Slight spoilers ahead!
Yuri is something that can definitely be enjoyed in short bursts, as is evidenced by what I’ve ended up gravitating towards when I look for something new to read. A handful of chapters? Great! I can knock it out in a day? Perfect! Let’s get right to it!
Of course, picking short manga to read always runs the risk of wanting more out of it, or maybe in the worst case, having not gotten enough. Whether or not that’s a testament to how good that manga is, that’s up the reader. But that was definitely the case regarding this month’s manga, Clover.
Clover is another manga by Otsu Hiyori, probably better known for Aqua Blue Cinema, which I reviewed some time ago. Published in 2007 by Ichijinsha, serialized by Comic Yuri Hime, Clover is a series of one-shots that center around four sisters, and the yuri shenanigans that they get themselves into. With each chapter focusing on a different girl, there are actually five chapters. The last one being a bonus after-story focusing on the couple from chapter two. But I’ll get into that later. With only five chapters under its belt, does Clover pack enough punch for a knockout? Well, let’s get right into it…
As always, art first. I was a fan of Hiyori’s art from Aqua Blue Cinema, so it’s no surprise that I’m liking it here. The character designs are simple and clean. It’s very cute. Honestly, not much to say other than that. The style and art is pretty typical, but it works rather well. The color pages at the beginning of chapter one are actually very well done, so when the art hits, it’s a knockout. Four sisters’ designs are as unique as their personalities, so you shouldn’t have any problems mistaking any of them if they show up in a chapter they’re not a focus on. Which I’ll get into right about now.
As series of one-shots that revolve around sisters, the chapters do feature some interconnected parts between each other. Sisters will be referenced, and the occasional continuity nod will be made from a previous chapter. However, that emphasis is light, and not mind bending at all. Not that it tries to be, anyways.
Of course, with this format, there are both positives and negatives to explore. If you didn’t like a particular story, you may like the next one. If you did like the story, chances are the ending was rather inconclusive and you won’t get much of a continuation. Which is a bit of a shame, since some of the potential couples were pretty good.
For example, most of the stories, while yuri centric, do not end with a couple being established by the end of it. Rather, we’re given the hint of the potential of something to happen in the future. While the endings of the one-shots themselves are tooth-decayingly sweet, they leave more to be desired. And it’s too bad too, since the sisters are fun characters to follow.
However, that doesn’t mean that we are left completely in the dark. The fifth and final chapter is a continuation of the couple from chapter two, the only couple that was officially established by the end of it. I won’t get too into it, but it’s pretty much as drama-filled and sweet as you’d expect.
Largely, Clover is a manga that doesn’t necessarily do anything new in yuri. If you’re pretty well-versed in how things go, you won’t find many surprises. With that being said, those typical stories you’re used to seeing in yuri are still pretty good, and I personally enjoy reading them the hundredth time as much as I did the first. So chances are there is something good for you to find in Clover. If you’re absolutely tired of the typical tropes and want something else, then this manga may not be for you. But for me, it’s an enjoyable, decent read.
To quickly sum it up, an interesting anthology premise, fun characters, good art, but the lack of a follow up for the majority of the stories made it a bit of a letdown. But, I’d argue that wanting more story shows that what you did get was good. So all in all, I’d give it a 7/10, about average.