I have enjoyed Kodama Naoko’s manga in the past so I was happy to give Days of Love at Seagull Villa a try!
Ok so on a whim a few months ago I decided to just buy a bunch of volume 1 manga that I didn’t know anything about and figured if I found something I liked I would continue it. This has backfired horribly. Not only did I like most of the series I started but I absolutely loved receiving a box in the mail full of manga to discover and going through them one at the time in the evenings. It was like a different adventure every day!
And then, I did it again… This is not a cheap hobby by any means! I should just read digital versions. I really really should. And to kind of slightly justify it in my mind, I want to at least share my experience with you guys!
Why I Picked up Days of Love at Seagull Villa
I never got around to watching the anime but I did read NTR: Netsuzou Trap and I enjoyed it quite a bit for what it was. When I saw that Kodama Naoko seemed to be writing another yuri story but with more mature characters and a seemingly more romantic storyline, I was intrigued!
A touching yuri romance about two women building a life together in rural Japan, by the bestselling creator of I Married My Best Friend to Shut My Parents Up!
When Mayumi’s fiancé leaves her for another women, she decides to start a new life out in the countryside. But country living isn’t as peaceful as she thought it would be―her landlord, Rin, is loud, bossy, and always up in Mayumi’s business. But Mayumi soon sees that there’s a lot going on under Rin’s brash exterior: Rin is raising a young child on her own after experiencing a major tragedy. As the two women come to rely on each other, their relationship starts to grow into something complicated.
My First Impression
Hmmm…maybe I’m the problem.
What I liked
I’m going to be using the word trashy throughout these sections and I would like to make it clear right up front that I mean it in the best and most loving way.
I liked NTR for the trashy and tawdry aspects of it. It was like a soap opera for me. Saucy, fun, unrealistic and occasionally a bit shallow but also well-paced and addictive. That’s what I was looking for but toned down a bit. And the beginning of Days of Love at Seagull Villa delivers.
The gross betrayal that leads Mayumi to leave the big city, losing both her fiancée and best friend in the process, has that type of tawdry appeal. And I could immediately relate to her. I found it a very engaging way to start off the story and a good bit of character development as well. I knew all about my main character’s personality and mindset within a few panels.
Speaking of the characters, they are refreshingly normal. By this, I mean everyone seems generally well balanced and logical. That’s kind of refreshing in a romance in general.
Maybe it’s just me but I prefer Kodama’s works when they are a little trashy (I have to find a better word, I mean it as a compliment).
The way the story is written still feels very voyeuristic. There are ridiculous scenes with Mayumi (who at this point is straight and recently out of a relationship) is carefully assessing another woman’s breasts in very objectifying terms. It gives the impression that this is a story to be enjoyed from the outside perspective rather than putting yourself in the place of the characters. I find that Yuri stories are often divided between the voyeuristic (like NTR or Citrus) and the empathic (like Sweet Blue Flowers).
So the general structure and tone of Days of Love at Seagull Villa seem to be of the former but the storyline invokes the latter. And I found it just didn’t work for me. I always wanted more of one or the other. Either make it more sexy and ridiculous or dial that back to make room for more slow character development and emotional entanglement. The balance was just off.
Now, this isn’t to say that I hated the first volume of Days of Love at Seagull Villa. And I could definitely imagine it getting better if it finds its footing. But I do think there are Yuri titles out there that are just more fun to read. Heck, some of them are by the same author.