This collection of slightly older yuri shorts may surprise U.S. readers used to yuri written by men for men with how much it is like yaoi short stories. At their roots yaoi and yuri were both originally written by women for women, but not as much yuri by women has made it to the States. This collection of Tadeno’s stories features four tales all created between 1995 and 1998, though they don’t feel as dated as one might expect from relatively older titles such as these.
The first story, “My Sister’s Wedding,” is a more contemplative, fighting-the-odds kind of story that will appeal to readers looking for realism in their romances. Emi, a 30-year-old woman, goes home to see her family for her younger sister’s wedding. As she expects, the older women of the family are all eager to know why she isn’t married already. She’s not sure how to tell them that she can’t get married because the person she loves is a woman. Tadeno perfectly captures the emotions of three women--Emi, her sister Yuka, and their mother--as they struggle to reconcile society’s sense of what is proper with the chance for real love and happiness. The second story, “I Like You the Way You Are,” also deals with this struggle as an actress fights against her nature, torn between the man she feels she should be dating and a woman from her past who has returned to her life. The interesting thing is that the end of the story has the same abrupt “I Love You!” kind of sex scene as is found in many a yaoi title, which blunts the seriousness that the tale starts out with. But it is nice to have the opportunity to see smutty yuri stories, in amongst all the smutty yaoi that is available.
The last two stories are companions to one another. “My Sweet One” and “Gentle Loving” are about Togawa Mizuho, the 41-year-old Section Chief of a trading business and her 24-year-old subordinate, Enomoto Yuka. Yaoi readers who love middle-aged uke stories, will enjoy getting to know Mizuho for the same reasons. She’s presented as a competent businesswoman, but she’s also given other sides to her personality, and you see that something is missing, so that when she begins to realize her feelings for Yuka, you understand that those feelings were what were missing from her life. Yuka is also an interesting character. She’s brash and hot-headed and makes mistakes in both work and her personal life. The two women are nice complements to one another, even with the age difference between them.
This is a simply produced book, fitting for a small company like ALC Publishing, but that doesn’t make it low quality. The binding is sturdy, the printing is crisp and clear on nice white paper, and the larger size makes it easy to read. In many ways this is a better printing job than sometimes seen from larger publishers. Unfortunately the title was not printed on the spine, an odd omission, but that is a minor quibble in an otherwise attractive volume. Definitely recommended for readers who would like to see some older yuri stories or for those new to yuri and looking for a strong, female-centric title to begin with. Hopefully more recent examples of yuri written by women for women will someday make it to the States. They would be an excellent pairing with this classic title.
Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith on July 15, 2008