Kisses and lilies abound in Yen Press's foray into yuri.
Title: Kisses and White Lily for My Dearest Girl (Ano Ko ni Kiss to Shirayuri wo)
Publisher: Kadokawa (JP), Yen Press (US)
Serialized in: Comic Alive
Translation: Jocelyne Allen
Original Release Date: March 21, 2017
A review copy was provided by Yen Press.
While Yen Press has published several series before with yuri undertones (such as mahjong manga Saki and the slice of life Kiniro Mosaic) Kiss and White Lily for My Dearest Girl is their first formal foray into the yuri genre and it’s easy to see why this was the title they chose!
If you were to ignore the genders for a minute — the story of sweet on the outside but rude on the inside Ayaka Shiramine constantly coming in second place to the always sleeping genius Yurine Kurosawa, who develops romantic feelings for Shiramine and gleefully enjoys one-upping her in everything at school — then you’d have a rather run of the mill, shoujo title.
But this is set in an all girls school and, if the opening splash page and future covers are any indication, there will be many other yuri couples in this series, making it unlike an actual shoujo title.
I quite honestly like the dynamic between Shiramine and Yurine much more than I would in similar, actual straight shoujo dramas. Yurine is very open about how she’s intrigued by Shiramine’s stubborn streak, turned on it even, and that she’s developed a crush partially from this. When you have a male antagonistic love interest like Yurine in most shoujo, someone who is a bit more twisted than they first seem seem, they tend to be very dark character and deny any feelings for the leading girl (even though we all know how the plot beats will go) so it’s rather nice to not have any beating around the lily bush here.
We’ve also gotten some background on Shiramine, and why she’s just so grouchy about being constantly second-place, and it seems like she is also starting to appreciate her relationship with Yurine, someone who keeps her off-balance but who has a very open relationship with her. It’s not a great friendship by most standards but by shoujo manga romantic standards this is a rather good start.
This volume also dives into another couple in the story, Shiramine’s cousin/roommate Mizuki Senoo and track team manager Moe Nikaidou. The story also treats their close relationship as an open and known fact. Canno never canonically calls them girlfriends but when Moe is trying to figure out why Mizuki keeps her hair short, someone suggests that perhaps the person Mizuki likes likes short hair and Moe immediately says that she’s never stated a particular preference (which draws no reaction other than “well I have no idea why then”). The story has completely avoided the “but we’re both girls!” trope so far, and the closest it’s come is a senpai being flustered that she was so charmed by a kohai and that’s a totally different trope!
From the story to the art, this is just a rather fun story. Kiss and White Lily‘s plot isn’t heavy but it seems committed to having actual, yuri couples without tragedy! I also adore the art. I love the flower framing scheme for the covers and the artwork itself flows quickly and naturally, Canno has a very good sense for paneling and detailing. I’m glad that the story is focusing on multiple couples from the start, since there’s a very real limit to how far a single teenage romantic story can go, and I can only hope that all of the characters are as lively and varied as the ones we’ve met so far.