While I gladly lined up for all of the first round of Yuri Hime Comics, the second round has been a little less delightful. Of the six or so releases, I’ve only purchased three: Hatsukoi Shimai, Volume 2, Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu and the subject of today’s review, Kawaii Anata by Hiyori Otsu.
(If you are interested in any of the collections that I will not review, use these links to get yourself your own copy from Amazon Japan, and by all means, feel free to send me your review as a Guest reviewer! Apple Day Dream, Otome Cake, Sunset Prince and Dawn Princess, Nanami and Misuzu, Volume 1.)
It took me a while to realize that I consistently liked Otsu’s work. None of her stories are “Oh my god that’s brilliant!” They tend to be more on the order of, “That was pleasant.” So it wasn’t until we had had about 4 or 5 stories that I realized that I just liked the author, period.
Kawaii Anata is named after the story of the same name, about a boyish girl in an all-girl’s school who is given the role of the Prince to play for the school festival, as expected. The girl she likes volunteers to play the Princess, and in the course of their rehearsals together, it is the Princess who turns out to rescue the Prince, from her own self-loathing and the careless, not ill-meant, but still damaging teasing from the other girls.
The book begins with “Maple Love” which follows the meeting and wooing of Satonaka Kaede by Miyaji Erika. It’s probably the first story I really took note of, because the characters are in college and it’s not a typical “first crush” story. Erika calmly announces that she prefers girls, to which Kaede replies that she doesn’t care. Let’s test that, Erika says and kisses Kaede, who slaps her. Erika retreats laughingly to being a friend, but their relationship progresses anyway. The only down side to this story is the bad non-joke at the end. Rimshot, please.
“Love Letter” is slightly more bitter than sweet story about a girl realizing what her feelings are, and how much she will never get what she wants, no matter how much she tries to look and act like the guy her best friend likes. The redeeming quality of this story is that while yes, a heart breaks, it breaks quietly and in private and she moves on with no outrageous and useless drama.
“Hoshizora Cycling” was probably the first Otsu story to appear in Yuri Hime. Or, if it isn’t, it was one of the early ones. A transfer student who is not strong physically gets bicycle rides to school from another girl. They grow closer as time passes. One night, they find themselves wishing on a star, but when Mako confesses that her wish was for Momo to like her, Momo responds by bopping her on the head, because…duh, she already does.
Another love triangle leaves our protagonist in “Fuyu-iro omoi” out of the running, but this time, all three are women. Shizuka knows she’s lost before she’s started, but is still there for her sempai when *her* heart takes a beating. And in the final story, “Kokoro Bento,” Shizuka’s feeling for her classmate Izumi now strengthen, and this time, they may just be returned. We all know that the way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach, after all. (Well, it is to mine, anyway.)
All of Otsu’s art is crisp, clean, easy to follow and simple. If you like Aoi Hana by Shimura Takako, you’ll probably like Kawaii Anata It has a similar art style (in a broad, general sense) and a similar lack of screaming hysterics, even when the story includes tears. Let’s call it “not shrill.” In any case…I like it.
Art – 8
Stories – variable, but they average at about 7
Characters – ditto, 7
Yuri – 7
Service – 1
Overall – 8
Nothing paradigm shifting, but there’s a few fine cut gems in the job lot, if you know what I mean.