This past summer, Ichijinsha, publisher of Yuri Hime, launched a new line of light novels under the imprint “Iris.” Ostensibly written for women, this imprint included two “Yuri” novels. In the enclosed catalog flyer, .(period), written by Hozuki Luli and illustrated by Kurogane Kenn, is described as “Yuri and gun-action.” I’m glad they labeled it as Yuri, because without that hint, you might not notice.
In fact, the entire book reads *exactly* like a fanfic. Enough detail to get away with the plot, predictable and not very memorable. There’s not much service and it definitely doesn’t have the level of gun obsession that filled the pages of Vanilla. The details on the Italian police system and Mafia were wafer thin, and I don’t know if using “cute” Glocks is really a girl thing, but maybe that’s just me. ^_^;
The story follows the adventures of police investigator Bianca Stradella and gun for hire Nicola (can’t remember her family name at the moment…) as they try to take out the Brancatti family. The Mafia, we learn, killed Bianca’s parents, so she has a life-long grudge, while Nicola, it turns out, is the daughter of a mafia princess. Just like oil and water, fire and ice, Ernie and Bert, the two set out to defeat the bad guys. To make sure we really *hate* the bad guys, they “adopt” a bunch of ten year old girls to use in snuff films and other horrors, so we can feel righteously indignant and satisfied when we kill them.
As investigators, Bianca and Nicola leave something to be desired. In one scene they are literally walking around a town asking for “a guy named Antonio, who knows a priest in Rome named Father Bernino.” /snort/
The chemistry between Bianca and Nicola is entirely manufactured through the most trite of means. They share a bed because it’s cold, they live through gunfights and motorcycle chases and, so, they grow closer, but not really. When they have the required downtime scene in which “affectionate moment D” is called for, it is duly supplied.
The end of the book contains so many clichés that, even when I could not actually read every single kanji, I knew *exactly* what was happening and what was being said. ^_^ It was satisfyingly like every movie/NCIS episode/book/anime ever. It got to the point towards the end that I started playing a “predict the next scene” game with myself. “Now, we’ll have the “final betrayal” scene in which Bianca learns the unpalatable truth about Nicola. Then we’ll have the scene where she learns that the police were in the Mafia’s pockets all along.” ^_^
Everything played out as neatly as in a Michael Douglas movie, with no deviations from script. And then the end came. And I started to laugh. Having sold her soul and her ideals to regain Nicola, we turn to a lonely room where we watch Nicola sit alone with her memories of Bianca. There is a knock on the door, and these guys from a furniture moving company start bringing a huge red sofa into the room. “I didn’t order this!” Nicola protests, but joke’s on her, it’s just Bianca. Wow, they didn’t even go on two dates – just one mission to defeat the Mafia – and Bianca’s moving all her shit in. ^_^
In terms of Yuri, there is some service of the mild kind – the aforementioned sharing a bed, and “gee, you smell nice” kind of stuff. A few touches and one sort-of sexually tense scene that is aborted before we get more than a quick peck on the cheek. But before the end, Nicola confesses that she loves Bianca to her on tape and seperately, Bianca coming to the realization that she loves Nicola.
The only lesbian thing about the book is the move-in scene at the end. ^_^
Art – 4 They could not have picked a less appropriate artist for this book. I like Kurogane’s stuff just fine but, Bianca’s supposed to be 25, not 12.
Story – 6 It wasn’t terrible and it wasn’t good. It *was* too long.
Characters – 6 There wasn’t a single original thing about them, but that’s okay.
Yuri – 5 Like I said, I’m glad they told us that it was a Yuri novel.
Service – 3 For all that there’s a shared bed and maid outfits, there’s not much service.
Overall – 6 (but this, like all my reviews, is only my opinion – the review on Amazon JP gives it a 5 out of 5 stars, so there you go. The art is so *beautiful* and the writing is so *wonderful.* The reviewer was positively gushing. ^_^; I found it to be predictable, but entertaining.)
Do you that everyone in Italy eats nothing but pizza and pannini and drinks nothing but cappuccino?