Manga Review: Yukarism Vol. 4

Geishas are an icon of Japanese culture that, although their heyday is long post, continues to fascinate Westerners to this day. If you’ve wondered about the lives of these flowers of Japan’s bygone pleasure districts, you may want to consider Chika Shiomi’s historical/time slip manga, Yukarism. Read on for my review of Volume 4. (For my review of other volumes, click here.)

Back cover Blurb

Seemingly afflicted by Yumurasaki’s fatal illness of the past, Yukari begins to get very sick in the present day… Meanwhile, Mahoro vows to kill Satomi before he can kill Yukari (as she believes he killed Yumurasaki in the past)! Are these three fated to repeat their tragic connection?

The Review

I was surprised to learn Volume 4 is the final installment of the series. I thought Shiomi-sensei would draw out to the overlapping of Yukari’s current and former self a bit longer. However, Volume 4 wraps everything up, explaining the circumstances surrounding Yumurasaki’s death and Yukari’s strong connection to his past self before concluding with a concise epilogue for our characters.

While the reason for the muddling of past and present makes sense, the manga does go a bit overboard when classmates and even random bystanders start seeing Yumurasaki and Mahoro as their former selves and in their former pleasure district settings. Also, Mahoro’s merger with Takamura’s consciousness is awfully abrupt. Up to now, Yukari was the one most aware of what was happening, recognizing who was who as he bounced from past to present. Mahoro, on the other hand, seemed least in control, especially when she faced off against Satomi in Yukari’s house in Volume 2. If anyone seemed possessed by an evil spirit, it was her, and it is a bit jarring to have her suddenly in control of the situation and Satomi/Kazuma playing the crazed maniac instead.

However, if these plot changes don’t faze you and you’re more interested in watching an Edo period tsundere give all for the woman he loves, Yumurasaki’s death scene won’t disappoint. In addition to the poignancy of the moment, Shiomi-sensei’s accompanying artwork is gorgeous. The final pages of the manga are also sweet. By the story’s end, the POV shifts from Yukari to Mahoro, with only Mahoro/Takamura aware of the events that transpired, but that makes the conclusion no less romantic.

Extras include cast of characters, story thus far summary, a bonus one-page manga, translation notes, and author bio.

In Summary

The emotions of the past invade the present! The enmity between Mahoro/Takamura and Satomi/Kazuma explode into a final confrontation that’s occasionally  heavy on the melodrama, but the enduring connection between Yumurasaki and Takamura brilliantly tugs the heartstrings. Yukari’s forays to old Edo turned into a different journey through time than Volume 1 led me to anticipate, but this tale of three misunderstood souls hasn’t been a bad one, especially with Shiomi-sensei’s beautiful illustrations.

First published at The Fandom Post.


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