Hanjuku Joshi (Half-baked Woman) is one of two collections of stories that were distributed by Yuri Hime magazine, as part of their cell phone service in Japan. Kinda neat, huh?
You know how it is. Whatever kind of body/hair/face you have, you want something else. And Yae is no different. She’s got a cute, curvaceous, feminine body, and soft, fluffy hair. She likes sewing. She’s as girly as a girl could be – and she hates it. Which is why its so vexing to be told how feminine she is all time. And even more so when tall, athletic, Chitose – who is everything Yae wishes she was, including not at all self-conscious about her body – tells her so.
Yae is still reeling from the difference from her previous co-ed schools in regards to relations between students, so she’s not really ready for the feelings she’s having for Chitose. And she’s totally not ready for Chitose to return them. And, just to make it all that much more awkward and painful, she’s not definitely not up to being teased by Hanashima Mari, the cool, beautiful upperclassman who mocks Yae and Chitose for “playing” at love, calling them “half-baked women”, right before she skips class to hit a hotel with her current beau. When, later that day, they stumble across Mari and their female homeroom teacher in a compromising position in the library, everything gets even more complicated than before.
In the end, the story is about not one, but two love relationships, about healing old wounds and finding one’s self.
On the Yuricon Mailing List, I stated that I thought that this book might well be the most perfect “Yuri” manga I’d ever seen. It’s not really a story of anyone coming out – there is some sense of identity, but not so much that it changes the story to a lesbian one. No, the focus here is on “Yuri,” in the sense of lesbian content, not lesbian identity, a classic school setting and first love…and all that “pure” and “innocent” love stuff that fanboys love so much. (Although, for people who like their Yuri “pure” and “innocent” no one ever seems to object when they end up sleeping together.)
Art – 8
Story – 7
Characters – 9
Yuri – 9
Service – 6
Overall – 9
Hanjuku Joshi was not my absolute favorite collection from this last batch of Yuri Hime manga, but it was very enjoyable. I always enjoy Morishima’s work, and always look forward to the next one.