Urk. I have like no time at all to review stuff today. So, please bear with me while I review Yuri Hime, Volume 8 in a zillion parts. :-) (Today’s review – Page 6!) Seriously, though, I should be a little more settled by next week, so if I’m erratic this week, just hold on. I’ll be back.
Yuri Hime, Volume 8 starts off with the first cover *not* done by Hibiki Reine. Instead, the cover was designed and illustrated by Eiki Eiki and Zaou Taishi. It looks pretty much like everything else they’ve ever done. (I know that they are incredibly popular, and I’m very glad that they are making money drawing Yuri, but I’m afraid that I am not their biggest fan.)
The color poster inside is a nice grown-up looking mistress/maid picture by Mizushiro Setona. It’s no more unique than anything else, but I like the color use and the story the picture tells is more to my taste than most of the color pages so far.
The first story, “Epitaph”, looks like every loli game ever. Two gothloli girls of unidentifiable age , but clearly in the range of pubescence, one in white, one in black, vow to one another: Eternity, Life, Death, Love. You know, the usual. Then the story starts. These two girls function as messengers between life and death, bringing letters from the dead to their living loved ones. It’s a snazzy premise and I’m fairly certain that had the characters not been twelve I would have really liked it. As it was, I thought it was a snazzy premise. I’ll reserve judgment until I get a few chapters in me.
Following on “Epitaph”s coolly distant story, we hop right into the new and always frenetic “Strawberry Shake Sweet” where Ran, having realized her feelings for Julia, now fears coming within twenty feet of her, certain she’ll be labeled a freak. Julia is concerned that Ran’s behavior means that she has discovered Julia’s feelings about her. Ran runs away only to find the photographer Sera, so they can once again discuss their mutual non-relationships. Ran’s candor gives rise to several funny spit-takes and similar gags on Sera’s part. I very much like how these two women are set against one another as foils. As the chapter ends, we see Yuriko looking out on the scene, making dire pronouncements about the future. No – it’s not actually Yuriko, but that’s basically how I see her, yeah. lol If it turns out to be an older pop idol, I’m calling her Yuriko anyway. :-)
“Mermaid Line” returns to the first chapter and the story of Megumi and Aoi, and the relationship that builds between them as they share the mermaid picture book. Only this time, when Aoi is teased about her “lesbian” relationship, she insists that *she* isn’t a lesbian, which causes a bout of gay-bashing against Megumi that drives a wedge between them. Megumi is moved to seek out one of the boys who likes her, and ask him out to prove that she also is not a lesbian. What will happen? Tune in next issue to find out.
Love is in the air in “Hatsukoi Shimai.” We get some serious quality time between Haruna and Chika, with some moments of downright sexy. All of their love-love serves to leave Akiho feeling disenfranchised – but not enough to run into the arms of Touko-sensei, dammit. Not that Touko-sensei doesn’t try. I’ll give her that. Akiho’s feelings are welcomed and mirrored by Teshigawara (Akiho,you clod, don’t tell her how lonely you are when she feels the same way because of you!) who runs into a mysterious younger girl on campus. Back in the main plot, Haruna invites Chika over for an overnight. Over tea and sweets, Chika finds a picture of Akiho and Haruna as little children and asks to see their photo album. Responding as if from a great distance, Haruna tells Chika no can do. The chapter ends with a cold feeling of mystery.
“Apple Day Dream” continues to be a series of 4-koma (4-panel) gags about two employees at a high-end GothLoli dress store. Kaoru still likes large breasts and Mayu still has large breasts and is totally passive-aggressive about Kaoru. (Tsundere is really just passive aggressive behavior. Not really cute in my book, appealing blush on the cheeks or not.)
Which brings us to “Creo the Crimson Crises”. Suou is an average high school girl, yadda yadda, complete with a best friend who appears to want her (aka “manga lesbian stereotype 1.”) She feels out of sorts for reasons she can’t explain, nor can she explain the clearly supernatural woman who keeps appearing and trying to possess her. Suou puts her life on the line to protect her friend from this creature, when she is scooped up by the woman in an embrace, with a somewhat shady explanation of their bond. Suou passes out and when she awakens, finds her “bond” to now be material, as the woman has clamped a collar around her neck. Joke’s on Suou now. ;-) I love the title of this story and the alliterative transliteration issue (say that three times fast!) just makes it that much better.
That takes us to halfway, so I’ll stop for today. Upon reflection, if I appear to sound dismissive of the stories in the volume, it was unintentional. I actually thought that the first half of the volume was pretty strong. :-)
To Be Continued in Part 2