Archive for the Magazines Category


Yuri Manga: Comic Yuri Hime December 2017 (コミック百合姫2017年12月号)

November 22nd, 2017

With the publication of Comic Yuri Hime, December 2017 (コミック百合姫2017年12月号), the very first year of having a monthly Yuri manga magazine comes to an end. And what a year it has been. In the same way that I felt trepidation for the debut monthly issue, worried that it might be skewed toawrds interests away from my own, I felt similarly for this issue, which highlights some new artists. (While meanwhile, most of our best-loved artists have joined the team at Galette Works.) Unfortunately for me, the Comic Yuri Hime series they are putting the most money into are the ones I like least, so, how would I feel after reading this issue?

I’m pleased to say that Comic Yuri Hime is ending the year about as strongly as it began. Which is to say that it begins with an energetic young woman entering high school and befriending the morose rumor-laden classic Japanese beauty girl. Yep. Still trope-y as heck. ^_^

The cover couple seem to have made up and are cute and wintery. (I wonder, a bit, about people still motivated to draw the same one tropey couple as always. Really? REALLY?!?)

I’m reading two completely separate “girl falls for her sister-in-law” series at the same time, so I find it hard to remember in which the brother is alive and which not. In tMnR’s “Tatoeto Dokanu Kedatoshitemo” Uta’s crush is not as secret, I think, as she’d like us to believe. This chapter focuses more on Kaoru’s relationship with her husband. I’m more uncomfortable with this series since Reichi is alive but in any case, this story has become so depressing, I’m considering dropping it. No one seems happy ever.

After it’s dark opening chapter, “Shiori wo Sagasu Page-tachi” takes a turn sideways, to Chitose’s childhood friendship with Rikako.

“2DK, GPen, Mezamashitokei” gives us a glimpse of what Nanami’s coworkers think of her, and then we watch her spin in the cycle she’s created for herself.

Tsuitsui’s art is a mess, but despite myself I keep liking the story. In “Astrology ha Mawaru” a cool girl is torturing herself about a lost (opportunity for) love, until a young woman ends up taking up her attention.

And no surprise I adore Taneko’s “Model-chan to Jimi Mane-san” about a beautiful model and her new manager. The whole thing felt so Mist magazine, it made me grin. Even the cover piece was like, “throwback!”

Ratings:

Overall – 8

As always, there were many other stories I didn’t review, or even read, but others I did read, but didn’t mention. There’s a host of moe-type stories for folks interested in that, at least a few stories for those of us who prefer not. A reasonable mix. But forgive me, please, if I cannot *wait* until Yuru Yuri, Citrus and NTR are gone and free the space up for something else.

The January 2018 issue is on sale now. I know I look forward to another year of Comic Yuri Hime!

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Yuri Manga: Comic Yuri Hime, November 2017 (コミック百合姫2017年11月号)

October 19th, 2017

The cover of Comic Yuri Hime, November 2017 (コミック百合姫2017年11月号) continues the apparently sweet, but actually creepy story. I sort of dread reading it, because on the one side, it appears to be all peaches and cream, but it really depresses me that the precious cover space is being wasted on a story of horrible people being horrible.

Nonetheless, once we move into the contents, there was a lot to keep me entertained. 

The first story, “Shiori wo Sagasu Page-tachi” by Kumo Susume, took a rather nasty twist right away but was engaging enough that I’m interested to know what’s going on. 

In Miman’s “Watashi no Yuri ha Oshigoto Desu!” now that the first major crisis is past, the story circles back to something we were told in the first volume, but this time it takes on a more menacing meaning. We knew that Kanako was obsessed with Hime…but just how obsessed is she?

At last! We get the rundown on Kaede and Aoi’s prior relationship from Kaede’s perspective. What that will mean to Nanami, we’ll have to wait and see.

“Seme x Uke Sanbon Syoubu!” is a very silly one-shot that ignores the actual complexity of lesbian relationships for an apparent “seme x uke” contest. As goofy as it was, it wasn’t completely inaccurate.

Omiya Miyami’s “LilyMaria to Wakaseyo” is another goofy story, following an uninspired manga artist who is visited by a fairy who only wants her to draw a Yuri manga…the one thing she really doesn’t want to draw.

