The 16th Volume of Comic Yuri Hime (コミック百合姫) starts off with a big “Ame-iro Kouchakan Kandan” presence. Sarasa, Seriho and two new characters, Mana-chan and Shiko, adorn the cover. Inside the cover is the “Pink Princess” Drama CD in which we are introduced to Manako and Shiko.
This is followed by something I do not particularly care for. There is a thing that Japanese seiyuu do, to play with the images of their characters and as a form of service, where they pose or imply Yuri between them and the other actress(es) who voice characters in the same show/CD. It’s pretty popular among fans, there’s even blogs that track this fake lesbian coupling among seiyuu…but it really kinda squicks me. They aren’t a couple, and they don’t look like they even want to touch each other. It strikes me as icky, not cute. Nonetheless, those kinds of pictures accompany completely banal interviews with the voice actresses of “Pink Princess,” and more ads for the delayed first volume of Ame-iro Kouchakan Kandan with or without Drama CD extra.
A GIGANTIC two-page spread with GIGANTIC characters frenetically announces the return of Zaou Taishi and Eiki Eiki to the pages and cover of the next volume of Yuri Hime.
And then, for variety, we get the next chapter of “Ame-iro Kouchakan Kandan.” :-) Seriho has told Sarasa about Sumire, a school friend who is, indeed, a woman who loves women, but who was not her lover. Sumire arrives early and gets to tease both Sarasa and Seriho in turn. More importantly, she gets to see the two of them interact and not surprisingly sees what neither of them can, that they are in love. After the shop closes for the night, Sumire lays it out to a genuinely amazed Seriho, then passes on their day together to give Sarasa an honest-to-goodness date with the woman she loves.
“Kuchinashi” (Gardenia) is a nod to Yoshiya Nobuko’s Hana Monogatari, even set in the Taisho period for verisimilitude. Sayako is adored by all the girls in the school, but Suzuno’s feeling are deeper. They meet, come together and are parted by the usual complication of marriage. But they will always have these memories.
“Sumire-chan no Namida” is about a crybaby, and the girl who loves her for it.
What goes on in the staff rooms of a women’s club? Read “Girls End” and meet the staff of a ladies club for women who like women and find out! (Reality may be checked at the door.)
Miura Shion takes on the Machikado Hanadayori manga in her essay on Yuri.
Kurata Uso takes a look at the true meaning of being “in the closet” in “Closet,” as Kaname wrestles with her true feelings for Ai.
Sa-chan is shocked to learn that her beloved sempai is leaving to go to Switzerland – and sempai is just as shocked to learn so belatedly of her feelings, in “Keshi Saru Koi to Onegaigoto.”
And the next chapter of the Black Cat Mansion series continues with Tamaki, who has never really managed to make friends with any of the other girls. She finds them loud and irritating. Until she meets Kei, who also stands apart from the rest of the class. The two of them become close, but Kei keeps a distance between them that Tamaki would like to close. Crisis brings them closer than ever before, and maybe is the start of something more between them.
Ichijinsha continues to flog the Yuri-themed game Soulphage and, as with Aoi Shiro previously, has a manga to push it. Kagura is so very excited to be going to high school where she can reuinite with her adored Sukune-oneesama, only to find that Sukune has no idea who she is.
“Tenki Youhou Ha” tells of the March that Kae spends camping outside in the cold rain to purge the feeling of a broken heart, and the warm summer sun that Satoko ultimately brings into her life.
Tae-chan is spending the summer break working off the debt she accidentally incurred by pushing Yui into the water and losing her necklace. Yui seems rather stand-offish, but Tae learns that it’s more possessiveness than aloofness. To cheer Yui up, they walk up to the very top of a tall hill and look down from the shrine there on the beautiful coastline. Tae wonders what Yui’s former lover was like, but Yui only responds enigmatically, the she’s fallen for someone else….
The love triangle in “Kono Onegai ga Kanau kara” takes a surprising turn. Umi’s jealousy threatens to turn her against Tsukiko and You-chan. When she learns that a shrine behind the school can grant wishes, she seriously considers cursing them in order to get Tsukiko for herself. When gym class becomes a game of Hide-and-Go-Seek, Tsukiko finds herself alone with Yoe-chan, who points out that its obvious that Tsukiko *really* likes Umi. Tsukiko runs after Umi and finds her returning down the hill where she made peace with her feelings and wished not for revenge, but that Tsukiko’s feeling reach You-chan. Umi collapses, and Tsukiko carries her to the infirmary. When Umi wakes up confesses her feelings, kisses her…then keeps going. You-chan, on her way to vist Umi, comes across an embarassing scene in the infirmary – then runs interference to keep them from being discovered by the school doctor.
Which seems like a good spot to stop for the day. It’s a pretty strong first half for this volume – with some rather interesting things to come!