One-shots are interesting to me in a lot of ways. It is the manga version of a short story and a lot of very famous authors got their starts there. They are also something that has been able to elude me with my own writing style. No matter how many times I’ve tried to write something short and to the point, it always evolves into a novella at best. A perfect example would be the book I am currently working on, what I promised to some friends would be no more than five thousand words, just broke fifteen. But I digress, this post isn’t about my writing whims, no this is about a one-shot I read a while ago and honestly forgot to write about, which is a shame, because it was, unsettling.
Rapunzel is a charming fairy tale that has been with man for a very long time. A Grimm tale first published in 1812 tells the story of a lone girl in a tower, trapped from the world outside of her. Having nothing but her long hair she uses it to escape her harsh reality. Now let’s say we Japan beamed it, taking that fairy tale, taking it out of its historical context, throw it in the middle of a Japanese high school, make it yuri for the hell of it, what exactly would we get?
We would get pain, that is what we would get.
Rapunzel the one-shot manga follows a pair of girls, Mio and Sakia. Mio, a girl with beautiful long dark hair, and her best friend Sakia who literally lives only to brush it. Weird dynamic I know, I’d recommend either of them to seek counseling but hey, they aren’t real. So these two are inseparable, a pair of sorts, you ask for one you get both. And because of this, it is just a happy ending about two friends who definitely aren’t madly, even toxically in love with each other right?
Anyway, so one day Sakia flips her shit, oh I am going to spoil this by the way because it’s a one-shot and I don’t care. Sakia flips her shit because she overhears Mio talking about how she can never cut her hair because there is someone she loves that really likes it. Sakia somehow doesn’t connect the dots that it is her she is talking about, assumes the worse, and in a fit of rage attacks her friend giving her a strangely even bob cut with box cutters. Look the only thing I know about the world of haircutting is what my girlfriend, a cosmetology grad has told me. Turns out it is indeed skilled labor.
Horrified by her own actions Sakia dashes leaving her friend distraught and confused on the classroom floor. Then they never talked again since such an outburst shows Mio that her dear friend is unstable and needs professional help. Honestly, even if you haven’t read this, we all know how this ends.
Chasing Sakia, Mio confronts her, telling her that she is the one she loves and they share a mutual feeling. Kissing her she comforts her friend stating that she understands her outburst but she is just a psycho as fucking Sakia and invokes the law of equivalent exchange. Every weeb should know what that means but to save face, an action requires an equal and opposite reaction. So Sakia took Mio’s hair, Mio should take something of Sakia’s to make up for it, solidifying their bond of sorts.
The story closes out with a bobbed-haired Mio and a blind Sakia implying that the cost of their relationship, the cost of Mio’s hair was Sakia’s eyes. Now blind and completely at the will of Mio, it’s series like these that are made up of yandere tropes that I find both curious and interesting. I have no idea why I like the yandere tag, and unlike some of those weirdos over on the subreddit, I will take my completely normal relationship I am currently in. No being tied up in basements or friends suddenly dying in freak accidents. But as a tool of storytelling, I find it fascinating, this perverse and often extreme obsession that harms not only the main couple but often the ones around them.
The one-shot that is Rapunzel is fine, it is a creepy romance about two girls so infatuated with one another they go way beyond normal means to express it. In short, it’s a yuri yandere story and nothing more. I had fun reading it, the ending made me uncomfortable and it made me think enough to write about it so I will chalk that up as a win. But as one-shots go there is little to no point in putting a number one it, there is just not enough there.
I just got back from vacation so I am behind, which is nothing fucking new honestly. But as I get caught up I will be updating my blog more regularly going forward. I am also working on a novella right now and depending on how that goes I may be talking about it more in the future. As always thanks for the read!