Archive for the English Manga Category


Yuri Manga: Kiss & White Lily For My Dearest Girl, Volume 1 (English)

April 24th, 2017

Anoko ni Kiss to Shirayuri wo broke into the Yuri marketplace in 2014. Although it recycled well-worn Yuri tropes, it found a willing audience with the (primarily male) readership of Comic Alive. Subsequent volumes ran with the “Yuritopia” idea and used it to tell increasingly complex and interesting stories centered around relationships at a fantasy all-girl school. I find that, as the stories move away from the first volumes, they have become more interesting – even the relationship of the main couple has moved past it’s initial boundaries.

And here we are, able to enjoy those volumes in English, with Yen Press’ release of the series as Kiss & White Lily for my Dearest Girl. In Volume 1  we meet pathologically hardworking  Shiramine Ayaka and slacker genius Kurozawa Yurine. 

As I’ve said several times recently, this particular set up is somewhat teeth grinding for me. ^_^ I’m not saying it’s unrealistic or anything, au contraire, I know several of those geniuses and let me tell you how *vexing* it is to work one’s ass off only to never be as good. ^_^ So, despite her melodrama, I’m on team Ayaka, all the way. And, if it weren’t for the fact that Yurine was also on team Ayaka, I would have chucked this series away a long time ago. ^_^

But there we are, Yurine has that even more vexing quality of being sincerely lovely as a person. Ayaka is wholly unprepared for liking her rival and even less prepared to be liked in return. Nonetheless, as their like slips causally into “like” like, Ayaka becomes somewhat less unprepared for everything.

A side story starring Ayaka’s cousin Mizuki and her closest friend and track team manager Moe, adds a little typicality to the story and gives the volume another well-worn path to walk through the lilies.

On the negative side, this series inhabits that all-female fantasy world in which adults and men exist only as shadows and barriers to happiness. It’s all a little tiresome. But, ultimately, despite the fact that this series is a “pair-’em-up” it works because none of the characters are unlikable. No matter how well-trod the paths might be, when we can sympathize with the characters, we’ll want them to be happy. We want them to give hope to all the girls who might read this series and imagine that kind of happiness for themselves and hope that some of the guys reading might just get that this is a valid way to be that doesn’t actually involve them and is still okay.

Overall, this series translated well to English. again thanks to the deft touch of Jocelyne Allen (who apparently is the current queen of Yuri translation!) I wasn’t sure if the screaming and melodrama might work, but I’m well-satisfied with the results. Technicals are otherwise well done and once again, I feel that this volume offers the kind of authentic reading experience that fans crave. 

Ratings:

Art – 8 
Story – 8
Characters – 7 
Yuri – 8
Service – 1 on principle only

Overall – 8

This ran in Comic Alive, but it could have run in a girls’ magazine as art and story are firmly rooted in shoujo stereotypes. Volume 2 will be out at the end of May!

 

 

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Yuri Manga: Kase-san and Morning Glories (English)

April 21st, 2017

In 2012, I was pleased to say about Asagao to Kase-san “the emotions ring true and the story left me smiling” and that “I wish we got to see them after this volume ends, when their relationship begins taking off.”

Three, soon-to-be-four* volumes later, I’m now triply pleased. Not only did this series leave me smiling – again – and we will get to see this couple’s relationship develop, we also have the almost-unreal thrill of being able to read the series in English!

Kase-san and Morning Glories is the English-language edition of the first volume of Takashima Hiromi’s adorable, uncomfortable and delightful Yuri series.

Yamada is an average girl, with some self-esteem issues. Issues that were not holding her back, but become more pronounced the closer she becomes with school track star, Kase. In a story that makes me twitch with discomfort because it feels so realistic, we watch Kase and Yamada become friendly, then friends, then something more. Nothing here is rushed, nothing is forced. It’s all so normal that I can’t help feel we’re being creepy voyeurs into someone’s actual life.

It remains true that this is a very “Story A” -like story, but it also remains true that we will continue to watch (too closely?) as their relationship grows and becomes more intimate, both emotionally and physically. This is a series that feels like life. And for that reason, it made my end-of-year lists for all three volumes, even making my best of the year manga for the third. 

