Yuri Shimai has just released the fourth issue and at first glance, it may be the best one so far. In fact, there are so many things worth noting, I’ll probably do this is two entries. Right off the top, there is much less lolicon than usual – in general there is a *slighty* older feel to the stories. It isn’t much, but I’ll take it!
(Let me just stop here and recommend that, if you are purchasing Yuri Shimai, take the time to fill out the opinion card that comes inside. It’s not a bad thing for them to know that they have a western audience, and our opinions are at least as interesting as anyone else’s.)
So, the new issue begins with a 32-page, with color, manga adaptation of Koi Shimai, a name which might ring a bell or two if you read this blog regularly. Koi Shimai is the name of the original CD Drama put out by the publisher of Yuri Shimai. If you remember from my past reviews, Koi Shimai is the story of Chika and Haruna – how they meet and fall in love, face trials and tribulations (which consist of lots of twisted ankles, scraped knees and one seductive teacher.) In this manga adaptation, the same story is retold, but there’s some significant rewriting from the Drama CD, which gives both the characters and story a little more depth. I’m looking forward to seeing how things turn out – in the manga version Haruna is not at *all* the same person she is in the drama CD. Instead of being insipid and passive, she has become aloof and cold, so Chika will have a much harder time getting through her barriers.
Another interesting thing to note about Koi Shimai is that the artist and writer are the same ones who are doing the manga adaptation of Maria-sama ga Miteru – so the style of the story and art are very familiar.
Following closely upon the heels of Koi Shimai is the most recent chapter of that wacky love comedy, Strawberry Shake. Teen idol Julia is no closer to admitting her feelings for Ran-chan, and now the story has expanded into a love polygon – only it’s not shy and sexy Ran-chan that everyone is fighting over, it’s the uptight manager, Sawaki. This issue was, as usual, quite silly, but as long as Julia has no competition for Ran everyone is, IMHO, welcome to fight over the manager. ^_^ And it’s kind of a funny complication, because it is the manger who is effectively keeping Julia and Ran apart.
One of the more amusing things about Strawberry Shake is the “all the girls are in love with each other” quality of the story. Julia loves Ran, who loves her back, and the hair stylist and assistant manager are both in love with the manager, while the other girl idol is in love with the hair stylist…and the random visual girl-band members are two couples. The story is very reminiscent of Kat William’s work, partially from the wackiness, and partially from the complex of intertwining relationships. The same could be said, of course, about Koi Shimai, where all the characters have some relationship with or impact upon the primary relations…and even more so about Morinaga Milk’s ongoing lesbian high school saga.
And, on that note, I’m going to cover the next entry into that saga next time. Tune back in to hear more on the new Yuri Shimai!