Yuri Manga: High School Girls, Volume 8 (English)

June 30th, 2007

Once again, it is my great pleasure to welcome Guest reviewer Sean Gaffney!

Dr Master has just put out Volume 8 of High School Girls, and it’s pretty much more of the same wackiness. If, like me, you read this to look at Towa Oshima’s wonderful facial expressions, you won’t be disappointed. Eriko, in particular, gets to express disgust, dismay, and embarrassment in a variety of amusingly drawn ways.

This volume continues the class trip to Okinawa, and Chapter 1 involves Eriko and Kouda attempting to bond with the Takarazuka pair, Nao and Sayaka, and failing miserably. Kouda is just too much of a giant freak all the time, and every time that Eriko tries to be friendly, Kouda interrupts with a new horror.

This continues throughout the book, and eventually they do get to know a little more about the pair. In fact, Nao and Sayaka have the only thing remotely approaching plot development here, as we discover that Sayaka has a secret that she’s hiding from her classmates. Once again, Towa’s expansion of the cast works well, as we get to know people beyond just the main six.

The manga has about the final third devoted to three short stories. The first has Momoko once again trying to give the girls beauty tips, with the usual results. In the second, Ayano discovers that her sister is dating Kouda’s brother, much to her horror. And in the last (and best), Eriko and her brother try to find various ways to beat the heat, and Eriko remains completely oblivious to the fact that her brother’s hit puberty by now so she shouldn’t be bathing with him anymore.

The main reason to get this, of course, is for the comedy. There is Yuri, yes, but it’s Yuri played for laughs. Nao and Sayaka sleep in the same bed, and Nao even scrubs Sayaka’s body with her hands in the bath (her skin is very sensitive, you see). Nao and Sayaka keep saying ‘please don’t misunderstand’, just to keep it vague enough for Japanese editors, but as Yuma notes, ‘It’s pretty clear what they’ve got going on there.’

We also get Kouda once again getting Eriko in compromising positions, and Yuma and Ayano acting far too close for comfort. Provided you don’t demand, you know, actual follow through in your Yuri, there’s plenty here for you.

There’s also tons of comedy, ranging from the usual embarrassment of periods and tampons to metatextual humor that breaks the fourth wall. At one point the gang are on an island trying to hunt wild animals, and Eriko tries to draw it for them. She can’t draw, so it’s basically a kid’s scribble. Lo and behold, they immediately catch a creature that looks, literally, exactly like the scribble. As Eriko notes, “This is turning into a different kind of manga…”

As for how Dr. Master did things… well, it’s still sort of schizophrenic. On the plus side, the cover is well done, the color pages are fantastic, and the reproduction is miles ahead of the earlier volumes. As for the adaptation…geh. When they don’t have to try to do Japanese culture, it’s a sturdy, well-written adaptation. When they do, either they translate it straight and don’t bother to note the joke, or they change it to an English variant that tends to jar horribly (Diff’rent Strokes references? In 2007? COME ON.) On the bright side, there’s fewer Japanese culture refs as the manga goes on, so things do improve.

Ratings:

Art: 8. Towa’s expressions get better and better, and even her SD-shorthand poses are funny.
Story: 5. There’s really no plot here at all, with the exception of finding out
Sayaka has a mysterious secret.
Characters: 7. Himeji and Ogawa are almost totally absent this volume-again – but the rest are fun and entertaining.
Yuri: 6. It’s quite a high rating for something where it’s all tease, but the tease is *so* blatant I moved it up a notch.
Service: 6. Again, I suspect any perverts who try to read this will be put off by the constant mentions of tampons, periods, and various other ‘female problems’. That said, this is fanservice-y as heck.

Overall: 7.

This is a fairly light and fluffy volume, but again, you aren’t reading this manga for the deep meaning or tragic backstory. If you like Japanese high school girls being weird, strange, and bizarre, and don’t mind a healthy dollop of service, then you’ll enjoy this.

