Archive for the Yuri Manga Category


Yuri Manga Interview on Barnes and Noble Blog

March 24th, 2017

Thanks to the kindness (and good timing) of Brigid Alverson, the Barnes and Noble blog has an interview with me all about Yuri Manga. The good timing part is really important, because I get to talk at length about some of the great Yuri manga that has recently hit shelves. As you all know, the main thing that will convince publishers to license more Yuri manga is good sales of the Yuri manga they are currently putting out. So the more folks who learn of and buy the very decent Yuri manga in the store right now, the better. ^_^

Drop by the interview and make your suggestions for more great Yuri manga to buy in the comments!

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Yuri Manga: My First Lady (マイ・ファーストレディ)

March 9th, 2017

My First Lady (マイ・ファーストレディ) is a short story collection by Takemiya Jin of stories that ran in Comic Yuri Hime magazine. The single unifying factor is that, in each story, under unique circumstances, a girl realizes that she has feelings for another girl.

The stories themselves differ mostly by outcome. In the cover story, the girl gets the girl. In another, the girls gets the girls, but we can see that the relationship will be manipulative and creepy. In another, the girl does not get the girl. In the last, she may have been pining away for the wrong girl.

The collection is a bit like a “roll the dice” game version of Yuri story-telling, but while nothing is spectacular, it’s still enjoyable.

The one thing that remains tight throughout is Takemiya-sensei’s ability to capture enignmtaic and complex emotions in character’s expressions. Sometimes, I’ll spend more time on wondering what a character is thinking than worrying about the overt text, especially in shorts like these. 

So, while this isn’t a standout collection, it’s a good solid look at first love with a variety of outcomes.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 7
Character – 7
Yuri – 7
Service – 0

Overall – 7

I’m always happy to have another collection from Takemiya-sensei. ^_^

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Yuri Manga: Akuma no Riddle Manga, Volume 4 (悪魔のリドル)

March 6th, 2017

Akuma no Riddle V4 I read Volume 3 of this series in both English and Japanese and so, I thought I’d keep that up. Only, Volume 4 didn’t come out and didn’t come out and didn’t come out…and I got tired of waiting. Of course, just about the time I finally gave in and read it in Japanese, Volume 4 came out on Global Bookwalker in English. ^_^ Volume 4 is also available in English from Seven Seas in print.

Nonetheless, as Volume 4 of Akuma no Riddle  (悪魔のリドル)is, like the previous three volumes, almost word for word to the anime, there was nothing lost in the not-translation. The manga is every so slightly more Yuri than the anime, but nothing else is significantly different.

Itsuke makes her play to make her gay parents proud…and fails. Banba’s split personality isn’t much of a net positive for her…she goes down. And finally, Hanabusa come up with  an overcomplicated plot just to learn that Tokaku is better at it all than she is. Oh well.

Volume 4 is mostly presented as the final set of battles but, of course we know that isn’t true.  We still have a lot of expository dialogue to work through to figure out, exactly, what is going on. And for all that effort, I’m pretty sure we never really figure out what the deal with the unanswerable riddles ever is.

I’m really hoping that the final volume of the manga provides more depth than the anime did. It’s not that we don’t all love the endlessly creative ways in which girls are tortured and their lives ruined (barrrrffff) but emotional and physical abuse can only carry a story so far. At some point, we want answers and for someone to slap that guy on the phone.

Ratings:

Art – 9
Story – If you like sympathizing with killers – 7, if not  – 4
Characters –  7 All the feels for the poor abused psychopathic killers
Service – 5 Bathing
Yuri – 3 Toukaku and Haru have been “coupled” by the plot, but it appears that Toukaku actually likes Haru.

Overall – 7

My fingers are crossed for a end that resonates more than the anime did, which could be summed up as “well, that was a thing I watched.”

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Yuri Manga: MURCIÉLAGO 9 ( ムルシエラゴ 9)

March 2nd, 2017

By Volume 9 of Murciélago (ムルシエラゴ), one might expect the schtick to be getting a little tired. I mean, murderous bad guy, extreme violence, blah blah blah. But..nope. ^_^

The arc with the war-era group of crazy nationalists comes to an end with a strange connection to Hinako. But it comes to an end. And, as the final battle is occurring in the sewers below the city, a new/old character is handing herself over to the police. Aiko returns to us from an earlier arc and with her -at last – there is someone who is not Kuroko to care for former serial killer Ringo. In fact, Ringo and Aiko make a great team, as we see later in the volume.

