Yukarism Volume 1
Chika Shiomi’s previous manga in English, Rasetsu and Yurara, provide a hint of what you’ll get here. They’re both supernaturally tinged romances involving well-meaning young women involved in forces beyond their control.
Yukarism starts with an explanation of Yukari’s unique situation. He “was born without forgetting his previous life”, so he’s become quite popular for writing novels about the Edo Period that feel incredibly realistic. He’s able to do so without research because he previously lived then, in the Pleasure District, and he remembers bits of his life there, including his death.
When he encounters Mahoro, a fan of his writing, he feels as though he instantly knows her. That’s because she’s the reincarnation of his best friend and assistant back then. Her presence leads him to recognize more about his memories, at which point we see incidents from the past (often portrayed humorously, as Yukari doesn’t have all the knowledge he needs to fully become who he was back then). And I liked her statement of why she’s such a huge fan of his work:
His writing style and characters are so elegant! I don’t know why, but they warm me deep inside. He creates this world that feels so nostalgic and irresistible.
That could be seen as a statement about the intent of this shojo manga. The series has lovely-looking people, a languorous pace, and moody hints of revelations to come. They may not be particularly surprising — soon, it seems, everyone Yukari knows will turn out to have been hanging out together back in history — but they’re enjoyable. The pacing, focused on the moment, is a nice change from comic series over-stuffed with revelations. I’m curious to see where Shiomi takes events, since her cast are now living two stories (present-day and past) and her historical images are attractive portraits of a far-away time.
As a side note, Shiomi puts in occasional short strips about creating the series. I thought the one where she reveals she doesn’t know much about history because she “always drew manga in class!” particularly cute. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)