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Yuri Monogatari

A 140-page anthology, ALC, 2004.

Category: fantasy, lesbian, slice-of-life.

Author(s): Rica Takashima, Various artists.
From Passing
From Joey's Haircut

This all-lesbian anthology offers seven stories by nine artists and writers, most of them American, working in a variety of styles influenced by mangas.

We begin with the whimsical Joe's Haircut by Avy, where Joe, a 22-year old woman, sees her love life improve dramatically after she gets a haircut. Drawn in a clean, solid and expressive style (I find Joe rather androgynous, I thought she was a cute boy when I first leafed through the book), this story shows Joe having to choose between all her sudden suitors. It's all very cute, even the rather predicable ending.
Next comes Toast, by writer Heather Campbell and artist Sophie Michel. A really weird tale of a girl who gets sucked into her toaster, finds a city there where people eat only bread, and lives with another girl, seemingly in neverending happiness. But when her girlfriend, sick of their diet, questions the existence they lead, they go and break into a special building which will reveal some of the town's secrets. I don't know the intentions of the authors, but I can't help seeing metaphors of life and love in this story, which is drawn in an effective style, closer to what most people have in mind when they think "manga". It works well, and the story is coherent and moving.
Then Rica Takashima, creator of Rica `tte Kanji!?, writes and draws Obenkyo Shinasai!!, the fun and sexy shortest story of the volume, where a girl, instead of studying, gets all hot with a fantasy involving her girlfriend and a severe mistress. It's light and good fun, drawn in a different style from the Rica book, less illustrative and more dynamic.
Passing, by Shannon J. Luchies (story) and Kristina K (art), is set in a future world where androids can't be told from humans. A female-looking android mechanic finds herself the object of a girl's affection, and the two women dance around each other a bit. The art is also very solid and expressive, with an obvious care given to machines and humans alike. A cute love story.
"Haze" is the name of the creator of Short Wish List, and the only guy in this book. I must admit that the art underwhelmed me, and that I found the story, involving a magic toaster (is there something about toasters and lesbians I'm not aware of?*) and two girls, cute but not very engaging.
Flora, by Althea Kalton, is the most Western-looking story, drawn in a thin, evocative line and sparse storytelling. A one-time trick between two young women, with good dialogue and a bittersweet ending, this story is memorable.
The last story is Night Out, by Beth Malone. Two women meet in a bar, and proceed to have sex in a back alley... but things are not what they seem. Also drawn in a manga-influenced style, very expressive and with a rather hot scene, it manages to combine sex and tenderness. A good way to end the book.

This anthology volume is a strong collection, in my opinion. Except if you can't stand manga-influenced styles, which would be a pity, you'll find varied art and stories, and if you're interested in lesbian fiction, you'll definitely find something of interest there. 

*Addendum: Erica Friedman, publisher of this book, informed me that, indeed, there is something about lesbians and toasters. It seems that a joke about new lesbians getting a toaster originated in the tv show "Ellen". I'm far less aware of lesbian references than gay ones, I must admit.

From Flora
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