Yuri Manga: Yuri Anthology Dolce Due (百合アンソロジー dolce due)

April 15th, 2013

Almost a year ago, I noted that the Yuri anthology field in Japan was holding steady – and indeed, showing a little growth. Comic Yuri Hime and Pure Yuri Anthology Hirari are still in print, Tsubomi is still updating regularly as a digital comic and Enterbrain’s Yuri Anthology Dolce  must have done well enough, because they released a second volume, Yuri Anthology Dolce Due (百合アンソロジー dolce due).

Like its predecessor, the stories in here are more for the Yuru Yuri crowd, than the Collectors crowd. We have stories about schoolgirls in school clubs, schoolgirls who fall for their best friends, schoolgirls and teachers, schoolgirls, schoolgirls and more schoolgirls…and one random drunken OL story which really stands out because it is the only story in which both characters are not in a school uniform.

The cover art was a “really?” moment for me, as my first thought was, “They got Hibiki Reine to illustrate the cover? No way! …Yes way. The dustjacket and actual book front cover are full color Hibiki Reine works. You remember, she was the original cover illustrator for Yuri Hime, right?  Aside from being the artist for the Maria-sama ga Miteru novels, she set the artistic pace for many of the early Yuri Hime artists. Here, she’s done a sweet duet of a girl and her loving maid and I wish that sentence didn’t make me sad. (-_-); But it does.

Dolce due does not suck, but it’s twenty steps back into the bad old days of Yuri anthologies about girls vaguely kinda liking other girls. It’s so 2003, it’s almost nostalgic. But not in a good way.

Ratings:

Overall – 6

Come on, Enterbrain. You can do better than this.

 

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8 Responses

  1. It’s for the fanboy audience in Japan, the ones that have made Yuru Yuri a massive success there.

    • It is aimed at a male audience, your interpretation notwithstanding. This has nothing to do with sophistication. Japanese manga genrs are demographically arranged – this is a “seinen” anthology, which means it is for men.

      • Mark says:

        @Delicious Vodka DeBlair

        The subject of target demographic in Japan can be pretty bluffing from a Western perspective. In the Western market it’s expected from a male audience to prefer “manly” stuff, but in Japan there’s a whole market based on the idea of “cuteness for men”. Only god knows why Japanse men find that sort of stuff so appealing, but it’s a fact that such a market exists, specially in manga and anime.

        And Erica is right about this Yuri anthology. This magazine is published under Enterbrain’s “Magical Cute” imprint, which is an imprint that publishes cute and girly stuff for men (one of many such imprints in the Japanese publishing market).

  2. Mara says:

    Not that you should be persuaded by my opinion but if you are one of the wonderful people to have a wide range of different aesthetics they enjoy you should not worry too deeply about what the target market of the media you are enjoying is.

    As long as you are having fun right?

    If you want to know what the target market is out of curiosity the best bet with comics is to look at the magazine they were originally published in. The magazine should make the target market more obvious.

    • As I’ve said in the past, the value of knowing what audience the manga is for in Japan, is that one doesn’t find the tropes as perplexing or annoying.(Why don’t the girls run away together and be a couple? Because the manga is for men who want to see them have a “pure” romance that will merely be a memory when they grow up, that’s why.) It’s useful to know what one is looking at, in art and in life.

      • Mark says:

        “is that one doesn’t find the tropes as perplexing or annoying”

        This doesn’t always apply though. To use your own example, both Girl Friends and Sasameki Koto ran in magazines “for men”, yet both manga ended with the girls getting together and determined to spend their lives together. On the other hand I’ve seen plenty of stuff from shoujo and shosei magazines where the girls never really get together. Heck, just look at Sei from Marimite…

        The target audience doesn’t always tells you what tropes you’re going to find in a given manga. Some times it does, but not always.

        • The tropes Sasamikoto explored were completely typical in most Yuri for men, (then it settled down into an actual drama, which still surprises me.) GIRL FRIENDS started ran in a magazine that originally launched as “shoujo for men”, and it is full of what I call “parting the gauze curtain” which fully explains why Sugi kept taking her blouse off for no reason at all. ^_^

          Since both comics were genre-bending, they theory applies less than it might for more strictly seinen, but I feel comfortable saying the rule holds as a rule. Comic Beam, G Fantasy and other genre-bending publications don’t fall perfectly into trope etymology, but knowing what audience the publication is for gives you a better idea of why it is the way it is, generally speaking.

  3. eXabus says:

    Well, to be fair, the dolce due anthology is a collection of one-shots (except I suppose for LisBlanc, which is a second chapter to a one-shot in the first dolce anthology), and very short ones at that. Pretty much every single story ranges from 10-18 pages, so that might explain at least to some extent why the stories are quite brief and doesn’t cover any too serious topics.

    I must say I did prefer the original dolce anthology, though. I don’t think it’s because of the schoolgirl thing, though (since the same basically held true for that one as well), but I at the very least feel there were more stories that made any actual impression on me. I haven’t actually read the entire dolce due one yet (which surely should mean something), but there have been few stories so far that has actually been memorable to me. The first dolce anthology at the very least had a few stories that stood out somehow, despite some of those too being in a school setting.

    And to DeBlair, I believe the contrast here is between stories that view lesbian relationships from the perspective of just that – a relationship, and those that basically do not. Stories of “pure love”, as nice as a concept one might think that is, never really goes beyond the very first steps of defining a relationship, and begs one to ask the question if the couple is actually treated by the author like an actual couple. That’s why that kind of stories is said to cater for a “fanboy audience” (or whatever you’d call it): people who do not care to read about struggles a couple has to face beyond those steps.

    Stories with too much unnecessary fanservice is also said to cater to that same audience, though for another reason than the above case.

    As for Yuru Yuri, it’s basically been a hit or miss for most people reading Yuri manga. If you don’t enjoy plotless comedy manga, then you are definitely not going to enjoy that one simply because of the Yuri material. In my opinion, it has to be viewed as just that, a plotless comedy like Lucky Star, Nichijou or Hidamari Sketch – with the exception that there is a Yuri motive in it as well.

    Once again, whether you can enjoy Yuru Yuri or not is probably going to be based on whether you can enjoy seinen comedy manga like the ones I mentioned above (since Yuru Yuri is actually at its core a lot like a seinen comedy). Nonetheless, that kind of manga is indeed very successful, and it seems to me that is a big reason why Yuru Yuri has become so popular.

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