And takekawa shin has put together a nifty little dystopian magic with goth-loli costuming story “Mansoufutou Dystopia” that starts off with a death, so you just know it’s going to be cheerful. ^_^

As always, there are many stories I did not touch upon, and Yuru Yuri is still on-going which, like Eli Manning’s continued position as Giants’ quarterback, never ceases to amaze me and interests me just as much.

Ratings:

Overall – 8

The December issue has hit shelves already, so we’ll find out what’s happening in these new stories soon enough!

 

 

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Yuri Manga: Galette, Issue 3 (ガレット )

September 18th, 2017

…and we have a winner!

Galette, Issue 3 is the third volume of the quarterly Galette Yuri Anthology created by a bunch of folks whose love for Yuri equals or exceeds my own. It is the first Yuri anthology you can get on US Kindle (albeit still in Japanese language) as well as on JP Kindle and in print from Amazon and in print from another system, Booth, that will ship overseas. (People in Japan also have options of buying it at Comic Zin, Animate, Shosen Book Tower, Gamers, Melon Books and more.)  And you can support it on Patreon-like crowdfunding platform Enty and get – depending on what level you support the work at – early copies of the magazine digitally and various extras. In every way, other than in content, Galette is ground-breaking. So let’s talk about the content.

Galette still has a lot of school-girl stories, from Amano Shuninta’s emotional look at a one-sided love in “Fuma-kun” to Hiyori Otsu’s interesting take on the girl wearing earphones in “Nutmeg”. When you remember how much of Japanese kids’ life is tied up in school activities (teams and clubs, which in the USA can also be community-based are largely school-based in Japan) it makes sense that this is where one might also find friendship, love and lust.

But lesbians don’t die when they graduate and many of us end up in college or careers, still trying to find ourselves. Gotou’s “Takaramono” (which I dubbed “Dude, what do I have to do to get you to notice I want to kiss you” ) was a decent example of that. Ringo Hamano’s “Cotton Candy” took a bit of a twist to show us just how important having adult role models can be to a young woman. And Yatosaki Haru’s “Futari no Arcadia” took a tired trope and turned it into a tale of human frailty.

Fantasy gets played with a lot in Galette. Hakamada Mera takes the innate love of uniforms and Rose of Versailles so many of us have (^_^;) and turned it into a nice little story about two very likable young ladies in “Fuwafuwa Futashika Yumemitai.” Takemiya Jin gets to play around in the darker desires of some humans in the creepy-sexy “Marionette.” I like that Takemiya-sensei is looking at more manipulative characters. She’s established her lesbian cred with her audience, and gets to talk about how not all love is healthy. It’s one thing to be pathologized by straight artists, and another to have one of us note that some people are just not good people.

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Morinaga Milk tells a story that will resonate with a lot of adult lesbians who fall for the straight women in their lives…who then awkwardly begin to question their sexuality in “Watashi no Kawaii Neko-chan” (a story that I feared based on the title, but has turned out to be more about human mortification than cats.)

And Kita Izumi and Momono Moto’s “Liberty” has continued to be excellent, with a silly twist, but one that keeps the story firmly rooted in adult life. I look forward to this story with every issue, as it hits the right notes of setting, character design, and tension for me.

I love the guest art – Etsuko’s color spread is very nice – and I like the photography by Takahashi Minori. The cover design is just lovely.  Issue 3 came with a copy of Petit Galette, an omake volume with a few short comics and a prose story.

Issue 3 has a pretty all-star lineup, with a few notable omissions. Luckily for us, one of those obvious names – Morishima Akiko – will be joining the lineup next issue. Now all I need is for Nishi UKO and Hojou KOZ (UKOZ) and Hayashiya Shizuru to join them and I’ll have all my faves in one place. ^_^ Still, Galette is turning out to be the Yuri magazine I’d hoped it could be. I now hope to see a bit more lesbian identity and it’ll be perfect. ^_^

Ratings:

Art – 9
Story- 9
Characters – 8
Service – 6 Nudity 
Yuri – 10

Overall – 9

Way back in 2005 or 2007 or so, I joked that odd-numbered years are always really good for Yuri. That’s switched around here and there, but here we are in 2017 and I think this is the best year we have ever had for Yuri in the almost-20 years I’ve been doing this. May our tribe increase.

Issue 4 will be out at the end of November and available at Comitia (which I am planning on being at, if all goes well.)

