Danika reviews Girl Friends: The Complete Collection 1 by Milk Morinaga

Everything I’ve read talking about yuri seems to mention Girl Friends, so I thought it was time for me to read this quintessential yuri series. And I can see how it’s the example of yuri! It’s school girls, and a lot of blushing, and the typical “girls don’t do this” heteronormativity. I read this in the omnibus, and talk about a slow burn! This is almost 500 pages, and mostly just about Mariko making a new friend, falling in love with her, and then (much later) realizing that she’s fallen in love with her.

Girl Friends is super cute: exactly what you’d expect from the title and cover, though there is the melodrama of agonizing over a crush on a girl, but that should go without saying. It is also set in high school, so it does have some nudity, talk about sex, and underage drinking. (The cotton candy cuteness made me a little shocked by the nudity, for some reason.)

Interestingly, about three quarters of the way through, we get a perspective shift. After spending so long reading about Mariko’s doomed crush on Akko, we get to see Akko’s (mostly oblivious) reaction, and perhaps see the same thing happen to her? Maybe that’s what’s going to take up the next 500 page omnibus?

This is a fun, quick, addictive reading. I was craving it between readings. I’ll definitely be continuing on with the series!

Anna M. reviews Girl Friends Complete Collection v.1 by Milk Morinaga

8

During an idle moment at work, I pulled the first volume of the Girl Friends manga collection by Milk Morinaga off the shelf and devoured it in one sitting. The book is classified as young adult (despite a bit of nudity) and I have seen it described online as “schoolgirl yuri.” The shy, bookish Mariko often eats lunch by herself until the outgoing Akko sweeps her up into instant friendship, as well as helping her discover her own sense of style. The transformation of Mariko from a girl who has never picked out her own clothing to one who has friends and a social life outside of school is actually rather sweet, despite the fact that it’s such a well-played trope.

However, Mari soon begins to suspect that the feelings she has for Akko are developing into something more than simple friendship. If you appreciate drama, and unrequited love, and misunderstandings that would be easily resolved if people just talked to each other, all set against a backdrop of Japanese schoolgirls, then Girl Friends is for you. Despite occasionally wanting to throttle the main characters, I did enjoy reading the book, except for the part when they went on a completely unnecessary diet together. I would definitely recommend this book to someone who wanted to try out yuri manga.

It’s a thick book, but be warned that the story cuts off right in the middle–just when Mariko has been dating a boy and Akko is trying to figure out why this bothers her so much–and the second volume isn’t due until January 2013. A little googling will yield results for those who don’t want to wait.