I was really interested to see how this issue was going to land. My philosophy about manga magazines is that the stories don’t all have to appeal to me, but there has to be at least a few stories I like for me to continue reading. And, as there had been a strong tendency towards sexual fetishization of Yuri in 2016 issues, I was understandably a little ambivalent.
Overall, I felt that Comic Yuri Hime, January 2017 (コミック百合姫2017年1月号) was pretty good. ^_^
The cover story they went with got my hopes up. Yes, the story is called “Hatsukoi” and it’s clearly a first love tale, but the art, while typical school girl stuff is much less blobby-faced than it has been. That’s always a good sign in my book.
Right off the bat, the first two stories weren’t the same old, same old. In Aoto Hibiki’s “Ashita, Kimi ni Aetara” (subtitled in English, Tomorrow, I will tell you, “I love you.”), what starts as an fairly stilted “Story A” becomes a tale of a time warp, when the lead falls asleep and wakes up 15 years in the future, with a family. Let’s be honest, we all know that’ll it all have been a dream, but at least it’s different.
This is followed by what may turn out to be a new favorite story, “Watashi no Yuri ha Oshigoto desu!” (subtitled in German, Schewestern in Liebe. And how funny would that be if the foreign language subtitles were a running gag, but, sadly, it’s not.) Shiraki Hime is an exceedingly cute girl and, through circumstances ends up at a Yuri cafe, in which every employee has taken on a typical Yuri stereotype. There’s the ojousama type, the bookish girl, the predatory lesbian and she, naturally is the cute little-sister type. The reality is far less rarified and beautiful. This story had me grinning from ear to ear. I love when manga stories wallow in Yuri tropes without being defined by them.
Also new is a story by Tomonori about a young woman who lives with (and is falling in love with) her sister-in-law. I know, I know, but… Uta-chan came to live with her older brother and his wife when her parents died and while her brother is gone, she and Kaoru are living together. I’ve got hopes for this story, we’ll see.
“Now Loading” seems to be a workplace story about a woman who gets a job at a much admired game design company and finds her work just not meeting her manager’s standards. This one is setting up to be a pretty straightforward office romance with the tough boss, but count me in on that. ^_^
“Roku＋Ichikurashi” by Umehara Ume is a cute little tale of women’s dorm life reminiscent of Hidamari Sketch and I don’t think that’s accidental, given the artist’s name.
Comic Yuri Hime is looking for some new staff. Check out the ad in the magazine, if you’re interested.
“Itsuka Minoreba” by Nishi Asuka has exceptionally moe art but the story appears to be about a hardcore gamer girl finding a protege/rival.
“2DK, GPen Mezamashitokei” finally takes a Yuri turn, as Nanami is forced by Aoi to finally own up to her feelings about Kaede. Now, here’s my hope…that it isn’t just “they get together, the end.” This couple is going to need some time to actually develop and if we can spend a whole volume on a side character, the main couple deserves a few volumes to themselves.
I kind of really have no idea what the story is in “Nanahara Shino ha Futsu ja nai” but the title is accurate. Shino wears a sword and is way too easy about drawing it, ostensibly to protect Tsuruko-sempai.
The Yuri Goddess appears in Minamoto Hisanari’s “Kanaete! Yuri Yosei” She basically appears to fuck with the Shiroyuri Yosei.
Ohi Pikachi’s “Demi Life!” follows the adventures of a human girl in a school for half-gods, half-human magical creatures and other “demis.”
And the volume wraps up with “Sleeping Princess” by Katakura Ako, which is much less cute that it sounds. I’m really starting to like Katakura-sensei’s anti-hero leads.
Of course, there are other series, “Yuri Yuri” inexplicably continues, as does “Citrus” and several unspeakably awful stories which remain unnnamed. But for a premiere issue of the new, monthly Comic Yuri Hime, I was fairly pleased with it!
Overall – 8
I can’t tell you how pleased I was at the general lineup. Not just one Story-A after another. The February issue is already out in Japan.
Don’t forget, you can get Monthly Comic Yuri Hime digitally (in Japanese) on Bookwalker.JP!