosexual men, and or nonexistent. 
Indigo Blue (written and illustrated by the wonderfully talented Ebine Yamaji) is my first real josei yuri manga. I've never been a fan of the shojo sparkly stuff. And although I read my fair share of gender-benders with slight yuri elements (like Ranma 1/2, W Juliet, Beauty is the Beast, etc.) I never actually read a straight-up lesbian love story before. I can't begin to tell you how much this manga impacted me. I actually cried while I was reading it. And I've never cried while reading a manga before.  

You can read the entire thing for free HERE

I'm actually surprised I love this manga so much. Normally this sort of thing would irritate the HELL out of me! First off, the art isn't very pretty. I don't like how Ebine Yamaji draws frontal faces--somehow they all look like frogs. But because the artwork is so simplistic, it forces the reader to focus on the story. And after a while, the simple art style grows on you. 

Secondly, I am easily irritated by the "indecisive bisexual female" who falls for both a man and a woman at the same time. However, all that aside, this is a very well-written work. The story is told honestly and truthfully from a poignant and character-driven point of view. I really wanted to hate Rutsu, the bisexual main character, but I couldn't. I guess I saw too much of myself in her. And honestly, reading this made me realize how much of an asshole I was in jr. high and high school. I think most bisexual women struggle with their sexual identity at some point in their lives, and in that process of self-discovery, sometimes hurt people inadvertently. 

Even now, I don't think I've ever had a formal "girlfriend" before. Which is strange because I was asked to prom by a girl and on numerous occasions I kissed/fooled around with girls. Many of my friends were out-lesbians and I always found myself instinctively drawn to them. However I refused to believe I was in romantic situations--even when the girl expressed blatant romantic interest in me, I never interpreted her feelings as such. Perhaps deliberately, because I was too much of a coward to acknowledge my own sexuality back then. The character Tamaki reminds me of one such girl I knew in high school. Looking back on it now, I was a fucking idiot. Only as I continued to fall deeper into the story, did I realize for the first time how carelessly I must have hurt this girl. Much like how Rutsu hurt Ryuuji in the manga. Only different...because this was real life. 

I will read more of Ebine Yamaji's work because she is a fantastic story-teller. I recommend Indigo Blue to anyone who enjoys josei mangas, and although the story is about lesbi women in particular, men also play an important role too. :)



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