I’m always open to reading and learning more about Yuri, so recently, I’ve been keeping my eyes open for anything interesting that pops up on Twitter from different publishers. I’ve always known Seven Seas to publish some of my favorite manga, so I decided to give this particular new yuri story a shot. It seemed like it was getting some love on social media and its mangaka is the creator of the successful series I Married My Best Friend to Shut My Parents Up! To be fair, I’ve never read this previous series, so I had no idea if I would like Kodama Naoko’s style and types of stories. I thought the concept of this manga was interesting at least, and decided to give it a shot. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m the right audience for this series. After one volume, I don’t think I’ll be adding this to my to-read list, but maybe some of you may enjoy it.
Days of Love at Seagull Villa follows two women who begin to build a life together in a rural Japanese town. Main character Mayumi moves out to the country when her fiance leaves her for another woman. Looking to get away from her pain and memories, she takes up a teaching job far away from everything, and moves into a boarding house called Seagull Villa. It’s there that she meets her new landlord, Rin, who loves to get into her business. But under her brash exterior is a woman trying to raise a young child on her own after a tragedy. Both women soon come to rely on each other as Mayumi begins to settle into country life.
Naoko’s art style isn’t a problem, and I think it will appeal to a lot of readers. It has a moe aesthetic with the character designs that tends to work well for women-centered manga. Moe in general is a fairly appealing design choice with its large eyes and stylistic characters. Naoko doesn’t take it too far, thankfully, and her characters wind up looking for the most part like mature women past their 20s. The only design I think I have a problem with is the baby niece, who winds up looking fairly awkward in how she’s drawn. Toddlers in general are awkward, I know, but I don’t really find her design appealing. It feels like the proportions between her eyes and her head are off and she can look a little weird sometimes.
In other aspects of Naoko’s style, she does a fairly good job. The page layouts don’t feel crowded and allow the story and characters to breath between panels. Each page’s layout is fairly different from the last, giving the manga a varied visual appeal. I don’t think Naoko uses a lot of high contrast values, giving the manga a softer appearance. Most of the value contrast comes from the character’s themselves with a couple of them having very dark hair. I think their hair becomes pretty much the main contrast throughout the pages.
I think Days of Love at Seagull Villa can be appealing to some people, especially if you’ve read Naoko’s other series. However, I really don’t think I will become a fan of this series. I have a couple of problems with the characters and the plot of this volume, but I can see some of its strengths as well. Just overall, I can see that I won’t be that interested in continuing to read it.
My main issues stem from the over-sexualisation of the characters throughout the volume. The dynamics between Mayumi and the rest of the characters always seem to focus on her body and her gender, even from Rin. At the beginning of the volume we see Rin and Mayumi taking a bath together when they are pretty much strangers to each other. Then Rin notices the size of her breasts and asks her what her cup size is. Then right after we have Hinata, the toddler, who upon seeing the size of Mayumi’s breasts wants to snuggle into them. Then she starts trying to breastfeed from her, creating a very awkward situation. It doesn’t end there though. In a few pages, Mayumi is taken to a welcome party where one of the older male residents sexualizes her, fondles her butt, and says she has the makings of a good baby maker. This is all within not even the first quarter of the volume. It quickly turned me off from this series and the characters. I kind of feel bad for Mayumi who has to deal with being sexualized from all sides, and even though Rin defends her from the older man at the party, she winds up getting drunk later and kissing her.
I can see some strengths to the series’ story, like its focus on bullying in the first volume. Mayumi signed up to be a teacher at the school here, and one of Rin’s friends, Ashima, is a student in her class. She discovers that Ashima is being bullied by other girls in her class and starts thinking of ways she can help. However it seems as though Ashima doesn’t want or need her help, and has things under control. I enjoy the focus on bullying because Japan does have a fairly serious bullying problem in its schools, but I don’t really enjoy Ashima’s response to it. Her character reminds me somewhat of Scum’s Wish, where in one instance, she forces a kiss on one of her bully’s to prove a point. I have a feeling her and that bully might develop some sort of weird relationship further down the line, and I don’t know if I approve.
In general, I was hoping for a more relaxing and comfy love story between two women who look to each other for support after they go through some rough experiences. However, what I got was more over-sexualized yuri that has some major plot issues. I have never been a fan of yuri stories that use sexualizing plot lines for shock and awe. I can get behind using sex to further the story, but here it just seems lazy. I’m sure there are readers out there that would enjoy this series, and I’d love to hear from you in the comments, but I wouldn’t expect me to pick up volume two.
~~Thanks for Reading!~~
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