License Request Day: More Yumi Unita

I’m quite delighted that so many people seem to like Yumi Unita’s excellent Bunny Drop (Yen Press). I have no idea if critical approval has translated into solid sales, or even solid sales by the standards of the often struggling josei category. I just know that it makes me happy when people like things that I think are good.

And I can’t help but suspect that Unita has something to do with the fact that Bunny Drop is so good. Call me crazy, but I think there’s causality there. So in the interest of making myself even happier, and assuming that Unita may be able to contribute to this process, I thought I’d see what other works were waiting in the wings.

One of her earliest ongoing series looks a little bizarre. It’s the single-volume Sukimasuki, and it ran in Shogakukan’s IKKI. It’s apparently about romantic complications between a pair of voyeurs. Of course it’s been published in Italian, under the title Guardami by Kappa Edizioni. Its IKKI provenance is the strongest thing in this title’s favor, so I’ll refrain from any serious wheedling until someone persuades me that it’s fully necessary.

Still in the seinen vein but more domestic-sounding (and looking) is Yoningurashi, which was serialized in Takeshobo’s Manga Life Original. Pleased as I am with Unita’s handling of an adoptive family, I would certainly be open to her take on another variation on the family theme. Plus, that cover is really adorable, isn’t it? I’m not entirely certain, but I think this one’s a four-panel comic strip, given that most of the series in Manga Life seem to be in that format. But it’s not about a group of four or more schoolgirls, so I’m a little confused.

Update: Alexander (Manga Widget) Hoffman informs me that this title isn’t four-panel after all, though it’s reassuring to see that Unita is still having some of her characters rock a pair of bell-bottomed trousers.

Can I be finished catering to the seinen demographic? Unita’s got a ton of josei under her belt. One of her current series is called Nomino, and it runs in Hakusensha’s new-ish josei magazine, Rakuen le Paradis. Erica (Okazu) Friedman speaks very highly of Rakuen le Paradis, and I yearn to learn to love Hakusensha josei as much as I love Hakusensha shôjo, which is the best shôjo there is. Getting back to Rakuen, it looks like it covers some impressive territory, at least in terms of sexual orientation of its stories’ protagonists and probably in terms of tone. And they managed to lure Kio (Genshiken) Shimoku to draw something for them. And, while this says nothing about the magazine’s quality, its name reminds me of seminal Styx hit “Rockin’ the Paradise” from their hit album, Paradise Theatre, which was the album of choice for my circle of friends in high school. It was the album boys and girls could agree on without reservation or compromise. If the tension over the Air Supply party soundtrack got too acrimonious, Styx was always there to offer the right balance of driving and swoony to make everyone happy, or at least not grumpy.

Oh, and Nomino is a slice-of-life story about the friendship between a boy and girl, or something. Maybe they’d both like Styx! Or something. I don’t care. It’s Unita, and it comes from a cool-sounding magazine for grown women. Hook, line, want.

Okay, so that’s three varied, perfectly respectable choices for publishers who are willing to feed my Unita habit. She seems like one of those impressively versatile creators who draws for a variety of audiences, and even in different formats if my four-panel theory is correct. I would like for someone to try and give her the Natsume Ono treatment and publish lots of different works from her catalog.