Archive for the Magazines Category


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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Comic Yuri Hime, August 2017 (コミック百合姫2017年8月号)

July 23rd, 2017

HAH! I’m almost current.

The August issue of Comic Yuri Hime (コミック百合姫2017年8月号) had much to recommend including an amazing opening, climactic chapter of “2DK, GPen, Mesameshitokei.” (A climactic chapter, but, one hopes, not the climactic chapter.)

Up until now in Ohsawa Yayoi’s adult life story, we’ve been fully invested in Nanami. Her interactions, he inner life has been 95% of what we’ve been watching. And, now, suddenly, after 5 volumes, we realize we know next to nothing about Kaede. Hopefully, we will now.

Of course, continuing series continue. But more importantly, there are several stories by new creators that are reasonably good, I particularly liked “Otona to Kodomo to Koi to Melty Black” which felt like every doujinshi I bought in 2005. ^_^.

Beginning in August, several new stories are starting on Pixiv including a new series by Mimoto.

Ratings: 

Overall – 7

Overall, a solid collection, even if the stories the editorial staff like best and the one’s I don’t like the most seem to be the same ones. ^_^;

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Yuri Manga: Galette, Issue 2 (ガレット 2)

July 10th, 2017

In the comments of my review of Galette, Issue 1, Jim assured us that the next issue was even better. Jim was right. Galette, Issue 2 (ガレット) is very close to the kind of manga anthology I hoped Galette would be. 

The cover illustration by pen is lovely, the construction of the cover, with reflective metallic ink is exceeding pleasant. The inaide cover art is likewise appealing. Interior color pages open up Morinaga Milk’s contribution and include a photo set, something we haven’t seen in many Yuri anthology. and further illustrations.

The opening story by Otsu Hiyori was satisfying (as was seeing her back in a Yuri collection!) There were any number of good to excellent stories. I found way more of them – even those set in school – more complex, less “girl meets girl” thn we’ve come to expect. This issue had a number of stories that looked at regret for what never was or might have been, as well as stories where facing down one’s feelings and putting a name to them is the story. 

It was a strong enough book that, having finished it, I went back and re-read it. I only do that when I want to make sure I caught everything. Of course I loved Takemiya Jin’s ex-Yanki, now-adult comedy, and Morinaga Milk’s story was very solid and not at all childish or school-life. But the standout story for me continues to  be Monomo Moto and Kitta Izumi’s “Liberty” which took off in such a different direction than expected, but was just so good, that I’m really hoping it’ll continue in Volume 3!

As with the first volume, you can get it in print from Amazon JP (until is sells out, which apparently Volume 1 has) and (in Japanese) on digital for the US Kindle from Amazon.com. I’m still so damn excited about that for you. No shipping, and there you go, you have it in your pocket.   Volume 3 will be out in Japan in print at the end of August, so keep an eye out for the Kindle version later this sumer. For a sample of the next volume, visit the Galette Lineup page

And, if you want to support this creator-owned work, take a look at the subscription page for a variety of plans to pay for  the level of support you want to give. There are limitations, so please read the page carefully before you  apply! You’ll get rewards from 100¥/month and up and you’ll get your name on the thanks page! I imagine that shipping to overseas locations has some limitations, so, again, please read carefully. But, look, it’s the writers we want to read, making the manga they want to write. As far as I’m concerned, that’s worth my support (I’ve chosen the “Normal” level of support. Can I just say how amusing I find that?) So whether you’re supporting the work with a subscription, buying the print or the digital, let’s show these creators that the Yuri fandom outside Japan has their back.

Ratings:

Art – 9 
Story- 9 
Characters – 8
Service – 4 A little in “Liberty”
Yuri – 10

Overall – 9

Cannot wait for Volume 3!

 

 

 

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