To celebrate wrapping up the case, Hinako demands a beach vacation, where she and Ringo fish and swim and *finally*, moved to action by the return of another character from a former arc, Chiyo admits she desires Kuroko. While the gang fishes with the-woman-formerly-known-as-Teresa, Chiyo gets to enjoy Kuroko’s freakishly long forked tongue.

And then the robot lands in a ball of fire.

Mad scientist Saki is being tailed by another mad scientist and Hinako gets to be a pilot in a giant robot fight! It was awesome.

The whole volume was pretty great. Entire buildings are destroyed, but only a few people we didn’t like anyway die and Hinako gets to pilot a giant robot.

Ratings:

Art – Um…
Story – 9
Characters – 8
Service – 9
Yuri – 9, but really more for Chiyo cluing in than the sex which was um….

Overall – 9 Probably my favorite volume since the Virginal Rose arc and much less gruesome.

It wraps up with a oh-so-ironic story about incestuous sisters that I will now forget completely.

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Yuri Manga: Hana to Hina ha Houkago, Volume 3 ( ハナとヒナは放課後 )

February 27th, 2017

In Volume 1, we met Hana and Hina, schoolmates who share a (against school rules) job working at a character goods store. Hina has a second part-time job modeling. In Volume 2, Hana learns something world-changing – Hina also previously had a girlfriend. Fighting with herself about nascent feelings for the younger woman, this changes her own perspective radically.

In Volume 3 of Hana to Hina ha Houkago ( ハナとヒナは放課後 ), Hana screws up her courage to bring up Hina’s former relationship, only to have the idea shot down by Hina, who blames Maiko for making it all awkward. She assures Hana that she’s “normal.” Now Hana is thrown into a real tizzy. She still likes Hina – having found the courage to admit that, she is devastated that her feelings won’t be returned. Things become very tense between them. Will they get together? I’m not going to spoil this book, as you too will be reading it in English (Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3) soon enough! But…seriously…what are the chances that they don’t get together? Pretty much nil, since it’s a series by Morinaga Milk. ^_^

The what, though, isn’t really that important. The how is. 

If there is any criticism I have of Morinaga-sensei’s work, it is the fantasy of it all. Stress exists only as an internal struggle – the character(s) wrestling with their own feelings. There’s almost no interaction with external difficulties. No disapproving parents, no prejudiced school administrations. It’s a handwave I’m glad to accept, as it allows the story to exist as it’s own thing, in the fantasy of a lily-scented landscape. This may be changing

(In the following notes, there may be some small spoilers. I’ve done my best to minimize them, but be warned.)

In Kisses, Sighs and Cherry Blossoms Pink, Hitomi merely fantasizes about a future in which she and Nana are adults and can be together. In GIRL FRIENDS (Volume 1 and Volume 2) Morinaga-sensei took a step outside the isolation of a “couple in love” and gave Akiko and Mari friends…friends who accepted them and their relationship. In the very end, Mari even gave some thought to the issues of coming out to parents and what school and work might think…in the future. 

In Hana to Hina ha Houkago, it is through the existence of a previous relationship that Hana learns about Hina’s  sexuality. This is not unknown as a plot complication in manga, and often is denied, as Hina does. But it’s also addressed later on when Hina speaks more honestly.

Hana still has the benefit of a friendship outside Hina and it is in that friendship that she finds the strength to speak to Hina, when the tension between them is becoming oppressive.

The ending touches briefly upon two new issues for a Morinaga-sensei work, marriage and coming out. They are both presented with a creative flourish, without connection to the “real” world, but both in unique and positive ways. In a sense, it’s Morinaga-sensei herself taking tentative steps with her hyper cute romance narratives towards something with more depth. With Otouto no Otto running in the same magazine, maybe Morinaga-sensei’s feeling more confident about her narratives “coming out.” I’d like to think that she is. In her next series, we’ll hope to get the characters navigating dating or living together. ^_^

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 9
Characters – 8
Service – 6 Sex is a thing that happens
Yuri – 8 See above

Overall – 9 for sexuality, coming out and marriage actually being addressed. ^_^

Morinaga-sensei shows us again that she’s strongest in a character-driven plot when she’s given the time to tell the whole story. At 3 volumes, I think Hana to Hina ha Houkago is her strongest work to date.

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