Yuri Manga: Yuri Hime, Volume 17 (Part 2)

August 24th, 2009

The second half of Volume 17 of Yuri Hime (コミック百合姫) starts off with another very doujinshi-style story.

Which makes me wonder…why do I think of them this way? Probably because I first encountered them when I began collecting original Yuri doujinshi. These stories that I think of as doujinshi stories are almost always high school settings, almost always kind of imperfect, good-but-amateur-ish art and almost always about those first steps to admitting that the characters are in love. They end with the moment that both characters acknowledge that they feel the same way about one another. Rarely do they go much further than that, but I do tend to like it when the stories do. Kimochi no Katachi (originally published as the Tact series) by Sakuraike was one of those series, Volume 1 and Volume 2, but then spent more time looking back before Satsuki and Kino got together than forward.

In any case, in “Watashi no Kawaii Hito,” Ika met Sempai a while ago and, after Sempai confessed to her, they’ve been going out. But, when the other girls in class star trashing talking onna-doushi, and the teacher talks about “playing pretend” with same-sex relationships, she thinks she might be the only one who is serious in their relationship. She nabs herself a beard to stave off her own breakdown. Sempai fights back – literally, with a palette over the head of Ika’s hapless male companion, and the two of them have to face each other’s feelings head on.

Rina wants older neighbor Kana to take her to the festival in “Mizu Fusen, Kingyo, Ramune” but Kanna, who had a past relationship with another woman, doesn’t want to relive those days. When she gives in, her worst fears are realized, as she runs into her former lover.

“Tsumugi Ito” by Uso Kurata wins. It is something I’m not sure we’ve ever had in Yuri Hime yet – an adult couple who is together, has been together and is dealing with a very real and very grown up issue. (One story an issue – do you see the pattern? One story an issue is about adults, edging slowly closer and closer to that “L” word….) Kae plays the housewife to Nao’s businesswoman, but new responsibilities at the office keep Nao later and later, and she starts pulling away from Kae. Kae forces the issue and they face their actual, real, very grownup relationship problem – together. I love Kae laying it out on the line to a totally stressed out Nao. Great story, drawn well with a really satisfying – if slightly pat – ending. More of this, please!!

Kind of harsh story in the new “Nekodomekan” chapter. Suzune and Emi are lovers, but Suzune’s untimely death plummets Emi into depression, until she visits the Black Cat Mansion.

Sumika comes right out and asks Takase-sempai to be her lover in Kowo Kazuma’s newest, “Sayonara Folklore.” Sumika has grown to hate their school, which has really weird rules and traditions, but has definitely come to love Takase. They have an argument, but when they make up, Sumika gets her answer.

Amane fell in love with Yuki back in school and, after they became lovers, had to admit that she loved women. When “Sore ga Kimi ni Naru” takes place, Amane has been years out of school but, when an accidental meeting on the train platform brings her face to face with a Yuki look-alike, it all comes back to her.

The art of “Soulphage” repulses me. The characters look 5. I don’t care what they do or why. They could all get hit by a truck. Instead I have no doubt that the genki lead will get her sempai. Bleah.

Tae is still laboring away to be near Yui (and pay her back for he lost necklace) in the next chapter of “Mizu-iro Cinema.” Tae insists on doing something summer-vacation-y, but thinks it’s all coming to an end when Yui is told she’s returning to Tokyo. Tae’s all ready to say goodbye when Yui says, “What are you talking about? You’re coming too.” Well, DUH, Tae. ^_^

Class appeal rankings are the source of much contention in “20, 21” but after some wrangling with the numbers, Asagao and Fuji find each other.

In “Apple Day Dream,” Kaoru, with longer hair these days, makes the same jokes as she always has…

And in the Hana Monogatari-themed story of the volume (also a pattern I’ve noticed) “Cosmos no Saku Niwa” a sprit and a girl meet, then the girl finds the real girl behind the wandering spirit, for a happily-ever-after ending.

So, there was some really good, some really good that was also really bad and some really okay. Overall, an excellent volume, I just wish the cover story wasn’t so stabby-making.

Overall – 8

If some of those one-shots actually continue, I think the next volume (out October 18) should be quite good.

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