Yuri Anthology: Gokigenyou

March 15th, 2007

After all that nastiness in my ears yesterday, I decided to cleanse my soul with a little Maria-sama ga Miteru today. It’s especially fitting as, after all, Strawberry Panic is not much more than a trashy parody of Marimite.

You may remember that I picked up an inordinate amount of Marimite doujinshi anthologies while in Tokyo this past January (and if you didn’t remember, now you know.) Today’s reviewee, Gokigenyou, Volume 1, is one of those many. I previously reviewed another anthology, Maria’s Wink, Volume 2. which I liked very much. If anything, Gokigenyou is better.

The first several dozen pages of Gokigenyou are 4-koma, four panel comics, each focusing on one of the Rose families of the Lillian Student Council, the Yamayurikai.  Each of the comics are printed on paper that corresponds in color to the Rose in question: i.e., The Chinensis family comics are on red paper, Foetida on yellow and Gigantea on white. It’s a cute touch.

The stories that follow are a wild mish-mosh of gag and romantic stories, leaning towards the gag side. There’s a series of stories about Eriko’s taste in comics which is very amusing, and a howlingly funny and deeply disturbing series of stories in which Noriko is portrayed as the Ichimatsu doll she’s usually described as looking like in the novels. These last are so creepy and so *funny* that opening the book and looking at one panel starts me laughing all over again. Probably my favorite gag in that whole series comes after Yoshino and Yumi have grown a little used to Noriko’s monotone speech and creepy doll face that never moves (except to spin all the way around.) As they walk along with Shimako, Yumi comments pleasantly that Noriko sure looks like an Ichimatsu doll, doesn’t she? Shimako smiles blandly and replies, “Ah, you mean her hair?” It’s quite brilliant and awful. As is the moment that Yumi comes up from behind Noriko and slaps her smartly on the back to say hi, only to have Noriko’s head fall off.  Touko’s only comment, “Be careful, Noriko”, while Yumi disappears to a corner to shiver.

Following these are a series of stories by a circle called Bonnie Bonny that I like very much. They do cute and sweet in a way that doesn’t make me feel icky. (Kinder, gentler moe.) The first of the Bonnie Bonnie stories is one of my personal favorites, Yoshino and Rei and Sachiko and Yumi out on a double date. There’s a bit of out-of-character stuff, but it’s harmless and the story is really very nice, with a high Yuri rating. It also contains an incredibly unusual and interesting moment between Yoshino and Sachiko, who find themselves alone for a bit.

For that story alone, the collection would be worth it, but there’s plenty more than just that. There’s lots of quality time with Sei and her women: Shimako, Youko and Shizuka – and an emotional Shiori retrospective. And there’s another Rei and Yoshino story in which Yoshino wishes that they could become lovers; it ends with them on a date to the beach in winter, and Yoshino thinking that the way they are is fine.

The last story is Yumi thinking about saying goodbye to the former Rosas, and how hard it will be for her to say goodbye to Sachiko when she graduates.

So, again, not heavy duty with the Yuri romance, but what there is is excellent and the gag comics are actually really funny, which is kind of unusual. And the one Bonnie Bonny story more than makes up for the lack of romance, as it’s just chockful of Yuri love-love.

Ratings:

Art – Variable 5-7
Story – Variable – 6-8
Characters – well, duh. 10
Yuri – 6 (with a boost to 8 for the one story)
Service – 2

Overall – 8

What makes it better than Maria’s Wink is just how funny the funny stuff is. Another great way to enjoy a variety of Marimite doujinshi without the time and expense of digging out individual circles and books.

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