One of the best yuri-related gets of the year, Yuri Shimai 5 was awfully close to being perfect.
I’ve reviewed Yuri Shimai volumes 1 and 2,3 and 4 and it is pretty clear that they have been getting better. It’s not a monthly magazine, yet, and there’s no way to tell whether it’s even doing well financially, but based solely on the quality of the stories, and the increasing size of the book (260 pages for Vol. 5) Yuri Shimai is looking good from this reader’s perspective.
My biggest complaints about Yuri Shimai have always been the schoolgirl obsession and the trend towards a confession and *maybe* a kiss as the climax of the story. Well, Yuri Shimai 5 seems to have taken a few steps past those limitations and, as a result is a much more interesting read.
The first story of this volume, First Kiss? is drawn and written by a team that are better known for their yaoi work, Zaoh Taishi and Eiki Eiki. A surprising continuation (well, surprising to me, anyway) of Volume 4’s Onna Ookami (Female Wolf), this story starts with Fuyuka speaking to the school counselor as she tries to determine her changing feelings for Natsuki (the female wolf of the last volume.) Fuyuka leaves before the counselor can answer, but the conversation sets the doctor off on reminiscences of her own about her first love, her best friend…who happens to be a teacher at the same school. The story is uncomfortable and awkward and for once, about the grown-ups. I am SO hoping we get more of this story – I really liked it. As an added bonus, we get some very nice color pages of Reiko, the counselor, and Ayano, the teacher 10 years earlier. This was a great story and my teeny synopsis does not do it justice, trust me!
Next comes the 5th installment of Strawberry Shake, and once again, Julia and Ran’s antics are adorable. It’s pretty clear that Saeki-san, their manager, has little hope anymore of keeping them apart. Of course there’s yet another complication, this time, a male actor that asks Julia out, but in the end, Julia and Ran are one step closer to becoming an item. At this point, I am simply hoping that we get enough page count on this one to make it work Sun taking it to a tankubon format, and maybe even get a happily-ever-after ending, too. I want everything. :-)
The third story is also surprising – a continuation of the witch and miko story with the long title I never bothered to translate, from Vol. 4. Now out in the real world, Letty the witch is guiding Sai, the naive ex-priestess, around her native country. To keep them connected Letty creates a magic red thread that binds them – but is mortified to learn what that means to Sai. (You all know about the red thread of love, right?) Sai asks Letty about the kiss from the last chapter, but Letty quickly passes that off as magic-related, nothing to do with love. Sai’s a little bummed, but she is having fun being with Letty so, she confesses her feelings for Letty. Long, fun, story short, it looks like Letty’s lying, because she’s obviously falling in love. The end the story hand in hand. To Be Continued – cool.
Fourth comes a really amusing one-shot called Kaikan Spiral – billed as a “hentai love comedy” it’s a farcical story of a foul-mouthed transfer student, Midori, and Ayaka, a girl who falls for her crude nastiness. Since I also think nasty women are sexy, I was kind of with Ayaka on this one. LOL It was goofy and made me laugh.
Lastly for today’s review/synopses is the latest from Morinaga Milk, which takes alot of the conventions of love confessions and screws with ’em a bit. On the first page of Honto no Kimochi, (Real Feelings,) Michiru confesses her love to her sempai and asks her out. For her part, Nojo is flattered, but squicked by the usual – what will people think, is she interested in loving another girl, etc, etc. Michiru has no doubts, however, and takes Nojo out on a date and generally makes herself incredibly desirable, to melt Nojo’s concerns. One night, while studying, Michiru tries to kiss Nojo who, startled and scared, slaps her. For the next few days, she hears nothing from Michiru, but while walking with a classmate, runs into her on the street. Nojo is shocked to see Michiru’s shorn locks and is filled with guilt, but Michiru laughs and tells her not to blame herself – she had this haircut appointment from a long time ago. In front of Nojo’s classmate, she reaffirms her love for her sempai. Classmate is surprised, but accepting and the story ends with Michiru having devoted herself publicly to Nojo’s well-being and happiness, and sitting with her at lunch (with Nojo’s friends) planning Nojo’s future love affairs. Another fun entry from Morinaga Milk.
And that takes us to about 1/2 way through this monster magazine! Next time I post, we’ll finish it up – and trust me, there’s some really good stuff coming up. :-)
In the meantime, if you’re thinking of getting Yuri Shimai 5, think to get it through the Yuricon Shop. Using this link will support Yuricon, ALC Publishing and Okazu, and earn our undying appreciation and gratitude!