MAKA-MAKA • Anime Works • Kishi Torajiro • 18+
Jun and Nene are college students studying design, young artists who drink and smoke and stay up late and–in the very first scene of the manga–have unsatisfying one-night stands with various guys. But their closest connection is to one another; they’re “friends with benefits,” and when they’re hanging out, they often end up with their clothes off and their hands on each other. Maka-Maka consists of short 8-page stories, each one observing Jun and Nene in some slice-of-life situation which ends up with a lot of giggling and fingering. (“I’m done. It tickles.” “You liar. Your nipples are hard.” “No, they’re not.” “Yes, they are.”) Yes, this is basically lesbian porn (albeit not triple-X), but speaking as an adult and a human being, it’s refreshing to read a yuri manga which isn’t about 12-year-old girls holding hands. The main characters’ relationship feels friendly and loving and equal. The art is gorgeous and unexpectedly realistic; it’s in full color, accentuating the somewhat Western style of its figure drawing. Yes, it’s voyeuristic eye candy, but in a manga market where “adult” relationships generally means either emotionally heavy angst or extra-drippy porn, it’s a rare pleasure. (Review by Jason Thompson; originally printed in Otaku USA magazine.)
*** 1/2 (three and a half stars)
Today’s winner is Mark T. of Indiana! Congratulations, Mark! For those who want to read more of my writings about manga, I’ve also just started a new weekly column on Anime News Network, House of 1000 Manga! In the first column, I discuss one of my favorite manga ever, Riyoko Ikeda’s The Rose of Versailles.