Thank you for attending the unveiling of the 2011 line of “names used by every Yuri character.” Our previous years’ names have all been very successful with Yuriko and Natsuki and we’re all so pleased to be returning to the traditional with this year’s names…Hana, Kana and Sakura! /applause/
One of my biggest complaints about the Yuri Hime Wildrose series is, as a series of short, plot, what plot porn pieces, the stories are unsexy, poorly-constructed, pandering and just plain unfun. In my opinion, 5 volumes was more than enough to step up the writing and create a story that was more than “Girl A – /meets/is in love with/argues with/falls in love with/is going out with/drugs/ – Girl B.” I know that anthologies – especially intermittently published ones – are going to have to make do with what they can get, but I think that “better” ought always to be the goal. I reviewed Volume 1 of this anthology last December and I definitely think Volume 2 of Yuri Shoujo is “better.”
Like so many other “Story A” anthologies, this collection doesn’t take the relationships past “zOMG, I’m in love with her/we’re in love with each other!” but the actual stories themselves are…very good.
I’m a fan of PWP fanfic, I know how little it takes to get us fans to accept that two characters should be together. Where Yuri Hime Wildrose rarely managed to give me that little bit, this volume of Yuri Shoujo is giving it to me in spades. More than a few times I found myself re-reading a story and thinking, “That was a really good set up,” or “That was an unusual approach.” Enough of the stories are well-written enough that I can only think of one I didn’t like – and that was because the characters were sort of plopped in front of us and suddenly, for no reason, they “like” each other.
The first story was about illicit, hopeless, one-sided love. I found it touching and poignant, rather than the usual kind of tiresome “ugh” feeling.
Mitou Kana (of Circle Sakuraike) deserves an award for making me enjoy a story where girls have animal ears. Yes, really, it was cute, god help me.
“Dakara, kore ha watashi no himitsu” was a really standout look at the damage love can do to people. This story was still in “Story A” territory, and we only get “zOMG I love her” but it was worth it for a unique spin on the setup.
Kitao Taki (also of Circle Sakuraike) combines sports and girl’s love, as she so often does. This time, the sport in question is one I did for years – swim team. It dawned on me as I read the story that every time I think of being on swim team all those years, I see one particular woman’s back in my mind, as she stands on the starting block. I have no idea what her face looks like, but I apparently have her back memorized. ^_^
Even the fantasy stories take a step up from “same old, same old.”
In conclusion, this anthology is everything Wildrose is not. Stories told well, by good artists/writers, about girls who love girls.
Overall – 9
I consider this book a must-buy, if you’re a fan of good stories that are well-written and happen to be Yuri.
My sincere thanks to Okazu Superhero Dan P. for sponsoring this title from my Amazon JP Yuri Wishlist! I apologize though, because you picked another good one. ^_^