Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Yuri Life - actual gosh darn adults in love! (Manga Review)

Kurukuruhime
Yuri Life - 7/10

I really struggled with giving a rating to Yuri Life. It is a collection of unrelated very short comedy yuri stories about adult women in love. In some ways, it was pure fluff. In other ways it was really affecting to me. In the end, it made me feel lots of warm squishy feels so I think I liked it.

First and foremost, I am always excited to read yuri about adult women. I'm all for high-school girls in love, don't get me wrong. But as an adult, I definitely have a different set of feelings and emotions when I read about adult women in love with each other. So anything that adds to that canon is likely to be a good thing.

The stories in Yuri Life are all comedic in nature, nothing too heavy (with one pretty strange but interesting exception). It almost has the feel of a 4-koma, with each page being a joke with a punchline. Within each story, there is some flow between the pages but each page also stands on its own. Not my normal taste, as I like more narrative stories, but pretty well done none-the-less.

Each pairing of women has their own quirks. Some are just starting their relationships, some are just confessing, and some are in long-standing relationships including marriage (or as close as Japanese law allows). From this, we get a lot of different personality types, and the stories are almost always based around some contrast between the two personalities and how those contrasts also make the women fit together well.

My favorite stories were "Life with a Dog" about a couple with a jealous puppy, and "A Love Hate Life Together" about a couple who seemingly disagree about little stuff but are totally smitten with each other.

On the problematic side is a story where a real-estate firm asks two female employees to live together and live tweet their experience as a "yuri" couple to entice new renters. This was really really icky and undervalues the experience of actual LGBTQ couples, but the story actually acknowledges how icky that is and ends the arrangement (only for the two to then confess to each other and actually start dating). Strange, but it ended up kinda working.

There is also the slightly dark "Life with a Yandere" which has a dangerously obsessive character who actually dreams about violently harming her partner. It was uncomfortable to say the least.

But perhaps the most problematic was the story of a teacher and her 16-year-old student who are actually living and sleeping together (or at least bathing naked together). Maybe there are cultural norms in Japan that I'm not aware of that make this okay, but as far as I'm concerned no 16-year-old has the emotional nor cognitive development to safely enter a romantic relationship with an adult. The power dynamics in play due to the child/adult relationship plus the teacher/student relationship mixed with the fact that the neurosurgical prefrontal cortex doesn't finish developing until age 25, makes an adult dating a 16-year-old really not okay in my book. I really wish this story wasn't in this volume.

On the art side, it was pretty interesting. First, the entire thing is in color, which is quite the rarity, and made the volume stand out. I love the black and white art of most manga and if you've been reading this blog you know I'm a huge fan of intricate screen-tone use, but none of that is to be found here. Yet the color scheme worked, with lots of tertiary colors (greens, oranges, and purples). The art style is loose with lots of exaggerated facial expressiveness. Overall, I like it, and it in some ways feels like a more mature way of presenting adult couples in a comedy series. Rather than go overly realistic or really moe, it finds a fun style that supports both the comedy and the adult age of the characters. Nice.

So overall we get a bunch of light fluffy stories about adult women in love. There are a couple of ones I didn't like and the rest were cute but insignificant. The art was unique and the color was an added bonus that really enhanced this particular volume. So if you like yuri, and want to read about adult relationships, but don't mind a light series (instead of an intense drama), this is a really good choice. I'm glad to have read it and added it to my collection. It gets a solid 7/10.

🚺

Please legitimately purchase or borrow manga and anime. Never read scanlations or watch fansubs. Those rob the creators of the income they need to survive and reduce the chance of manga and anime being legitimately released in English.

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