I still remember the old days of Okazu when the primary way to find Yuri was through anthologies. Not just any anthologies, but mostly through series parody anthologies that collected doujnshi art from the comic markets and packed them together in a tidy “what if?” collection. I’m still fond of the Souer Sengen series.
Today, Yuri anthologies are much more likely to be original, in the sense that they are not parodies of established series. Whether one can truly be considered “original” when one is creating the 17, 764th version of “two girls like each other,” is something that we can certainly have a conversation about! ^_^ My position is that yes, you should tell your story, but without the delusion of thinking you’re the only one to have ever told it. Go ahead, write that Yuri manga all about coming out. Don’t imagine for a second that there isn’t one out there already but, your voice is still unique.
And, in this way, we can say all the stories in Yuri anthology Eclair – Anata ni Hibiku Yuri Anthology (エクレア) are original. What I most liked about Eclair, was the way it dealt with the small things – the set of a back, the way hair moves, that draws one attention to someone. There’s few histrionics here, no major crises, just quiet moments in which things change.
Of all the stories in the collection, my absolute favorite was “Kamiyui” by Isaki Uta, in which a young woman, clearly destined for beauty school, bonds with the cool Nadesico beauty while playing with her hair. It felt…nice.
The selling point of this collection was the breadth of well-known artists who have contributed, including Yagate Kimi ni Naru’s Nakatani Nio, Amano Suninta, Canno, Mekimeki, Kitao Taki and Hirao Auri among others.
Overall – 7
It was a nice anthology, rather than an amazing one, with most of the stories set in school or with school age girls. Not, probably my go-to read, but for a glimpse of people doing their own work in the confines of a major publisher’s rules, an “original” work.