Ikezawa, Satomi. Othello 5 (2005). 192 Pages. Del Rey. $10.95
Nana exists for the sole purpose of protecting timid Yaya Higuchi, though Yaya doesn’t know that yet. It’s probably a good thing that Nana is there to save Yaya, because she is in over her head with Hano-chan.
Having figured out that Hano’s “jobs” to help pay for “talent school” are little more than prostitution, Nana gets Yaya out of it, which unfortunately leads to Hano figuring out that Nana is Yaya. Armed with this knowledge, and determined to make Nana and Yaya suffer, Hano will be a formidable foe.
In This Volume
Hano makes Yaya work for her freedom, offering her a chance to get out of her contract if she will just play a game.
Yaya faces a subway groper– a Chikan— and with the help of Nana, justice is done.
Nana and Yaya meet a mysterious new girl.
Hijinks abound in the beginning of the volume, which is a slightly silly story. Unfortunately, the tone of the next section takes a sudden twist, and the closeness of the two does them both a disservice.
The second portion of the book– the part with the subway rapist– manages to touch on a serious Japanese problem* without being too heavy-handed. The story, however, dances away rapidly having poked at the topic a little bit.
Volume 5 ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, which is frustrating, to say the least. However, this volume gets a 4/5.
* Unfortunately, much of the world still believes in the idea that “she was asking for it” or any other permutation of victim-blame. In a society like Japan’s, where standing out is considered shameful, and victims are blamed, it’s a wonder that any women speak out at all. However, it is something which has been getting somewhat better; every year more girls and women know that they can and should speak out against this. I won’t get too much more into it, because my goal was not to go off on too much of a tangent/rant, but victim-blaming is the least-productive, most hurtful practice possible.