Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Kiss & White Lily For My Dearest Girl Vol. #05 Manga Review

We're family...Why won't she love me?

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

What They Say:
Sawa Itou lost touch with her childhood best friend, so imagine her surprise when her old friend, Itsuki, shows up in her digital media club! Meanwhile, a surprise phone call from Ayaka's mother has unhinged her, and her relationship with Yurine struggles... The story of kissing girls continues—!

The Review:
(Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
I feel like every time I start to get a grip on White Lily's formula, it just goes in the complete opposite direction. With the last volume centered primarily on Mizuki and Moe's relationship, I was almost confident that we'd see more of the primary love story this time around -- Shiramine and Kurosawa. And, to be fair, we do- but it's more of a split volume rather than one getting back to the main plot, if there can even be a "main" plot considered at this point. So apart from the two girls I've been dying to see, we're introduced to yet another new couple. And in a kind of strange turn of events, it's almost the same exact one we saw last week with Machida.

Itsuki and Sawa were childhood friends when they were younger but, due to stereotypical manga circumstances, Itsuki needed to move away. When she finally returns so many years later, she expects Sawa to remember her. But due to the fact that Itsuki has blossomed into a lovely young woman, her old friend is unable to recognize her. This, in turn, breaks Itsuki's heart to the point where she doesn't know how to act around Sawa. This continues for roughly half of the book until it becomes apparent that there's more to Itsuki's feelings rather than just being forgotten. She's been in love with Sawa for pretty much forever while Sawa, on the other hand, seems to have a hard time comprehending romantic feelings between two girls (In typical yuri fashion). At the end of the day, the two of them overcome their conflicts and patch up their relationship once and for all. While there are clear differences between this story and Machida's, the fact that the 'moving away' trope was used in consecutive couples is rather off-putting and lacks the creativity we're used to seeing from Canno.

With that subplot aside, however, we do finally get to take another glimpse into the relationship White Lily was built upon. Over the past several books, we've been introduced to Ayaka and Kurosawa and watched their dynamic with one another develop incredibly well. What we haven't been introduced to, however, is the motivations for either character. That being said, even though there is a hefty scene with these two characters together, the true focus is on Shiramine's relationship with her mother. As it turns out, the driving force propelling her to always strive to be the best isn't something planted within her of her own accord. Her mother has been pushing her to succeed for as long as she can remember, and not in the way most mothers do. For Shiramine's mother, anything but first place is not enough. This notion has been beaten into her (Not physically, don't worry) so often that she's taken to adopting it herself. When Kurosawa learns this, however, she doesn't act in the way we'd normally expect her to.

It's overwhelmingly clear at this point how Kurosawa feels about our black-haired honor student. After discovering that something is ailing her, she even takes to following Shiramine several towns over just to make sure she's okay. And while this action is incredibly cute for a character as unique as Kurosawa, the biggest part comes in the form of Shiramine's rebellion. You see, Shiramine isn't using her free time to travel, she's cutting class- something she's never done before. And even though we'll shrug this off as yet another trope synonymous with primarily delinquent characters, this is an action that directly goes against everything Ayaka has been taught throughout her life. With Kurosawa by her side, she managed to stand up for herself and truly show us that she is, in fact, beginning to grow up. Hopefully, this signals even further development in the future. I'm sure we'd all love to find out why both she and her counterpart are so...interesting, after all.

In Summary:
The fifth installment of the Yen Press yuri flagship blends two stories, one old and one new,  with significantly more ease than one would anticipate. And even though the execution and structure of this particular volume may be unrivaled by the prior books, its lack of creativity makes it hit fractionally less hard. Shiramine finally sees development not as a romantic interest but as a character, making the coming story all the more interesting. At the end of the day, book five is still a good read, but it's definitely one of the least impressive so far.

Content Grade: B-
Art Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: A-
Text/Translation Grade: A-

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: March 20, 2018
MSRP: $12.99

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