It’s that time again! Time for me to sing the praises of the newest issue of Yuri Hime. And in this case there’s not only alot to praise, but some things to smirk and choke at, as well.
Starting, as I am wont to do, with the cover – for the first time in a really, really long time, it depicts Chika and Haruna from the serial Hatsukoi Shimai together. With the Drama CD for that series coming out later this month, and the end of the first part of their story later in the magazine, it was a fitting choice. Maybe we’ll get lucky and get Akiho and Touko for the next cover. I pray that it is so.
The first comic in this issue is the new serial, “Simoun”, which is slated for an anime later this year. The story of Simoun is a “speculative fiction” (what I’ve always called sci-fantasy, but I am, I have been informed, well behind the times in my labeling.) In the world where “Simoun” takes place, everyone is born female, and at their fifteenth birthday chose whether to remain female or become male. We begin the manga with a moody, pouty “Princess” Neviriru confronted by newcomer Aeru. Aeru asks Neviriru why she doesn’t fly, at which a cool, older butchy type scolds Aeru and walks her Princess away. We get some overview of the world, and the reasons that these girls must fight in fantasy mecha aircraft thingies, etc, etc. Ultimately Aeru finds Neviriru, and they fly. Happy, happy.
I was not overwhelmed by this story so far, but at least in part, it’s me. I’ve gone waaaaaayyyy off fantasy and I am never 100% in love with yuri stories where the protagonist may or may not be a woman. In this case, as the manga is running in Yuri Hime, I think we can be at least mostly certain that Aeru will (she hasn’t chosen yet, but she wants to fight and to do so must remain female.) I also found everyone’s clothes distressing, but the color page art is pleasant and watercolor-y. But I will withhold any real judgement until I’ve seen a few chapters, to know where its going and how it gets there.
The second story was a three-page preview for a new series starting in the next issue, “Tokimeki Mononoke Jogakuen”. From these three pages, I really am looking forward to it. It adds an extra measure of silly to the usual girls school story…all the students are non-human. Our heroine, who looks perfectly human, is actually a rain fairy. That’s all we can see from these three pages, but it looks like fun.
Morinaga Milk’s newest entry is once again following Hitomi and Nana. “Chocolate Kiss Kiss” brings us to Valentine’s Day at this particular all-girl school. Nana is surprised to find that all her classmates are unashamedly giving chocolates to female sempai (and girlfriends, unbeknownst to her…). She considers making chocolate for Hitomi, but fails at the hand-made part. In a discusion with Hitomi, Nana learns that , unintentionally, she hurt Hitomi last year by not realizing that the chocolates Hitomi was making were really for her. Nana feels terrible, and makes it up to Hitomi by, Hitomi suggests, giving her something sweeter than chocolate.
I like these two in general – and I’d like to see “next steps” manga for some of the other couples we’ve been shown as well. Nana’s unintentionally causing Hitomi emotional wounds reads as fairly accurate to me (even if Hitomi has to be a bit too patient and understanding.) And of course, the art is both cute and sexy in turn.
“One Room” by Mucchiri Muunii is very much the kind of story I don’t care for. In a nutshell, it’s a story in which one girl’s desire for the other must be forced out of her by a confrontation/forced kiss. This is exactly the same mentality that gives us the kind of yaoi stories in which the uke has to be raped to “understand” his feelings. But don’t let my rant fool you – this story is not nearly that extreme. Seme girl, Tsubaki, invites herself over to uke Umi’s room to stay over because she knows that Umi lives alone. Tsubaki forces a confrontation, but when Umi runs away, prepares to leave – at which Umi asks her to stay and admits she’s right, she does like Tsubaki. Gosh I just love passive-agressive manga…. Anyway, the art is not to my taste, but I’ve seen worse.
At last, we get to seen the final chapter of “First Kiss” by Zaou Taishi and Eiki Eiki. Ryouko gets an email message from Ayano on the evening that she is to meet her fiancee’s parents. She kisses him goodbye and runs back home, to find Ayano on her doorstep. Ayano screams at Ryouko that she’s loved her all along, and Ryokou screams back, her too. It was actually kind of a funny scene. Anyway, they fall into bed, and assumably live happily ever after. Cut back to school, where Takashima, the student from the first scene (and from the story “Female Wolf” before that)is about to leave the Doctor’s office. Ryouko tells her, in short, that what’s she’s feeling is love – and to go for it. Look for *that* story to continue next volume.
More color pages – this time for the climax of “Hatsukoi Shimai.” Haruna suddenly develops a personality and defends Chika publically against the charge of cheating. Unlike the Koi Shimai Drama CD, in which it was the teacher who accused her, and Chika had to take a make-up exam, in this case its just a jealous Teshigawara whose made the accusation. Teshigawara gets dissed by the other students, and of all people Akiho has to tell her that she understands how she feels. Trust me – Akiho isn’t any happier about it than we are. To celebrate, Chika and Haruna go out to a cafe for souffle’. In a scene also not in the original Drama CD Haruna admits to Chika that in the past, she also had a much admired sempai, but was basically told that, as cute as she was, she could hope for nothing more. It broke her poor little heart, which is why she was so cold to Chika. Whatever. But the completely out-of-character end of the story is the same, as Haruna, in public, leans over and licks souffle’ from Chika’s face, causing the younger woman to explode. This will also continue next issue – and keep your fingers crossed that it’s the much better arc where Touko-sensei arrives.
This takes us roughly half-way, and I’m home sick today with fever, etc., so I think I’ll stop here.
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