Aug 4, 2011

Let's talk about yuri: COME EMBRACE ME, SENPAI!

Remember, always read from right to left.

I was going to use this image instead,
but in the end, good taste prevailed. By
 which I mean wouldn't fit right.
If there's one thing that's really important to a compelling superhero origin story, it's having a good coming of age metaphor. Spider-Man is the most obvious (and also the most grossest). Sailor Moon was about the awesomeness of pre-arranged marriage learning to balance working and love. The X-Men are all about illustrating how homosexuality is exactly the same as shooting kinetic energy out of your eyes. And so forth.

A Lifeform in Puberty — Vega has a pretty similar setup, but a little less pretense about its own metaphor.

The basic premise goes something like this: Vega, a superpowered alien, has tasked herself with protecting her city from giant monsters. But lately, she's been struggling at it, having suddenly lost most of her powers one day.

Therefore, she decides to do the only logical thing to solve the problem: convince her upperclassman to make out with her.

This continues to go on, with Vega getting increasingly desperate in her measures. For her, she's willing to try anything just to convince her. It's that important!

Let's be honest: I think we've all embarassed ourselves
like this before.

She's not actually interested in her that way, mind you. It's just strictly to get her powers back, and nothing more! Anyway, this continues to go on, with Vega getting increasingly desperate in her measures.

Is she strong? Listen, numb pot.

And then after much haranguing, we find out why.

Uh, hello Wegaa~nn!

But in the end, she realizes that it's not actually a kiss that will return her powers—it's admitting that she's in love! Once she does, they all come back, and finally she's able to win fights again.

I don't really want to belabour the point here too much, because the metaphor here doesn't exactly need a lot of unpacking: young woman ends up pressuring herself into making everything sexual because that's the way it's supposed to be, only manages to resolve her frustration after being honest to the girl she likes, et cetera et cetera.

Alternatively: sex is a powerful weapon, but not if you're lovesick.

Sure, it might be an unbelievably dumb comedy about an overly dramatic girl's sexual angst. But it's also... no, wait, that's pretty much entirely what it is. And that is why Vega understands exactly what's most important about a superhero origin story: a compelling coming of age metaphor.

Heehee, "coming."

A Lifeform in Puberty — Vega is created by Shizuru Hayashiya, and has been unofficially translated into English by geeba. It can be read online here.


  1. Wow, thats some fast turn-around, I don't think anyone even knew that this existed before like 2 days ago.

    Anyway, you going to do anything concerning HayateXBlade at some point?

  2. Just started reading this 'cause your article and am enjoying it. Thanks for the rec~

    Speaking of yuri coming of age though, ever read A Lollypop or a Bullet (scanlated by Tranquil Spring)? Its internal narration is damn near pitch perfect; that mixture of lonely-aloof and reluctant curiosity that kinda goes hand in hand with being an ANGSTY TEEN, but subtly, a strong sense of mystery and subplots keep it from ever seeming heavy handed.

    Also I don't think I can phrase this without soundin' awkward, but all of your articles make me happy. Apart from Yu+Me, Embric of Wulfhammer's Castle and Katahane I haven't really loved that many internet-based lesbian themed stuffs, so this constant stream of recs is awesome.

  3. Mostly, it was just some pretty good timing!

    I haven't—TEEN ANGST! is something I don't have all that much patience for despite all appearances, but I can make exceptions if they're really worthwhile.

    Katahane: SUPER LOOKING FORWARD TO IT. Aaaaaany day now. COME ON. (And Rosalarian was a huge influence on getting me serious with writing, you have no friggin' idea.)

    Anyway, I'm happy to help deliver. I'm honestly just as disappointed as you are, in general, and I really wish there wasn't such a huge paucity of great lesbian fiction, speaking as a writer, as someone who studies this sort of thing, and just as, you know, a girl who likes love stories as much as the next. It's unfortunate is what it is, and it's compounded by the fact that the best is hard to find. I'm sort of going for a singular focus here, what with this being a comics blog and all, but still.