I jokingly refer to a certain set of magazines as “Manga Time Kirara (and all its little wizards)” around my house. When, mere hours ago, I stood in a store and faced down the many, many Manga Time magazines, I was reminded why. There are a truckload of these, ever so slightly dissimilar magazines that, when looked at as a whole are all pretty much identical.
And because Yuri is on the list of acceptable fetishes for this particular set of just-slightly-dissimilar 4-koma manga, many of the series found in the pages of these many magazines have some Yuri. For instance, Morita-san ha Mukuchi, which effectively has one joke (Mayu doesn’t talk) and two possible Yuri characters.
I picked up Warratte! Sotomura-san (笑って！外村さん) by Minamori Minamo, expecting one joke and no Yuri, and was right about one of those things.
Sotomura Natsuki is a very nice girl, who likes typical girly things but, has a very unfortunate smile. Unfortunate in the sense that when she “smiles,” she’s likely to terrify people and make them think she’s about to punch their lights out. This, combined with a natural shyness that is expressed in terse sentences…and the fact that she wears her school skirt long, makes Natsuki look like, well, a gang boss. Everyone in her class is convinced that she bosses her poor younger brother around, beats up children and animals and gets into fights before school. In reality, her brother and she get along perfectly well, she likes children and animals and is likely to ruin her uniform climbing up a tree to rescue a balloon or a kitten.
This is the one joke in the manga. Natsuki smiles like wolf grins and talks like a gang boss. That’s it.
Haruno, a girl from another class, befriends Natsuki after she realizes that that leer *is* Natsuki’s smile. So now Natsuki has a friend. This made the difference between this being a very sad manga and a totally tolerable one. Natsuki also has an admirer.
Early on in the manga Natsuki saves a girl from being bullied and later in the manga, the girl reappears, ready to become a good gang member, dedicated to protecting her boss. But, of course, Natsuki is missing this completely, as she inappropriately replies to the girl’s request to call her Onee-san, by telling her to call her Anego (gang patois for “Big Sis.”)
Her admirer takes up bokutou to better be able to protect the boss and shadows Natsuki, (much like the glasses girl stalks Mayu) and possibly admires her more. And that’s about that for that.
Art – 6
Story – 6 (It skirts being too full of pathos for my taste)
Characters – 6
Yuri – 2
Service – 1
Overall – 6
As I say, there’s only one joke, so reading too much of it at once can be too much. I suggest reading manga like this in small chunks over a few days for maximum fun.