Yuri Anthology Hirari, Volume 2 has some good qualities and some less good ones.
Many of the stories don’t actually seem to be “Yuri” at all. Two girls meet and, um…they meet. But there are others that are less preliminary and a few even go so far as to lightly touch upon some semblance of emotion.
The best of the bunch, in that regard, was “Yubisaki no Koe,” by Maeda Tomo. Not because it was a good story, per se, but unlike many of the other stories in the collection, where we have to just assume that the two girls are interested in one another *because* this is a Yuri anthology, there was a palpable feeling of tension between the two characters.
Also, “Nanami-sempai to Arisa-chan,” while I didn’t like the art at all, did a shift halfway along that created some unresolved (and kind of unresolvable) sexual tension. When Arisa learns that her interest in one upperclassman is hopelessly unrequited, she simultaneously learns that what she thought was a rivalry with another upperclassman was nothing of the sort.
The most unique story, although not necessarily the most satisfying, was Minagi Asaoka’s “Anata to Ireba”‘ when a young woman accidentally encounters her namesake, who is a famous figure skater. They end up having a heart to heart talk. We get a rather sudden epilogue ten years later, when the skater asks her namesake to marry her. This story was indicative of the collection as a whole. “Here’s two girls,” we’re told as we’re handed two girls at random. “This is a Yuri anthology. Therefore they must like each other.” Even if we never actually see or feel that. Or, in something like Scarlet Beriko’s “Mine,” we’re shown a friendship that, at some barely-anything kind of provocation, suddenly is love (and desire.)
As a perfectly fitting ending, there is a short story by Sakaki Kazuki, illustrated by Hirao Auri, the creator of Manga no Tsukrikata. I haven’t read the story yet, but I felt that the choice of illustrator was somehow characteristic of the collection as a whole. Manga no Tsukurikata is also a series in which the interest and tension between the characters largely has to be assumed by the audience, because we see little actual sign of it in the story itself.
All things Variable. Overall – 6
It’s not that it’s a bad collection, it’s just sort of still in prep stages and not quite ready to be cooked.