Oyayubihime Infinity: Volume 1
by Toru Fujieda
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Okay. So, this series is obviously out of print considering that the publisher no longer exists. But, if you have the finances and inclination I would urge you to buy a copy of this series.
Oyayubihime Infinity is one of those romantic shoujo dramas about reincarnation, with memories of the past life, and a hint of fantasy. It’s a bit less dramatic or science fiction-y (yes, that’s a technical term) than titles like, “Please Save My Earth” but nevertheless, the premise is essentially the same. However similar, I find that the the story feels fresh, and isn’t as overwhelmingly heavy as other attempts.
Back Cover – Meet Kanoko, a high school student, and manager of the up-and-coming young actress Maya. Humble, modest Kanoko’s only dream is to see Maya hit the big-time. But the butterfly-shaped birthmark on her thumb might change her entire life.
Essentially the birthmark is one shared by a number of young people in the story. They are indicative of a past life where as lovers – tattooed themselves with a butterfly before committing suicide.
Why butterfly tattoos? This is due to the will of each couple to follow in the footsteps of the famous Agemaki and Sukeroku’s tragic past. Agemaki taking her name from the Japanese word for butterfly. The tragic story of Agemaki and Sukeroku is represented in one of Japan’s most famous kabuki plays “Sukeroku” – I’m sure you can find a synopsis online if you care to read about it!
Kanoko learns about the connection with her birthmark to the past life when one of the most popular boys in school starts pestering her about her being his past love. He too has one on his thumb, and is looking for his missing soul-mate.
There is plenty of drama and angst, and love triangles. Actually, it looks more like a love hexagon. But, what is great about this manga is that the characters grow up, mature, and give up some of their past insecurities. The meek become strong, the lonely find happiness, and the angry find peace. The past is given a proper burial, and everyone has a chance to move on.