I like Yamada, although not her best friend, and I like Kase-san, who seems very kind and decent. As I read, I want them to find one another and be happy together – a sentiment that I know I share with Yuri fandom. These two are not for us, they are for each other.

Takashima-sensei’s story is well-told and Jocelyne Allen handles the language with a deft touch. Ever characters sounds like themselves; the translation and adaptation never throws one out of the story. This volume is the “authentic reading experience” I believe manga fans are looking for. I’m so pleased that you all can join me in reading this volume, officially licensed in English and enjoy the story as I have!

Ratings:

Art – 7 A little messy, but I liked it
Story – 8
Character – 8
Yuri – 8
Service – 2

Overall – 8

*Thanks to YNN Correspondent Verso S for letting us know that a fourth volume of the Kase-san series will be out in June in Japan! Stay tuned for a title and link for pre-order. ^_^

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Yuri Manga: MURCIÉLAGO, Volume 1 (English)

April 4th, 2017

Today in the “so awful it’s good” category, we have MURCIÉLAGO, Volume 1 by Yoshimurakana in English. It was every bit as violent and gross (and crass and vulgar) in English as it was in Japanese. And for that, I am very thankful.

Creepy Murderer Koumori Kuroko is recruited by the police to handle cases they can’t deal with through legal channels. She gets to kill the killers, which suits her just fine. My summation of the plot can be found here in my review of the original Japanese volume.

It’s not that I don’t like sweet love stories, or happily-ever-afters or all the many variations of a girl and another girl love each other, but I cannot properly express my delight at Kuroko and Hinako’s reaction to having their dinner at a family restaurant disturbed by a couple of low-rent criminals. They were lucky to die so quickly. 

The technical details are tops. Print and layout was completely solid, I never felt pulled out of the moment by any reproduction issues. Translation was excellent – Christine Dashiell gets my “good soldier” vote on this. 

A little light unrealistic lesbian sex, absurd car driving, extreme violence and psychopathic killers always helps me sleep well. (No, obviously not really.) But it does warm the cockles of my heart to see horrible people coming to a horrible end. And for that MURCIÉLAGO provides the goods. 

Ratings:

Art – 6 Nothing really “good” about it, but it suits the story well
Story – 7 Also not “good” but in no way is it coy. Violence Yuri, indeed.
Characters – 8 Kuroko is an evil, psychotic, pervy lesbian with a big tit lolicon fetish.
Service – 10 Nothing but
Yuri – 9 Unrealistic, but they are definitely having fun.

Overall – 9

Thank you so very much to Yen Press for the review copy and for the actual enthusiasm folks are showing for this manga. I’m certainly happy to have it, although I already know not all of it will make feel good.

If you’ve had a chance to read Volume 1, please jump into the comments with your thoughts. I’ve been going on about this series for a few years now, knowing full well that the MURCIÉLAGO fan club isn’t going to fill a small room (and we wouldn’t like or trust each other, probably) but I’m interested in what you think!

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2017 Yuri Manga in English Updated List

February 26th, 2017

Back in September, I wrote a piece about upcoming Yuri manga in the USA. Well, since then, more titles have been added and I wanted to do an update of series coming up this year. Some of these items are on the Yuricon Store, some are not yet, so I also thought it would be a good time to explain how the Yuricon Store works. At the moment,  I focus on adding new items , and every few months on a really boring day, go through to see if older links still work. I also try to NOT add items that have no cover image. It’s a pain in the butt to remember to go back and add in the images. ^_^ 

Manga companies are absolutely shitty about getting cover images up for pre-orders, because they need to get 5 million approvals from the Japanese companies before they are approved. Which means there are books that are coming out in spring with no cover images yet. So they aren’t on the Yuricon Store yet. In case you ever wondered. 

Since links on the Yuricon Store go to Amazon.com anyway, for today, I’m just going to link directly. But don’t forget that the Store is searchable in English and Japanese and if you’re not sure about an item, you can always contact me!

