Pure Yuri Anthology, Hirari Volume 9 (ピュア百合アンソロジーひらり) pulls out the big guns right from the start. Opening with a Morinaga Milk story about a bad choice that goes good, using the setup of popular, athletic girl gets together with nice girl, it segues beautifully into Takashima Hiromi’s continuing series about Kase and Yamada, another athletic, popular girl and nice girl couple.
Kita Konno has an interesting little tale of gender, sexuality and acceptance of self, followed by Hakamada Mera’s fantasy of having a good excuse to not have to accept one’s self.
The standout story this issue, however, is set in that typical mythical private girl’s school, with gorgeous, accomplished onee-sama and average underclassmen pining away with admiration. Once again, Morishima Akiko-sensei is the recipient of *my* admiration with this chapter of “Seijun Shoujo Paradigm.”
Lily is still pining after Reika-sama, but Aoi cheers her up with heart-pounding collection of “Yuri” stories. They are all excited when they learn that schoolmate Midori is the author. They express how much they like the story, and Aoi says that she wishes she could see the characters after high school, together. Midori is confused by the request. This isn’t that kind of love – it’s just teen love, a love between young people in school. After school they’ll graduate, separate, get boyfriends, etc. Thinking about how unfair this is, Aoi starts to cry. They two girls are so in love, she sobs, they give it their all, and then they won’t even get to be together? Lily comforts her by reminding her it’s just a story, but Aoi passionately swears that she’ll stay with Lily and help her find a real love, someone with whom she’s destined to be together forever!
What Lily and Aoi don’t know, is that Midori’s insistence on harsh reality has hurt another, as well. Secretly, class rep Toudou and Midori are a couple, but Midori’s been hurt by Toudou’s lack of verbal affection. They work through their issues and I hope to see Midori accept her new reality with a less unfair story for Aoi and Lily. ^_^
The most important thing about this chapter was, of course, Aoi’s passionate defense of stories that go beyond high school. As we know, lesbians don’t die or go straight just because they graduate. When one has one’s own place to live, income and schedule, it actually becomes easier to have a “real” relationship, not less easy. Aoi, and Morishima-sensei through her, speaks for many of us (certainly for me!) when she says she wants to read more post school-life Yuri.
Ironically, since the editor of Hirari said that they probably wouldn’t be shifting away from school-life stories. And yet…
…I’m noticing more stories about adults seeping through the cracks, like Ohsawa Amane’s “Omiashi o Koko e,” a tale of shoe fetistry and emotional connection and Fujio’s continuing series, “Under One Roof, which takes a surprising turn.
Overall – 9
So, almost despite itself, Hirari is becoming serious competitor to Comic Yuri Hime, with a wider range of stories, the occasional chapter with serious impact…and more stories about adults. ^_^