Archive for the Anoko ni Kiss to Shirayuri wo Category


Yuri Manga: Kiss and White Lily For My Dearest Girl, Volume 3 (English)

October 12th, 2017

Kiss and White Lily for My Dearest Girl, Volume 3,  follows the drama of the school’s garden club into which resident school genius Kurozawa Yurine is roped.

Yukina, the Gardening Club President  is determined to save the school rose garden despite the opposition of the Student Council. Only, it turns out that they aren’t the real problem at all. 

As I said in my review of this volume in Japanese, the story here is about love and betrayal and growing up. The drama of the Gardening Club  is watching characters having to deal being betrayed and betraying others and still finding some sense of hope and growth, much like the roses that are at the center of the drama. 

This seems especially true when we spend a few moments with Yurine and Ayaka. Ayaka’s protests are getting weaker as Yurine’s honesty and, for lack of a better term, purity of intent, have worn down her resistance.

Despite the big lie that drives the plot, this volume leaves one with a feeling thaat, rather despite themselves, the characters are growing and changing. One hopes, of course, for the better.

Jocelyne Allen again is doing an excellent job of translation, preserving each character’s unique voice  The Yen team’s technical reproduction, lettering, touchup are all clean. When you pick this book up, you get to slide into an authentic  manga reading experience without being thrown out of the moment by anything. I’m old enough to remember how many years this wasn’t true and to still appreciate it every single time. ^_^ I also want to shout out to the really excellent work on the cover – and especially the spine design, that perfectly captures the font and feel of the delicate text used on the original. It looks really nice. 

Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 8 Less cute and sweet before, but more complicated instead.
Yuri – 8
Service – 1 on principle only

Overall – 8

Many sincere thanks to the team at Yen for an excellent work and now, having moved past the weakest volumes of Kiss and White Lily, we can buckle down for a more complex, and more compelling, story. Volume 4 will be out at the end of November, so get ready for more!

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Yuri Manga: Anoko ni Kiss to Shirayuri wo, Volume 6 (あの娘にキスと白百合を)

June 6th, 2017

If you enjoyed Volume 2 of Anoko ni Kiss to Shirayuri wo (Or Volume 2 of Kiss & White Lily For My Dearest Girl) you will probably like Volume 6 of Anoko ni Kiss to Shirayuri wo (あの娘にキスと白百合を).

Chiharu and Izumi have grown closer, but when a classmate gives Izumi a flower with a red ribbon (a newly forged class tradition, in which the color of the ribbon signals your emotional intention; friend, love, etc) Chiharu abandons her own desire for intimacy with Izumi. Izumi rejects Amane, who takes it well enough, and forces Chiharu to face up to her lingering attachment to Hoshino-sempai, before the two of them can be the couple we want them to be. 

Amane tries again, but her classmate Hiroma, while actually interested in her, is not a very extroverted…and is swayed from response by Amane’s bestie Nina, who turns out to have it bad for Amane. The ending for this threesome is clearly illustrated on the cover.

I’m glad the story has circled back on Chiharu and Izumi, as she has previously done for Yurine and Ayaka. It’s nice to know that we’re going to get a little bit more than just “I like you. The End” for some of the strongest characters. The art’s getting more detailed, too. I can’t help but wonder if Canno-sensei has picked up a bunch of extra assistants with her new fame. ^_^

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 6 A bit pat, but okay
Characters – 7 New characters feel a bit thin at the moment, even as the older ones are getting more developed
Yuri – 5
Service – 1 on principle only

Overall – 7

The thing that keeps bringing me back to this series (aside from the fact that it’s ubiquitous and I can’t escape it ^_^) is the different forms the relationships take. They are far more complicated than the ones I remember from my high school, for sure. ^_^

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Yuri Manga: Kiss & White Lily for My Dearest Girl, Volume 2 (English)

May 31st, 2017

Hoshino-sempai is graduating and Ai is in a panic. She ‘s desperate to not lose her beloved astronomy-loving sempai – even going so far as wishing for her to fail her exam, but really, she doesn’t want that at all. Ai just wants things to stay the same between Chiharu, Hoshino-sempai and herself. In the end, she’s able to send Hoshino-sempai off with a gift that will give her the stars whenever she wants.

