2010 has been good for Yuri in one way – there are even more Yuri Anthologies than ever before. Alongside of Yuri Hime, Yuri Hime S and Yuri Hime Wildrose we now have more recent additions Tsubomi, Yuri Shoujo, eclectic Rakuen Le Paradis and now, Hirari.
It will not probably come as much of a shock to learn that the bulk of the stories are focused on schoolgirls, with a few stories that touch upon the adult world. And, also not so surprisingly, the art doesn’t really ever communicate any adult sensibilities. In fact, one story made no sense to me until I realized that it was not, in fact, about schoolgirls, but about teachers. The certainly didn’t look like grown-ups, which complicated things for me.
Hirari, Volume 1 (ピュア百合アンソロジー ひらり) can be summed up in the line, “You don’t understand my feelings.” In many of the stories, one character thinks that the other does not like or love her the same way as she feels about her. In all of the stories they are wrong. This doesn’t mean every story is nothing but mindless repetition and I feel that there’s an actual effort to provide some variety in set-up and style. Unfortunately for readers such as myself, the lack of resolution beyond forehead touching/hand holding/smiling at one another means that, even though the stories are not *actually* the same…they still feel it.
Through no fault of its own, Hirari also lacks any really strong artists (I’m long past hoping for strong writers.) Where Rakuen, Yuri Shoujo and Tsubomi (not to mention the Ichijinsha publications) all have some popular doujinshi artists-turned-professionals, Hirari looks decidedly second-rate in comparison. I don’t hold that against the publication, though. There’s only *so* many excellent artists out there and everyone deserves a chance to pay their dues and learn how it works.
I admit that I did have to read the anthology through three times before any of the stories stuck with me, but a few have. The two teachers, one of whom is still dealing with a kiss between them from years earlier, a girl who needs sleeping pills to go to sleep, concerned about her friend who is happily sexual and seems kind of flighty, a story about pop idols that are forced to switch staff and a story in which the most visually striking piece is the cover page, as a girl arranges her shadow to make it look like she and her sempai are kissing.
While I did not fall head over heels in love with this anthology, I’m always willing to give a new publication the benefit of the doubt. So, if a second volume is published, I’ll probably get it.
Not “recommended” per se, but I’m not warning you off, either.
Overall – 6
The rating is a little lukewarm, and so was the anthology. I’m still looking for those stories between “Story A” and porn. A little passion wouldn’t kill this book.