Monday, June 3, 2013
You know the movie romance trope in which the protagonist spots their love in a crowded room, and everything else- aurally, visually- melts away? That was my experience when I encountered a stack of copies of Seven Seas' release of Morinaga Milk's Kisses, Sighs, and Cherry Blossom Pink Complete Collection at Anime Boston even though its release date is today. I was with three other bloggers and we each bought a copy. Few English-language manga releases have made me as happy to read as this one.
Covering the technicals first- this omnibus has the same page size as the Girl Friends omnibi, no surprise there. I love that the back of this omnibus not only touts Girl Friends' status as a New York Times best-seller- which Girl Friends omnibus 2 also does- its front cover proclaims, "From the best-selling author of Girl Friends!" Here's to Kisses making the best-seller list too!
As with Girl Friends omnibus 1, the Kisses omnibus is marketed on Amazon and Barnes & Noble's website with a tagline selling the "forbidden-ness" of the gay aspect of its protagonists' relationship, but thankfully, the actual books- and their descriptions on Seven Seas' website, as well as on Right Stuf's website (not sure about other retailers')- don't have that.
It's Seven Seas, so the translation is strong, as expected. It's a good quality release all-around, collecting the Kisses chapters that ran in Yuri Hime magazine as well as the new ones from Comic High! in the order in which Comic High!'s publisher Futabasha re-published them last year. I reviewed both volumes of Futabasha's release of this series fairly recently, here and here, so look there if you want an in-depth look at Kisses' contents. I also reviewed the original Kisses tankoubon published by Yuri Hime's publisher, Ichijinsha, making the original Kisses chapters the most re-reviewed (and re-bought) thing I've written about here.
It was funny to start reading this book and remember how, until not too long ago, I wasn't sure I would see the Yuri Hime Kisses tankoubon in print again- I had no idea what Morinaga's rights to it vs Ichijinsha's were or how that would affect its status in out of print limbo. Delightfully, not only did Futabasha pick up all of the original Kisses stories, they ran them online and re-printed them, Morinaga drew five more chapters giving us a great send-off for Kisses' main couple, and here we have the entire thing being published in English. The planets really aligned for this series.
As with Morinaga's Girl Friends, I have read this collection multiple times. To add to my previous commentary about the new Nana and Hitomi chapters- despite the concern I expressed about part of Nana's rationale for not wanting Hitomi to strive to be "the man" in their relationship, I'm still glad Morinaga included some discussion of gender roles in gay relationships, especially given that a lot of straight people assume someone has to be "the man" in gay relationships, among other similarly presumptuous ideas about gender roles/expression in such relationships. Granted, there are folks in the lesbian community who make boneheaded gender role assumptions too- although like Hitomi, not necessarily for unsympathetic reasons (actually quite sympathetic in Hitomi's case)- hence the plausibility of Hitomi's behavior before Nana clears the air between them. Just to clarify, I'm not criticizing butches or butch-femme relationships- just, for example, folks who think that if you're butch, you must only do things traditionally considered masculine or always be "the strong one" or... well, you get the picture.
Anyway, if you liked Girl Friends or you're a yuri fan... you're probably waiting for your copy of this series to arrive. lol Like Girl Friends, Kisses, Sighs, and Cherry Blossom Pink is a favorite of mine, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys good love stories.
Final Grade: A