One of the more unique things about Japanese copyright laws is the ability for “parody” works to be made with little to no legal consequence. (Of course, that may change in the future, and a recent article about an exceedingly popular Doreamon doujinshi has an interesting example of what can easily be cited as an abuse of the privilege.)
Maria’s Wink 2, is one of a seemingly endless supply of Yuri doujinshi anthologies in existence for Maria-sama ga Miteru. It is available through Amazon JP (click the cover picture or the title link) and/or various manga and used manga stores.
The advantage to a doujinshi anthology is obvious – it’s a collection of many different stories by many different circles. Like ALC’s Yuri Monogatari series, that means that you’ll get a wide variety of art, story and tone. The other advantage is that an anthology will cost a lot less in time and effort than trying to track down all of the original doujinshi individually.
There are some adult anthologies, but most of the ones I picked up in Tokyo this time were “gag” anthologies. Maria’s Wink has a definite Yuri strain running through the stories, but little more than a kiss here and there. Nonetheless, no Yuri goggles are needed to see that the couples are, indeed, couples.
This particular anthology has selections by some circles I quite like including K-Do, and about three whose names are too long and difficult for me to translate, but whose work I have in doujinshi form and really like. (Nice and specific, there, I know. Very helpful….)
What makes Maria’s Wink a good place to start in terms of Marimite anthologies is that there is really something for everyone. Pretty much every popular pairing has at least one story. The obvious soeur couples, and the most popular non-soeur, like Youko x Sei, Sei x Yumi, Yumi x Touko, all are represented. There’s even a Kanako x Touko story. Kei makes an appearance in a few stories (that’s for you, Sean), as does Yuuki, and even Kashiwagi gets a naked cameo. So, really, there’s something for everyone.
In particular Rei x Yoshino fans will like a few of the stories, which really focus on the explodingly cute aspect of their relationship. There’s also a fairly well-known Rei x Yoshino story called “Treasure” that portrays them both as pirates. It’s based on a single line from one of the novels where Rei thinks that Yoshino’s surgery scar makes her look like a pirate. :-) (I find this story appealing because I too wrote [an incredibly silly] story in which the Yamayurikai and friends are pirates. ^_^) So, as anthologies go, there’s quite a bit to like about Maria’s Wink.
Ratings are variable, but I don’t think there was a story I disliked or art that skeeved me.
Overall – 8
If you’ve always wanted to dip a toe into the vast pool of Marimite doujinshi, an anthology is a nice way to start in general, and this volume of Maria’s Wink in particular. :-)