Lovefool 08.06.12 | How Far Is Too Far?

Taiga gets more than he bargained for when he finds out that the object of his affections is a diehard yaoi fangirl in Rize Shinba’s My Girlfriend’s a Geek.

 

Nerdlings! Hello! Today, as I do every single Sunday ever, I spent the first part of the morning freaking out because I have to get this column to JG,FE and then he has to read it and sometimes there’s some changes that have to be made and then it goes up on the website and maybe you read it and maybe you don’t. That’s a big source of panic for me, really, all of that. But, periodically, I like to break up some of the anxiety with a little shopping, pretending that I’m going to find something to write about, and sometimes, I actually do. There’s a sadly mostly-abandoned mall in the middle of Omaha, on the way out to the suburbs, that holds the most fascinating collection of stores due to what I can only imagine must be a very inexpensive rent. It’s got a giant Target and a Barnes & Noble and a vintage/costume store that is positively delightful right across from a Foot Locker. There’s a shop with a combination of costume jewelry and gowns and dragon sculptures and another shop that seems to exclusively sell fascinators. And I’ve always wondered about the store that advertises manga.
 
So today we stopped in. I bribed Mr. J with a trip to Barnes & Noble and popped into the little manga shop. It was very charming, actually. There’s a few shelves of books, a mix of new and used titles, some anime. A display of body pillows large enough that the gentleman behind the counter was a little sheepish sits across from a wall of keychains. In fact, I picked myself up a Sailor Venus keychain. But what I love about shops like this is that you never know what you’re going to find. I’m a lazy shopper at best so I’ll always find something I want, just because I never really go in with a specific idea other than “something to write about.”
 
Quantity is never really a problem, then, but the quality of what I’ll find can be kind of hit or miss when I go on these random fishing trips. Today I found the first volume of the completely and delightfully bizarre My Girlfriend’s a Geek by Rize Shinba. My Girlfriend’s a Geek started life as a blog (later adapted into a two-volume light novel series by PENTABU, which served as the basis for this manga version) written by a college dude who hooked up with a sexy girl about two years his senior, during a summer job only to discover that she’s a fujoshi, or a hardcore yaoi fangirl. They have aliases, of course, the characters in this manga, but this is based on a true story. Taiga Mutou, the author’s alter ego, meets the fair Yuiko when he ends up needing her help to find a ring that he’d lost while he was supposed to be bagging them up for sale but ended up pretending he was putting on Yuiko’s finger, instead getting it stuck rather stubbornly on his own. She ‘fesses up pretty early on and then proceeds to spend the rest of the volume creeping him out. Like, a lot. He gets a little twitchy. To be fair, she is a little…intense. She asks him to write a dirty fan novel (doujinshi, for those in the know) about two of the characters in a manga that they both read, which he’s okay with because she gets giddy when he agrees to. Then she gushes about a butler cafe she wants to visit before determining what role he’d play in one of her beloved yaoi and calling him Sebastian, Sebas for short, after a butler trope.
 
My favorite part is towards the end of the book when she engineers a social situation where she and Taiga end up having lunch with one of his friends and then she ends up spending the whole time projecting some hot boy-on-boy flirting between the two of them. Of course, she can’t just keep her mouth shut and has to share this with Taiga, who is like “Wtf?” And that seems like a perfectly natural reaction. That’s what makes this series work: there is no pretending that our heroine isn’t a little peculiar. But she’s, at the same time, fairly normal. There are lots of girls like this out there, bless. But my favorite favorite part is that I bought this at a new/used shop so, upon researching, I discovered that it’s a complete series. So I can totally go order the rest of them now and finish it in a week. I kind of like that about finding new old stuff. The art is fairly typical of happy, funny manga like this, though the backgrounds are a little stark.
 
I actually asked Mr. J if he would let me interview him for this week’s column and he declined, despite the fact that he’s a dude who married a nerd by accident and it would’ve been awesome. Still, this week is a win-win situation. I found some pretty funny books and an interesting store and was reminded that I’m not alone out there. | Erin Jameson
 
Learn more about the My Girlfriend is a Geek novel and manga series at YenPress.com.

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