Ladies, let’s talk about when you first fell in love with another woman. Was it a friend? A teacher? A neighbor? Or was it your best friend – that person you always wanted to be with, who made you laugh the hardest and with whom you had some much fun that you never wanted to go home?
Remember the moment when it became something more? When you realized that you wanted to be with her when you were apart, but when you were together, you were so keyed up that you wanted to throw up. When you laid there at night thinking about her, wondering what the hell were you doing, thinking about her all the time?
In Girl Friends, Volume 2, Morinaga Milk absolutely *nails* the exact level of self-inflicted torture of being >this< close to the person you want, and can’t have. Mari is torturing herself over the kiss from last volume. She’s sure that if Ah-ko finds out, she’ll repudiate her. After days of barely being able to be in Ah-ko’s presence, Mari finally admits to the kiss. Ah-ko laughs it off as just something girls do sometimes. Mari’s relieved, but in her heart, she knows that she and Ah-ko aren’t speaking the same language.
A distraction from Mari’s flagellation comes in the form of an old schoolmate who, it turns out in a giant handwave from the plot complication gods, always liked Mari. He asks her out and, pleased to have someone else to focus her attention on, she agrees. A-ko, suspecting something is up, invites Mari over to play dress up, do her makeup and other girly things, in preparation for her big date. Almost immediately, A-ko realizes that Mari’s lukearm feelings for this boy are unfair to both parties. A-ko pushes the issue and Mari admits to liking someone else. A-ko insists that Mari has to tell that person – right away! Mari pushes A-ko back and kisses her, explaining that her feelings can never be returned.
Mari leaves A-ko sitting alone in her room, dealing with this sudden and forceful comprehension of her friend’s emotions. The volume also includes two “extra” chapters, in which we get sexy cosplay and teacher rumor service. ^_^
So, behind the girly shopping, clothes, hair, makeup, nails, etc, this story takes a turn for the realistic. In fact, Mari’s feelings are some of the most true-to-life I have ever seen regarding a first same-sex love in a manga. It might seem to many that the manga is moving slowly, but I say that this is a good thing for two reasons – one, we can see an honest look at the evolution of a girl’s feelings. (When you are falling in love for the first time, with your best, same-sex friend no less, you’re far more likely to spend weeks trying to assimilate these new feelings before ever even thinking of it as love, much less fantasizing about dragging them right off to bed.) Two, it means that there’s more volumes to come.
So few Yuri manga go to three volumes, much less longer; it’s nice to see something that’s taking the slow route to conclusion.
Art – 8
Story – 6
Characters – 7
Yuri – 7
Service – 5
Overall – 7
All in all, a surprisingly decent tale behind all the frills and sparkly girly stuff….