Saturday, June 24, 2017

Kiss & White Lily For My Dearest Girl Vol. #02 Manga Review

Love is a tyrant sparing none.

Creative Staff:
Story & Art: Canno
Translation: Jocelyne Allen
Lettering: Alexis Ecerkman

What They Say:
In the same grade as Shiramine and Kurosawa, the two girls Uehara and Kusakabe are in a pinch! Their beloved upperclassman's graduation comes ever closer and they can't seem to sort out their feelings. At a time like this, their junior shows up, somehow making all these relationships even more complicated!

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
Following a pretty fantastic start, the second installment of Kiss & White Lily has some big shoes to fill if it's going to maintain the same high-quality standard of modern yuri that Yen Press gifted us back in March. Thankfully, Shiramine and Kurosawa are an adorable couple that carries the- wait, what? You mean to tell me that Shiramine and Kurosawa are barely even in this volume? But I thought...No? It's a completely new set of characters?

Okay. Well, screw it I guess. Bring on the new girls.

The second volume introduces us to the trio of Ai, Chiharu, and Maya -- a group of close friends attending the same academy as Shiramine and Kurosawa. Chiharu and Ai can both easily be summed up by their immense affection toward Maya, which remains the single biggest mystery of this book considering she is essentially devoid of personality. Chiharu and Ai, on the other hand, actually have some characteristics to show off. Ai is a bubbly and energetic firecracker who wants more than anything for her senpai to be happy. In fact, the first chapter of volume two even tricks you into thinking she is going to be the protagonist of this installment, the same way Shiramine was in book one, but after her initial appearance, she has maybe a total of five lines and none of them matter. Chiharu actually winds up being the incumbent protagonist because not only is she trapped in unrequited love with Maya (The boring one that you've probably already forgotten about) but she gets wrapped up the second romantic subplot this volume has to offer.

Along comes Izumi, the youngest character in the series thus far. Izumi is your standard, run-of-the-mill comedic relief character that winds up actually becoming a lot more than that over the course of just three chapters. Initially introduced as 'the girl who's always late for school because she slept through the alarm,' Izumi grows on you rather quickly due to her strange relationship with Chiharu. Chiharu is actually a school monitor that catches Izumi riding her bike to school -- an act that is strictly prohibited at Seiran. Instead of ratting her out, however, she simply tells her to not do that anymore, which is an incredibly ineffective way to get someone to stop doing something. The two continue to meet this way almost every day as Izumi can't seem to grasp the concept rules. Apart from this, however, she starts to develop a bit of an attachment to Chiharu. Yes, she sees her as impulsive and even cocky, but there's something about her that reels Izumi in. It would honestly be a pretty interesting foundation for a relationship if this same exact was not the start of Citrus. Hell, Izumi and Chiharu even sort-of look like Yuzu and Mei respectively.

At the end of the day, no one's love is realized and everyone continues to remain the same way they were when they were introduced. Can we go back to Shiramine and Kurosawa yet?

"Maybe!" replied the book.

Suddenly, we are whisked away to a scenario in which Shiramine must win over Kurosawa's little sister (Who apparently exists) in an effort to bridge the gap between the two geniuses. Of course, by now we've already utilized 90% of the manga on an unecessary romantic subplot, so the true protagonist manages to accomplish her task in just under ten pages -- a new yuri record.

In Summary:
While I understand what Canno was going for in introducing several more romantic pairings to Kiss & White Lily, it completely works against the initial allure of the series. The first book leads you to believe that this is going to be a story centralized around one romance with few traces of other believable couples strewn about every once in a while. Dedicating an entire book to introducing new characters with nothing to contribute to that previous centralized plot comes across as nothing more than filler, something I did not expect to be greeted with until at least the fourth book. While the multi-couple formula may work for other yuri titles like Kindred Spirits on the Roof, it just seems unnecessary and unwanted here.

Content Grade: C+
Art Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: A-
Text/Translation Grade: C+

Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: May 23, 2017
MSRP: $12.99

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