Yuri Hime, Volume 10 comes in at a bulky 400 pages. Wow. Despite that, I’m going to try and review it in one post, because I have a gigantic backlog of things to review and only a week before I go away and don’t care for a while. So, let’s see if I can keep the story synopses short and sweet. (But not alliterative, because that would be annoying.)
To begin with, this volume comes with a lovely clear file with the cover picture of Seriho and Sarasa (in tie, notably designed by Alice Quartet. AQ is another Fujieda series about five clothing designers. Yes, five.) Very nice.
The volume starts out with “Clover” the beginning of a new series by Hiyori Otsu; a tale of four sisters, a transfer student, an embarrassing situation and whimsical desire to ride on the luggage rack of a subway car. Thumbs up as always from me for Otsu’s art and characters.
“Arcadia” is a story of love between Yui-chan, a typical schoolgirl and Nanako, a wandering spirit that loves her. There was nothing particularly stand out about this, nor was it in any way horrible. Sweet and forgettable.
Ash and Towa play out two parts of the same story in “Epitaph,” in which chance(?) encounters bring a mother and daughter together.
Miura Shion’s Yuri essay covered a story I had never heard of – “Honey Honey-Pie” from a collection called “So Long.” I’ve got it in my Amazon JP cart now.
“Apple Day Dream” continues as Kaoru attempts to find the guts she needs to tell Mayu how she feels, while Mayu takes the opportunity on their date to explain that she is neither tsundere or an ice queen – it’s just in her nature to be that way. I almost liked this chapter. The clothes were nice, at least. (This is meant to be ironic, as the story *is* about clothing designers.)
The newest chapter of “Cleo the Crimson Crises” (still a great title) follows Suo’s friend Momo as she’s approached, glomped and “befriended” by newcomer Kiki (whose name screams “watch out – bad thing lives here!) while Cleo hugs Suo in lots of interesting poses. I keep waiting for something to happen, but the art is such a train wreck, I’m not sure I’ll notice when it does. ^_^
I was surprised to find that Kazuma Kowo’s story was continued from last volume in “Tsumasamadachi October.” Nanao meets Mastumoto-sensei by chance and when the teacher’s friends make fun of them, implying a crush, Nanao is fast to deny it. But Mastumoto is just as fast to say that she’s damn sexy and she can prove it. Nanao is left with a drunken teacher sleeping it off on the sofa. Personally, I’d write on her face or something. lol I liked this story for reasons I can’t quantify. I just liked it.
Chi-Ran has a story in which two girls are in love and they kiss. Brilliant! “Himitsu Shoujo” is pretty much like everything else she does.
One of my top three stories in the book, “20 musume x 30 otome” (The 20 year old girl and the 30 year old virgin) by Morishima Akiko follows the trials and tribulations of 30-year old art teacher Keiko, when she agrees to go out with her 20-year old student Emi. Blinded by Emi’s shinyness and youth, Keiko comes to face with lots of issues she didn’t know she had. It’s cute, it’s about grownups and it’s got a sweet ending.
Takahashi Mako once again explores the world of neurotic Yuri in “Kumo no Ito”. It was yuck – creepy horrible kids doing creepy horrible things, but hey, it’s LOVE! Gah.
“Strawberry Shake” was brilliance. Best chapter yet. Hayashiya Shizuru’s art is really peaking. Love love love, is all about as Julia and Ran learn what Zlay band lead Ryou wanted with them after all. And once they clear the level of dealing with the clothes – which were great, btw – they run into the big boss. They are being asked to kiss on stage. This precipitates a major crisis and an even more major confession. It was a terrific chapter from beginning to end. It was worth getting the book just for this.
But, since we *have* the book already, we also ought to enjoy “Ameiro Kouchkan Kandan” by Fujieda Miyabi. Sarasa barely notes the fun of the school trip, so focused is she on things at home. The other girls aren’t stupid – they recognize love when they see it, but Sarasa is still mortified when Haru fills them in on the fact that it’s someone older. Meanwhile, at the tea shop, two customers ask Seriho if she misses Sarasa, ’cause she seems out of it. Seriho agrees that when Sarasa’s not around, she let’s things slide, but the two women, who admit to having been together for 15 years ,say they they weren’t talking about the shop. When Sarasa returns, Seriho has a suprising (and happy-making) question for her. Wonderful chapter. Wonderful story. I love Fujieda’s ability to do Yuri with high moe content that is neither fetishy, nor shallow.
Ryounosuke tells us a bit about himself, and his life, before he considered becoming a woman in “Mermaid Line.” He tells Mayumi that he’s considering beginning hormone therapy, but has some issues – and obviously, so does Mayumi. Will this bring them closer or break them up? You’ll have to read the chapter to find out.^_^ I like how this story is dealing with deeper feelings, and confusions and worldviews, without being strident.
“Nanami to Isuzu” remains wacky without being funny. I’ll be honest, I barely skimmed this one. If you want to tell everyone how it went, feel free to do so in the comments field. ^_^
Plot complications fall thick and fast, as we get a load of tragic Yuri backstory for Sawacchi in “Aoi Shiro.” Luckily, as quickly as she burdens us with her past, she sheds it in the face of Momo’s cheerfulness, until…gasp! A relic of the past comes back! Shock! Confusion! I found this to be a realllly long chapter for some reason. It wasn’t bad, but it dragged. Maybe half a dozen plot complications at once was a bit too much.
“Tokimeki Mononoke Gakuen” reaches a new level of bizarre as Arare is confronted by her classmates who are distressed at the idea of running a marathon. “If you’re a rain fairy, make it rain,” they say. Sadly, her advice turns them into a room full of teruterubozu, thus practically guaranteeing a beautiful day and a weird-ass end to the chapter. Pun intended.
Morishima Akiko weighs in again, this time with the next droolly-faced entry of “Yuri x Yuri Mimasen.” This time she and her editor take a break from creating Yuri, to attend (and throw lots of cash at) the all-Yuri doujinshi event, “Maiden’s Garden.” Jealous? Who, me? Grrrrrr.
Drama scatters like falling leaves in “Hatsukoi Shimai,” where Miyu and Kirika share memories of themselves as children and face a crisis in which Miyu, who has been given the role of the Princess for the school play (again) runs away form the Drama Club. She is sick to death of playing princesses and wants to do something else, but when she expressed this, she seen as being too big for her britches. She resolves her angst by deciding to play a very tomboyish princess. Akiko learns that Touko-sensei’s time at the school is coming to an end (nooooooo!) and Teshigawara gets extra grumpy to drive of the cute younger girl who’s been hanging around her. Haruna and Chika plan an afternoon of relaxation in their secret place; Chika runs off to get drinks when out of her past comes Haruna’s evil plot complication, erm, sempai. As always, I really like this. But if Touko-sensei and Akiho don’t get together soon, I may be forced to pout.
Hakamada Mera’s “Ame to Hatsukoi” follows the usual progression of rain=angst, sharing umbrella=love, to a first kiss that threatens to become a lot of kisses. Yukari-chan runs away into the rain, terrified of her desire, but Ebi-chan follows with an umbrella of love and more kisses.
Good volume? Yes. Absolutely. Percentage-wise, there was significantly more I loved than any other volume previously. I figure if there’s three stories I really like, then a magazine’s doing good – this one had 7. And the clear file. Yay.
I really wish this magazine would go monthly, but I don’t know how they’d do it. The artists already have brutal schedules.
Overall – 8
If you’re not getting this magazine, then you *are* missing some of the best Yuri out there. Sure, scanlations are nice for you, but I want the artists to be able to pay their bills. Buy it.