Thanks to everyone who wished me well. I’m still sick, but the fever’s gone down and I can concentrate enough to type. Lucky you. :-) I’m also breaking in a new pair of glasses – bifocals. Feel free to snort. But damn, this feels weird. What you lose with bofocals is that middle distance – you know, the distance at which you stare at a computer, or, say, watch TV. Whee.
Anyway, we left off with the climax of Hatsukoi Shimai. From now on, I am just referring to it as Hatsukoi Shimai, unless I am specifically referring to the first two Drama CDs, so as to avoid insanity. Yours or mine.
Starting the second half of Yuri Hime 3 off strongly, we have the newest chapter of “Strawberry Shake Sweet.” This, as I mentioned in my review of the first collected volume of this series, is a New Year’s gag, so we still don’t know what happened to Ran on the eve of her debut. In this chapter, an exhausted Saeki comes home on New Year’s eve to find a drunken Kaoru on her doorstep. Saeki offers Kaoru a cup of something hot, but wants her to go home quickly. Kaoru gets maudlin, and tells Saeki that’s she’s lonely. Saeki wonders why she’s not with Haruna. Kaoru tells her that Haruna is on an extended job. Saeki immediatley berates herself for discussing a lesbian relationship as if it’s normal, at which a still pretty drunken Kaoru decides that it’s her job to “turn” Saeki. By the time Ran and Julia show up to toast the New Year with Saeki, they find their manager standing over a bound, half-undressed Kaoru and immediately misunderstand the situation in time-honored fashio. My description doesn’t do the gag justice – this chapter was damn funny.
Oh my god – I totally forgot. After the color pages of Hatuskoi Shimai there’s is an interview with the seiyuu for Haruna and Chika for the upcoming Drama CD. Haruna’s voice will be done by Chiba Saeko, the voice of Natsuki in Mai Hime and Mai Otome, and Chika will be voiced by Nakahara Mai, who did Mai in Mai Hime (and, assumably, in Mai Otome when she appears.) The point of all this is that during the interview, the seiyuu are asked, naturally, what they feel about playing girls in love for the Drama CD. And, quite naturally, they say, love is love and who cares if its a woman or a man? Well…it’s not like they are going to say. “It was gross. I was totally squicked the entire time.” I personally interpreted their comments to mean, “It was a paycheck.” LOL
The next essay, by Miura Shion, was about her early love for the characters of Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon – especially Sailor Saturn. And her ultimately futile search for a Silence Glaive (and a Princess to worship) of her own.
This is followed by Morishima Akiko’s “Yuri Life” comic. Unmotivated to draw over the cold winter, Akiko-san’s editor decides to stimulate her yuri skills by forcefeeding her yuri anime and games. It’s pretty funny. Her fanboy nosebleed at Kannazuki no Miko is pretty much everyone’s reaction. lol Her evil editor stops her from going out to enjoy the day, instead compelling her to draw. (As ALC may be the benefactor of that evil editor, I thank her from the botttom of my heart!)
Okay, now here’s the WTF bizarro coincidence of the season. When I have time and energy (a rare combo these days) I have been reading Maria-sama ga Miteru: Manatsu no Ichipeeji, the thirteenth novel of the Marimite series. During one scene, Yuuki is talking to his friend Kobayashi and he brings up a Japanese fairy tale called “Naita Akaoni” (The Red Demon Cried.) And not two weeks later, here is that exact same story in Yuri Hime. Two weeks earlier and I would have had no idea what this story was about. How weird is *that*? Anyway, the basic plot is that there was a nice red demon who wants to befriend the local humans, who are naturally wary of demons. So the red demon’s best friend, a blue demon, offers to terrorize the humans, so the red demon could drive the blue demon off, and be a hero to the humans. This all happens as planned, and the humans come by to eat the red demon’s sweets, but the blue demon tells the red one that he has to leave forever, because the humans won’t understand that they are friends. So the blue demon tells the red one that they’ll be friends forever, and leaves. And that is why the red demon cries. Okay – now, make the demons girls, add in a cute human girl and the “terrorize” part becomes sexuall harrassment, and you’ve got the yuri-fied version. The pictures are rather amusing. Of all the yuri fairy tales so far, I’ve liked this one best.
I admit to waiting with bated breath for the next installment of “Kotonoha no Miko to Kotodama no Majo to”. So much so that I have FINALLY translated the title. Let’s call it “The Literary Miko and the Soulful Witch” – the point being a contrast between the witch as going by feeling, and the miko working on learning from the book…sort of opposite of the way most people think of witches and shrine maidens. Anyway, it’s not a title that translated easily. SO anyway, Letty and Suzu argue over Tsumugi’s fate. Tsumugi wakes and tells the heart-rending story of how her mother left her at the shrine to save her life when she was a little girl. Now that she’s left the shrine, the disease she was suffering from is back – let’s call it tuberculosis, since it comes with a hacking cough. Letty decides to go back to the shrine to make the shrine spirit give Tsumugi up, to be Tsumugi’s prince. Letty conjures up her armor and horse (witch’s costume and broom) and rides off to confront the evil ogre of the shrine. She forces the spirit to become visible and finds herself face to face with…Tsumugi!?! End of chapter. Damn this magazine for being quarterly, is all I can say. I’ll look forward to any collection of this story the future might bring.
(I’m giving up on the bifocals for the moment. My eyes are, not surprisingly, fubared.)
For those of you who can read Japanese – or are trying to learn, I strongly suggest reading Mori Natsuko’s advice column, “Yuri Doujou.” This paerticular issue has a letter which made me gape and go, “Whoah!” as I was reading it. And Mori-san’s comment? “Whoah!” It’s the last letter – the really long one. This is high lesbian drama at its silliest.
“Nanami and Misuzu” remains impenetrable to me, but funny. In this set of gags, we learn that there is a series of tunnels under the school that leads to, apparently, Nanami’s kotatsu table. Inexplicable and bizarre, but funny.
Chi-Ran has reinvented the wheel once again with “Beginner’s Luck.” In this rehashing of the same old story, Saki is in love with Misono but doesn’t have the guts to tell her. Eventually Misono kisses Saki and they fall into bed. We live happily ever after.
Last up is the continuation of “Voiceful”. We learn Hina’s backstory – and why her songs feel so sad all the time. Kanae isn’t sure she has the right to be part of Hina’s life, until she returns to the computer and finds that Hina has emailed her a zillion times. The last lets her know that Hina is about to do a “live.” What will happen? Will Kanae gain enough confidence to face Hina again? Will Hina reach her with her voice? I look forward to the climax next issue.
And there you have it – the most recent Yuri Hime from beginning to end. A great read all the way around. Good art, for the most part and a nice mixture of the horribly trite and the amusing and the original I’ve come to expect.
You can get your copy of Yuri Hime 3 from Amazon Japan through the Yuricon Shop – and your support is greatly appreciated, believe me! Feel free to come over to the Yuricon Mailing List to chat about the series in Yuri Hime or other fun Yuri anime and manga!