Jumping right in for the second half of today’s review of Yuri Hime, Volume 8.
After “Creo the Crimson Crises” comes the latest from Takahashi Mako. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who didn’t like the creepy kids in her stories, because her characters have now morphed into creepy teenagers instead. :-) The story begins with two girls meeting, seemingly by chance under a picturesque sakura tree. But there was less chance than originally appears. In fact, one of the girls is now going out with the boy that likes the other girl – and who she likes. This girl (we’ll call her “the blonde” and the other “the brunette”) starts to obsess about the girl her boyfriend liked, asking him questions about her. It seems that they two share some superficial similarities, which begins to bother the blonde. Using her boyfriend’s phone, she sets up another meeting with the brunette, who has no clue who the blonde is. The blonde reaches out and grabs the brunette’s breast and receives a hearty slap to the face. She only comments that, yeah, the other girl is bigger than she is. The final page is the blonde asking if she can sit by the brunette under the tree. The story reads a bit jerky and unconnected, but it’s decidedly less dysfunctional than most of Takahashi’s work, so no complaints from me.
Chi-Ran’s story “I won’t let myself love you” begins as Kako walks in on two girls engaged in a little play in the classroom. One of them introduces herself as Ageha and, shortly thereafter, announces to the whole school that she will take Kako as her next lover. Kako’s shocked and confused – this is a girl’s school! She’s informed by a helpfully expository classmate that Ageha is a notorious playgirl and has not yet failed to get a girl she set her sights upon. Kako’s determined to not fall. But Ageha’s cool, attractive, sexy, and more than that, kind and charming. As she woos Kako, Kako finds herself starting to slip, admitting that if Ageha were a guy, she would have indeed fallen already. The chapter ends with a conflicted Kako reminding herself of her vow to not fall for Ageha – but the next issue will tell us if she succeeds or not. Bets? :-)
Morishima Akiko’s Yuri Life column covers her adventures playing Yuri-themed games like Akaito and Katahane, complete with character descriptions and drooling. lol
“Ameiro Kouchakan Kandan,” by Fujieda Miyabi contains what passes for a gigantic conflict in this series – Sarasa is going away for three whole days on her school trip! She worries about how Seriho will manage without her. Seriho laughs at her, but will she, in fact, be okay for a full 72 hours without Sarasa? We’re not so sure. Meanwhile on the trip Sarasa’s moodiness is recognized right away by her classmates as the lovesickness that it is. This is followed by good-natured, but stressful “who is it?” third degree. The chapter ends with Seriho staring at the calendar in a lonely kind of way. Forget Sarasa, *I’m* worried about Seriho….
The next story in this volume has a long title about a house in a forest and is, by far and away, my least favorite. Two young girls one, an ojou-sama, one her servant are in a shady situation in which the rich girl appears to be being groomed for something grim, like high class prostitution or marriage, which is really the same thing depending on how you look at it. But this looks shadier than just marrying off the girl. It’s an unpleasant situation. The two girls are in love with one another, of course, and in a climactic moment, the rich girl pushes the other girl out the window to free her. Epilogue page shows us the servant, now an adult with a daughter of her own that she has named after her love.
This is followed by an interview with the voice actresses from Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu Drama CD. It contains all the usual questions like, “how was it to play girls in love?” but at this point all the VAs have voiced gay *so* often they’re answering “It’s a paycheck.” lol No, not really.
“Maple Love” by Hiyori Otsu, is probably my favorite story of the collection. Girl overhears boy confess to girl and be rejected. She wills them to go away, but is given away by her cel going off. Boy bails. Girl meets girl, says she likes girls and kisses girl – and gets slapped. Girl negotiates being friends with girl. Friendship ensues. It’s a nice, normal friendship, and girl gently pursues girl with no particular time frame or agenda. One night at an “ai-kon” (a group date sort of thing,) girl becomes feverish and girl, realizing something’s wrong takes her home and tucks her in to bed. Girl says she’s ready to consider a relationship with girl. The story ends with the lamest gag in the world about gee, what do women do in bed together? My response: “…” Please. It was so good until then. It’s still good, just not *as* good.
I’ve been pretty vociferous about my dislike of Hakamada Mera’s work and this story seals the deal. I loathed it. A cool, popular girl decides to rehabilitate a dirty, unpopular girl. With a mere change of clothes, a thorough bath and contacts, Eliza Doolitle is transformed and instantly eclipses her savior in popularity. Cue miserable sulking as Eliza goes off and leaves the girl who loved her when behind. I’m sorry but…bleah.
Nanami and Misuzu continues to be about whatever it’s about. This time we get a new character who looks an awful lot like a kiddy Kouya from Loveless.
Wait, did I say “Maple Love” was my favorite? I take that back. I meant “The Paradise Incident” by Morishima Akiko, in which a freelance Sumi shows up at her friend with benefits’ house. Sari is thrilled to pieces to have Sumi there, and they pick up on their interrupted life together as if they had never been apart. Sari finds her feelings for Sumi becoming deeper and finally gives in and asks Sumi to live with her. Sumi respectfully declines – she’s off in the morning to foreign parts. But before Sari can be too sad, Sumi invites her along for the adventure – and she goes. I liked this story a lot. Adult women, with lives apart from just their couple-dom and a pleasant smile-inducing ending. Yay Akiko-san, my hero!
In any case…
Everything is variable according to taste, but overall – 8
In general, a good volume, with much less meh, except that one nasty Hakamada story. And while it’s still heavy on the schoolgirls, there’s a definite attempt at variety. However, I also feel like the magazine is shifting the focus away from stories for women to stories for guys. I really, really hope I’m wrong. Probably I just want more Hayashiya Shizuru and Morishima Akiko type stuff and less loli.
And look – reviewed the whole magazine in only two parts! yay!