Nature abhors a vacuum, we’re told and apparently that goes for Yuri anthologies, as well. With the retirement of Tsubomi and Pure Yuri Anthology Hirari (although several of those titles have migrated to web format), a new anthology has jumped into the space.
Mebae (メバエ) is decidedly male gaze, but it had only a few stories I found completely unpalatable. And it’s a good reminder that the Yuri audience is varied in both demographics and intent. For every Yuri fan that is looking for a Takemiya Jin story, there’s another looking for something by Kurogane Kenn.
With such a service-y cover, it was not really a surprise to find the opening story was in fact by Kurogane Kenn. (And along with Kurogane-sensei’s work, there were a few other Tsubomi contributors in the pages.) It was a little surprising to find the opener bereft of emotion or connection. He usually works a little harder than this. Two girls have sex in a restaurant booth, with little setup, in a classic PWP.
The next story is a complete contrast, “Paanto,” which is a melancholy look at admiration and competition in ballet.
I very much liked “kitsuku! DAITE Honey”, which was a cute little twist on a superheroine and the girl she protects and loves, who turns out to not be who she seemed. In fact, Mei turns out to be Kurara’s arch enemy. Despite her spectacular defeat, Mei finds Kurara waiting for her after school anyway.^_^
Akamurasaki’s “Nibi-iro Nokosu,” was a pleasant look at a woman’s reluctant affection for her unfashionable friend.
The final story in the collection “Aoi Honoo Kaoru Tsuchi,” by Naruko Hanharu, appeared, I believe, actually in Tsubomi magazine, and is re-cast here as a nice ending piece in which time heals several wounds.
While I didn’t find the more explicit stories particularly appealing, I certainly didn’t hate this collection. In fact, Mebae Volume 2 is in one of the piles, waiting to be read. I’m kind of interested how many of the Tsubomi contributors just picked up and another anthology jumped in to fill the gap.
Overall – 6
For those of you interested, Volume 3 hits the streets at the end of this month.