Yuri Tengoku is an anthology of all-girl’s love stories. It sits somewhere between a doujinshi and a magazine and a – that is, it’s not *quite* a fan work, but it’s not really a professional magazine, either.
The first Yuri Tengoku was released in 2003, and I reviewed it on January 22, 2004. Looking back at that post, frankly *nothing* has changed from the first volume to the second. Yuri Tengoku still looks like a slick doujinshi, with a color slipcover and color pages of indifferent art. It seems such a waste to blow color pages on what are, IMHO, pictures of 7-year olds in school uniform not doing anything that any two girls might do at lunch – like lay next or sit next to each other. No sense of “love” there.
The preponderance of lolicon – characters that are supposed to be in junior high or high school that look 6 years old at most – still sets my teeth on edge. In fact, even more than the last issue, this felt more like a loli fetish manga than a yuri one. I mean, can we *really* conisder it “love,” much less a lesbian romance, when the character is a little kid?
And with only one exception, every single story is exactly the same. Here is the plot:
I am in love with my classmate, but I can’t tell her. I remember the day we met . Wait, maybe she feels the same way! (Something occurs to make characters realize they like each other.) Hug. I’m so happy.
By the fourth or fifth story I was beginning to feel caught in a loop!
There are two stories that are *clearly* anime fan art – one a Michiru x Haruka high school crush thing that has diffferent names, but jeez guys, we’re not stupid! And a R.O.D. The TV parody that simply removed any names at all, but there was no other attempt to make the characters look like anything other than Anita and Hisa. To be fair, the Michiru and Haruka types are pretty common in all aime and manga, so it could be coincidence, but not so the ROD thing. Of the two, the Michiru/Haruka stand-ins were at least a semi-decent rendition of the same story as always.
Only the final story in the anthology managed to escape almost all the conventions of the rest of the magazine. I’m not saying it was *good*, but it was different. For one thing, the characters are actually post-high school. Phew! Three years after graduation, in fact. And the story is hardly like the others, since it includes a violent pimp, a beating and a large knife. Sadly, it also has absurdly misplaced breast-groping and two fairly unrealistic characters, but who cares? It’s different, at least.
I’m can’t recommend this volume of Yuri Tengoku unless you are extremely hard up for something resembling girl’s love, or you are absolutely stricken dumb with joy at cute little girls who are impossibly young-looking for their purported ages.
Art – Varies, but nothing better than a 7
Story – 4
Characters – 4
Yuri – 7
Overall – 5
You can definitely do better than Yuri Tengoku 2.