Girl Friends – Manga Review

Japanese Title: Girl Friends

 

Related: Kisses, Sighs, and Cherry-Blossom Pink (same author)

Secret Recipe (same author)

 

Similar: Hanjuku Joshi

Prism

Candy

 

Genre: Yuri Romance Drama

Length: 5 volumes

 

Positives:

  • Likeable, three-dimensional characters.
  • The romance builds up properly and tackles many issues often ignored in the yuri genre.
  • The narrative doesn’t forget the small things like character’s hobbies, everyday conversations to build personality, character quirks, and background mutterings.
  • The cute art fits the characters and their personalities.

Negatives:

  • None of the drama reaches a tense high.

(contains nudity and mild sex)

After having read a dozen yuri manga, ranging from the terrible to the decent, it’s good to read one that is great, finally. Girl Friends succeeds where others fail (not just in the yuri genre, but all types of romance) because it focuses on characters first and foremost, sex later. The characters in Girl Friends are charming, have strengths and weaknesses – major and minor – have a vulnerability to them born from their youth and inexperience, making them relatable to the reader. It spends a full volume, which spans a few months, to establish the characters’ interests and friendship before even mentioning intimacy, and acknowledges the conundrums of falling in love, particularly as a lesbian. This makes the eventual intimate relationship believable.

Girl Friends centres on high school girls Mari and Akko and their blossoming relationship as they deal with school, fashion, friends, and confusing emotions. Mari is a shy girl befriended by Akko one day, and after a haircut, they become fast friends. While Akko teaches Mari about fashion and confidence to help her grow out of her shell, Mari opens Akko up to new emotions and the idea that schoolwork matters.

Girl Friends makes the small things count. Unlike Pietà, there are proper transitions and build up between key events. The narrative thoroughly incorporates their interests and regular high school girl conversations to bring them to life, making them real girls. Small dialogue lines of characters muttering in the background are a nice touch. Sure, much of the hobbies and discussions are rather girly; however, though I don’t care for fashion, gossip, and such, I enjoyed their conversations because it made their personalities shine through.

Even if you have no interest in yuri manga, Girl Friends is worth a read for its interesting characters and heart-warming story.

Art – High

Cute, expressive art with a good level of detail. Each character is distinct without having to resort to ludicrous features.

Story – High

A sweet high school romance filled with small details to create a complete, believable story. The characters are likeable and interesting, each with their own traits and dilemmas.

Recommendation: Read it. One of the best (if not the best) manga in the yuri genre.

(Find out more about the manga recommendation system here.)

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