Yuri Manga: Anoko ni Kiss to Shirayuri wo, Volume 2 (あの娘にキスと白百合を)

March 3rd, 2015

AKnSw2Last June I read and reviewed a somewhat typical, but surprisingly enjoyable, little school life Yuri manga, Anoko ni Kiss to Shirayuri wo. I was frankly amazed to learn there was a second volume. This first ended tidily and I’m always kind of loathe to believe that there are that many female couples…even a girl’s private school.

In Volume 1, we met typical hper-competent Shiramine Ayaka and annoyingly talented slacker  Kurozawa Yurine. Despite their rivalry, well, probably because of it, they fall in like.

In  Volume 2, we turn to other students; this time, Chiharu, Ai and their crush, Hoshino-sempai. They are friends first, so love feels almost like a distraction and yet, there it is. Chiharu has it bad for Hoshino, who is graduating at the end of the term.

Chiharu and Hoshino are locked in a storage room. Feelings are acknowledged, even if they can’t go anywhere. The second half of the book introduces Izumi, who makes it possible, for Chiharu to say good bye to Hoshino with her whole heart.

We get a brief cameo of Ayaka and Yurine in the main story, but the end chapters introduce Yurine’s younger sister who is jealous of their relationship and is taking it out on Ayaka, but fails to win Yurine back.

Generally speaking I liked the character of Chiharu more than either of the protagonists in the first volume. Where their feelings seemed sort of rote, Chiharu struck me as a fairly well-developed character. You can imagine her outside the school. And her feelings for Hoshino are not fully developed, nor is there a presumption of them ever potentially being a couple. The second volume felt more like a real story than the first.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 8 Definitely more realistic than the first volume
Yuri – 5
Service – 1 on principle only

Overall – 8

If you like Canno-sensei’s art, check out this Pixiv page where you can gawk at art, including some for this series, doujinshi and other illustrations. If you’re a fan of the schoolgirl Yuri it’s worth a visit.



Yuri Manga: Omoi no Kakera, Volume 3 (想いの欠片)

March 2nd, 2015

onk3At last, I had a chance to sit down a read the climax of Takemiya Jin’s Omoi no Kakera (想いの欠片) series. As you may remember, Volume 1 introduced us to young lesbian Mika, her classmate Harada who is gay,  and his younger sister, Mayu, who falls for Mika. In Volume 2, Mika and Mayu become closer as friends, and Mika confides to Mayu that her first lover was a tutor of hers, an older woman. And we become aware that Saki, Mayu’s friend, has feelings for Mayu that are not only unreturned, but unnoticed.

 Volume 3 begins during the school culture festival, with the appearance of a woman, whose very presence is enough to make Mika freeze, her old tutor. Mayu sees what is happening and drags Mika away before she can be hurt. When Mika recovers herself, she realizes that her ex is now with someone else. She confronts them and asks if they are happy. When she receives an affirmative, Mika is able to let the past go, at last.

Saki, however, is still burdened by her feelings. She confronts Mika only to be put in her place. Unbeknownst to Saki, however, Mayu has heard the whole thing. And in a moment, has had her entire world turned upside down.

The climax comes with tears and embraces and “awwwww”s all around. ^_^

But wait, there’s more! We had a thread hanging from earlier volumes. Takako, the coffee shop owner and her passive-aggressive roommate finally have it out in the extra chapters. Phew. Like Mika, I wasn’t really getting what the problem was there.

In the final chapter, all the characters reunite at the coffee shop where Mika is now working. Mayu and Saki are spending some relaxing time together, as they all make fun of Takako’s roommate. ^_^

Ratings:

Art – 9
Story – 10
Characters – 10
Yuri – 9 / Lesbian – 9
Service – 1, but not really

Overall – 10

And, on the last color page, as we close the scene on the coffee shop, we learn that Mika has found her own happiness.

And so we leave the story of Mika, Mayu and Saki, three young likable young women, in a Yuri school life/adult life story that contained actual lesbians. Yaaay!!

Takemiya-sensei remains one of the best Yuri creators out there.



Yuri Network News – (百合ネットワークニュース) – February 28, 2015

February 28th, 2015

YNN_Lissa

Event News

Girls Love Fest 13 is coming up in mere hours in the Tokyo Metropolitan area once again! The participating circle list is getting pretty damn big.

I can’t remember if I mentioned this yet. Hat tip to YNN Correspondent EJ Daniels, and with a full report by Komatsu-san on Crunchyroll News, a Maria-sama ga Miteru “Graduation” Event will commence on March 29 in Tokyo.

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Yuricon and Okazu News

I’m planning on a new livestream Yuri panel/ Q&A this spring, so if you have any questions about life, the universe or Yuri you want answered, check out this post: It’s Utter Nonsense 2015 and send in your questions in a comment.

We haven’t had any Yuricon Store updates in a while, because we had a few technical setbacks. These have been resolved with only minor inconvenience because our amazing webmaster Lissa Pattillo is a genius. Consider this a recommendation – if you are looking for a webmaster who knows her technical stuff, has her *own* creativity and understands yours, and can follow through with creative-focused builds, I recommend her wholeheartedly.

The upshot is, we’re still on track for a March soft launch of the new Store, so keep your eyes peeled for an announcement here in upcoming weeks.

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Other News

A Queer, Southern, Woman of Color anthology is looking for contributors. Queer Young Cowboys publication is looking for an editor. These and many other Queer lit opportunities are listed on the Lambda Literary site.  No excuses – get out there and create!

