Thanks and gratitude go out to Eric P. who sponsored today’s review!
My first encounter with the character and story that would eventually become First Love Sisters, was about 4 years ago, when Yuri Shimai magazine put out the first Koi Shimai Drama CD. At the time, a “Yuri Drama CD” was a pretty rare get and for that alone, I was happy to have it. The story of that first Drama CD – which predates the manga – was, as I put it, “melodramatic and predictable.” But don’t get me wrong – it’s not at all bad. As I mentioned in my review (and history of the series, which had a slightly cubist origin) of the Japanese edition, Hatsukoi Shimai Volume 1, the story is a tad tame, but was still better than a lot of junk out there. :-)
First Love Sisters Volume 1 is pretty much Marimite with the romance made slightly more explicit and characters who are not nearly as 3-dimensional. But you know – it’s still a sweet enough story for what it is. The winner of the series in every version is Chika, for coming right out and saying that she loves Haruna, forcing Haruna’s whole worldview to change. As Yumi clones go, Chika’s a pretty good one. ^_^
Which brings us to the Seven Seas edition of First Love Sisters. As always, they do a fabulous job on translation and adaptation. Little things please me, like Akiko’s usage of “onee-sama” at school and “onee-chan” at home, and the fact that the school’s nickname, Tsunojyo, isn’t lost. (Because, let’s face it, Tsunokamizaka Jyoshikou is a mouthful. ^_^)
Color pages are reproduced in color – always a nice touch. The color is a little anemic and there’s some moire patterns in the background, but it still looks nice. Comparatively to the original Japanese edition, the background tones reproduce a little roughly – in particular, Akiho’s hair looks a little weird. But if you aren’t comparing with Hatsukoi Shimai, then you won’t have to worry. It looks plenty good.
The story is still another “schoolgirls in love” story, but there’s no doubt about the intensity or sincerity of the emotion. And going forward into the next volume, we’ll see that chaste embraces are not the end-all-be-all of this relationship, which is a tremendous relief. (The future volumes of this manga make my fanfic for the series obsolete, but I don’t care at all. ^_^)
The final pages of the book include some 4-panel comics, that were originally under the dustcover, a preview of volume 2 (Touko-sensei!) and a nice little preview of the English-language edition of Voiceful, another Yuri Hime collection.
Art – 7
Story – 7
Characters – 7
Yuri – 8
Series – 0
Overall – 7
As the first of Seven Seas’ adaptations of a Yuri Hime collection for their Strawberry imprint, and with their continued quality in translation and reproduction, I definitely recommend First Love Sisters for folks looking for decent Yuri.