Next time you sigh and think, “Gosh, I wish someone was creating Yuri in English” please stop and remind yourself of these two extremely important words: Sparkler Monthly.
I’ve sung the praises of Sparkler Monthly before. It is a homegrown josei manga magazine, which is to say that it is primarily by and for adult women, with light novels, audio dramas and manga/comics. The editors are folks with tons of experience in the manga industry and are talented creators in their own right. And, because they are trying to create a unique product focused on a female audience, without keeping male readers out, Sparkler Monthly runs action and adventure and romance and has straight, Yuri and BL storylines.
Previously I’ve mentioned Denise Schroeder’s Before You Go, KaiJU’s Mahou Josei Chimaka and Alexis Cooke’s For Peace. When Denise first created BYG, she had no specific idea of continuing it, but due to your support of her work, she got so many requests for a sequel that she drew one! I received that sequel as a ebook for subscribing to the magazine and today I want to talk about it.
Before You Go was a cute, somewhat typical “Story A”; two women meet on a train and eventually get together. Unsurprisingly, I wanted to see what happened afterwards. Before You Go 2: Halfway There picks up a few months after Sadie and Robin have been dating. Everything seems okay, but Robin can tell that something is up with Sadie, so she tries to find out what it is. The drama is small and the resolution sweet.
For us here at Okazu nothing in this comic is groundbreaking content-wise, but it is absolutely wonderful that Sparkler Monthly has shown a continuing interest in and commitment to great female characters as well as BL that reaches beyond basic tropes and of course, Yuri. In return I encourage you to support Sparkler back. Subscriptions to Sparkler start as low as $5/monthly, chapters are available online for free to get a taste of any given story – and the store is having a huge holiday sale right now. If you like fantasy (and Utena) I recommend Windrose (in paperback or ebook) as well as BYG, For Peace and Chimaka. A subscription to Sparkler Monthly and/or some of their original Yuri would make a swell gift to a friend, a young woman you know who loves manga or yourself.
And you can be absolutely sure that the folks at Sparkler know when it’s Yuri that folks are looking for. Your support makes a much bigger impact here than it does for folks like Seven Seas who publish what they like first before they think about what you like.
Art – 7 and improving
Story – 7
Characters – 7 Sound like, (gasp!) people!
Yuri – 6
Service – 0
Overall a solid 7, smiles all around.
Enjoy the happy endings of Before You Go, then grab a few shiny things from Sparkler Monthly for the holidays. ^_^