Archive for the Anoko ni Kiss to Shirayuri wo 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!

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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Yuri Manga: Anoko ni Kiss to Shirayuri wo, Volume 3 (あの娘にキスと白百合を 3)

June 27th, 2016

AknSw3-e1440286973777Back in April, I picked up Anoko ni Kiss to Shirayuri wo, Volume 4, and realized suddenly that I had never gotten Volume 3. Durh! While in Japan, this volume was one of two I made sure I picked up, goshdarnit.

When Anoko ni Kiss to Shirayuri wo, Volume 3 (あの娘にキスと白百合を) begins, we turn our attention briefly back to the initial couple we met in Volume 1, Kurozawa Yurine and Shiramine Ayaka. Finals time always stress Ayaka out, as she is eternally chasing after Yurine, the natural genius who never studies. Ayaka tortures herself studying and studying and, as grades come in, Ayaka becomes more and more depressed. Yurine, the slacker and doofus, has beat her again. Yurine’s affection for Ayaka just becomes galling, until, finally, Ayaka gets a top score. Yurine admits that she’s just really at school and won’t really be sorry about that, but she does genuinely love Ayaka. Ayaka, her ego salved, is ready to accept Yurine’s feelings once again.

From here, we move on to the story of the president and vice president of the  drama club. Yurine (and therefore Ayaka) are dragged into the Gardening Club’s ongoing issues with the Student Council, a member of which appears to be dedicated to destroying the Gardening club. The arc, which does not get a “happy” ending,  much like the main arc in Volume 2, is about love and betrayal and growing up. It was, by far and away, the most adult so far of the arcs and also the most depressing, while still remaining sort of hopeful.

I keep saying this about this series – it appears at first glimpse to be another Marimite clone, but it is definitely it’s own thing. If there is one real criticism of the series, it’s that it’s one of those all-lesbian schools, where there don’t seem to be any straight girls and where nearly every character we meet has to be paired off.  Other than this quibble, we’ve met characters far richer than they first appeared to be.

Ratings:

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

Overall – 8

I’m actually finding myself looking forward to the next volume to see what happens (and hoping Ayaka can get past her  – totally valid – resentment of Yurine.)

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Yuri Manga: Anoko ni Kiss to Shirayuri wo, Volume 4 (あの娘にキスと白百合を 4)

April 25th, 2016

AkKnSYw4There is both good and bad about the “Yuri school” approach. It’s nice to see multiple couples set in the same world, but it’s also really very tiresome when nearly every character is introduced merely to be paired up.

In Volume 1 of Anoko ni Kiss to Shirayuri wo, (あの娘にキスと白百合を 4) we met Kurozawa and Shiramine, to opposite personalities who attract. And it was cute. In Volume 2, we watch a sempai-kohai couple with a protagonist who is a bit more fleshed out than the first volume. I thought I had read Volume 3, but appears I never reviewed it (and can’t remember it) so I may not have. Woops. ^_^

Here in Volume 4, we *mostly* spend time with childhood friends, track team manager Moe and her star runner Mizuki. Mizuki has an important meet to win, so Moe puts a curfew on their time together. Instead of helping Mizuki concentrate, it has the opposite effect. When Mizuki fails to qualify for the finals, the two take a good look at their feelings for one another and decide that they want to be together.

Their story is broken up with a sideline about a girl, Kaoru, who idolizes Kurozawa from the first volume. It’s a comedy of errors, but ends up with a shocking turn – the girls making new friends. It was a dorkily cute story and the extra added dimensions to the characters’ society made me smile.

While there’s  a little eye-trolling to be had in any series where it seems that half the girls are in love with the other half, at least this series isn’t in the habit of pairing everyone up. In the case of Kaoru’s arc, Yuri is a red herring.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 7 Cute, sweet, etc
Yuri – 8
Service – 1 on principle only

Overall – 8

It’s Yuri candy and not much more, but it’s cute Yuri candy. ^_^

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Yuri Manga: Anoko ni Kiss to Shirayuri wo, Volume 2 (あの娘にキスと白百合を)

March 3rd, 2015

AKnSw2Last June I read and reviewed a somewhat typical, but surprisingly enjoyable, little school life Yuri manga, Anoko ni Kiss to Shirayuri wo. I was frankly amazed to learn there was a second volume. This first ended tidily and I’m always kind of loathe to believe that there are that many female couples…even a girl’s private school.

In Volume 1, we met typical hper-competent Shiramine Ayaka and annoyingly talented slacker  Kurozawa Yurine. Despite their rivalry, well, probably because of it, they fall in like.

In  Volume 2, we turn to other students; this time, Chiharu, Ai and their crush, Hoshino-sempai. They are friends first, so love feels almost like a distraction and yet, there it is. Chiharu has it bad for Hoshino, who is graduating at the end of the term.

Chiharu and Hoshino are locked in a storage room. Feelings are acknowledged, even if they can’t go anywhere. The second half of the book introduces Izumi, who makes it possible, for Chiharu to say good bye to Hoshino with her whole heart.

We get a brief cameo of Ayaka and Yurine in the main story, but the end chapters introduce Yurine’s younger sister who is jealous of their relationship and is taking it out on Ayaka, but fails to win Yurine back.

Generally speaking I liked the character of Chiharu more than either of the protagonists in the first volume. Where their feelings seemed sort of rote, Chiharu struck me as a fairly well-developed character. You can imagine her outside the school. And her feelings for Hoshino are not fully developed, nor is there a presumption of them ever potentially being a couple. The second volume felt more like a real story than the first.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 8 Definitely more realistic than the first volume
Yuri – 5
Service – 1 on principle only

Overall – 8

If you like Canno-sensei’s art, check out this Pixiv page where you can gawk at art, including some for this series, doujinshi and other illustrations. If you’re a fan of the schoolgirl Yuri it’s worth a visit.

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