Yuri Manga: Yuri Hime S, Volume 8

May 13th, 2009

It’s been two full years of Yuri Hime S (コミック百合姫S (エス)) now and, as I sit here re-reading this volume, I find that it is definitely showing signs of maturity. Relative maturity, at least. The propensity for the stories to include the most typical forms of service hasn’t gone away. We are still subjected to swarms of girls in uniforms, maid outfits, bloomers (long gone in the real world, but unfortunately lodged firmly in the minds of fanboys) and of course, an obsession with bathing.

Before I continue this review, my wife reminds me to mention that we saw some pictures of Takarazuka girls, though. They were part of a “women’s work in Japan” article. Very interesting.

Let’s talk perky-breasted 2-dimensional girls. Let’s talk Yuri Hime S Volume 8.

The cover is once again graced by two of the characters from “Honey Crush,” a story I wish I liked more than I do. I don’t hate it, but I wish I could love it. I feel like it has potential, but it isn’t allowed to move out of it’s own teeny-tiny frame.

Yoshitomi Akihito hits the pinnacle of his career with yet another story about two girls sweating, wearing bathing suits and eventually kissing in “Natsu no Hajimari.” Fans of his bathing-suit fetish will absolutely enjoy this iteration of it as they have so many of the others.

“Amatsubu Harmonia” tells the somewhat unrealistic, yet touching story of Yuuka, the “other daughter” who is left alone most of the time, and her completely sociopathic attachment to a waif she meets in the rain. The fact that she and the waif end up together is meant to be interpretated as a good thing. :-)

Nina reminisces about how alone she is and about the death of her mother in “Flower Flower.” Shuu once again is a really, really nice gal that Nina edges ever closer to one day being worthy of.

I give in. “Yuru Yuri” is like a 4-koma that’s drawn wrong. Anyway, wacky things happen – mostly in the mind of the Miu-like Kyouko. Take her out of the story and it’s basically about a bunch of girls doing their homework.

Madoka is contemplating suicide in “Honey Crush.” Having been betrayed by her love, her spirit has vacated her body – with the result that she can now see her stalker ghost. But ghost and Kyouko convince Madoka to live on and so she does – only now she can’t see the ghost who loves her anymore.

Uso Kurata skims the line of Yuri and every other possible relationship between females in “Linkage.” (It took me longer to figure out that title than you’d probably expect. lol) Rica Rozenberg is a genius scientist, with a painful past. She is convinced that she can program emotions into her robots and, with the creation of Elder, she has succeeded. But her success causes a crisis and Elder’s system fails. It’s only through the power of love that El is saved. If this ran not in a Yuri magazine, I’d see it more as mother/daughter big/sister/little sister thing, but whatever. It was cute.

“Minus Literacy” comes to a climax, when Matsudaira and the gang learn that a crisis has occurred at the “organization” Miharu left them for. The estate is taken over and we are all very shocked to find that the person who has taken control of Matsudaira’s debt is…Miharu. Shocked I say. ;-)

The position of student council president is an important one, but sometimes, there are needs that reside in a heart that cannot be expressed through churning, grinding paperwork. Or so I gather from “Omoi wo Mukou,” in which Saori convinces Yuki to abandon her work for a day and act out a play between the two of them. They take the stage with – and for – each other, for this once.

As usual, I’m skipping “Love Cubic” but there’s a love complication somewhere in between the usual stuff.

“Otome Kikan Gretel” was a chapter filled with egregious nudity, bathing, the implication of a 3-way relationship between the other group (not Yuu’s) and an admission by Yuu that she quite likes soft breasts. Well…duh… Nonetheless, it made me laugh. I have *no* idea why. :-)

Crisis in “Casseopiea Dolce!” Anna is ever closer to maybe, perhaps, one day confessing some small portion of her feelings to Elza-sensei, but a newcomer shows up on the scene to confuse things. Karen, who makes the glass eyes used by the dollmaker, decides she’s fallen in love at first sight with Anna. A timely and oh-so-realistic slip in the bathroom gives Anna a chance to convey her feelings in the most basic way. She kisses Elza, then runs away passive-aggressively.

“C de Onegai” is the same old schoolgirl story with hilarious love triangle hijinks, centering around a misunderstanding of the A,B and C designations used for sexual activity. (Analogous to our first, second and third base.) Kaede confessed her feelings for Meru three days ago, but has not gotten a response. When she does, it’s, “let’s take it from C,” which Meru thinks stands for “chuu” – i.e., a kiss. Things become complicated when Kaede passes a chuu onto Meru, but finds her best friend Aida giving her a chuu, too.

Suzuki-san remains bad with dogs and Saori collapses in another pulse-pounding chapter of “Konohana Link.” I keep waiting for anything to tie together, but nope – not so far!

Miduki Maya provides a silly look at the line between roleplay and delusion in “Hakushaku no Okinihairi.” The “Count” takes a great deal of interest in one of the first-years, and it turns out that, despite the Dracula roleplay, she actually *is* interested in the first-year. No, really.

Fukukaichou has seen her world crumble and now she sits, alone, crying at her own stupid feelings when Kaichou walks in on her. “Kaichou and Fukukaichou” face a crisis, as Kaichou asks what’s wrong and refuses to accept the usual, “nothing” response. There’s not nothing wrong, she says, if you’re sitting here alone, crying. Fukukaichou, beyond the end of her endurance, leans forward and kisses Kaichou and immediately knows she’s ruined everything. Despite myself – despite the fact that I know what Kaichou’s reaction is going to be – I’m actually looking forward to the next chapter of this.

And last, Natsuneko tells the story of a miraculous meeting of two women who have had their hearts broken and are now contemplating suicide in “Yaneura no Kiseki.” I won’t give away the twist in the story, but it was snort-worthy.

So, looking back at it, this was probably the most enjoyable volume of YHS so far. Sure, there’s still a ton of service that does not serve me, particularly and a somewhat tiresome lack of adult women who like other adult women, but hey, that’s why I publish Yuri Monogatari. For a maid-, schoolgirl-, bathing suit-, bath-filled rubbish magazine, it was quite enjoyable. :-)

Overall – 8

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