Chiharu has another problem. She’s Hoshino-sempai’s roommate and she’s fallen in love with her. She fights with Hoshino, and while hiding out comes across a lowerclassman breaking a minor rule by riding a bike to school. Chiharu starts to watch over Izumi, ostensibly to catch her riding the bike, but as she and Izumi get to know each other, and Izumi gets involved in Chiharu’s spat with Hoshino-sempai. They make up, but Chiharu has realized that she is starting to have feelings for Izumi now. Hoshino is able to graduate without any unresolved regrets, and Chiharu and Izumi move off into their next year, able to support one another.

Kiss & White Lily for My Dearest Girl, Volume 2 is about the pressures unrequited love creates in the person for whom that love is consuming. The object of the emotion may or may not know just hw much they affect the other person, but the lesson has to be that your like is not contract – the other person has every right to continue their life without you.  Both Ai and Chiharu must let go of Hoshino…it’s not her responsibility to stay for them.

In the final chapter, our protagonist from Volume 1,  Ayaka, meets Yurine’s little sister, who casts her as a rival for Yurine’s attention. While Shiramine protests she doesn’t *want* Kurozawa’s attention, after spending a few moments looking at her self-proclaimed rival through the eyes of her admiring sister, Ayaka can really see just how amazing Yurine is.

What I like best – and what can be seen clearly here in Volume 2 of this ongoing series – is how *different* all the relationships we’ll see are. Yes, Ayaka and Yurine are the love/hate rival couple, but there won’t be another one just like that. The school setting makes this very much a “Yuritopia” series, but within that setting, we’re going to be getting a wide variety of character and relationships.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 8 More realistic than the set-up for the first volume
Yuri – 5
Service – 1 on principle only

Overall – 8

Volume 3 will be out in August, and pre-orders are available now. If you’re looking for Yuri that takes a basic schoolgirl trope and gives us some great character development, Kiss & White Lily For My Dearest Girl is an excellent bet.

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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!

Many thanks to Yen Press and Brgid Alverson for the review copy for this volume. ^_^

 

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Yuri Manga: Anoko ni Kiss to Shirayuri wo, Volume 5 (あの娘にキスと白百合を 5)

November 29th, 2016

aksyw5-e1476563876160Canno’s popular series, Anoko ni Kiss to Shirayuri wo, has made it to 5 volumes on the all-Yuri school formula.  It’s basically a Yuri trope du jour series, in a fantasy school, where adults are a vague concept and while boys are not unheard of, they are unseen. 

In Volume 5, we first run into Itou Sawa who is positive that Nishikawa Istuki hates her. HATES. Big glare-y eyes from across the room-type hates. But, of course, that is not at all what is going on. Itsuki is struggling with a memory that Sawa doesn’t share…but should.

The middle of the book turns to look hard at the primary couple of the series. Rumors are flying that the day after exams, both Kurozawa Yurine and Shiramine Ayaka were seen together at the seashore. It’s a school scandal, but we learn the truth that Ayaka, rejected again by her family for not being number one in scores, runs off to have a good cry. Yurine helps her ground herself, and gives Ayaka a focus for her energy. Ultimately, they return to  school and face down the rumors.

Finally, we take the time for Sawa and Itsuki to confront their shared history and potential present. I’m not going to syt it’s a stupid past, but under no circumstances am I to be held to any promise I made before 30, much less 5 years old. 

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 6
Characters – 7
Yuri – 8
Service – 1 on principle

Overall – 7

No, seriously. Any promises made in in kindergarten are no longer valid.

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