Friday, August 26, 2011

Alice Quartet Obbligato

Alice Quartet Obbligato isn't the most yuri-ful Fujieda title but, as a yuri-friendly slice-of-life about four fashion designers, it's a good choice for something pretty and relaxing.

In a boutique that was once a church, four clothing designers work under the collective name "Alice Quartet", or "AQ", although each one has her own distinct clothing line. Their common denominator is that they only use black and white materials.

Makino (or "Makinon"), the one with the most seniority, designs Lolita outfits under her "La Croix de Lune" label.

Fumi, whose line is called "Saya", draws on classic Japanese fashion, as well as the voice of Maria-sama, for her inspiration. (You may remember her sobame audition in Iono-sama Fanatics.)

Yuuki, whose line is called "Aqua Drop", does androgynous(-ish) clothing. All of AQ's outfits are sumptuous, but her designs are my favorite.

Suika, the newest member of AQ who designs a line called "P's", doesn't have a set niche yet. Her clothes tend to have more of a youthful, everyday wear look than the others', while still being trendy.

And Yukino (or "Yukinon"), who used to be Makino's classmate, owns and runs the shop and is head-over-heels in love with "Makinon." Yukino acts silly when she flirts with Makino because she thinks that Makino wouldn't know how to react if she behaved more seriously.

The story depicts a handful of episodes in the designers' day-to-day lives. A tough deadline that needs to be met, a solution to having to do a photo shoot outside on a blazing hot summer day, different members of the group experimenting with designing a look outside of their usual style...and the penultimate chapter is a date (of sorts) between Yukino and Makino, set up by Yuuki, Suika, and Fumi. In the final chapter, the characters have a party to celebrate the 2 year anniversary since their store opened.

As in Iono-sama, there are some cute bonus comics by Minamoto Hisanari, Fujieda's assistant who is currently drawing Fu~Fu.

It isn't anything deep, but it has Fujieda's characteristic graceful storytelling style, charming humor, and lack of service. The fact that all of the characters are likeable and range from ambiguously gay to canon yuri certainly doesn't hurt it.

Story: B
Art: B+ (Aside from the clothes, which are A+)
Overall: B+

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