Saturday, 16 May 2015

Japan Haul:
‘A Funeral For Maya’
by Ichijo Yukari


For one reason or another, I never really got around to scanning most of the junk shop treasures I brought back from my trips to Japan last year, or indeed sharing any of the photographs I took of astounding, pop culturally significant locales. With another visit now booked in September though, this summer seems a good time to start ‘clearing the decks’ in preparation for whatever random oddities I fill my suitcase with next time.

Within what I am now declaring to be a loosely connected series of posts here, we’ve already breathed in some Yokai Smoke, viddied a few movie brochures, and enjoyed the extraordinary tale of The Devil’s Harp. What better way to continue then than with another manga - this time, another standalone volume with a title that roughly translates as ‘A Funeral For Maya’. The enticing psychedelic cover artwork caught my eye as I was trying to navigate my way around one of the several gigantic manga emporiums in Tokyo’s Nakano Broadway, and 100Y (approx. 60p / 80c) later, a mass of crumbling low-grade paperstock and lavender inking was all mine.

Born in 1949, Ichijo Yukari remains a phenomenally successful creator of shōjo (‘girls’) manga, and it seems she was already a master of her craft at the age of 22, when this supplement to the popular Ribon shōjo magazine was published in July 1972.

Whilst I can’t give you a full plot synopsis, a rough translation of the introduction on the inside cover goes as follows:

“Maya, a girl who lives for hate and never smiles, meets Reina, a beautiful girl, who lights up her heart with love. The invisible thread of destiny connects them to each other…”

Judging by some of the artwork found within, raven-haired Maya would also seem to be somewhat, uh.. spectrally inclined.. apparently appearing out of nowhere as Reina rides her horse through the woods, and a full-on Sapphic kiss between the two mid-way through the story seems daring to say the least. Deliciously horror-tinged, gothic/romantic stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree. A few select scans can be enjoyed below.

(Thanks once again to Satori for translation assistance.) 

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