Sunday, July 3, 2011

Go, go, Nanzaki Iku!: Sweet Little Devil

Whoo-hoo! I've been looking forward to this collection. Nanzaki Iku has been drawing fun Mai-Hime and Mai-Otome doujinshi under the name Doropanda Tours for years (the avatar he uses for his profile in this book is a panda), so it's nice to see him finally put out a collection of his own original yuri work. He's too good to stick to making slash doujinshi. (Or illustrating the Queen's Blade: Hide and Seek manga.) Sweet Little Devil, like most Yuri Hime tankoubon, is a collection of stories about several different couples- a veritable assorted chocolate box of yuri.

The first three chapters focus on SLD's alpha couple, Sayo and Ritsuko. When they were neighbors as kids, runty Sayo always followed (and crushed on) Ritsuko, who was two years older. After going their separate ways and then meeting again as teens, they fell in love and started dating. In the first chapter, "Sweet Little Devil", they resolve a misunderstanding over why Ritsuko never told Sayo about her ex, even though Sayo has been open about who she's dated. "Heart and Soul" deals with Ritsuko's upcoming graduation. In "Moment Like Fireworks", Sayo and Ritsuko go on a date at a summer festival, where they run into a friend of Sayo's who's on a date with her boyfriend. At first, Sayo introduces Ritsuko as a friend, but then backtracks and tells her friend that Ritsuko is her girlfriend. (My favorite scene in the book. ^_^ ) Then Sayo and Ritsuko continue their date.

In "Love Prep Room", Shiina is in love with her cheerful, athletic best friend since middle school Satsuki, but she won't confess and Satsuki doesn't get it. Instead, Shiina settles for a physical relationship with Eiko, who knows about Shiina's feelings for Satsuki and pretends to not have any feelings for Shiina. (The ending is hopeful for two of these characters.)

In "Our Future Plans", Azumi has a crush on Chiwasu, the owner of a pet shop she frequents. Azumi confesses to Chiwasu in a sputter-inducingly straightforward way and, after spending more time with her, gets together with her. I especially liked the ending of this one as well.

"Starting Over" is the one story in this volume that ran in Yuri Hime instead of Yuri Hime Wildrose. (I'm probably in the minority for wanting Nanzaki to draw more for regular Yuri Hime than Wildrose.) Haru decides to ask "Shima-chan", the cool, aloof-looking girl who she's had an eye on throughout high school but never spoken to, to sign her yearbook. They hit it off (Shima nicknames Haru "Yone-chan", as an abbreviation of her last name), and the story ends on a note of possibility. I would love to see Haru and Shima's story developed more.

"One And Only" is a really cute Happily-Ever-After-type epilogue focusing on Sayo and Ritsuko.

There's...something about Nanzaki Iku's story-telling style that charms me. His goofy sense of humor and the banter between his characters are both selling points, and he convincingly portrays the excitement and tension of being in love. This collection isn't ground-breaking in any respect, but it does a very good job of working within its parameters and serving up several likeable canon (duh, it's Yuri Hime) yuri characters, with a dash of queer identity to boot. The first four chapters are clearly influenced by the ShizNat dynamic that Nanzaki has spent years drawing (I imagined Sayo and Shiina speaking with Shindou Naomi's voice ^_^;;), but the last two chapters move into more original character types- which I found refreshing, as sweet of a couple as Sayo and Ritsu are. 

Sweet Little Devil isn't high art, but it's a fun collection. And it's a really cool feeling to see a doujinshi artist I'm familiar with go pro as a yuri mangaka.

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

Update on 07/24: Nanzaki Iku's a woman. Whoops. ^^;;;; I shall keep that in mind henceforth.


Duskren said...

Hey Kat! Reading your review about Nanzaki Iku's work gives me hope!

I had read previous works of his doujinshi from the Mai Hime/Mai Otome universe and fell in love with his character design and storytelling (well his version of it anyway) I love his originals but never could find more of them, except on Lililicious...(too long of a word.) So I'm really happy to know that he made or rather, finished his works!

Any idea where I might be able to download them or read them even?

Katherine Hanson said...

@Duskren- Nope. ^^; I read them by buying the tankoubon.

Duskren said...

*checks wallet and sniffs* Hagyuu... I'm doomed! Oh well, I shall wait for either scans OR buying it... whichever comes first. Thanks again for the review Kat!

shezaei_neko said...

I've read most of his works!! But I really want to read the last story and the omake. It's good to see that all the stories are now in a tankoubon, its less expensive than getting all the Wildrose. :P

If you are still in Japan, and you have paypal....would there be a possibility that you could get me one? :P

Katherine Hanson said...

@Duskren- Glad you liked it!

@shezaei_neko- That would be difficult to do. If you want to buy it from a site that has low shipping (or free shipping, if you buy $39 or more in merchandise), YesAsia is a good bet:

And as a general reminder to anyone reading: Nanzaki has bills to pay, and he makes his living drawing manga.

Mickey said...

AWESOME!!! I just love NANZAKI IKU....!! Is there any website that i could go, to read this manga?

Anonymous said...

any way you can describe how nanzaki ended the sayo and ritsuko storyline? it's killing me not knowing ;____________;