Thanks so much Sean – my copy’s on its way and I’m looking forward to it even more. ^_^

And while I’m thinking about it – if you, dear reader, have ever wanted to try your hand at reviewing a Yuri Anime or Manga, especially one I won’t/can’t/haven’t covered, feel free to contact me and we can talk. There’s only so much time in the day and I appreciate a break once in a while. Consider your email your audition – it has to be well-written, grammatically correct, good spelling and it helps if you’re funny, too. lol

Here’s an idea. I have no intention of covering Hitohira, because I think that it’s stoopid. Send me a review of Hitohira and the best one gets posted. ^_^ Use the format I use in my reviews, with ratings at the bottom. I look forward to seeing what comes in! ^_^

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12 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m only curious, why does Erica thinks it’s stupid?

  2. Why do I think Hitohira is stupid? Because “shy girl joins drama club” should be one episode. Not a series. And none of the characters passed my “would I have them over for lunch” test.

  3. I have to say that my absolute favorite moment was when Yuma, of all people, bonds with Nao and Sayaka by buying everyone drinks. For one brief second, its all normal and nice.

    Then she tells Kouda that she bought her can of warm tapioca milk – because she knew it would annoy her.

    I am *still* laughing at that.

  4. Anonymous says:

    erica thinks it’s stupid because she is stupid. She thinks she is so great. But don’t know anything at all what Yuri is. no one takes your posts or club serious anymore. So you made the club to give attention. But you are too biased against certain characters and series that I happen to like, you totally ignore there feelings. She doesn’t care for all Yuri girls.

    She even has taken out my favourite girl in a known anime from the Yuricon website, she totally ignored her. Because she likes older girls more.

    a Yuri girl~~

  5. If a name drops off “The List” it might have been a technical glitch. I don’t put names there because I like them or not. Send it to me again and I’ll look into it.

    We reviewed Hitohira anyway, again, because whether I like it isn’t the issue.

    I may be stupid. I can hardly comment on that. But I can say, I think I *do* understand Yuri, considering I’m largely responsible for creating the genre over here. :-) I also understand that not everyone agrees with my opinions. It doesn’t bother me much. You might try not letting it bother you, too.

  6. Anonymous says:

    wee I like your fan art erica.
    and i still agree with you that hitohira is stupid. i laught all the time ’cause it was so stupid you had to laugh
    only once i cried but that’s all
    but still got a question to you, erica: do you have an anime list where are all animes with shoujo ai/Yuri connection? I like so watch them, although i also did a list by myselfe…

  7. anon – “The List” on Yuricon lists all the anime and manga series with characters that people believe are Yuri. This is not *my* list. Many people see Yuri where I do not.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hai, Question!
    Why do you call it “Yuri” but not “Shoujo Ai”?
    I thought that the meaning of Yuri means Lesbian relationship which goes a little bit in the hentai section…
    And that Shoujo Ai means only Girls love, which would describe some of the lovin Parts (Maria Sama ga Miteru and so on) better…

  9. The word “shoujo ai” was made up by Americans fans of what is now know as Yaoi or BL, based on 1) a misunderstanding on the Japanese term “shounenai” and 2) their distaste for being seen as liking lesbian stories.

    Now, in Japan, “GL” is being used by publishers, and Yuri is also used by fans to describe stories with lesbian characters ana content.

    Secondly, I chose Yuri because it comes from “Yurizoku” which was coined to describe lesbians. Since “shoujoai ” was coined specifically to distance readers from the lesbian content, I no longer use it. And Yuri, which means “lily” has a nice easily understood image to go with it. :-)

    You can read the history of the word and my choices at http://www.Yuricon.org/essays/whatisYuri.html

  10. Anonymous says:

    Oh my. I didn’t thought that’s SUCH a larg history of those words…
    hmm then i have to overthing some things … O.o lol!
    Oh by the way: Are you german? ’cause i am german and in my class is also a girl whose name is Friedman(n) and i am not sure if you are german or english/us?

  11. Neither side of the family can be traced far enough back to find German ancestry (a lot of Jewish family records were destroyed over the years by various authorities and Jews were often not considered to be “Polish” or “German”) but presumably, yes, there is some German influence in there. The records we do have make me part Romanian, Polish and Hungarian. Typical East European mutt. :-)

  12. Anonymous says:

    lol o.o … sooo many? ^^ I have only Vietnamese Blood inside me, although i live in germany
    oh – by the way:
    Nice to meet you, Erica :D
    *thinking…* how can i sign up here? ^^ want to have news about Yuri :D

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