Yuri Manga: Comic Yuri Hime January 2015 (コミック百合姫)

February 17th, 2015

CYH0115To say that the January 2015 cover of Comic Yuri Hime (コミック百合姫) alarmed me is not an understatement. Since the repatriation of Yuri Hime S content into Comic Yuri Hime, I have had the nagging sense than the editor is trying again to shift the content away from “stories women – perhaps even lesbians – like,” to “stuff that appeals to fanboys.” When the magazine originally relauched, it had become less “typical fetish”y, slightly more adult, more lesbian and a teeny bit darker. In recent issues, it’s ended the lesbian series and strongly ramped up the Yuri fetishtry.

The cover has a purely moe piece of art, accompanied by the decision that alarmed me. Instead of the usual Kanji 百合姫, the magazine title is written in hirigana as ゆりひめ. Why would that matter, you may ask? Moe is not just the cutifying of characters, or the simplification of the art, it is also very much about keeping female characters infantile. It’s about obsessing about their “innocence” “awakening” and “budding”  and other euphemisms for puberty. In Eureka’s Yuri Culture issue, Rica Takashima wrote an essay on the relationship between “Yuri” and this tendency to never move lesbian love or life beyond high school or enter the real world. It keeps the idea of “Yuri” firmly locked in that not-real-life space of school life. Lesbians die after leaving high school in this version of Yuri. Or, more appealing to ultra-conservative male otaku, they get married, leave their careers, have babies and remember that one affair fondly. The end.

Rica makes a pretty good case. Women’s progress in Japan is stagnant. You’ll notice that, for all that both BL and Yuri have grown in popularity, there has been an almost complete lack of movement on LGBTQ rights in Japan. I say almost, because a few years ago, it was reported that Japan would recognize Same-sex marriages of Japanese citizens done outside the country, but has yet to actually do so. This week Shibuya Ward announced that they would discuss the idea of issuing SSM certificates. Unfortunately Western media reported it as if they were definitely going to, but it is not a certainty. We’ll find out next month when (if) the vote is actually held….

And here we are, looking at the last of the Yuri magazines and watching it shove “Yuri” back into the school life closet where lesbians just disappear after high school and Yuri is no longer even allowed it’s kanji, but has to use more childish hiragana.

There is a textured little sticker image on the cover that says “The contents are the regular Comic Yuri Hime.” I am neither reassured, nor pleased. The situation is getting worse, if the March issue is any indication. As bad as the Yuri Hime S cover art was, it was never this horrible. To be honest, I can’t even credit this as “art” in any meaningful sense. Two blobby heads with few features, no discernible setting. This is not what I am looking for in Yuri.

It’s 2015, and my choice once again appears to be creepy tit-squeezing and bodily fluids-soaked porn and infantile love stories. Yuri has been almost completely disappeared back to 2000s level. I am sure it’s just a dip before the next peak, but UGH. Like women’s rights in the political sphere, it seems that every decade female Yuri fans  are forced to remind the powers that be that we’re still here and this stuff stuff skeeves us.

That all said, the stuff I still like in the pages of Comic Yuri Hime remains stuff I like. I even found myself not disliking this issue of “Yuri Danshi,” as the Yuri Joshi contingent joins the crew of delusionals.

Of all the stories I am reading, the one I flat out enjoy the most is “Love Desu,” by Kuzushiro. It’s horribly violent, not at all cute, and I gasp with relief when I get to it. In this issue, the one character shot a bobby pin into the other character’s eye. Thank the gods for this story. Thank Kuzushiro-sensei too. One more blobby face with a blank expression and I was going to gouge my own eye out with a bobby pin.

Ratings:

Overall – 7

I’m asking nicely – can’t someone please write a decent pro sport Yuri series? Please? I am so so so so so so done with school drama.

The May issue of Comic Yuri Hime is also available for pre-order.

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18 Responses

  1. Liz says:

    I would love a soccer themed Yuri series or how about a fantasy adventure Yuri series. Like Record of Lodoss war but with an all female party of adventurers. Maybe it’s the D&D and Blue Rose fan in me talking but I would an old school fantasy epic with monsters, mages and magic but with lesbian leads in a world where their sexuality isn’t a huge taboo. Or maybe even a Yuri version of The Slayers? I would love to see Yuri expand both in terms of genre and in terms of Story A type stories. I love High school romances but c’mon there’s a whole world to explore beyond high school. What about two women who run a LGBT café and make a Yuri series about their lives and the lives of their patrons. Or a story set in the far future?(Like the wonderful gem that is Bodacious Space Pirates) Sorry this post is so long but I love Yuri and I want to see the genre grow.

  2. lester says:

    All-girl gymnastics TV series. It’s has easy fanservice and you can still pull off a decent story somewhat like Kaleido Star.

    Makes me wonder with the surprise success of Shirobako, we might see more stories of women in the workforce.

