Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Last Uniform, vol. 1

Story and Art by Mera Hakamada
Released in the US by Seven Seas' Strawberry line

Slugline:Is there a single yuri title with high school age characters that is not set in an all-girl private school with dorms?

This is a slice of life manga, which for once does not include a visit to the beach or wearing a yukata to a festival. I had to get that out of my system upfront, that has been turning into one of my bugaboos lately. It is focused on two older roommates Kase and Beniko and younger roommates Sawara, Yamada and Hiwatari at a high school. Beniko is one of those perfect girls that have fans following around her all day, while Kase is more of tomboy and dislikes all the attention that her roommate gets, yet is not immune to her roommates charms herself. Sawara and Yamada have been roommates for a while when Hiwatari is added to their room, upsetting the balance between them but Hiwatari later develops a little bit of a crush on Kase after she beats on a pervert that exposed himself to Hiwatari with a shinai.

Since this is a slice of a life, there is little attempt for there to be an overarching plot, with each episode pretty much standalone though there is some progression as events from previous episodes are incorporated into the status quo of later episodes. The question that is posed on the back of the book, who is going to hook up with who, does not even really get asked in this volume, because no one hooks up anyone, or even announces their feelings. I have failed in the past to notice obvious signs of dating before (long story dating back to college), but this volume merely shows the gradually deepening of the characters feelings for each other, but other than Hiwatari's rather obvious crush, the overt romance has not begun by the end of the volume.

The Last Uniform, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

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