In any case, here is a more updated roundup of the Yuri Manga titles for 2017* with all the pre-order links that exist so far:

Seven Seas

Bloom Into You by Nio Nakatani

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3| ongoing

This school life drama follow Yuu, a girl who does not have romantic feelings for anyone and Touko, the President of the Student Council, who falls for her. Yuu admires Touko, but is not sure of her feelings.

 

 

 

Hana and Hina Afterschool by Milk Morinaga 

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3

Hana meets Hina while working at a (not-allowed) part time job after school. They become friends and start working together. Will they become something more than just friends? Probably, since this is a Milk Morinaga  story. ^_^

 

 

 

Kase-san Series by Hiromi Takashima

Kase-san and Morning Glories | Kase-san and Bento |Kase-san and Shortcake

A breathtakingly sweet romance series between Yamada, an average girl who loves flowers and the star of the school track club, Kase. One of the most realistic teen romances I’ve ever read in Yuri manga.

 

 

 

Kindred Spirits on the Roof Manga Complete Set by Hachi Ito and Aya Fumio

1 Volume

This set includes Side A and Side B of the companion manga to the popular Visual Novel Kindred Spirits on the Roof, with cameos from game characters. Spirits Sachi and Megumi still hope to turn Shirojo into a Yuritopia!

 

 

My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness by Kabi Nagata

1 volume

This manga was serialized on Pixiv, as Nagata details her struggles with depression, an eating disorder and finding friends and companionship as a lesbian.

 

 

Secret of the Princess by Milk Morinaga

1 volume

Another school life drama from Milk Morinaga. Miu thinks that, as a princess, she needs to find herself a prince. But when she practices being princessly with Fujiwara she finds that sometimes a princess doesn’t need anything other than another princess.

 

 

Viz

After Hours by Yuhta Nishio

Volume 1 | ongoing 

Emi and Kei meet at a nightclub, and spend the night together. An adult relationship story (although the art is a bit infantilizing.)

 

Revolutionary Girl Utena Manga Box SetRevolutionary Girl Utena Manga Box Set by Chiho Saito and Be-papas

 2 volume set

Every year Utena receives a mysterious postcard. This year, the postcard leads her to Ohtori Academy to look for the prince who saved her as a child. Instead she’s put in the position becoming the prince to the Rose Bride. This is the high-quality treatment that this fantasy series deserves.

 

 

Sweet Blue Flowers by Takako Shimura

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3| Volume 4| Volume 5| Volume 6| Volume 7|Volume 8|

Fumi hasn’t seen Akiko in years, but her friend is back in town and once again they are thick as thieves. When Fumi starts dating an upperclassman at her all-girl’s school, she tells her best friend and gains strength. Shimura  drew on classic Yuri tropes for this “S”-style school romance, but with a deft touch and compelling characters drags the whole genre into the 21st century. 

 

Yen Press

A Kiss and White Lily for My Dearest Girl by Canno

Volume 1 | Volume 2| Volume 3| Volume 4 | Volume 5 | ongoing

This ongoing school serial begins with two girls, Yurine Kurozawa and Ayaka Shiramine, who could not be more opposite if they tried and the relationship that one of them wants desperately to deny.  Later volumes follow other couples at the same school as well as circling back to Ayaka and Yurine.

 

 

 

Murciélago by Yoshimura Kana

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3| Volume 4| Volume 5| Volume 6| Volume 7|Volume 8| Volume 9| ongoing

 This extremely adult, extremely gruesome, madcap “violence Yuri” story follows psychopathic killer Koumori Kuroko and her partner Hinako ,as they track down and kill other killers for the police. There are no good guys here. Everyone is broken, the stories are gross, sometimes with side of extra creepy and the lesbian sex is weird. ^_^ I like it, but do not recommend it.

 

Udon

Rose of Versailles – Still no pre-order available. I’m hoping for a Q2 release. 

 

 This manga is not Yuri, but is gay and you definitely want to add it to your  orders!