    • “Easy fanservice.” Exactly why it would not appeal. I’m really very over and bored by the seemingly endless pit of need for crotch =-staring required by the male gaze audience. I’m looking for a blood and sweat series. Something about the sport, rather than the leotards.

      • lester says:

        Maybe they could do something along the lines how KyoAni did with Free and the guys; goofy gaze-y moments while still have the characters maintain their credibility.

  3. Mertal says:

    “Of all the stories I am reading, the one I flat out enjoy the most is “Love Desu,” by Kuzushiro. It’s horribly violent, not at all cute, and I gasp with relief when I get to it. In this issue, the one character shot a bobby pin into the other character’s eye. Thank the gods for this story.”

    Please Don’t tell me that you think that Yuri stories should have torture and ultra-violence in it to be enjoyable? Really?

    With you being a huge influence in the Yuri culture in the US, I will be honestly state that you deeply disturb and scare me.

    • No, I did not say that. I said I enjoyed it. And I do. I will not apologize for the fact that I like stories in which people fight. I also enjoy Ikkitousen and MMA competitions. I enjoy expressions of equals fighting in my entertainment over creepy skirt staring. I’ve been open and honest about that for 15 years here on Okazu. I have never once said that other people should enjoy violence or that Yuri needs violence to be good. That was something you imagined out of whole cloth.

      What I did was surface what I like – and why – so that people can make their own decisions about my opinions. That you personally chose to misrepresent what I said and what it means, has nothing at all to do with me. Getting mad at me for something you imagined I said is an utter waste of time. We do not treat cognitive dissonance as if it has any validity here. If you chose to respond to this post with more delusion, expect to be ignored.

  4. Mertal says:

    There is a huge difference between the violence of those that compete and the violence described as “one character shot a bobby pin into the other character’s eye”. I have yet to see that level of violence in Ikkitousen or MMA competitions. And I didn’t “imagine” you saying this, this is a direct quote.

    And please don’t take this and endorsement of the fluff stories that you hold in such disdain.

    I never said I was mad at you or that I hate you.You seem to think I was personally attacking you, and that was never my intention.

    I said that you scare me. And you still do.

    • Thank you. That was a delightful bit of delusion, since I said none of what you think I did. Because no one is ever amusing past the third comment, you get one more to make up things about me, then no more. Go to it.

  5. Michiru says:

    anyway be it violence or high school romance. I still enjoy Yuri stories. as long the ending is good and the art is somewhat bishonen not childish looking. How should I say it like SABURO Uta’s “Citrus” they are a hots for me. I also like those really hot steamy sex type Yuri (º﹃º)<3. Erika senpai I like your Yuri taste too, i mean the genre hehe….

  6. Nyara♥ says:

    I love moe, my coquette schoolgirls, those flirtatious glances of the skirts, staring and booing of chests and so. I like cute things, dresses, art and so. I guess half of it’s normal as hormones are pounding me (22), so it’s funny and a nice support for my life. I don’t dislike Class S works, neither, I mean, if both girls feels it like a play it’s good and dandy and so, but… … …

    I hate that the Yuri genre is disappearing in favor of Class S. Fine, I don’t dislike Class S, but you have it everywhere already…. and yet the Yuri Hime is also becoming Class S… Real lesbianism is disappearing and it’s really sad. For a lot of us, women-to-women isn’t just a impossible fantasy you can only live on high school! It’s something serious and for all life!

    I don’t think the moe, the fanservice and everything are bad per se. The problem comes that the authors who employs those things are usually sexist, here, the other and so, rather the techniques themselves. I hope we can see someday those same type of artists changing their point of view and expanding their view of Yuri to something more than the ever common and non-serious Class S. Too bad Japan is stagnating a lot in equity and rights, though… so that may take decades.

    • Michiru says:

      I also hated that Yuri will disappear. it will actually break my heart if it did. I just hope that the world can just accept women-to-women love. XD

      • Nyara♥ says:

        I think Yuri will almost banish in a few years more, just to revive with more strength after a mild break. While that break happens I’ll still be enjoying my moe schoolgirls, so it isn’t that bad, XD.

        • Michiru says:

          Ah well, I guess you are right. It’s like getting more Yuri powers. How should i say this….umm hibernation. And yep while were in break-.. It is also good to see people lovey dovey from afar. I mean in a good way, ehehe. XD

  7. Hello Erica-san,
    I just started learning Japanese this year. So I’m wondering if Comic Yuri-hime has furigana. I would love to know!
    Thank you,
    Lisa from California

    • Congratulations on starting your Japanese journey. ^_^

      Usually yes. But only in the cases of names, typically. The dialogue is what I would call “adult casual” and tends to follow typical daily- and school-life topics, so it’s pretty rare to need furigana for complex concepts.

      And not all names have it either. Some authors assume you’ll be able to read girls’ names. It’s not too challenging overall, although individual series can be.

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