You know what? I think I really, really like Ohsawa Yayoi. Last year I was blown away by her Black Yagi to Gekiyaku Madeline /Strange Babies series, but here we are in her totally grounded in reality collection of shorts, Okujou PikaPika Romance (屋上ぴかぴかロマンス) and I still really like her work. A lot.
In “Shoshin Metronome,” Kawai-san does not like snare drummer Ichibashi-san, but as a trumpet player, she has to sit directly in front of her. Their relationship changes from prickly dislike to reluctant friendship to maybe just a little more.
Hana and Nozomi have been friends since childhood, but new school friends are pulling Hana in one direction, and she’s not sure if Nozomi is holding her back or not. I didn’t much like this story, as Hana forces herself on Nozomi in a very un-friendly way and a happily ever after does not actually make it okay.
“Double Bind” is probably the realest story in the book, which follows a deeply uncomfortable breakup between two adult women. Mayu breaks up with Emi to go out with a guy. We follow Emi’s grieving and have to recoil a bit when Mayu shows up again and again, so Emi can’t move on. Worse, Mayu sleeps with Emi as a piece on the side, which enrages Emi. Emi pulls herself together and is starting to get her life back together when Mayu shows up, again, this time having left the guy because she realizes she was an idiot. The story does not have an end, leaving us with Emi’s tearful face. Will they get together again, or not? We don’t know…which is exactly why I think the story works.
In “in secret…?” a student learns there is more to her doofus-y teacher than can be seen on the surface. Carole King’s version of You’ve Got a Friend plays an important role in this story, which immediately made me think of nawoko’s Voiceful.
The final story is an original for this collection which returns us to the somewhat fraught relationship between Kawai-san and Ichibashi-san, as they find more than just a friend in one another.
Art – 8
Story – Variable, but 7 overall. “Double Bind” is hard to read, but really the standout story at a 9
Characters – 7 You like some more than others, just like life. ^_^
Yuri – 9
Service – 2
Overall – 8
Yet again, I find that I connect better to these stories as a collection, rather than individually in Comic Yuri Hime. And I strongly hope we’ll be seeing more from Ohsawa Yayoi-sensei.