I was looking forward to Volume 7 of Yuri Hime, but I admit to a teeny little bit of apprehension. Volume 6 was okay, but not terribly strong as far as stories went. Several key artists were on hiatus or had stopped drawing for the magazine, and it left last issue, I thought, just slightly flat.
I’m pleased to report that Volume 7 more than makes up for it. Yes, there’s still just slightly too many schoolgirls for my taste, but it’s not all children, and it’s not all what you’d expect, either. Sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes…. ;-)
The cover gives us a festive Valentine’s Day image of Chika from Hatsukoi Shimai, complete with love-love chocolate for Haruna. Inside, for the first time are two color posters that don’t make me wince. ^_^
The first story, complete with color pages, is the final chapter in Taishi Zaoh and Eiki Eiki’s “Little Red Riding Hood.” When we left off, Akiho had confessed her affection for Fuyuka, mostly to get a reaction from Natsuki. And react she does. The school’s female wolf goes ballistic at Akiho, screaming that Fuyuka is hers, dammit. Fuyuka screams that if Natsuki feels that way, she ought to say it clearly. The two teachers from the older “First Kiss” arc, knowingly clear everyone away so the four girls can resolve their issues in private. Natsuki tells the others that while girls were always screaming and carrying on at her, when she actually did confess her feelings to one, she was rejected. That, combined with Fuyuka’s earlier trauma, made her reluctant to say anything. But now, she and Fuyuka are ready to admit that they like each other. At which point Akiho leads Haruka off, letting the other two make up alone. She apologizes to Haruka, for the subterfuge of saying she liked Fuyuka, but Haruka says that, while she was surprised at that, she trusted Akiho implicitly. The story ends with Natsuki coming over to Fuyuka’s home once again, and this time they are on the same page with their feelings. But Fuyuka’s still got some surprises in store, as Little Red Riding Hood turns the tables on her female wolf.
This is followed by a GREAT chapter of “Strawberry Shake Sweet.” Photographer Sera-san and Ran have a nice little chat, the result of which is that they each realize that they’ve been incredibly stupid about an important woman in their lives. Ran laughs it off, but eventually realizes that she is, indeed, in love with Julia. (At which Ryou from Zlay although miles away, rhapsodizes about love as she senses Ran’s realization.) The page splits into two storylines, as Sera-san confronts her former model Rena, and Ran confesses to Julia. Neither outcome is what you’d expect, but both were great. ^_^
“Apple Day Dream” is a series of 4-panel comics that deal with employees at a fashionable clothing shop. The humor appears to mostly follow Kaoru’s interest in women’s breasts generally and Mayu’s specifically. Not my favorite story, but it had moments.
Takahashi Mako’s newest is, to date, my favorite. I almost actually *liked* it. “The Guts of a Stuffed Animal” follows the trials and tribulations of a girl who likes stuffed animals, and the girl who likes her. The characters all looked older than 4, a definitely plus for me, and no one seemed violently schizophrenic, also a plus. There were moments that I actually began to care about the protagonist, which hasn’t before happened in a Mako story.
The essay on Yuri Manga, surprisingly, deals with new series Aoi Hana rather than an older series, as usual. I think that says something important about Shimura’s series.
Fujieda Miyabi’s “new” series, “Ameiro Koucha Kandan” continues with a flashback to the day that Sarasa met Seriho for the first time. Seriho has just opened her tea house and is a little disappointed to not have had any customers. Sarasa points out that the sign on the door says “Closed.” They laugh. Haru and Hinoko wonder where Sarasa has wandered off to. Cute, sweet fluff, which sets the owner’s personality, and gives us a moment to get to know her and Sarasa. I expect more cute, fluffy-bunny moments from these two going forward.
“Mermaid Line” was, I thought, very good. Ayumi has always dreamed of being a bride. And her boyfriend, Ryuunosuke is going to make a great husband, she thinks…until he tells her that he really wants to be a woman. He breaks up with her and leaves, leaving Ayumi shocked to her very core. One day, tired of grieving, Ayumi finally begins to clean up all of Ryuu’s crap. She comes home from work to find the door open – and a woman in her apartment. Ryuu, now Aika, is apologetic for not collecting her stuff before. Ayumi and Aika talk a little, and when it becomes apparent that Aika doesn’t have anywhere to live, Ayumi tells her to stay. She admits that she still loves Ryuu, even if he is now Aika. In the end Ayumi guesses that she’ll just have to dream of being a groom, instead. It was a little pat, of course, but I really liked this story.
Color pages detailing the many bath scenes in the Simoun Playstation 2 game. If it was my thing, I might have cared.
“Winter Colored Feelings” is a harmless schoolgirl love triangle with no melodrama and a slightly bittersweet flavor. It’s not exceptionally memorable, but it wasn’t the worst I’ve ever read of the breed, either.
This is followed by Morishima Akiko’s decidedly un-bitter, slightly sentimental view of women’s professional wrestling in her “Yuri x Yuri” life column. Who knew that there was a soeur system in wrestling? Certainly not I. ^_^
“Nanami and Misuzu” continues to be wacky without being funny…this time Rina-sempai is sick, but when Nanami and Misuzu arrive, she’s *dead*???? Oh, no, she wasn’t. Ahahah. Funny nurse and sick people gags follow. I just gag.
So, here we are at halfway. I’ll stop it here, with the comment that the magazine starts REALLY strong, gets a little weaker, then gets really good (and really freaky) again. Lots more Yuri rabu-rabu to come in Part 2!