If you had been paying attention to Yuri manga in Japan between 2012-14 or so, you’d have been hard pressed to not hear of Okujou no Yurirei-san, a wildly popular Visual Novel that spawned Drama CDs, any number of doujinshi and even a two-part manga series. Okujou no Yurirei-san Side A: Mou Hitotsu Yuritopia (屋上の百合霊さんSIDE A もうひとつのユリトピア) (reviewed here on Okazu) and Okujou no Yurirei-san Side B: Nakayoshi Quiz (reviewed here on Okazu) both released in Japan by Ichijinsha in 2015.
In 2016, MangaGamers put out the Kindred Spirits on the Roof Visual Novel with English subtitles and, if you recall, I enjoyed it quite a bit (to my surprise. It almost goes without saying that I enjoyed the heck out of the Drama CDs, as well!)
And now in 2017, Seven Seas has collected both those 2015 manga volumes into one omnibus, Kindred Spirits on the Roof – The Complete Collection. Which was, for the same reasons they were very pleasant to read in Japanese, were still very pleasant to read in English.
In “Another Yuritopia” we meet Shiori and Mako, a couple who is only not a couple because Shiori is, frankly, scared of her feelings. Mako has confessed to her, but she just can’t bring herself to give a reply. VN character Hina is able to help her classmate out with good advice (as she does in the game, as well. And, of course the story contains cameos from other VN characters.
In the second story, “Friendly Quiz”, Chiharu is a Yuri enthusiast and loves the “friendliness” amongst the student body, but when she see hows in sympatico Trivia Club President and Vice President Natsuki and Rika, Chiharu knows just what to do. While training to win at the Trivia finals, Chiharu is able to use her skills to bridge a gap between her sempai and become friendlier with Tokino, her fellow new club member. What this story lacks in subtlety, it makes up for in pure joy of being happy about lesbian couples being happy. Ain’t nothing wrong with a little happy couples. ^_^
What makes these stories a little unusual and a lot pleasant, is the complete absence of the kind of male gaze we’re forced to endure usually with these tales. No obsessive, skirt hem, chest or ass-staring at all. The girls are allowed to appear as more than just body parts throughout the whole thing.
After the small gaffes with the translation in Bloom Into You, I was very pleased to see that Seven Seas had once again attained it’s usual standard of quality in translation and technicals.
These were very nice stories to read in Japanese, even if one hadn’t gone through the VN, as I hadn’t and now that I have, they were still just as pleasant – which is really quite an achievement, when you think about it.
Art – 8 Nice
Story – 7 Cute
Characters – 8 Likeable
Yuri – 8 Teen Romance
Service – 1 Really not. A kiss or two.
Overall – 8
Kindred Spirits on the Roof – The Complete Collection is a readable and very likable off-shoot of the popular Kindred Spirits Visual Novel that can be enjoyed by anyone whether they are familiar with the VN or not.
I was also very pleased to see an ad for the VN in the back of the book. This kind of cross-promotion is very important. Saturation is what makes a franchise successful.