Yuri Manga: Yuri Hime, Volume 20 Part 1

May 26th, 2010

If there was ever a volume of Yuri Hime magazine worth buying, Volume 20 is that volume. It was the most stellar issue to date. I’ve mentioned that I have now taken to skipping any stories that simply don’t interest me – out of 18 stories, I skipped only 2 and liked or loved all of the ones I read. This was a great volume from beginning to end.

It begins with cover art by Fujieda Miyabi of Sarasa and Seriho from Ame-iro Kouchkan Kandan, and moves right into a pin-up by Morinaga Milk on one side and Dite on the other.

The first story, “Tsuki to Drop” is a variation on the group date gone wrong plot, when Nobara gets jealous of the guys paying attention to Tsuki at the gokon.

In “Mukou no Budou”, Itsuwa is regretting not taking the chance to reach her hand out towards Mitsue, when she had it back in high school. Seeing Mitsue with a lover now hurts more than she was prepared for.

Miwa-san is a typical OL, whose life changes when she quite accidentally meets actress Nagae-san. Suddenly, her life is filled with new people – and new feelings. These last two stories are both stories about adult women, so of course they made me happy.

And, although “Yomijinrazuno Tsukari Desu” is back in a school setting, there was something so refreshingly goofy and fun about it that I liked it anyway. When Tsukasa gets a love letter from “S”, she thinks it’s from Sumika, and goes the old-fashioned route by befriending her to get closer to her. However, she completely misses the fact that the writer of the love letter shares the same initial with her best friend, Sakurako.

Morishima Akiko’s series about grown-ups, “Renai Joshika,” brings two of the couples together in a business overnight in a cheap hotel in Hokkaido. This story has a number of things I’ve never seen in a Yuri Hime manga before, including some very clever fourth wall breaks and femme drag for the two butches, Mitsuki and Saki. And it looks like Mitsuki and Kaori are reigniting their old relationship. It’s been 15 years since they were lovers – I’ll be interested to see how their adult relationship works out.

“Yr Yr” covers that awkward space between a confession and a response.

And we’re going to end with an utterly squee-worthy chapter of “Ame-iro Kouchakan Kandan” about which I can say very little without spoiling it. Sarasa and Seriho go out on a second date. To say that Seriho brings a U-haul would not be that far off. lol Seriously – this chapter is worth the price of the magazine. (I’m a little shy of halfway, but pressed for time today.)

Speaking of the price of the magazine. I know that many of you would purchase it if it were cheaper to get but sadly, the reality is that unless you live in Japan, it has to be shipped, until they – and we – have a model that works for legit digital reproduction (something I am working on, because it’s time to stop discussing the problem and start talking about the solution.) The magazine is about $9 USD and the shipping can be twice that easily. As you know, I always link to the Amazon JP entry for the magazine, because I have an affiliate account. I know it’s pretty steep shipping from there, but that cost per item goes down when you buy many items at once. A 20-item order can have a cost per item of about $4 USD, depending on what you get. Here are some other options:

BK1 books has more shipping options, so you can go a slower/cheaper route. You do need to know some Japanese to use their site, where on Amazon JP you can check out in English.

Also, if you live in a major city, a large bookstore can potentially get a subscription for you. And, if there is a Japanese bookstore anywhere in or near your town, they probably won’t have any difficulty getting it for you. Asahiya, Kinokuniya and Sanseido all have overseas stores and all are glad to provide subscription services. It helps to show up with a cover, or a printout of the title and/or the ISSN for them. We speak with an accent. :-)

There are also an online subscription services available from Sasuga Books and CD Japan, although neither have Yuri Hime listed, I’m sure they will be glad to assist you.

J-List does have Yuri Hime listed in their magazine section, and a subscription is available through them.

And Anonymous tells us that HMV JP also has an English-language interface, with a caveat that HMV’s overseas shipping is EMS only, no SAL. Thanks Anon, much obliged.

So, there really are a lot of options for you to buy Yuri Hime, and make the point that there is a legitimate overseas market. The more we buy, the more our voice is heard. In the near future I’ll expand about how this can change things for all our benefit – and talk about the solution I mentioned above. :-)

Part 2 tomorrow!

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14 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Add HMV to the list of stores with English interfaces:
    http://www.hmv.co.jp/en/product/detail/3827247
    (HMV’s overseas shipping is EMS only, no SAL.)

  2. @Anonymous – Thanks, I’ll add it to the post!

  3. George R. says:

    I was amused to find that your review showed up the same day as my order from amazon.co.jp containing this volume. The ways of the postal system truly are mysterious.

    I wholeheartedly agree that this chapter of “Ame-iro Kouchakan Kandan” is sqee-worthy. I would likely have squeed a lot more had it not reduced me to a puddle of happy sweetened goo.

    And delving into nitpicking:

    Sarasa and Seriho go out on a second
    date.

    I was under the impression that this chapter is a continuation of Sarasa and Seriho’s date at Roppongi Hills from Vol. 18. Not that I wouldn’t like to see them out on many more dates.

