“Got your heart!” says the cover of Comic Yuri Hime, Volume 19. And so far, at least, it’s right. :-)
After some color illustrations that are less skanky than I’m used to, we jump right into a new series “Moso Honey” by the insanely prolific Mikuni Hadzime (of Gokujou Drops). Nonoka enters a new high school and is drafted into the high-end and rather bizarre Student Council by a “cool beauty,” Nozomi. What will this mean for the decidely average Nonoka? Hijinx and Wackiness, of course!
“Kuma-san ni Tsuite” is a slightly uncomfortable love story between a woman who obsesses about teddy bears and her long-suffering friend.
“Spike Girls” is really interesting to me, not because it’s a perfectly respectable sport romance, but also because Takemiya Jin is also doing a sports romance as Junk-Lab, so clearly he’s really into the whole idea right now. :-) Jun is recruited by by Ichi-sempai to play on the volleyball team, but unexpectedly finds herself falling for Ichi-sempai, who was in love with her own sempai. Jun confesses, thinking that Ichi-sempai will be disgusted, but oh, look! not so much.
Mitsue Aoki’s “Sweet Room” is the kind of story that works only if you’re reading an anthology of a lot of one type of short story and you are therefore inclined to be a bit generous about handwaves that are awkward, because how many different ways are there, really, to tell the same story. Nozomi find a stranded high school girl and takes her into her home, because 1) she thinks high school girls are cute and 2) the girl was stranded, duh. But after the girl makes herself comfortable, pretty much moving in, Nozomi begins to doubt her own motives. When Nana seduces Nozomi, she’s wracked with guilt, unti Nana admits to being 21 and having made up the whole high school thing to appeal to Nozomi, who she overheard talking about how cute high school girls are at the convenience store where she works. Heh.
Miura Shion’s Yuri essay touches on Sasamekikoto and “Para Yuri Hime” is Fujio’s love letter to a school crush named Waka.
At the the Black Cat Mansion, tutor Jun rues the fact that she rejected her student Chiasa, on their last day together.
“Mahou no Te” is another over-complicated love story about a girl who learns that someone who touches you on the back of the arm is sure to be your true love, or something like that. Nasu is passively-aggressively in love with Seri. They embrace.
“Renai Joshika” follows Fumi, who falls in love with the woman behind the makeup counter. It turns out that “love” is the best makeup of all.
And this section, we’ll end end with “A Knife Edge Girl” which was probably the most realistic “friend in love with friend” story we’ve seen in a while. There’s a lot of interior emotion and some very little interaction, but it rings true in that a real love story is not one story – but two. Each of the people involved has their own story going on in their head, apart from the other. While this story only so far follows one character, we can see that the other has a whole separate set of stuff going on.
Up to this point, the magazine’s been better than average and has a fairly high percentage of grown up characters, which I will never complain about. The level of high melodrama is lower, and so is the “afterschool special” feel as compared to some of the stories we’ve had in the past.
Also, I’d like to note that the tone of obsessive destruction that used to walk hand in hand with Yuri is pretty much out of the picture now. No knives, paper cutters or rooftops threaten our Yuri with the grim specter of suicide. These characters might be depressed a bit when they think their love isn’t returned, but Yuri and madness no longer are equivalent.
In fact, what I’m seeing is more of that tectonic shift to strong characters, characters with jobs, lives, friends, characters with hobbies and interests and – can you believe it took this long – female characters in sports! ‘Bout time too. Honestly, you’d think *someone* would have written an Olympic-like competition Yuri story for this issue. Duuuuuuhhhhh……. However, I am sufficiently glad for the absence of Valentine’s Day stories. Phew.
Tectonic shift it may be, but I’m liking it.
Part 2 next.