There are two problems with Note Yori Yasui Koi (ノートより安い恋) “The Love That Is Cheaper Than A Notebook,” by Morita Kisetsu. And both of them come from the same place, I think.
But before we even get to the problem with the book, let me start with this – the collection begins with dark grey letters on a black background. Seriously.
Go ahead…click the image.
But that wasn’t really the problem with this collection. The first – and most pressing – problem was this: Of the seven stories included in this collection, how many of them do you think are about two females who are in love with one another? If you said, “None,” you’d be correct.
The second problem is an extension of the first. Each story features a couple who are unequal in status (sempai/kouhai, adult/child, god/human, witch/human) and each story is basically focused around one conversation between that couple, but repeated seven times or so in the course of 50 pages. There’s a palpable lack of tension between the protagonists and conviction or caring on the part of the writer. Instead of a collection of Yuri, by which *I* mean stories where two females fall in love, or are in love, with one another, this is instead a collection of Yuri by which Yuri Hime means a female taken out any kind of real life context, plopped down to share the story frame with another female and any conversation between them will somehow be contrived to be considered “Yuri.”
I’m continually frustrated by Ichijinsha’s inability to find a single good author of anything remotely lesbian-ish for their “Yuri novels.” This collection of short stories isn’t dire, but it’s not entertaining, either.
The two stories that were the best were the least real .
One in which a girl, tired of life, meets a witch in the woods and lives with her, until she falls for her. They share a single kiss which destroys the witch, but frees the girl to rediscover her true love, a female classmate (which the author cleverly has her refer to as a boyfriend so we don’t get the secret before the witch does, I have no idea why.)
The second is the relationship between a girl who becomes the priestess for and wife of a god, under somewhat suspect circumstances. After the god conducts a dramatic battle in the form of a dragon with her brother, the river god, both human and god live happily for some portion of time thereafter.
The all-human relationships in this collection are confined to schoolmates, all with a not-particularly compelling hook and one ten-year old who meets and befriends a slacker college student in a completely platonic relationship.. None of these stories contain much of anything that remembles love, although there are a few kisses. And the most excruciating mention of “bodypainting” ever.
The one thing that is remarkable about the book is the slick presentation. The book comes clothed in a thick plastic cover that is perfect for travel. Too bad the contents weren’t worth protecting.
Overall – 3
This is a very non-Yuri collection of Yuri stories. It’s not bad, it’s just not good. There’s no…passion…in any of it. Your mileage may vary of course.