Archive for the Yuri Manga Category


Yuri Manga: Onedarishitmite (おねだりしてみて)

June 7th, 2017

Tsukiko has been drawingYuri  for a while and for the last few years, she’s been drawing slightly Yuri-esque stories for Birz Comics. Her current hit is Futaribeya, (ふたりべや), which combines Yuri-ish-ness and comic-strip blandness into a pleasant, but non-compelling tale that I reviewed last year. Today we’ll look at her short story collection, Onedarishitemite (おねだりしてみて), which combines Yuri-ish-ness and comic-strip blandness into a pleasant, non-compelling, but entertaining enough read. 

Tsukiko’s characters tend towards being blandly pleasant; the emotions, when they are made overt are like or love and attraction. There’s almost no reason to worry, because in a Tsukiko story, there will be a girl who likes another girl who likes her back.

The one standout story in Onedarishitmite is the title story, in which a young woman thinks her neighbor is having loud sex all the time, but it turns out she’s just doing amateur voice-overs for adult Drama CDs. They become friends and, maybe, eventually, something more, but not yet.

The most memorable thing about the collection are the story titles, presented in both Japanese and English. These are tantalizing: “Why don’t you ask?” “I became what most witches want to become” and the winner of best recipe as a title, “Bean-starch vermicelli salad with bamboo shots and scallop with a hint of yuzu citrus pepper.” 

Ratings:

Art – 6 
Story – 5
Characters – 4
Service – 1 
Yuri – 5 

Overall – 6

This collection is not memorable, but it was also pleasant enough while reading it.  

 

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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: Hoshikawa Ginza 4-chome, Complete Edition Volume 1 (星川銀座四丁目)

May 25th, 2017

Some things wear well over time. Some things don’t. I am inclined to think that Hoshikawa Ginza 4-chome, Complete Edition Volume 1 (星川銀座四丁目) is among the former.  

This volume covers the original Volume 1 and first half of Volume 2.  It follows the story of Otome, a young woman living in a neglectful household after her teacher literally pulls her away from uncaring parents in order to give her a fresh start. Otome and Minato become very comfortable with one another, but instead of settling into a mother-foster daughter relationship, they clearly feel more akin to wife and wife. This is problematic for Minato on several levels, not least because she is perfectly aware that she will be held responsible as the adult in the relationship and she is not all right with being cast as a criminal.

When I was reviewing this originally in  2010, I felt that, given the deeply problematic set-up of a student and teacher living together, it was handled reasonably well. Now, distance has given me a fresh perspective and among several other issues I have with the narrative I can see that the beginning of this story is a complete wreck. Clearly this was meant to be a few chapters long at best, but Kurogane Kenn’s audiences particular interests means that it became more popular, so he circled back and developed a longer narrative.

The main relationship is not comfortable for two reasons.In this story Minato is indeed portrayed as immature and hopelessly childish and Otome as the party that is pushing the relationship and I am really not okay with that at all. However, as I pointed out originally, “while I can’t say I enjoy this book, I have to at least give it credit for being really honest, sometimes brutally so, about the problematic nature of the main relationship.”

Perhaps breaking up the original series into three volumes worked to desensitize me, but with the distinctive time frame of Otome returning to school and her joining cram school in this 2-volume set, it just feels ickier than ever. 

Ratings:

Art – It’s still Kurogane Kenn, so for me 4, but for others 8
Story – 6
Characters- 6
Yuri – ? It’s Yuri, but….
Service- 10

Overall – 4

The entire same story could have been written with Otome at an older age. But it wasn’t. I blame Kurogane Kenn and his readers. 

 

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Yuri Manga: Fujyourina Atashi-tachi ( 不条理なあたし達)

May 24th, 2017

One of the qualities of a maturing genre is inclusion of non-trope material.For Yuri that means relationships involving adult women, especially women not in a school/college situation, and relationships that aren’t all rosy cheeks and “We’ll be together forever.”

In Fujyourina Atashi-tachi ( 不条理なあたし達) by Takemiya Jin, we get both these things at the same time. In the first short story, a woman has terrible taste in men and complains to her kouhai constantly until they kind of realize they might want to be together. In the second stoy, a woman is necessarily cruel to a coworker who likes her, because she likes her, which gives her a measure of power over the other woman.

The bulk of the book is a convoluted and, in many ways, dysfunctional relationship between Yamanaka and Taneda, colleagues in an office. Yamanaka is a selfish person, uninterested in other people. When she starts feeling a little attracted to Taneda, on the assumption that Taneda’s straight, she basically is barely civil. When Taneda invites her out to a local lesbian bar, their relationship becomes more  a lot more mean-spirited and fascinatingly (rather than destructively) manipulative. Yamanak starts of thinking she’s manipulating Tanedabut she’s not right. Where Taneda appears at first to be the baby seal waiting to be clubbed, in the end she’s the one who manges to train Yamanaka into being a human.

It’s a story about two crappy people who end up with a happy ending that they actually deserve. It was such a decent story, I read it twice through.

Ratings:

Art – 8 Her ability to capture complex expressions is still her strong point
Characters – 8 Not one of these people who be invited over for lunch. They are all kind of assholes. ^_^
Story – 8 Complex, adult, bitter and deep
Lesbian – 10

Overall – 8

This is Takemiya-sensei at her best, drawing short, pithy stories of lesbian life. Even when you don’t like the characters, she pulls a good story out of them. And this, while no “happily-ever-after,” is a good story.

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