Calling The Margaret (ザ マーガレット)”shoujo” is not correct, I know. I’m just too lazy to come up with another title for this series of “I’m reading magazines for teen and tween girls that have Yuri stories.” Technically, The Margaret is actually josei, as it’s marketed to older teen girls, but since Sean and I are the only ones who care, I won’t belabor the point.(Wait,. yes I will – here’s a fool-proof method to know if a magazine is shoujo or not – does it come with awesome giveaways of bags and jewelry and stationary and stuff? If you said, “Yes!” – it’s shoujo. If the answer is, “uh, no, all there is is an insert of a mini comic,” it’s josei. Got it? good.)
The real point of today’s review is not to talk about The Margaret, but the newly re-started serialization of the Maria-sama Ga Miteru manga which had ceased publication after Volume 8. The original serialization ended with the graduation of Youko, Sei and Eriko.
The story picks up in what will become Volume 9, in the new term. Yumi, Yoshino and Shimako are all second-years. Sachiko, Rei and Shimako are now the Rosas…and there’s something up with Shimako. She’s been “strange” recently, they all notice. And they have to assume that it is at least in part because of the first-year she’s been hanging around with, Nijou Noriko.
The first thing, Sachiko and Rei decide, is that Shimako needs to cough up her one last secret, because it’s bothering her. And so they concoct an annoying plan to “out” Shimako as the daughter of a Buddhist Priest.
The plan they create is still ham-handed after all this time. But I’m reminded of something as I read it. A “year” later in story time, Shimako will be sitting with Yumi and Yoshino, cheerfully telling her friends the very, very last piece of her incredibly complicated family situation. She’ll be smiling and laughing – and enjoying the carpish gaping of the other two as she spills the beans. So heavy-handed, yes, and obnoxious, yes, but now looking back, I think Rei and Sachiko may have been *right.*
The manga shifts from Noriko’s point of view right to Yumi’s and we get to relive the whole irritating thing over again, this time knowing full well that Yumi, at least, thought they were sandblasting a cracker.
Also in The Margaret magazine is “Bushido Sixteen,” a girls’ kendo sports drama, which has all the requisite sweat and tears and guts and rivalries and good stuff. And there’s way less non-con than there was the last time I picked up an issue. So, while not as Yuri-fied as Nobara no Mori no Otome-tachi – which has gotten very Yuri indeed, there in Nakayoshi – The Margaret has some lovely platonic romance and rivalry between girls. All good.
Overall – 9
I think that’s it for girls’s manga and Yuri. For now. Here’s hoping that there’s more on the horizon. For one thing, the girl’s magazines have the best furoku!