In the 1970s, I read tons of science fiction, because that is what my father read. One day, I was reading yet another “make-you-feel-creeped-out-and-horrible” Hugo Award winners short story collection and I just stopped reading sci-fi collections. I remember the specific story, although not the writer. I never read another short story until they made me do so in school. Then, in the early 80s, I read the science fiction story that broke me completely. I remember the author, but not the story title. But I do remember the story vividly. It was an excruciatingly dull set up for a single horrible pun. I think I might have cursed, because I was a teen by then.
In the 1980s it was fantasy, and that lasted into the 2000s. I think I can place which books made me think “I have read every possible version of this story. Done now.” But there were a lot of similars that contributed to that.
In the 2000s, I moved to mysteries, especially lesbian mysteries. After reading every possible version of “lesbian detective with a tragic past” that could possibly be written, I moved on.
All of this is to say that the problem with Starlight Melody (スターライト メロディ) by Fuki is that every single story has been done so many times, that mere days after reading this collection, I can’t actually remember any of the content. It’s like reading Murder at the Nightwood Bar, written by someone new, with slightly different names, but the story is identical.
A few of the stories (I note, paging back through the volume to refresh my memory) are sweet. But there is little depth to be had in “best friends at school feel more than just friendship” over and over and over. I almost feel bad about it but, really, new Yuri writers? You can’t come up with a single new element at all? Not even so much as not setting it in school? Don’t you get tired of writing/drawing the same story over and over? I know I could use a break from reading it.
There is nothing at all wrong with this volume. The art is clean, the characters sympathetic and they enact the same one or two versions of ‘Story A’ over and over.
There is a girl, she likes another girl. The other girl likes her. They like each other. The End.
Art – 8
Story – 5 Not a single unique element in the entire book.
Characters – 5 Same as above
Yuri – 5 There might be a kiss or two
Service – 2 The “service” is that nothing controversial or original will interrupt your bland schoolgirl love.
Overall – 5, and I am being kind.
I’m not about to give up reading Yuri, or anything, but count this as one of the similars that fills up a genre and sort of throttles it.