Synonyms: Kisses, Sighs, and Cherry-Blossoms Pink, Kuchibiru Tameiki Sakura-Iro, Even if We're Not Friends, The Summer Closest to Heaven, A Kiss, Love, and a Prince, This Love from I Can't Remember When, If I Kiss Her Ring Finger, Chocolate Kiss Kiss
I'm a big fan of manga by this artist, so my vision is clouded over by scenes of the other series' by them. Hehe, I'll try my best!
I think that the stories were really nice, and I liked that each had a different level for each of the girls. What I mean is, one is in love with her friend and worries about being accepted, and one is confused about being kissed by her sempai. All the characters are in different situations, which I think is surprising for a lot of oneshots. To me it always seems like it's just the same characters going through
the same things just with different faces taped over top.
The art was really pretty, the reason that I'm a fan of the author. The characters were alright, but because it's a series of oneshots, you hardly get to know them and therefore don't grow very attached at all.
Not anything too great, but still worth reading as it won't take too much time and it's very pretty to look at. Not seap at all, just a superficial pretty one-shot.
Let's talk about Milk Morinaga, possibly one of the most iconic yuri manga writers out there. She's had a lot of published manga and no anime adaptations as far as I know. Although Girl Friends did get an audio drama. Girl Friends is her best known work, but I'm going to be looking at Kuchibiru Tameiki Sakurairo, which was my introduction to her writing and what got me into it.
There are multiple stories within the manga. Slightly over half of it, chapters 1 & 5-12 all focus on Nana and Hitomi, two girls who were really close friends until they went to separate
High schools. After a while, they meet up again and Nana quickly realises that Hitomi has been harbouring feelings for her for a long time. Hitomi confesses, kissing Nana and Nana tells her they don't have to be just friends and kisses her back. So, the two of them become a couple pretty much right away in the very first chapter. The other eight chapters of their story focus on the ups and downs of their relationship. Culminating in a crisis when Hitomi's father tells her that they're going to be moving overseas.
I don't really have anything negative to say about Nana and Hitomi's story. Their relationship develops really well and has a lot of good moments. I also like that the story doesn't focus on how they get together but what's in store for them after it happens. Because, frankly, a romance trying to get drama out of whether or not the couple will get together usually doesn't work all that well since the audience knows how it's going to end. It's just a matter of how it's going to happen. Rather, it focuses on the drama of their relationship and the everyday things that happen to them. It is handled effectively and I do love the ending.
The other six chapters are all one-shot stories set in the same schools that Nana and Hitomi attend and focusing on relationships between girls. Some of which are one-sided, some of which are ambiguous and some of which are reciprocated.
Honestly, the only side story I really don't like is the second chapter. Basically, it involves a ghost possessing a student so that she can spend time with the girl she liked who is now the nurse at the school. The first problem with it is that it's the only story to involve any supernatural elements, which makes it not fit with the rest very well. There's also the teacher and student thing.
The rest of the stories are well written and manage to illustrate some interesting dynamics between the main girls. Some of them are almost problematic but Morinaga is good at treading that line without going too far.
I do like the characters in the collection. Aside from the ghost girl. One of the strengths of having several one-shot stories is that Morinaga can illustrate different relationship dynamics among these girls. They're all fleshed out characters as well who feel like they could be real people, with the obvious exception.
The artwork is really well done. There's a bit of nudity, but it's very much handled tastefully rather than used for tawdry fan-service. Although the girls from chapter four look strangely like Honoka and Nagisa from Futari Wa Precure. I don't know if it was deliberate or not but the resemblance is pretty uncanny.
Naturally, this yuri manga is as yuririffic as any you'll find. So, it has that going for it.
Kuchibiru Tameiki Sakurairo is a superb collection. There's one weak chapter out of fourteen. If you're looking for a cute, well-written yuri romance, this has several. As well as some more bittersweet, but still well written stories. I do recommend checking it out if you like romance stuff. My final rating is a 9/10.
Morinaga Milk has been one of my favourite Yuri mangaka since I've read Girlfriends. When i begun reading this stories i was hoping for the same good writing and character development I've seen in her other works. And while this title had its flows i have to say i wasn't disappointed.
[Minor spoilers to follow]
The manga features a series of short stories, each telling us a story about a Yuri couple from the same school. While most of the stories in volume 1 are completely unrelated, volume 2 picks up a story of Nana and Hitomi, from earlier and focuses solely on them.
The art style
is easily recognizable as that of Morinaga's with characters looking almost exactly like in her other works, which is common for her. Even though, they're very well drawn and some colored pages from the beginning i thought looked really amazing, especially in "Kiss, Love, and a Prince" chapter.
The stories are written pretty good though sometimes the story gets too melodramatic or the way the storyline progresses might be to cliché, but most of the time it maintains that cute, sweet type of story that the author is known for. Not all the stories, though, end good. Sometimes the character will decide not to confess their true feelings. In most cases though it's a pretty lovely story capable of putting a smile on your face. However, i felt like this wasn't enough. I, for one, 'd like to see some real problems the characters were to go trough and struggle in life. It just seems to perfect for me.
The last volume focuses only on Nana and Hitomi relationship, and I have to say that i think it was a very good choice. I had some problems to really get in the story with chapters switching between girls every time and then getting back to them, especially with most of the characters looking similar, so it was really good to having that one story really well developed. The only thing this story would need was not-so-perfect ending and a bit more drama to it. Unfortunately, just because of that, it's not enough for me to rate it higher than this.
This is a very good manga and is a perfect choice when you're looking for something short, sweet, funny, and not very complicated to read. It does have its flows for sure, but they're not that big to spoil you the fun you'll definitely be having if you like Yuri manga. And it's also a good choice if you haven't red Yuri before and you wonder how it looks like. I, without regret, will rate it 8/10.