Friday, May 24, 2019

Kiss & White Lily for my Dearest Girl Volume 9 is one of the best in the series (Manga Review)

Asuka x Mikaze
Kiss & White Lily for My Dearest Girl vol. 9 - 8/10

Kiss & White Lily has been a slightly up and down series for me. I really love the main couple, and most of their story has been well done. It's been hit or miss for each side couple with each volume though. However, volume 9 is one of the strongest yet with very well constructed and told stories for both of the couples. It's also making me eagerly await the final volume with the resolution (hopefully) to the burning question for our main couple.

The side couple this time is Asuka and Mikaze who meet while cosplaying as some sort of magical girl duo. Asuka has repeated a year due to a sports injury and turned to cosplaying to fill the void in her life. Mikaze is then at least two years younger. They have quite different personalities, and it is the exploration of those personalities and their own expectations for themselves that pervades this story. They aren't easy on themselves even while being supportive of each other.

The story actually starts the reader off just after Asuka breaks Mikaze's heart and leaves her in the future, and then backing up to when they met. Thankfully the story chooses to advance beyond the breakup as they both continue growing, even when (temporarily) apart. It was a well written story with two well conceived characters whose emotional journeys are firmly grounded in the storytelling (and...SPOILER...we do get a happy ever after).

Our main couple, Ayaka and Yurine, are at a very different point in their arc. Ayaka, always number two to her "rival" Yurine, finally beats her and is number one again in the school. With this, Yurine reminds Ayaka of what she needs to do - confront her mother. We finally get this long needed confrontation between Ayaka and her harsh, expectant mother and its handling is superb here. Canno-sensei rises above the cliches of the genre to give us a true moment (I won't spoil it because it's so well written).

What this moment does for Ayaka frees her but also messes with her at the same time, prompting some real progress in her relationship with Yurine. Yurine, true to form, is slightly clueless about Ayaka's mood afterwards. However, she too takes some important steps forward.

Again, I don't want to spoil all the good stuff, because there is a lot of it in this volume. But both couples have some great lines, some great kisses, some great moments. We get well written scenes, we get emotionally honest and real writing. Canno-sensei really did some of her (jeez, I'm assuming Canno is a her, but I don't really know honestly) best work in this. Other than the volume with Ayaka and Yurine on the beach at night, this might be some of the strongest writing in the series.

The art continues to be good overall, but the character's body postures are still stiff. However the use of deep blacks (often with a white outline) as well as shades of gray and screen tones are well done, the characters are mostly very recognizable (although by now there are so freakin' many of them that I can't really remember all their back stories as they pop up in the main story).

So Kiss & White Lily for My Dearest Girl volume 9 is well done all around, one of the best so far in the series, and seems to be setting up a very fulfilling climax in volume 10 (what I believe is the final volume of the series). If you've been enjoying this series so far, definitely read volume 9, and if you've never read the series, it seems that it's going to end strong, so now's a good time to get caught up before the final volume comes out. I'm giving this volume an 8/10.


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