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Bloom Into You, Riddle Story of Devil Creators Talk Yuri in Latest Newtype Issue

posted on by Kim Morrissy

Bloom Into You manga creator Nio Nakatani and Riddle Story of Devil creators Yun Kouga and Sunao Minakata participated in a round-table conversation in the Newtype January 2019 issue, which went on sale on Monday. The creators discussed the connection they have with each other's works before the conversation turned to yuri tropes and their personal definitions of yuri.

It was mentioned in the interview that Nakatani and Minakata were familiar with each other because they had drawn doujinshi together years ago. Nakatani was also an assistant on Riddle Story of Devil. The two first met through Twitter and immediately got along because of their mutual fondness for drawing illustrations of cute girls.

The creators shared a healthy respect for each other's works. Nakatani's favorite character from Riddle Story of Devil is Isuke Inukai, while Kouga and Minakata both like Sayaka Saeki from Bloom Into You. Kouga said that she would like to see Sayaka and Touko as a couple.

Later in the interview, the subject turned to yuri in general. When the creators were asked how they got into yuri, Nakatani responded, "I always liked it, but I didn't have a particular awareness of it. It was around when I read Kouga-sensei's manga Loveless, which has no girls in it, that I realized I might like stories about girls."

Minakata said, "Even in the past, I was always the type of person who only liked the cute female characters in an anime or manga. Before I knew it, I'm where I'm at now." The artist said that they don't have complicated thoughts about yuri, and that they define it as their "natural feelings."

Kouga said that she defines yuri as "girl x girl." In its simplest form, yuri is about "girls getting involved with other girls." Nakatani agreed with her, and added that yuri is about the "feelings between girls."

The creators also discussed the popularity of the "play within a play" trope in yuri manga. The interviewer remarked that both Riddle Story of Devil and Bloom Into You feature a subplot involving a stage play performance, wherein the characters express their pent-up feelings toward each other. Minakata said that stage plays are often used to depict heterosexual love stories, so making two girls perform the lead roles emphasizes the yuri element. Nakatani said that because the characters are on stage performing scripted lines, they can express feelings that they would normally hide.

Finally, the interviewer asked, "What is love?" Nakatani said, "You're basically asking me 'What is the ending of Bloom Into You?' Please look forward to the end of the manga!"

Nakatani launched Bloom Into You in Monthly Comic Dengeki Daioh in April 2015. A television anime adaptation premiered in October and Sentai Filmworks has licensed the series. HIDIVE describes the story:

Yuu loves shoujo manga and waits for a love confession to make her feel like a character from her favorite stories but when a classmate admits his feelings, she feels nothing. Time passes and Yuu begins high school feeling lost and confused. Things begin to look up when she witnesses Nanami, the beautiful student council president, effortlessly turn down a boy. Yuu reaches out to Nanami for help and the two quickly become friends. Yuu's heart is suddenly sent aflutter when the next person to confess their feelings is Nanami! Is Yuu's own shoujo romance finally beginning?

Yun Kouga (Loveless, Gestalt) and Sunao Minakata launched Riddle Story of Devil in Kadokawa's Newtype magazine in September 2012. The manga inspired a television anime in 2014. The story is set at Myōjō Academy, a private girls' boarding school. All the students in the 10th year's Kurogumi class are assassins with one target, Haru Ichinose. Tokaku Azuma is a recent transfer student also targeting Ichinose, but she gradually develops feelings for Ichinose.

Seven Seas Entertainment has licensed both manga titles for North America.

Source: Newtype January 2019 issue

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