It’s easy to think of yuri manga–or fictional depictions of lesbianism in general–as leaning toward erotic, given how many straight male writers and illustrators there are. But sometimes there are sympathetic angles. Sometimes that type of romance is presented as… romantic.
Case in point, a manga series by Minamoto Hisanari called Fufu–or as it’s called in English, Wife and Wife.
This is the story of two young Japanese women, level-headed Sumi and excitable Kina. They begin living together and going through all the motions of being a “married” couple, like buying their own bed and celebrating anniversaries. They also interact with other Japanese lesbians, such as Kina’s oldier sister Kana and their neighbors Komugi and Hayase. Occasionally there are misunderstandings or attempts at matchmaking, but otherwise the plot is an exploration of day-to-day life for a young couple.
There’s only one way to really describe this series. It’s cute.
There is no drama or romantic crisis whatsoever. No disapproving parental figures or bullies, no struggle against society, no hints of jealousy or adultery. This is just the story of a couple in love and that’s it. It’s incredibly refreshing, which might be the point. Manga and anime like this tend to be classified as iyashikei, a genre of low-conflict fiction designed to soothe the audience. It certainly worked on me.
I would recommend this series for a few reasons, though it may not be for everyone because of them. First, it’s a nice view of romance that isn’t melodramatic or constantly teased. Secondly, it’s impressive to read about a lesbian relationship that doesn’t draw a lot of attention to itself. Any character’s gender could be switched around to make this into a love story about a man and a woman or a romance between two men, and it would still be just as sweet. Sumi and Kina are simply in love; they know it and they show it.
Wife and Wife is available in the yuri manga magazine Yuri Hime S., as published by Ichijinsha.
One More Thing: Happy Valentine’s Day! May your love, whether new or old, be as sweet as that of Sumi and Kina.
Bibliography: Wife and Wife. Written and illustrated by Minamoto Hisanari. Yuri Hime S. (magazine). March 2010 – February 2012.