Seme and Uke relationship at its finest. Maybe not but these two ladies sure know how to do it softcore. This is Notes From the Garden of Lilies.
Alternative Title: Zenryaku, Yuri no Sono Yori.
Genres: Comedy, Drama, School Life, Bullying, Yuri.
Number of Volumes: 2. 9 chapters + many specials.
Plot Summary: Yuri is a girl born with a mean looking visage that makes her look like a scary delinquent to the other girls in her school. Due to a bullying incident when she and her childhood friend were younger, Yuri developed a mean girl persona to keep people away from her. One day, Yuri gets the attention of the class “Saint” named Misono, who is strangely interested in her. Thus begins a slowly developing seme-uke friendship of two people whose meeting may not have been as random as was initially perceived.
Besides bullying, the second important theme this manga covers is premature impressions and misconceptions. Some people are pressured into creating false images of themselves in order to avoid getting into trouble with people around them. This outer shield is usually created as a defense mechanism by people who were born and raised in an environment that gave them no choice but to live up whatever standards were set in stone for them to follow, not giving the people any room to create be themselves.
The meat of the humor is in the seme-uke relationship of the tsundere Yuri and her “nice girl on the outside but devilish on the inside” oddball friend Misono. There is a simple reason why Misono teases Yuri and that’s to get her to open up more. I wonder if that’s the trick of getting along with a female tsundere? Teasing her? I guess it all depends on whether the girl is willing to claw your face to shreds for the teasing or not. In any case, their dynamic works, leading to many cute faces from Yuri and “interesting” expressions from Misono. As usual when it comes to these kind of pairings, they match like peas in a pod.
The two girls do have some flaws though, especially Misono. She sometimes comes of as being pushy…REALLY pushy…borderline possessive of Yuri, while Yuri’s tsundere attitude and lack of ability to think things through has got her into trouble a couple of times. Despite their flaws, the story slowly shows that the two are destined to drink milk and eat cookies together for all eternity. They need to fully understand each other first though.
My favorite character, surprisingly, is neither Yuri or Misuzu. This girl is actually a hidden character. The one hint I’ll give my readers is that she has a “tail”.
Overall, Noted From the Garden of Lilies was a decent read. It did not get me to “squee” as much as some other manga I have read but its cuteness and themes that it covered were enough to keep me interested. Oh, and the secondary characters were also neat, especially the hidden character (who didn’t do much but made me “squee” every time she appeared.). Misono’s possessiveness was a bit cringe inducing but nothing painful. Other than that, recommended to readers who are okay with tsunderes and evil smiles.