Yuri Manga: Otome Cake

February 25th, 2008

Takahashi Mako’s Otome Cake is a very good example of the editor’s craft. Many writers and artists don’t really understand the need for an editor – their work should stand on its own merit, and who does this talentless ass think they are, anyway? ^_^; The editor for this volume was no ass, I can tell you that.

If you have been keeping up on my reviews of Yuri Shimai and Yuri Hime magazines, you’ll be aware of the fact that I have not ever been a fan of Takahashi’s work. The stories are filled with too many things I don’t like, for me to be able to see past them. The characters tend to look younger than their already too-young years, they are often suffering from mental illness, overtly or implicitly, they look like abused street rats and act like kids in war zones.

In short – creepy, violent, loli, with a light dash of Yuri for flavoring. (Not at *all* to my taste. I prefer my Yuri full-bodied and mature.)

However, Otome Cake isn’t bad. Somehow, the editor for this volume pulled out the least horrible of Takahashi’s stories, connected them with the thinnest possible thread of a theme on the connecting pages, and lo and behold, you have a collection that wasn’t bad, considering.

The cover has a gaggle of girls who all look like Charles Addams’ characters wielding a knife over a poor innocent cake. The dead eyes really help. ^_^

There’s nothing deep here – Yuri tends to be “I love her” and that’s about it, with the occasional kiss. Nothing after the happily ever afters – and not always happily ever after, in fact. The stories deal with mostly failed, first or unrequited loves, with a few exceptions, but the editor has chosen wisely and well, and the overall impression of the book isn’t as heavy and dark as Takahashi’s stories sometimes feel. The final story really helps – a light, cute story about two girls, a cake and a kiss on the school roof. It leaves us, if you will, with a pleasant taste in our mouths.

Ratings:

Art – It’s not really *bad*, but it makes me feel icky – 6
Story – 6
Yuri – 5
Service – 5

Overall – 6

Honestly, the thing I liked best was the cake being eaten in the pages separating the stories. :-)

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5 Responses

  1. basic.syntax says:

    Just looking at the cover picture, the somewhat sad, tired faces remind me of Super Dollfie.

  2. Anonymous says:

    As for me, stories by Takahasi Mako-sensei are really great. And really mature. Maybe they’re rather hard to understand, maybe they’re too…mmm…japanese. That’s a pity that you don’t like neither Takahasi-sensei’s stories nor Hakamada Mera-sensei’s stories. They deal with many serious and obscure points of psychology of japanese /women/.

  3. I understand the stories – that doesn’t mean I enjoy them. And, in both cases the art is unappealing to me.

    I can’t read a story about elementary school children as “mature” but again, everyone’s opinion differs. In this case, you obviously like the very things that put me off. :-)

  4. Anonymous says:

    umm) sorry)
    I don’t perceive the characters of these stories as elementary schoolkids. Almost all of them are at least highschoolers )) some of them are elderly ppl ^^. Yeah the art buggers me sometimes, but I try to extrapolate (:wonders if it’s the right word:) the image in my mind. I have to do it really often though :) in order to enjoy my favourite shows (for ex. SIMOUN… designs of Nevirilu, Froe, Limone urgh -__-). In fact i like mature design – like KURAU, RED GARDEN for anime and CLAYMORE, GUNJYOU for manga, but you don’t get them often.
    -__-
    You see, I don’t try to force my opinion on you or smth. I’m just wondering: i’m your devoted reader and my opinions usually correspond with yours…
    Maybe I’m just closer to teh dark side ^^

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