Comic Natalie has reported additional info on Manpuku Yuri (満腹百合), the manga about food and playing house, starring a happy lesbian couple. There is now a short promotional video. It’s very squee. ^_^

Kathryn Hemmann at Contemporary Japanese Literature takes a look at Yoshiya Nobuko’s Yellow Rose and finds it good. In case you want a perspective other (and more academically minded) than mine. She also finds Frederick’s point about lesbian identity to be key – and brings up a point that I had not considered and which is extremely significant. It’s a good review, go read it!

Comic Natalie gleefully reports that Volume 4 of “Violence Yuri” manga Murcielago (ムルシエラゴ) comes with an “Evil Breasts” poster.  Click this link for SFW image if you have a relaxed workplace and aren’t afraid of getting a reputation as (or as more of ) a weirdo. The words say “These breasts are evil breasts.”

If you can read Japanese, you might want to toddle over to this look at magical girl series:  Children of Sailor Moon: The Evolution of Japanese “Magical Girl Anime (セーラームーンの子どもたち—日本発「魔法少女」アニメの進化).

OMG, I have to share this!!!! ROD‘s Yomiko Readman makes a visit to the Himawari Bookshop from the series Himawari-san Volume 5, via Comic Zin. This illustration would be worth going out of my way for. ^_^

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Know some cool Yuri News you want people to know about? Become a Yuri Network Correspondent by sending me any Yuri-related news you find. Emails go to anilesbocon01 at hotmail dot com. Not to the comments here, please, or they might be forgotten or missed. There’s a reason for this madness. This way I know you are a real human, not Anonymous (which I do not encourage – stand by your words with your name!) and I can send you a YNN correspondent’s badge.

Thanks to all of you – you make this a great Yuri Network!



Yuri Manga: World Canvas (Tagalog)

February 26th, 2015

world-canvasToday’s review is truly, “Now for Something Completely Different”. World Canvas by Godley Malabanan is the first commercially published Yuri comic in Tagalog!

We live in amazing (wonderful/awful) times. Even a few years ago, I would have only been able to look at the pictures, but Google Translate now includes “Filipino” and so, I was able to actually read this book by typing in the words. Machine translation is not perfect, but it’s plenty good enough for manga. ^_^

The story follows Sera, who is the younger sister of a museum curator and in art school herself. She’s got heterochromia, and her left eye bestows  a power and a burden – if she sees something a person has written, she can “read” their life story in it. Needless to say, this has kept her alienated from people. Through trope-y circumstance, she encounters a younger woman, Rhiannon, and gets sucked into her life.

The story, while is enjoyable, is chock-full of tropes, even aside from the magic heterochromia (which is merely a backdrop to the story and Sera’s life.) Rhiannon is passive-aggressive, saved from harassment by street toughs, abusive adults, and a parental abuse back story.

Additionally, although Sera is stated to be 21 and Rhiannon 14 (which is problematic in itself) Sera is drawn more like the eternal 15 of manga and Rhia more like 9.  While I did not love the character designs, the art as a whole was superb.

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In terms of characterization, Sera is really well developed, especially for a short single-volume like this. I really grew to respect her through the course of the story. Since the story is essentially the rescue of Rhiannon from her awful real life, hidden behind the veil of a glamorous life, she’s much less developed. As with so many stories, I wish we could check back with them in a couple of years and see who they have become.

And I look forward to more work by Godley Malabanan, now that’s she’s hopefully worked through all the tropes.

The book is published by Black Ink Comics and is available at National Book Store and Precious Pages stores. I know we have a lot of Filipino readers – here is your chance to support you very own home-grown Yuri! How exciting is that?

Ratings:

Art – 9
Story – 7
Characters – 8
Yuri – 6
Service – 1 on principle

Overall – A solid 7

Today’s review was sponsored by Okazu Superhero and friend, James W. who spotted this book in Manila and nabbed it for me. And congratulations and good luck to Ms. Malabanan!



Yuri Manga Anthology: Yu-Ribon (ユリボン)

February 24th, 2015

yu-ribonBirz magazine has been rarely mentioned over the years here on Okazu. Not because I don’t like it, it just hasn’t been relevant to our topics. But with the inclusion of the Yuri Kuma Arashi manga, and this new Yuri Anthology, Yu-Ribon, it’s time to have that conversation.

Even in families full of oddballs, there are good crazies and bad crazies. ^_^ Comic Birz is one of the, if not always bad crazy, then always just plain crazy. Birz reminds me of a specific person I used to know  – every conversation with her was conducted in a bizarro world of her own making. Even when the conversations were not awful, they were just strange.

So, the idea of a Yuri anthology from this comic was a challenging concept. Would it be knives in the head, tentacles or schoolgirls?

Tl;dr – It was schoolgirls.

Except for the story with the knives in the head.

A number of the creators names will be familiar to us here, Kanojo no Camera to Kanojo no Kisetsu creator Tsukiko, Manga no Tsukurikata‘s Hirao Auri, Takahashi Mako.  Others will be less well-known, perhaps, but no less capable.

The stories are lodged firmly in the “eternal school” of Yuri relationships and a number of them are notably more about friends than lovers.

And so the volume goes. I was three stories from the end and thought, “wow, not one weird story yet!” I was wrong, as usual. ^_^”Heru” by Tsubana is not really Yuri in any sense, but there sure were a lot of knives involved. No violence, no blood, Just knives. It was classic Birz.  Upon my wife’s request, here is an example.

Birz

My favorite story of the collection came immediately afterward. “Eye Contact Visitor Game” about a famous softball player and her friend that went so far as to include the word “like” and everything! (“How progressive,” says the wife.”)

If I had to choose, I’d pick this kind of bland not-lesbians, not-love “Yuri” over breast squeezing and bodily fluids, but, just.

Ratings:

Although the ratings are variable, the art is pretty good throughout.

Overall – 7

Not bad, not great. And knives in the head, so your mileage might vary on that.