When I wrote my article, Yuri: A Genre Without Borders, last year for Eureka magazine’s “Current State of Yuri Culture” issue, I ended it with a short discussion of how Yuri is thriving beyond Japanese borders.* In the article I discussed a number of non-Japanese Yuri collections, including Yuri Monogatari and Lepakkoluola from Finland. Had I written the article this year, I would have been able to add World Canvas, Godley Malabanan’s Tagalog Yuri comic, the Frey and Freya anthology (which I will review in the future) and Ratana Satis’ Lily Love out of Thailand.
Volume 1 of Satis’ collected webcomic was available only by special order through the author herself, but the story is available online on the translation team website, Three Musqueerteers, who provide unpolished, but more than adequate English translations. You can read it in Thai on Ookbecomics. Update: Thanks to Three Musqueerteers’ Alextasha, we now know that an official English print volume is in the works as well. ^_^
Donut goes to an all-girl’s school, is shy and nerdy, but becomes captivated by a neighbor in the dorm, Pew. Pew is adult and cheerful, and has recently broken up with a girlfriend, she admits. They become close, very quickly. Donut’s not sure what her feelings are, and is especially confused after they get drunk and very nearly kiss. Donut realizes that her feelings are not merely friendship, and runs after Pew, who is about to board a bus for Chiang Mai. Admitting her feelings, Donut finds that she’s still not sure what her relationship with Pew will be like, but the two of them continue to become closer. Volume 1 ends a chapter past the English translation with their first real kiss.
Like Malabanan’s manga, Satis’ story is firmly rooted in basic Yuri tropes, without any sense of irony. This story has been told hundreds of times, but everyone who writes it, writes it like no one else ever has. For Donut, this is all new and terrifying. “But we’re both girls,” is the repeated refrain of stories like this, like GIRL FRIENDS, or so many before and so many yet to come. And there’s nothing wrong with it, although I’ll always favor UKOZ’s post-all-this relationships. ^_^ But I will give Satis this – Donut is kinda cute and Pew is very honest, and Donut’s friends are all good about when they figure it out. There’s no bullying or ostracization to deal with.
The art is lovely. Professional quality all the way through. The book itself, published through Ookbee Comics, is above and beyond most self-published efforts. For the art and book alone, this was worth getting.
Art – 9
Characters – 8
Story – 6
Yuri – 6 in the story, 9 in the associated art pieces on the website.
Overall – 7 and I look forward to more.
*One of the more interesting critical comments I received on Japanese blogs was that I was being optimistic. I think that I’ve been proven right. My collection of non-Japanese Yuri is growing enough that it’s going to deserve a shelf of it’s own! (First I gotta figure out where I can put a new shelf…) ^_^