Pure Yuri Anthology Hirari (ピュア百合アンソロジー ひらり) is making a valiant effort to stay relevant in the Yuri magazine game. At Volume 3, it has yet to really build character, but it’s trying, I think. Both older sister magazines, Comic Yuri Hime and Tsubomi have some big hitters on their team, but little sister Hirari is not backing down from the challenge.
And so Volume 3 begins with Hakamada Mera as leadoff batter. Certainly Mera is a big(gish) name in Yuri, but her stories are more bunt than single. In “Salomelic” a dark, potentially gloomy girl with the word “black” in her name, whose interest is witchcraft is befriended by a shiny, happy “light” girl. They become friends and somehow, we’re to understand that it’s more.
And that, in a nutshell is the single biggest problem I have with Hirari. The stories are mostly sweet and frequently end with two girls as friends or two friends renewing their bonds of friendship. So rarely is there more than hand-holding, that I’m often hard pressed to see this as “Yuri,” as opposed to nice story about girls who are friends. And when they go past friendship, it’s mostly an uptick in heartbeat and “what is this feeling?” I’m not looking for hot lesbo sex, but there’s so much more variety and depth than this in a relationship, it seems such a waste to keep pitching the same one pitch over and over.
Probably the best story in the book for me was “Pulchrima” by Fuji Koyomi. Her style is quite reminiscent of Hakamada’s, but the characters were not. Of all the stories, this was the one I am absolutely able to say is “Yuri.”
The other story that stood out of the pack in a good way was “Under One Roof” by Fujio. (There were a few that stood out for not particularly good art or confused story telling, but I don’t feel like being a drag and either you’re buying this or you’re not. It’s not likely that you’re waffling on Volume 3 of an anthology.) This story, which is well down the batting rotation, sets up a situation with a young woman getting a roomshare with another woman who – gasp! – likes women. I’m hoping future chapters remain peppy.
I’m torn between wanting to kick Hirari in the ass and root for it like the underdog it is, but right now, it’s just not really ready for the big league.
Variable – 6