The second half of Yuri Hime, Volume 9 brings back the incredibly weird and wonderful “Tokimeki Mononoke Gakuen,” with a splash page that is so horrible and distressing that it makes me laugh every time I look at it. It’s hot, Arare, Kiri and Pero comment, because, duh, it’s summer. But that also means it’s time for the summer sea to arrive here at the school for supernatural creature girls! Arare has no idea what that means, but when Pero takes her to look out the window, instead of a forbidding winter sea crashing against the rocks below the school, there’s a veritable tropical paradise. The rest of the chapter is taken up by Arare’s trials as she keeps ripping bikini bottoms in an attempt to hide the proof of her humanity, her belly button. It’s all goofy and creepy fun here at Monster High.
Mori Natsuko’s “Yuri Doujou” advice column takes a look at the continuing stories of some of the folks who wrote in for advice previously. It’s all pretty banal, but heck, love problems *are* banal. ^_^
FINALLY!! In this chapter of “Hatsukoi Shimai” secrets and flings and crushes are flying thick and fast. Teshigawara’s crush on Akiho is made a little plainer for the idiots like me who thought it was on Chika. The mysterious girl who so troubled Teshigawara last issue reappears and sets her a-fuming all over again. Chika and Haruna spend the chapter being all lovey-dovey, sharing baby pictures and making us all ill with their cuteness. But, we learn that Haruna and Akiho do have a terrible secret! Shock! Chika must never find out! Touko-sensei is reminded that her time at Tsunojo is coming to an end, so she hares off to find Akiho in the Library (can I just say something here? I am clearly either a genius, or Japanese artists are plagiarizing the heck out of my fanfic. I wrote Touko and Akiho in the library before there was even a Hatsukoi Shimai manga. More likely, it was so obvious that I and the manga writer just came to the same conclusion. But still, first Hana no Asuka-gumi and now this.) Akiho confides in Touko about her terrible secret, which I will not spoil, because it ain’t all that terrible, really. In return Touko moves in to kiss Akiho, *finally.* Geez. But Akiho pushes herself off and runs away. I’m just glad that Akiho and Touko’s relationship is getting some attention. I really want them to get together, despite the questionable ethics of the situation.
In the last scene Miyu is watching Kirika practice archery. There’s an exchange of words, Miyu goes to run off and as she leaps after her friend/lover to grab her, Kirika drops like a stone to the ground. Gasp! We must wait until October to find out what happens.
Some color pages on Soulphage, an apparently all-girl private school game, Blue Drop, an upcoming anime based on the manga of the same name and more “buy our game!” coverage of the Simoun game.
The second chapter of “Creo of the Crimson Crises” was not as fun as the first. Suou complains about having been placed in an unremovable collar. Creo doesn’t care, a magical mascot creature appears and gives an important message, Creo disappears. Suou’s best friend who has a crush on her tries to remove the collar. They both end up going to Suou’s older sister’s where they find Creo already there. Suou’s sister asks Creo to take care of Suou. Bwa bwa bwaaaaah…. There’s some portentous stuff in there too that I’m sure will be important later on. But Suou’s whining got on my nerves. lol
Mana and Chiyo are two little girls with more than little feelings for one another. They talk around it a bit in Takahashi Mako’s “Hitosubu no Umi.” I didn’t like it enough to bother translating the title.
“Mermaid Line” continues from last issue as Megumi goes out with some poor unsuspecting schlub as a beard for her real feelings, (even though she won’t let him tell anyone that they are going out) while Aoi is now as outcast as Megumi had been for being labeled “rezu.” (“Rezu” or “les” is kind of like lesbo or dyke in English. It’s meant to be understood as a slur in this case.) When her boyfriend makes a casual remark about their relationship, Megumi realizes that she’s lying to him, and herself about her feelings. Aoi finds herself looking at a picture book of the Little Mermaid story and berates herself for her stupidity. Megumi finds her there and complains that in that story both mermaid and prince were really dumb. As Megumi smiles at her, Aoi starts to cry at both of their stupidity. The story will continue next month, I’m interested to see where it goes now.
In Hakamada Mera’s “Kurozukme no Onna no Ko” a little black-haired, black-clothed girl is very overprotective of the woman she lives with – going so far as to drive potential suitors away and rubbing herself all over her friend. When the girl turns out to be a cat, I’m sure plenty of folks who were not me said “awwww.” (I had read a nearly identical story in Carmilla magazine ages ago. I kind of liked that one better, since there was a creepier vibe. The cat/girl was shown as a normal-sized girl, dressed all goth in black, with a collar and doing all the same cat things. It had a SM sort of vibe about it, which worked.) This one works too. And it isn’t a school story. It’s just not my cup of tea.
Hiyori Otsu’s “Proof of Love” is the second teacher crush story (assuming one doesn’t count “Hatsukoi Shimai”) and of the two, the one I like best. A teacher is sitting down having a smoke, when she is approached by a young woman who asks, “do you remember me?” The teacher (who I don’t ever think gets a name) flashes back to five years previously when she entered a classroom to find two girls kissing. One of the two takes off immediately, but the other, third-year student Haseno sticks around. The teacher asks her if she likes the other girl, to which Haseno replies no, that was a “give up” kiss. In the course of the conversation Haseno kisses the teacher, then admits that she likes the teacher…but will not give up. Now, five years later, Haseno is a new student teacher at the school, and she wants an answer to her proposition. :-) The end. More and more I’m coming to like Otsu’s work. She tends to have older characters and even though there are often set in schools and colleges, they are not always same-old retreads of school girl crushes.
In “Apple Day Dream” it’s time to go to watch fireworks and Kaoru dreams of getting Mayu in sexy yukata and having her way with her. She comes closer than usual, but is interrupted by coworkers. At this point I can’t really tell if Mayu is actually uninterested or not, since as a passive-aggressive character her job is to protest all the time. Kaoru, of course, is always so pervtastic that it’s not unreasonable for Mayu to protest. Personally, they exhaust me. ^_^
The last story, “Butterfly 69” is, in my opinion, wonderful. I cannot express how much I enjoyed it. At a private music school for girls, half-Japanese, all-punk bad-girl Maria is pretty outcast, but she doesn’t care. Her love is given to her rock band and to the president of the student council, Ageha. Ageha not only returns her love – and desire – she basks in it. Ageha supports Maria in everything. But when Maria’s band, Butterfly 69, starts to sell out performances and gets a deal with a recording company in the US, she tells Maria that she won’t be going with her, her family is a main sponsor of this school, and she plans on remaining here after graduation. She insists that Maria goes, though, and become the singer she wants to be. Ageha takes Maria’s earring and pierces her own ear with it, then stops talking to Maria at school completely. Maria, suffering in silence, one day overhears a teacher badmouth her; then overhears Ageha’s response, which is to rip the teacher a new orifice. She calls the teacher jealous of Maria’s voice – a voice which could change the world. As a going away present, Maria’s band hijacks the senior concert and does a live performance, where Maria sings her heart out, hoping that Ageha will hear her message of love. She does. In the final few pages, the school is in an uproar – the massively famous lead singer of the number one band Butterfly 69 is at the school! Ageha comes out of the school to find Maria standing in front of a Porsche in the parking lot. In front of everyone, she launches herself into Maria’s arms for a passionate welcome home kiss. A perfect end to a great story and a really strong ending to the book. While the art is in no way clean, the energy it conveys to the characters is a perfect fit. I’ve liked both the Yuri Hime stories by Natsuneko and look forward to more.
As always, while not everything was to my taste, I liked well over half of the 300+ pages and about a third I really liked or loved. So, a strong thumbs up from for Yuri Hime 9!