Monday, December 3, 2018

Yurine is unraveling in Kiss & White Lily for my Dearest Girl Volume 7 (Manga Review)

Haine and Aika
After not having essentially any Yurine and Ayaka in volume 6, volume 7 of Kiss & White Lily for my Dearest Girl (by Canno, published by Yen Press) returns our favorite couple to the forefront of the story. Not only are they the main focus, but Canno-sensei gives us more depth and insight into Yurine and explores how she is changing and reflecting upon the past year and a half of her high-school life: what it means about how she perceived her younger years, how she defines herself, and how she might move forward. This is the sort of writing and story that makes the less-serious or less-developed portions of Kiss & White Lily (as a series) worth getting through.

In this volume, the gardening club gets a new middle-school member, Haine, and she presents as a breathless Yurine fan. It is clear from the beginning though that Yurine's head is not in the game. Yurine, seeing how she is perceived by Haine, begins to further sink into her own head and question whether she is empty as a person. We've had hints of this line of thought before, but volume 7 explores it in depth. In fact, Yurine's journey of self-exploration takes up the majority of three chapters. And rightfully so!

Yurine discovers that Haine is an excellent pianist, a rising young star, who clearly enjoys what she is good at. Yurine has never enjoyed almost anything, no matter how good she has been at it. As she reflects on her middle-school days, was it the dominance or the competition that she liked? She certainly didn't care about the actual skills or activities or hobbies she would try.

The realization that she hasn't ever actually cared about anything throws her for a loop, to the point where she and Ayaka actually tie for first place on the exams instead of Yurine's normal dominance (a first!). Ayaka, sensing that things have not been right takes no pride in tying Yurine and pushes Yurine to continue to explore her feelings in order to get back on track. Ultimately there is some growth for Yurine in self-reflection and some, noticeable, growth in her relationship with Ayaka.

I'd like to do a side bar here, If I may (and it's my blog, so I may). What exactly is the relationship between Yurine and Ayaka? I had assumed after a year and a half, many kisses, from both parties, hand holding, blushes, etc... that they considered themselves a couple and that Ayaka was just being stubborn and even a bit Tsundere but in her heart, and in their alone and intimate times together, acknowledges their mutual feelings. 

However, there are points in this volume where it feels less certain than that. I thought I knew from Yurine's perspective where things stood so could just excuse Ayaka's freakouts, pushing Yurine away, grudgingly kissing her, etc..., as just parts of Ayaka's stubborn personality and not a reflection of what they were actually doing together or feeling about each other.

BUT, from Yurine's reactions, particularly in the final chapter, it seems that maybe Ayaka actually had the stronger, clearer, feelings. I don't want to give too much away, but either Yurine hadn't realized her feelings to date (after more than a year!) or those feelings just suddenly got a lot stronger in this volume. From her reactions, it seems Yurine is now "aware" of Ayaka in a wholly different way than before which makes me think it wasn't really romance between them up to this point (at least not from Yurine's perspective - although it might have been for Ayaka in her own silly way). 

It is clear now though, that Yurine is seeing Ayaka in a very different (and maybe more romantic and/or sexual) way and I'm hopeful that this could translate into some advancements in their relationship in future volumes. I'd like this story to go beyond will they/won't they and cute blushes to actually exploring the nuances of complex people in complex relationships. This volume presented some interesting glimmers of that future possibility.

The volume also features a side couple, centering on Haine and her young aunt, who is only about 4 or 5 years older than her, a third-year in high-school (Haine is a second year middle schooler). Haine has been all but raised by her aunt and they are very close, but in an undefined way. Both explore whether it is right to be friends, to be mom-daughter, to be aunt-niece, to be dependent on each other, to spend so much time together, and when and how might be the right time to let go. It resolves in a lovely example of what a deep platonic relationship between women can be and can be a model of for a non-romantic, non-sexual, deep relationship between any two people. While it was a bit of a "tying it up with a nice bow" ending with some fairly overwrought emotions (but hell, that's what the series is for), it still had some emotional weight and overall worked for me.

So this was a fascinating volume. I loved the deeper exploration of Yurine's psyche. I loved all the Yurine and Ayaka interactions (boy was Ayaka attentive to Yurine's needs), and I loved that Yurine has moved beyond Ayaka being something sorta important but undefined, and into a genuine romantic awareness of her. Hopefully this hearkens to more good things to come in future volumes. I'm giving this a strong 7.5/10 (and my guess is that in rereads after the series concludes, that this will prove to be a pivotal volume).

For another cool take on this volume, read Christian Le Blanc's review over at Okazu.



  1. Ahh, thank you so much for the link!

    This is a great review. And you're bang on when you say "it seems Yurine is now 'aware' of Ayaka in a wholly different way than before." Remember early in Volume 3, when Ayaka got all upset because Yurine agreed at the time that she would have felt the same way about anyone who could beat her on the exams, and that it didn't have to be Ayaka specifically? This volume is the inverse of that, where Yurine is thinking she doesn't even care about the exams anymore, but just wants Ayaka.

    Interestingly enough, Ayaka was depressed over *only* being wanted for exam competition in Volume 3, but becomes almost enraged over the thought of *not* getting to have exam competition now. I think it represents the two opposing ways she views Yurine, and the trouble she's having reconciling the two.

    You bring up a really good point about Ayaka's consistency - from the very first chapter, Ayaka had like a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other when she was trying to sort out how she felt about Yurine...and she's been consistent in how she's been struggling with this ever since. I hadn't realized how significant that scene was until you brought up this point, so thank you for that! That actually puts Ayaka in perspective a lot more clearly for me.

    1. Cool! And great points about Volume 3 and its mirror here!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.


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