Saturday, November 10, 2018

Kiss & White Lily for my Dearest Girl Vol. 4 "kicks the Moe" (Manga Review)

Moe & Mizuki
Working to catch up on Kiss & White Lily so that I can review the newest volumes in a more timely manner. Today, let's talk Kiss & White Lily for My Dearest Girl Volume 4 (published by Yen Press).

To review: I was pleasantly surprised with Volume 1 because I adore the quirky, not-exactly-tropey, back-and-forth of Ayaka and Yurine. Volume 1 also featured another really cute couple in Mizuki and Moe. Volume 2 felt less interesting as we got less of Ayaka and Yurine and instead a lot of another couple that didn't do much for me (but a small story with a middle schooler that I did like). Volume 3 was another winner as we got some great time with Ayaka and Yurine and saw their relationships move a little further. I didn't love the side story, but I did love that Yurine was heavy in it as well and gave her a new hobby to start rounding out her character.

Volume 4 is a blend of volume 1 and 2 in quality (maybe we're doing an even/odd number thing with Yurine and Ayaka). It has very little of Yurine and Ayaka (although they do share a couple cute moments in a bonus chapter). However, it does continue the story of Mizuki and Moe who are so very cute and worth reading. The secondary story felt pretty bland.

The first two chapters with Mizuki and Moe were the strongest and had a really cute sweaty kiss. It starts with a great line: "You have to kick the Moe" as Moe tries to help Mizuki overcome a mental block so she can run her fastest. Mizuki ultimately goes through a fairly tough emotional arc and it's good to see other sides of her to give us a greater sense of her personality.

I loved seeing how much Moe understands Mizuki, especially with how that understanding is balanced with a mis-understanding in a later chapter at the festival where she underestimates just how much Mizuki loves her. This underestimation leads to big growth in their relationship, and a wonderful 2-page spread that makes the volume well worth reading. In fact, we finally get some real genuine relationship happening, and a sign that there could be real adult-world growing in their future (and maybe Canno will even give us stories of them as adults - we can wish for more yuri with adults, can't we?).

But, like volume 2, there is a side couple that doesn't do anything for me. In this case, it's a trio of girls, one of whom has been obsessed with Yurine since middle school and finally tries to befriend her. The other girls assume she's in love with Yurine and ultimately help her out. This girl's obsession with Yurine represents a weird type of fandom, a prevalent trope in many yuri manga, that doesn't make sense to me in its presentation here - although I do understand its historical roots. Unlike the passionate friendships/idol worship in Maria Watches Over Us (which is also a modern reflection on a turn-of-the-20th-century reality for some girls from that period who were devoted to their female classmates as more than friends), the presentation here is too generic and too comedic to have much emotional weight. It's pure trope with no substance.

Ultimately this girl's feelings, and the story itself, fizzles out anyway. My reaction to that "resolution" was like that of her friends: "why'd we waste our time on this if she wasn't serious?" I couldn't remember the character's name or personality if I tried - maybe that's the problem, she really didn't have much of a defined personality outside of her obsessive interest in Yurine.

The Moe and Mizuki chapters are so good, as well as the short bonus with Yurine and Ayaka (but too little of them overall), that I'd rather there just be fewer couples in the series and more time with the ones I'm connecting to.

However, maybe other readers connect with some of the other couples more and so this gives everyone something in each volume. OR, maybe some couples are just better written than others and I'm right about which ones I like :)

Who knows...but I like what I like, and that's what I get to talk about. For me it's Yurine and Ayaka #1 and Mizuki and Moe #2 and everyone else we've met a distant 4th. Who's third you ask? It's Izumi and Forhead-senpai (who get a brief cameo in a bonus chapter).

The art continues to be fine, if not spectacular. Most of the time I can tell the characters apart although there still continues to be so many I have trouble keeping track. Thankfully Canno-sensei tends to provide names, clues, and even character bios between chapters which helps with that. I still wish it "kicked the moe" a little more an embraced a more mature art style (as well as more dynamism in the art - I know you can do it, because of "the slap" from volume 3, and some great full-page/2-page spreads here). But overall the art is more than satisfactory and consistent in quality (and if I haven't mentioned it, I LOVE the uniform design. I'm totally jealous and want those cute navy winter uniform jumpers).

So even though I didn't really care for the secondary story, the Moe/Mizuki story was strong and advanced their relationship, and we got some real MOMENTS! With that in mind, it's a nice 7/10 and worth continuing to read the story. Ordering vol. 5 this week, so look for that review soon.

Also, I want to thank @chrisleblanc79 for his supportive tweets as well as a nice, thoughtful comment on Vol. 3 and some overall counter-points he's provided to my view of the  series.



  1. Another great review :) Your thoughts on this pretty well mirror mine: Moe and Mizuki carry the volume, while Machida and her friends don't really hold the same amount of weight. My *guess* is that Canno wanted to spend a lot more time with Moe & Mizuki, so maybe she felt that 2 chapters weren't enough to develop a full relationship side-couple, so she went with something lighter instead (pure speculation, of course).

    However, the 'lighter' chapters do have one of my favourite moments of the entire series, just for how absurd it is: "You dropped your wombat."

    I'm also 100% on board with you in wanting to see more of these characters as adults...Canno actually drew Izumi and Chiharu aged up as young adults for a couple of Yuriten 2018 illustrations, so I've been harboring that hope ever since I saw that ^_^

    Other random things I liked about this one:

    - Ayaka and Mizuki's scene in the dorm room early on

    - Kiss Theater (Chisato's Road) is neat because Canno fleshes out this exact same relationship-type in the Éclair books

    - While her story here isn't my favourite, I find Machida's history in the series to be way more interesting. She actually appears in the two-page colour spread of the first volume (the picture at the start of Chapter 18 shows another angle of this set-up). She then appears in the background of the first chapter in volume 2, to finally be named in that chapter's Little Theater. She's so average, that she's been around since almost Page 1, but she hasn't gotten the spotlight until now! Canno really knows how to play the long game.

  2. Did the wombat remind you of the wombat from Cute High Earth Defense Club Love!?

    1. I'd forgotten all about that show, but somehow I remembered the pink wombat, so - yes! Yes it did. After you reminded me XD It is now in my head-canon that that's where that wombat's from!


Remember: please talk about the work, and offer counter points to others' analyses but DO NOT ATTACK THE PERSON whose analysis you are countering. (no ad hominem comments) Thanks! <3