Pantheon

My Brother’s Husband – Gengoroh Tagame

Volume 1| Volume 2 | Volume 3 |ongoing

This adult life drama follows Mike Flanagan, a gay man from Canada who visits his late brother’s home in Japan, in order to learn about his childhood. He meets he husband’s estranged brother, Yaichi, who now has to deal with things he never thought he’d have to deal with, like his brother Ryoji’s sexuality. It’s a great series and I’m going badger you all into reading it. ^_^

 

And there we have it – an updated list on Yuri manga worth spending your money on in 2017!

I wanted to thank you all, because of you, we hit the 2016 Okazu Patreon goal this week. (Now on to 2017 goal – paying all our Guest Reviewers!) So I thought about how to best reward you all for your support and decided that a big chunky list of good stuff to get with pictures and links that took me hours and hours to put together was just the ticket. ^_^ Thank you again!

   

*Everything that I wish to have on this list is on the list. If you do not see a title here I did not want it on this list.

 

 

 

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Yuri Manga: Bloom Into You, Volume 1 (English)

February 12th, 2017

Nakatani Nio’s blockbuster manga has debuted in English as Bloom Into You, Volume 1 from Seven Seas.

When I originally reviewed Volume 1 of Yagate Kimi ni Naru, I said that it was “a sweet little Yuri romance that I both enjoyed a lot and also have several real problems with.” My opinion has not changed for the better as the issues with it have not abated, but intensified. (And for those of you new here, I’ve also reviewed Volume 2 and Volume 3 in Japanese. No need to try to “explain” the series to me. Thanks. You’re welcome to disagree, but you won’t change my opinion. ^_^)

On the ANNCast Friday, Jacob Chapman delved into the stereotype of the predatory gay man as a thing that really put him off. I briefly spoke about the line where it becomes victimization that really bothers me. But I wasn’t able to address the other part of that…something that bothers me in all manga, not just LGBTQ characters – coercion. I dislike it immensely when a character uses their perceived or real power to coerce another character into a situation they don’t want to be in. This is as true for Strawberry Panic! as it is for Shitsurakuen. And it seems obvious to me that the entirety of Bloom Into You can be summed up in this single panel (read-right-to-left): “Why not just tell her no?”  “I tried, but Nanami-sempai won’t give up on the idea!”

That’s just a deal killer for me. “No means no” whether someone says it about being a campaign manager or a girlfriend and whether the person asking is male or female. It wouldn’t be cute if it was a guy insisting and it’s not cute that it’s a girl.

Moreover, it’s even more obvious to me this time that Sayaka was just dissed right to her face. It’s really hard for me to like Touko ever again.

Part of the problem here is that this is a manga, although rated Teen by Seven Seas, was written for a magazine for adult men, and it adheres to the standard male romantic lead plot – stalk her, bug her, insist your feelings are sincere and magically she’ll realize she loves you. This is horrible in Hollywood movies and it’s no less toxic here. No, this is not how one convinces a girl to like one. Nor is Akari’s plan to wait until the reason the guy she likes uses to not go out with her runs out, a sensible one. These are stupid lessons and stuff that sets my teeth on edge about any “romance.” If feelings aren’t returned, it’s okay to feel shitty about being rejected, but not okay to just keep insisting they’ll come around.

The delusion so many of the characters live under make me sympathetic only to Sayaka who seems to see the whole thing most clearly, right down to her own unfulfilled desire. She’s basically the only reason I’m still reading this series.

Very unusually for Seven Seas, this volume also contains several name translation mistakes. Nanami Touko is  at least once referred to as “Nanako” (a mistake I noticed on the Amazon description, and had meant to, but completely forget to, email Seven Seas about, woops, sorry) and Saeki Sayaka is sometimes referred to referred to as Sanae Sayaka. The page reproduction is the usual high quality we’ve come to expect, however.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 7
Characters – 7
Yuri – 5
Service – 1

Overall – 6 My reservations remain and have increased over time. The transition into English has not helped and the translation inconsistency (while quite probably because they had two proofreaders but no managing editor,) just sort of felt like an extra stone in my shoe.

“Sometimes love just takes time for the other person to get in to, right?”

Argh.

I really wish I liked this series, but I still have a lot of trouble with the premise. So, if you really like it a lot, I invite you to write in a short review for this volume in the comments and if you’d like to write about Volume 2 when it comes out in English, do let me know!

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