What is there to be said about Comic Yuri Hime, Volume 2 except “Yuri, Yuri and more Yuri!” ^_^ In fact, there’s *so* much good yuri in this volume, I’ll have to do this review in two parts…or maybe three.
The only real complaint I ever had about Yuri Shimai was that it was a tad on the young and innocent side for me. Well, Yuri Hime showed some interest in moving away from that into a slightly more adult outlook. And now, with Volume 2, I think Yuri Hime has finally hit the exact right note. It’s adult without being pornographic, and sweet and cute without being lolicon. Just the kind of thing that I’ve been looking for – and the kind of thing we have been publishing at ALC Publishing. In fact, there’s so many good things about this issue that I may sound a little giddy – I apologize in advance. ^_^
Let me start with the cover, because the two smiling faces that grace it are of some significant import. Drawn by Hibiki Reine, the illustrator for the Maria-sama ga Miteru novels, we are greeted by Chika (on the left) and Miyu (on the right). Both these characters are from the ongoing cover stories from the old Yuri Shimai volumes. Once again, let me just remind you that Chika’s story was turned into two Drama CDs entitled “Koi Shimai” which was eventually turned into a manga, that continued in Yuri Hime as “Hatsukoi Shimai.” This all confuses the heck out of everyone but about three people. Just go with it – it makes sense if you just get all the damn books and look at them. :-) I reviewed the Koi Shimai Drama CDs some time ago in 2004: CD 1 review and CD2 review. And now I will leave this topic quite suddenly to move on in an abrupt fashion – don’t worry, we’ll come back to it later.
I won’t go into detail about all the other stories’ histories, since I just went over them in my review of Yuri Hime, Volume 1, last week.
The first story of the book is the second, long-awaited installment of “First Kiss” by Taishi Zaou and Eiki Eiki. Once again we watch Reiko and Ayano torture each other with Unresolved Sexual Tension. If you remember that the pair who draws this manga is extremely well known for their yaoi manga, it won’t be too surprising. :-) Reiko and Ayano are pining for each other – but inexplicably, neither can see the desire and loneliness in each other’s eyes – perhaps because they don’t really look at each other. Also, I just want to say that while I REALLY like my doctor, if she EVER sucks on my finger that messily, a lawsuit would definitely be in order. I mean really. LOL
This volume also contains some spiffy color pictures of Reiko nekkid and Reiko and Ayano as adults, in bed – a nice parrallel to the younger pair in bed last volume. (And a palpable sign of the maturing of yuri that this volume represents.) Volume 3 continues this story – will they get together? Probably. ^_^
“Shoujo Bigaku” is a second story from Chi-Ran in which an unsuspecting “normal” girl is overwhelmed by the presence of an openly gay, openly amorous transfer student. Only in this case, the so-called normal girl, Yuno, is actually as queer as a three dollar bill. So of course, she does everything in her power to not be discovered by the openly gay Shinri. Shinri pegs Yuno in about 3 seconds flat – just about the time she finishes saying that Japan is a lesbian paradise. It’s hopeless, Yuno. Shinri uses all her magic lesbian skills – and a few well-placed kisses – to make Yuno see things her way. Rabu rabu.
The first essay is on early 70’s Yuri – more specifically Oniisama E, the early yuri classic by Ryoko Ikeda. Great art to support the essay. ^_^
The story of Letty the Witch and Tsugumi the Miko continues the morning after they spend the night in the same bed. Letty freaks – then remembers that it was all platonic, but something is wrong with Tsugumi! She’s coming down with a cold…or something. They go out to enjoy a beautiful day and discuss how they are connected forever by a red string. Tsugumi collapses and a stranger who suddenly appears tells Letty that its because she took Tsugumi away from the shrine. Letty drives off the stranger, but she comes back and tells them that Tsugumi is cursed. Tsugumi apologizes, thinking back on their times together, for having been a bother to Letty. The chapter ends with Letty screaming Tsugumi’s name…. It’s a pretty surprising chapter for what has been so far an innocuous, but pleasant story. I guess we’re anticipating many more volumes of this magazine, if we’re adding in actual plot complications, huh? A good sign, I think.
Takahashi Mako’s story for this volume, “Tiger Lily” is shocking for the radical change in apparent age for her characters. They actually appear to be high school aged for once. The story centers around two students who take on, respectively, the roles of Wendy and Tiger Lily in Peter Pan. “Wendy” remembers everything about “Tiger Lily” because, she says, she remembers everything about the person she loves. But she can’t remember a teacher who has made her his favorite and is surprised whrn Tiger Lilly mentions him. Wendy does remember that Tiger Lily had a thing for that teacher, though. It’s all complicated young love as remembered by an old lady. A surprisingly non-psychotic entry by Mako and one that didn’t make me cringe with distaste.
“Nanami to Misuzu,” the continuing adventures of a rich chibi cat girl and her friend who plays the straight man to her physcal comedy, were marginally amusing this time, with the addition of Sakaki from Azumanga Daioh. Not really – but you know what I mean. She might as *well* be Sakaki. There was one very funny gag and the rest were just…gags.
Last for today’s update came the winner in this half, Morinaga Milk’s sequel to the very first Yuri Shimai story, “Even If We’re Not Friends”. In this story, “When the ring finger is kissed” (or something like that. I’m not great at conditionals) we go back to our original couple, Nana and Hitomi. The first several pages of the story are absolutely beautiful color pages of the two girls kissing and undressing. It’s so well done, so tasteful and sexy at the same time that it may set a new standard for yuri manga. It turns out to be a dream – Nana’s under alot of pressure recently with mid-terms, and she hasn’t been able to see Hitomi at all. But Nana has, once again, been avoiding Hitomi – this time because she’s freaked out by Hitomi’s desire to go further with their relationship. What’s flipping Nana out is the fact that she also wants that, but she’s scared out of her gourd. On the final day of mid-terms Hitomi takes matters into her own hands. She shows up at Nana’s house, armed with sleepover materiel. Nana gets over her bad self and the two make their beautiful memory. Happy sigh.
This story was excellent. Simply excellent. The art on the color pages was breathtakingly sweet, and the story didn’t make one squick. Nana’s behavior, while marginally irritating *was* consistant wth her personality as it was given to us in the first story. And Hitomi’s was, as well – her forthright expression of desire was no less lovely for its frankness. Top o’the Yuri class for Morinaga Milk.