Reading Saigo no Seifuku, New Edition, Volume 1 (新装版 最後の制服) was an exercise of a sort for me. When I first read The Last Uniform in 2006, the art absolutely repulsed me. So much so that I struggled for years to give Hakamada Mera any respect. Her stories were always cute, slightly bland, but the oversize heads drove me batty. As time went on, the heads got a little smaller, moe became more common and far worse giant heads on little bodies were thrown at me and now, years later, I find I barely noticed the giant heads anymore. I think, honestly, some re-drawing was done here, because the heads weren’t nearly as huge I remember them being. In fact, there were one or two pages where I found myself staring at a weirdly drawn jaw, the way I used to, but only a few.
So, here we are, many years after Saigo no Seifuku originally detailed the love triangles at Tsubakigaoka Gakuin. But before we get into the original stories, we’re given a few new ones, establishing both Ai and Tsumugi as completely, goofily besotted with their respective objects of affection.
The first couple we “meet” are Ai and her roommate, Fuuko. Fu-chan is that kind of cheerful, apparently doofy girl that we’re never really sure means “like” the same way Ai does. Well, the new edition clears that up. And Beniko and Tsumugi are as close (and as far) as ever to some kind of an actual relationship.
The original tales are retold – how Anzu arrives at school and is assigned to Ai-chan and Fu-chan’s room, thus throwing Ai-chan into a tizzy. And how Tsumugi admires Beniko from afar (well, as afar as the next bed over) until Asagi tries to mack on her girl. Meanwhile Anzu has a crush on Tsumugi that she really doesn’t communicate properly to the upperclassman.
Without a doubt, my favorite part of the book is Asagi’s friend, who wears braids, so is referred to as “braids,” who writes slash fanfic about the dorm residents. Asagi asks her to pair characters up for a little thrill. Included in this new edition are a few of those fanfics.
Art – 7
Story – 7
Characters – 7
Yuri – 7
Service – 2
Overall – 7
Add character pages with uniform and character discussion and you have a shiny new deluxe edition of an “old standard.”