  4. @George R. I agree, it’s a continuation of this date – which is their second date. They went out on a half work/half date day way back when they were testing sweets to potentially serve at the tea shop. :-)

  5. sarcastic_weasel says:

    Just so folks get an idea of how brutal EMS can be, I get Ultra Jump shipped EMS once a month via BK1, and the shipping generally runs 2500 yen.

    Yes, that’s just for one magazine.

    Ouch.

    On the sort-of-upside, it’s usually shipped within a day or two of hitting the stands in Japan, so I pretty much get it within a week of it hitting the stands. (But it should come with foie gras or something at that price.)

    BK1’s automated subscription service is decent, but you only have EMS and SAL for shipping options, which is kind of lame, considering that they ship regular orders by airmail, too. (Hence decent and not OMGawesome.)

    SAL takes 2-4 weeks for me, for about 1000 yen. I decided I can’t wait that long for Hayate x Blade. It’s my one indulgence. :D

    Needless to say, I’d love a good pay digital delivery service. I’m all for giving creators their due. I’d probably read even more Japanese-language manga if I could easily browse the magazines digitally, to be honest. Sort of like a magazine version of CR or something. Something to tide me over until the tankubons come out.

  6. Anonymous says:

    “These last two stories are both stories about adult women, so of course they made me happy.”

    YAY MANGA ABOUT ADULTS

    Do you know if the authors would be interested in making a deal with you to translate and sell their stuff in English? :)

  7. Tsubasa says:

    I subscribe to Yuri Hime, but only out of convenience. It’s not like I really feel like I’m supporting it or anything.

    Why? Because as far as I know the publishing house is actually losing money for every sold magazine. The artists don’t get a penny either before the tankobon is printed.

    And it’s not like I feel like I’m “making a point that there’s an international market” either. As far as the publishing house sees my copy of the magazine is just one of the many bought by J-List.

  8. @Tsubasa – I’m not sure where you got your facts, but typically the artists get paid per page they draw for a magazine.

    Yes, a magazine is sometimes a loss leader for the collected manga, but that’s how they promote the artists and books.

    In the case of Yuri Hime, they can’t be losing too much if they are going to more issues per year – in business that’s usually an indication that the product is selling better than the break even point or the books are selling well enough that it’s worth the increased investment.

  9. @Tsubasa – And, just “books bought by J-List” is part of the international market. I’m not sure what you think that means but, A print market is made up of various bits and pieces – direct sales, Amazon, J-list, Sasuga, book stores, etc. Each one of those adds to a whole. Your J-List subscription is one piece of their overseas market, just like my subsciption through Sanseido and all the copies that are bought through the Yuricon shop. Each one of those contributes to the larger “overseas market.”

  10. Oliver says:

    How is it possible to let people running running the manga market know that we want Yuri? I won’t order Japanese mags because I can’t read ’em. Is it better to just learn Japanese so I can read whatever I want?

  11. BruceMcF says:

    Tsubasa said… “I subscribe to Yuri Hime, but only out of convenience. It’s not like I really feel like I’m supporting it or anything.

    Why? Because as far as I know the publishing house is actually losing money for every sold magazine.

    Even with a loss leader, its rare that the magazine loses money with each magazine sold. Its more common that the per copy revenue over the production cost per copy is not large enough to cover the full overheads (including the page payments to the mangaka).

    And of course, if there are collected volumes that are sold, there can be a certain business sense in spreading the overheads over both.

    But even if the magazine is running at a loss, increased sales will cut the losses and leave less to be covered by the collected volumes before yielding a return.

  12. Tsubasa says:

    Ah, sure the artists get paid by page. But I meant that they aren’t getting any royalties from the magazine sales – naturally, as the magazines aren’t making any money.

    As far as I’ve understood the manga market works this way: the artists get paid by each page published in the magazine (from 20 to 40 thousand yen per page, usually). This isn’t usually enough to feed and house them and cover the fees of their assistants, however, so they’re losing money until the first tankobon comes out.

    After that they get approximately 10 % of the tankobon sales – 50 yen for each 500 yen tankobon that’s sold, for example. That’s where the money comes back to the author – and to the publisher too, as most manga magazines are sold at a loss. They’re regarded as marketing devices for the tankobon, not profit-makers themselves, and are priced as low as possible to maximize circulation. So to the authors it doesn’t really matter how many copies the magazine itself sells.

    You might be right about the international market thing. Though I don’t know if the publishing house counts J-List as a part of “the overseas market.”

  13. Tsubasa says:

    Ah, wait – my bad. The 20 to 40 thousand yen per page was the price paid to a long-time veteran.

    Newcomers apparently get approximately 9000 yen per page nowadays. In the late 90’s the sum was some 1000 yen higher. It’s caused in part by the slow dying of the print media and the shift to mobile phone manga, I presume.

    Also, apparently green authors can borrow money from the editorial department to cover the debt they make until their first tankobon comes out. What life.

  14. Antoinette says:

    I don’t know if it has been suggested as yet but one could also order from Kinokuniya USA (http://bookweb.kinokuniya.co.jp/indexohb.cgi?AREA=02), if shipping costs are an issue. I tend to order from them and Yesasia pretty exclusively these days and they’ve yet to disappoint.

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