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The Spring 2022 Manga Guide
Mizuno & Chayama

What's It About? 

In a small town where water and tea are the residents' livelihood, tensions are rising between a major tea company and the opposition party, who insist the company is polluting the water. Mizuno, whose father is the leader of the opposition party, and Chayama, the only daughter of the tea company's owners, aren't allowed to talk to each other—but even so, they continue to meet in secret…

Mizuno & Chayama has story and art by Yuhta Nishio and English translation by Eleanor Summers. Yen Press has released the two-volume omnibus both digitally and physically for $9.99 and $24.00 respectively.

Is It Worth Reading?

Rebecca Silverman


There's nothing easy about this story. That's not just because it comes with a relatively hefty warning for bullying – bad enough to send someone to the hospital – and a smaller one for child abuse. Mostly the story is difficult because of the situation the characters find themselves in. The girls live in a small town that's shrinking a little more with each passing generation, and by the time the story begins – when Mizuno and Chayama are both in their final year of high school – it's been divided into two factions: one that believes that the local tea industry is polluting the water, and one that says that a strong local economy trumps that concern. Mizuno's dad is running for mayor for the first party and Chayama's dad is the owner of the tea company in question, and both parents believe that their daughters shouldn't associate with each other.

If you've ever read any romance, yuri or otherwise, you already know that this means that the daughters are in love. They just sort of fell into it, but that doesn't make their relationship any less real or important to them; their comfort in each other is all that keeps them both afloat in a school dominated by the politics of their parents and one particularly nasty specimen named Aikawa, who picks on Chayama as a means of coping with her own terrible family life. She's trying to drag Chayama off her pedestal, to make them the same in her mind, and Mizuno does as much as she can to protect her girlfriend…which isn't much, because they can't be open with their relationship, much less the fact that they're sleeping together. The art, gritty with lots of heavy lines and the occasional graceful curve, accentuates those contradictions in the story, the way that Mizuno and Chayama are each other's refuge and secret space, but also why they need somewhere to hide in the first place.

What's interesting is the way that the omnibus (containing the entire two-volume series) opens and closes. It makes it clear that high school isn't the be all and end all of life, but rather a blip on the road, just one more place you have to move through in order to get where you want to be. Nothing can erase the hardships, but Mizuno and Chayama ultimately have to find a way to rise above it if they want to be happy. It's a hopeful story that still dwells in bleakness and flirts with a relationship that could be termed unhealthy at times. It's not pretty, flowery yuri, and I like it all the more for that. If you wanted to see a series Adachi and Shimamura take on a more grown-up light, this is worth picking up.

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