Once again Yuri Shimai offers a beautiful color cover, along with short narrative on the characters inside the book, a few color posters and about half a dozen or so short girl’s love manga stories that take place exclusively in middle and high schools, since, as we all know, lesbians die at 18 or become bi in order to survive.
On the eye-rolling side of the equation, many of the characters are still mis-matched size types – i.e., one character is teeny and looks 10 and the other *almost* looks her age and is at least a foot taller. This will never cease to creep me out, because of the implications of this particular convention – the constant use of oneesama by the younger-looking characters only makes it worse for me.
However, that having been once again beaten into the ground, there are many positives to this issue, and some hope for future ones.
The first thing one notes upon opening this volume is that the color pages in the beginning include yuri-centric write-ups of several anime that were notibly yuririffic. In fact, I had to laugh, because we were certainly following them all closely on the Yuricon Mailing List. Jubei-chan 2, ROD The TV, Kaleido Star and Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito were all represented with full-color pictures of some of the key Yuri moments. So, that was really fun, right off.
Secondly, one of the best stories in the book so far, Strawberry Shake, has been running since Yuri Shimai’s inception and it has not only been slightly different, but also funny and wacky in a very not-annoying way. This volume it gets several color pages of its own and a slightly longer chapter. In this chapter, Julia has decided to separate her personal and professional life in order to get to know Ran better. Of course, hilarity ensues, only this time, it’s actually kind of funny.^_^ When they do eventually get together, Julia and Ran will make a great couple.
Also continuing from the last volume is a story by Kita Kanno. “Under the Noon Sun” is about two dysfunctional schoolgirls who find themselves as roommates. I found this one typical and disappointing. I am officially announcing my dislike for the following plot complications:
Fevers caused by standing in the rain, or sleeping in the cold, or random who knows why-type reasons that have nothing to do with the real reasons people get fevers
Food stuck on a person’s face as a substitute for a kiss
Warming someone’s body up with a naked body (yes, I know it’s a real thing…it still makes an utterly crappy PC.)
Losing weight on crash diets
Breast grabbing for whatever reason
Falling on someone, completely sprawled across them, full-body
Cramming for exams
Licking someone’s finger to stop the bleeding as a substitute for kissing
Any PC that has to do with schoolgirl’s skirts, bathing suits or “three size”.
These are all utterly without merit and need to be removed whole from shoujo manga, in my curmudgeonly, yet humble, opinion. And yes – it *is* possible to have a good story without these.
But back to the point – in “Under the Noon Sun” one of the characters gets…I kid you not…a fever from a cold, because the other one crawled into bed with her the night before becuse she was cold. I mean, really.
On a more positive note, the lesbian bug continues to spread throughout the high school in the next installment of Morinaga Milk’s all-girl school series. This chapter is entitled “Someday This Love” and it is unfortunately yet *another* stupid-reason-induced-fever based plot, but is otherwise kind of cute. More importantly, the next Morinaga Milk story looks to have at least one real kiss coming, and *that* I’m looking forward to.
The last volume of Yuri Shimai seemed to have an inordinate amount of breast-grabbing; this one, everyone is coming down with unreasonable fevers. It’s like a weird group mind, that so many of the authors use the same stupid plot devices in any given volume.
Nonetheless, with the usual book, movie, manga, game, anime and fan work reviews, Yuri Shimai is really shaping up to be a valuable resource and, in some case, an interesting read. So here’s thumbs up for this issue and hopes that the next one, due out in July, will be even better. ^_^