Hiyori Otsu leads the magazine off with another installment of “Clover,” her series of Girls Love one-shots. In this chapter Kazuyo met Ichige when they were very little and has had a thing for her ever since. As neighbors they are as close as sisters, and Kazuyo has watched passively as Ichige follows the usual path of wanting to be a wife, because it’s too hard to think of something else to do. But when Ichige’s boyfriend two-times her, Kazuyo’s had enough and tells Ichige to get *mad,* that she would never do that to Ichige, because she likes her. Ichige accepts the feelings, but does not return them. She’s happy enough with the two of them just being together. The first collected volume of Clover is slated to come out in October – I’ll be sure to get that one. I quite like Hiyori’s work.
In “Epitaph” both Towa and Ash are struggling with the feelings that they have for one another, an issue compounded by the Postal Officer’s harrassment of Towa, and Esca and Shiki’s overtly love-love relationship. When Towa, running away from the office in a fit of misplaced jealousy, sees Shiki and Esca kissing, she comes to realize that what she feels for Ash is love. And we see that the feeling is returned. So what was passing for the plot has been tossed overboard at last for an extended Goth-Loli fashion show and talking heads, which is where this series was always headed anyway. lol
The Yuri essay discusses a story I’m entirely unfamilar with – “The Girl with the Alto Voice.” Something for me to track down!
Hiyori and Shiho have decided to die together in “Yuri Kokorochuu.” The story looks back at the beginning of their relationship, when Hiyori was the brunt of everyone’s bullying, and how Shiho stepped in to defend her, clean her up, get her hair cut, new glasses and generally transform her. Shiho realizes that she’s falling in love with Hiyori, and when they kiss, Hiyori admits to returning the feeling. But as they make love, they are discovered by Shiho’s mother. The next day at school, rumors are rampant and Shiho becomes the brunt of everyone’s nasty comments. She decides to die, but Hiyori, who agrees, would prefer to live, since it was Shiho who saved her life and made her want to be alive. Each has gone to the Black Cat shop and despite their stated desire to die, they end up together, walking off hand in hand to face whatever the future might hold. In the end, they agree, that if they die, they can’t continue where they left off in bed. This series is drawn by Shinonome Mizuo, who did the art for Hatuskoi Shimai. The only reason I mention this, is that Hiyori looks very much like Teshigawara Chiyori and I think that she kind of wanted to end that story in a better place. lol
Things are heating up in “Ame-iro Kouchakan Kandan” as Sarasa silently stews about this “friend” of Seriho’s, Sumire. Don’t you want to know about this Sumire, Haru asks. And even thoough Sarasa says no, she clearly does. Seriho hears the end of the conversation, and says that Sumire’s an old friend from school. Oho – an old girlfriend, Hinoko says. No, although, yes, Sumire does go out with women, they were just friends. Now Sarasa is really worked up – glad to hear that they were just friends, but…goes out with women? Sarasa asks Seriho if she’s busy after the shop closes, but denies she meant it the way Hinoko and Haru think she meant it. Seriho says that she also thought she meant it that way ~ To be continued and damnation why is this magazine quarterly?!? I so need my infusion of Seriho and Sarasa to be more frequent than that.
*Speaking* of heating up, we arrive at the penultimate chapter of “Strawberry Shake Sweet” as Saeki is sweating bullets about what might have happened between Ran and Julia on vacation. Photos of their onstage kiss are all over the tabloids (still looking pretty hot, I have to say.) Julia and Ran admit to having kissed, but not much more, and Saeki looks slightly relieved when Zlay randomly inserts themselves and sexually harrassed Kaoru into the mix. Shadow women lurk in the background, promising dire things, as Julia and Ran go out together holding hands. As Julia asks about a kiss, Ran’s phone rings…the caller name says “Mama.” What will happen in the last chapter? Will they be broken up forever or will it last two pages and they’ll live happily ever after? Stay tuned for the October issue!
It’s hot as hell in “Tokimeki Mononoke Gakuen” but Arare and Pero decide to go hang out with the snow demon, only to find her swamped by everyone. Rokurokubi-sensei saves her and brings her to her own room, which has air conditioning. Finding her arms full of a young, nubile snow demon, they both blush mightily and suggestively. Will inappropriate relations occur in the world of the Yokai – I kind of hope so. Creepy, huh? lol
Creo decides that if she’s going to protect Suou she has to attend school. She is challenged to a series of idiotic whimsical battles that she loses, but wins anyway.
Chi-Ran’s newest chapter almost actually deals with lesbian identity. Almost. In “Girls Love XXX” Mayu hasn’t really found anyone she really likes enough to go out with, but when Madoka asks her out, she says yes. Having gained what she thought she wanted, Madoka shys away from Mayu’s interest in being physically affectionate. At last she admits that the idea of going out with another girl is too much for her to bear, but Mayu’s affection and desire breaks through the wall and Madoka finds herself willing to keep this love alive.
“The Dream Sleeping Beauty was Watching” is a surprisingly violent entry by artist Yotsuhara Furiko. It involves the two leading actresses, the play they are in and their true feelings. And a moustache.
Which brings me to halfway in this volume and a good place to stop. I’ll finish this up in part 2!