Monday, November 2, 2009

Yuri Manga: Girl Friends volume 3

Presenting the first Yuri no Boke review typed up on a public computer! (Yay...? ^^;) My baby Macbook is getting repaired by my college's technical services right now, so for the next few days I'll be using my college's library/Campus Center computers. I already miss the warm glow of that plastic screen, illuminating my room when the overhead light flickers off...the merry hum of the hard drive...the familiar rectangular silhouette on my desk that greets me when I return from class/wherever-else...

*rereads the paragraph above*...but maybe this temporary separation is for the best. But enough of my drama-

I hate to say this, but I'm not as in love with Girl Friends as I was when I reviewed volumes 1 and 2 several months ago, even though this volume is, arguably, the best volume compiled so far.

Like volume 2, volume 3 of Girl Friends begins and ends with a kiss. We've had Mari kiss Akko while she was asleep (squeal-inducing and cute in manga, but not something that I would necessarily approve of in real life; go figure <-- Note from 11/14/2010: My sensitivity here comes from actually having been kissed by a friend who thought I was asleep when I was only trying to fall asleep when she was sleeping over; still being a closeted kid in denial, I thought that I didn't return her feelings, so I pretended to remain asleep and felt awkward about it afterward; ironically, I recently realized that I did like her back then, in-so-far as I could), Mari cry while kissing Akko on a suitably rainy afternoon, and Akko kiss Mari in a karaoke joint with Perfume's "Chocolate Disco" playing in the background. (I approve. It's a very catchy song. :) ) Morinaga Milk just may have set a new record for the highest number of kisses to happen between two characters without anything constructive happening as a result. (Although judging from the latest chapter of GF, the seemingly endless Cycle of Unresolved Sexual Tension may be about to draw to a close- here's hoping that the story continues for a good long while after Mari and Akko have finally started dating.)

In volume 3, the story switches over to Akko's point-of-view in the aftermath of Mari kissing her before unwillingly going on a date with Harada. Akko spends several chapters processing her feelings before concluding that she's in love with Mari also. Unfortunately, since Mari is hell-bent on maintaining the status quo, she passes off the kiss as a poorly-executed joke. Mari and Akko's friendship seems to be the same as ever on the surface (they're still talking about beauty products with their schoolmates), but the emotional gap between them as a result of their miscommunicated feelings is growing wider- and only "gotta-catch-'em-all" playgirl Sugi seems to notice. The end of this volume resolves the Mari-gets-a-boyfriend/substitute-Akko arc in a pleasantly mature way. Since this isn't Moonlight Flowers or Love Slave, Mari's boyfriend reacts with grace and dignity, and a suspiciously happy Akko (her poorly concealed reaction to the break-up was my second-favorite moment in this volume) takes Mari to a karaoke joint to cheer her up. (While Sugi and Tamamin take care of Harada- in the sense that a pair of lions might take care of an antelope separated from its herd.) At the karaoke joint, Akko confronts Mari about the earlier kiss, and confesses her own feelings before kissing Mari. The end- for this volume. ^^

Another entertaining tankoubon. :) There wasn't anything that really bugged me about this volume, but it didn't leave as much of an impression as I expected it would when I re-read it. The characters are likeable...but quite frankly, Mari's beginning to bother me a little. While Morinaga had the chutzpah to put Mari through the emotional paper shredder in volume 2, it doesn't seem like she's changed much as a result. It would actually be a little more interesting (to me) to see Mari get angry or give some indication of an ugly or truly flawed side, instead of only being happy/sad. As she is now, I like her, but find her a little bit distant and 2-dimensional. Akko's perspective of events is, refreshingly, less angst-ridden than Mari's. (Mari's perspective of her love for Akko in volume 2 is very well written, but Akko's relatively lighthearted attitude in volume 3 provides a welcome foil.) Still..."What should I do about these feelings!!" is growing a little stale at this point, and Mari needs to pick a fight or something. (Kidding- it just feels like Morinaga is playing it too safe with her character and story development.)

I didn't find the chapters in this volume as sublime as I once did, but it's still entertaining (and it has the funniest/strangest extra side story so far). Here's hoping that future volumes will resolve my qualms with this series, and make me fall in love with it again.

Story: B-
Art: B+
Overall: B-


otakuBLAZE said...

hey...can I ask if the manga in yes already scanlated in English??hmmmm???

Yi said...

For the first few volumes, I actively followed every single chapter of Girl Friends. After Mari kisses Akko, the manga was full of angst and the wait for new chapters killed me. Eventually, I decided to wait until the whole things is finished before reading this again.

"I didn't find the chapters in this volume as sublime as I once did, but it's still entertaining (and it has the funniest/strangest extra side story so far). Here's hoping that future volumes will resolve my qualms with this series, and make me fall in love with it again."
Cannot agree more.

Katherine said...

@ otakuBLAZE- The manga is available in Japanese and traditional Chinese at Yes Asia.

@ Yi- It could take awhile before the manga finishes, but I can see why you're waiting. ^^; Thankfully, the latest chapter contains a plot development that will (probably) finally bring Mari and Akko together- so hopefully it will pick up soon.

Yi said...

Sounds like this is a good place to start up Girl Friends again.

Btw, I'd like to link your blog. Is that OK? Also, do you have an image I can use?

Snark said...

Hmm, whilst I do like the idea of lesbians, this seems too mushy for my tastes.

Katherine said...

@ Yi- Sure. ^^ I don't have an image that can be used, and I can't handily make one right now, but when I get my laptop back within the next day or two (*mutters*ithadbetterbefixedbythen*mutters*), I can make one and send it to you via e-mail, if that's okay.

@ Snark- lol Yes, it's very typical (yet still entertaining, to me) shoujo melodrama- :) although it runs in Comic High, which is a seinen magazine that tags itself as "Girlish comics for boys and girls."