If you’re tired of the usual yuri set in high school with moe characters and melodrama, then you have to read Nishi Uko-sensei’s “Collectors”. Since it’s josei and of the slice-of-life genre, it has this very realistic approach in both story and delivery. So far, I found this highly different from the yuri standard fare out there, and so it’s definitely a refreshing read!
“Collectors” is about the simple and bookish Nitou Shinobu who collects books, and her fashionable and pretty girlfriend, Kanzaki Takako, who collects clothes. The manga introduces them as a couple already, so it just depicts their relationship, interactions and how they live
their life together in the most realistic manner. In other words, it shows what happens after their happy ending. Thus, there is no conflict here, save for the part that they’re interests, or rather obsessive large collections, clash (and consumes space). Wait, that’s not really a conflict, I guess. This is why it’s called slice-of-life anyway, so if you don’t have a taste for that, then I suggest you avoid this manga.
This is a 4-koma manga so I find myself wanting more stories about them; I feel 4-koma strips are too short. The story is different every chapter and not necessarily continuous, so you don’t have to wait for the release of that this-is-what-happens-next chapter. The stories can be cute, sweet, sentimental, funny, light-hearted, and sometimes even serious. Their endearing bickering scenes are a personal favorite, but in other chapters you’ll see the perspective of their two friends who comment either in speech or mind bubble about their relationship and wonder how the two main characters get along.
There are a few characters in Collectors; so far, we have Shinobu, Takako, the eyeglass-wearing Naomi and another nameless girl pal. Yes, they are mostly women; however, one guy had briefly appeared as someone important to one of the characters. I personally wish Uko-sensei to add more characters as it progresses to make the cast livelier. Oh, I have one tiny gripe about Shinobu’s character—she was supposed to be a weird introvert (she talks to herself) but somehow she isn’t like that anymore. Perhaps meeting Takako changed her? Anyway, since the story already started them as a couple, more strips about their background and changes would be lovely.
The art of Collectors is neat, beautiful and realistic. Full backgrounds are barely seen since it’s 4-koma, but the characters, who are in their 20’s, are well-drawn although the faces can be plain and similar at times. Nevertheless, the great thing about it is it’s not moe at all; you will not see big eyes or those childish figures common in yuri manga. The art itself is something I haven't seen before in the genre. I can’t praise Nishi Uko-sensei’s mature drawing style enough. It’s that lovely!
Take note that even though this is josei, there is a noticeable lack of skinship or fan service. This might be a letdown for some, since there is a lack of kissing or bed scenes, but personally I am not entirely complaining because this manga healthily depicts their loving relationship without the need of many gratuitous shots of flesh or intimacy. To alleviate this deficiency, the readers are presented with other tender moments, such as their quibbles or Takako trying to measure Shinobu's bust, which I find adorable and believable.
Overall, Collectors is a truly refreshing must-read manga for yuri fans out there. It will unquestionably put a smile on your face and leave a happy, satisfied feeling as you read every chapter. Although it's still ongoing as of this writing, I think it’s simply one of the best of the yuri genre.