The last collection we had from Chisako-sensei was Wagamama Millefeuille (わがままミルフィーユ), in which she blew my hair back with a pleasantly original setup for a Yuri romance.
In her newest collection, Dark Cherry to Shoujo A (ダークチェリーと少女A) she tries out a few new setups. Some work better than others, but props to her for looking for new story ideas.
The opening story was the weakest of the collection. In “Candy Drop” Juri keeps insisting she likes Noa, until Noa comes around to believing she likes Juri. Romance or Stolkholm Syndrome, it’s impossible to tell.
“Hachimitsu Method” begins awkwardly with Sakura deciding that, to be a princess, she needs a prince. As no prince is presenting himself, she asks the female soccer star of the school to play prince for her. Mio is absolutely lovely, always being Top Star in every way, until Sakura can’t stand that she’s using Mio, so she break up with her. However, as she moves on and goes out with guys, she’s constantly comparing them to Mio. She tracks the other woman down to see her once again. When Mio opens the door Sakura leans up to kiss her, admitting that she wants to know more about Mio. The story ends there, but this time, one thinks, there may be room for them in the world as a real couple.
I’m skipping the next story on principal, as it is about underwear and about as interesting as underwear.
“Naisho no Kaijuu-chan” was adorable and sweet and would have been lovely if Chisako-sensei’s art style didn’t make every character look like Precious Moments figurines. Yua is a loner at work, but Kurihara is determinedly friendly, pleasant and in love and manages to make her way past Yua’s emotional wall.
“Sakasama Blanco” had much the same problem. It was impossible for me to take the story seriously with a main character drawn to look like a kindergartner. Otherwise it wasn’t bad. A college age sempai and kouhai couple admit their interest in each other after some misunderstanding.
The art style was more mature in “Ashita kara mo nomimasen” when two old schoolmates are reunited years later.
“Girls Bitter Ambitions” is a Yuri romance centered around make up and admitting feelings.
The final standalone story, the titular “Dark Cherry to Shoujo A” combines the dark-haired loner type with Goth Loli dress in a simple tale of jealousy.
The last chapter is an original epilogue to “Hachimitsu Method.” Mio and Sakura reunite in “Onna no ka Party” and Mio agrees to try again – as long as they are, for the first time, honest with each other.
This was followed by several one-page epilogues to other stories, with a humorous omake feel.
The one real weakness of this volume is the hyper-moe stylings of some, but not all, of the stories. It’s brutal to be asked to take a childishly looking, dressing, acting character as the 20+ year old sempai in a story. But, moe is Chisako-sensei’s style and one either likes it, gets used to it, or stops reading.
Art – 7
Characters – 7 We only get to actually know a few of them
Story – 7 Original, if nothing else
Yuri – 5 Most stories end with a safe kiss
Service –3 The stories are mostly chaste, but not all. Underwear, very light nudity otherwise
Overall – 7
As a collection of a 10 shorts, it worked well enough, even if the emphasis was on Girl-Girl-tears-Couple. That notwithstanding, several of the stories were quite cute. I liked and disliked the stories individually in equal measure and, as a result, I am torn between knowing whether I liked this book as a whole, or not. Yes and no. ^_^