I’m not sure what exactly I was expecting from Cocoon Entwined when I bought it, but it definitely wasn’t this. Yep, this is a bit of a weird one.
Hoshimiya Girls’ Academy has a special tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. The third-year girls all make the uniforms for the new first-year students that will be enrolling the following year. Saeki, a tall and chivalrous girl who everyone refers to as the Prince, is a third-year student who finds her thoughts constantly turning to the mysterious Hoshimiya, the granddaughter of the school’s headmistress. Hoshimiya has been missing classes and hasn’t left her dorm room in some time. Saeki only met her once, when Hoshimiya was trying to run away from the school, but since then she hasn’t been able to stop thinking about her. Saeki is so preoccupied with thoughts of the other girl, that she hasn’t noticed that her friend Yokozawa is harbouring romantic feelings for her. Will any of these girls’ feelings ever reach the objects of their affection?
My synopsis might have given the impression that this is a fairly generic yuri manga. The all-girls school setting and love triangle set-up are certainly nothing unusual in the genre, but this manga is anything but ordinary. For starters, the art is incredibly beautiful. The girls in this comic all have long, silky hair that is constantly twirling around and fluttering in the breeze, allowing for some stunning visuals. Rather than creating a romantic feeling, however, these swirling tendrils of hair are a creepy presence in every panel of this comic, as all the girls at the school are required to grow their hair out as part of the afore mentioned uniform making tradition… because the uniforms are all made from human hair.
Putting aside practical considerations, such as how much hair would actually be required to make a uniform and whether or not the resulting garment would be comfortable to wear or durable enough to last someone three years of schooling, the whole idea of wearing clothing made from human hair is very macabre. None of the girls in this manga seem to think so though and all of them have a weird obsession with each other’s hair. Adding to the eeriness of the situation, the uniforms seem to possess some kind of life and Yokozawa claims to be able to sense feelings from hers and to have heard the uniforms breath. It’s not just the maybe-sentient hair outfits that are spooky though, the whole comic has something of a gothic feel to it. The elusive Hoshimiya is not shown and her presence is only suggested by billowing curtains or strands of her hair falling out of her open bedroom window in a sequence that resembled wisps of spider web drifting on the wind. Even in flashbacks, we never see Hoshimiya’s face and there is a lot we don’t know about her situation, giving her character an ethereal quality. During the flashback to how she and Saeki first met, we see that she was so desperate to get away from the school that she jumped out of her window, likely only avoiding injury because Saeki was there to break her fall. Is this an extremely sheltered girl feeling suffocated by her overly controlling family? Or is there a more sinister secret behind her attempt to run and why she never attends classes now?
I find myself at something of a loss when it comes to my feelings on this manga. Not a lot actually happened in this volume, aside from some flashbacks and the laying of the groundwork for the love triangle, and yet I felt a sense of tension while reading it, like I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. The strange school customs and the ominous atmosphere made this feel more like the beginnings of a horror story rather than a high school romance, but this manga is classified as a drama so I really have no idea where this story could be going. This is an odd little manga, but if you’re tired of the typical yuri stories and are in the mood for something a bit different, then this might be worth giving a try.
Final Score: 6 out of 10
For more information on Cocoon Entwined visit Yen Press’ website: https://yenpress.com/9781975384241/cocoon-entwined-vol-1/
Be sure to let me know what you thought of this manga in the comments. You can also check out more of my yuri manga reviews:
- Killing Me! Vol 1 Review
- I Married My Best Friend to Shut My Parents Up Review
- Still Sick Vol 1 Review
- A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow Vol 1 Review
- Our Wonderful Days Vol 1 Review
- Scarlet Vol 1 Review