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.
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. :-)