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Yuri Manga: Comic Yuri Hime October 2017 (コミック百合姫2017年10月号)

September 17th, 2017

The October 2017 issue of Comic Yuri Hime (コミック百合姫2017年10月号) surprised the heck out of me. Yes, it’s still got a bunch of stuff that makes my eyes roll and yes, the editorial staff is reallllllllly into characters that are manipulative and two-timing, but I probably read more of the actual stories from this issue than I have in months.

I want to skip to the end of the volume to start, to note that “Missing Rink”, a two-part story by Gotou Yuuki, was pretty good, for all that it was also really tiresome and a gigantic waste of an opportunity. Set on a high school swim team, a rumor is being spread that two of the girls are a couple. Upperclassman Rina, who is, in fact, one of those girls, tries to calm the waters, only to have the team members insist on a witchhunt. The girls who are indicted by the team will be asked to resign – without proof, mind you. Rina’s appalled that her girlfriend, Ayumi, is named and the member who shared the rumor in the first place, Saki. But when we take a look at the story from a different member, Syuuri’s, perspective, we see that Saki and Ayumi are indeed a couple. Syuuri isn’t above manipulating Rina to get what she wants.  The reaction of homophobia might have been (and, legitimately might still be) a teaching moment, and it’s probably not unrealistic, but the story is not about that, but about the creepy Syuuri’s manipulation and Ayumi’s two-timing which is sort of ugh for me. But swim team story that isn’t overtly gross with fanservice, so I think it balances out. I’ll keep reading.

This was one of a bunch of new stories of which I read all, so I’m actually looking forward to next month. A couple of things wrapped up arcs – and Pikachis “Demi-Life” ended – with expected bland coupling so no extra points for those.

On the continuing side, Aoto Hibiki’s odd time-travel story “Kimi ni Aetara” took a turn for the extra-odd when it added the supernatural to the time-travel.

“Watashi no Yuri ha Oshigoto Desu!” by Miman also took a turn and I’m really glad it did. Hime’s self-awareness has gone from “Am I kind of  jerk?” to “Wow, I’m a total jerk.” to “How can I be not a jerk?” in rapid succession with another bold move towards a kind of resolution to her story. When this story arc does wrap up, I hope we’ll turn towards some of the other characters and see their lives and love, as well.  But the really big positive change here is that the customers coming to the Yuri cafe are, in some panels, recognizably female. Yay. The customers seem to be split evenly, which I really appreciate.

And this month’s chapter of “2DK, G Pen, Mezamashitokei” by Ohsawa Yayoi gets my vote for the manga that gets closest to everything I want in a manga about adults for 2017, as Koyuki and Nanami have a fantastic heart-to-heart talk, not about Kaede, but about themselves and each other. This one was a winner. I really need to resurrect my Stargazer Awards for outstanding moments in Yuri. This deserves one. (Note to self: Do that for the end of the year lists.) This series would make a fantastic live-action web series.

Ratings:

Overall – 9

Good issue, some very strong stories. November Comic Yuri Hime hit shelves in Japan this week.

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Yuri Manga: Comic Yuri Hime September 2017 (コミック百合姫2017年9月号)

August 18th, 2017

While the management of Comic Yuri Hime focuses on their blitz of creepy Yuri anime this summer, the rest of the reading audience might be expected to just suck it up in front of the promotional wave.

Oddly, this does not happen. Of course there is a focus on series I’m not interested in covering here, but once we move past those, there’s actually some really good stuff in Comic Yuri Hime September 2017 (コミック百合姫2017年9月号).

“Watashi no Yuri ha Oshigoto desu!” by miman has gone somewhere unexpected and typical, but what it will do there and why are still unpredictable enough that I’m still reading. 

Tokuwotsumu’s “Tsume no iro” was pleasant, as as Hisona’s “Ha no Hanabatake to Hakashirube.”

In Ohsawa Yayoi’s “2DK, GPen Mezamashitokei” Nanami’s confession has thrown everyone – Nanami, Kaede and Koyuki – into a tizzy. Koyuki tells Nanami that’s she’s confessed to Kaede which officially puts this series into love triangle mode.

As usual there are any number of other entries, both ongoing and one-shots that are worth reading. Overall I felt like, yes, this issue still has a metric ton of schoolgirls, but the stories themselves felt a little more varied. I am a bit concerned about the shift into gimmick (schoolgirls with animal ears or who are game prodigies or are half-human) but I still found this issue to be readable.

Ratings:

Overall – 8  

For “2DK, GPen Mezamashitokei,” alone, this issue would have been good.

 

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