Note: Review Code provided by Ebi-Hime
Here we are once more talking about another yuri title by the oh-so talented Shrimp Princess Ebi and her talented team. This time we are invited somewhere familiar yet still new accompanying a token Western grumpy protagonist. However, there is something different about this cutie and her equally adorable love interest. Find out what I mean as we take a look at The Fairy’s Song.
Genres: Fantasy, Kinetic Novel, Romance, Yuri
Length: 6-10 hours (Depends on reading speed)
Plot Summary: Marnie is a grumpy goth girl on her way to spend the week at her grandmother Iris’ house at the small village of Fenchapel while her parents are off to Bordeaux for some fun in the sun.
She always disliked Fenchapel for how boring it was. On the second day grandma encouraged her to go on a picnic in the woods. Having nothing better to do she accepted. The forest was one of the few interesting areas to explore in the village.There was one catch. Grandma warned her not to go too deep into the forest for there were prankster fairies about.
Thinking little of grandma’s warning (Fairies? Must be the delusions of an elderly woman) she went on her way. Little did Marnie know that this trip to the woods would forever change her life and worldview upon finding and somehow awakening a sleeping girl in the middle of the woods.
After awakening the sleeping girl, Leofe (brunette), she and Marnie (blonde) go on an unexpected adventure uncovering once unknown secrets of Fenchapel, face unexpected dangers and learn more about each other as their feelings grow stronger over time.
As mentioned in the introduction Marnie is another grumpy and cynical yuri protagonist who, after playing about 7 or so Visual/Kinetic Novels starring grumpy lesbians, convinced me it is a trope. Nothing against it, far from it, just noticed. Perhaps grumpy lesbians are a lot of fun to write seeing them grow softer as they fall in love with their (usually) adorable romantic interest. Having said that, while Marnie is indeed grumpy and cynical she is one of the more subdued grouches whose journeys I have followed. Yes she complains and has a critical view of the world and society but she mellows down quicker than many other protagonists of her ilk. Plus, like her peers, over time it becomes clear she has good reason to be annoyed. Yes, many times it is her lack of cooperation but there are as many reasons she is justifiably irked, primarily based on how people approach and treat her because of her appearance. Throughout her narration “plreaders” (play and read) get to know a lot about our adorable little cynic: How she was influenced by her family, society and consumed media. Like other Ebi-Hime titles expect social media references here and there, only this time they play a bigger role than the usual “this reminds of something I watched/read by this famous author/director”. To me, at least, it felt the referenced media played a bit of a bigger role in telling “plreaders” about Marnie as a person.
What I am trying to say is I really enjoyed Marnie’s development throughout the story. It treads familiar ground with grumpy protagonists but for whatever reason the journey felt even more doki-doki than usual. Without giving much away Marnie’s still grumpy by the end but her life perspective grew much,much greater. For most of the story I enjoyed the next girl we are about to discuss but Marnie surprised me a great deal by winning the “Best girl” title right under my nose.
Next up is Leofe, the girl awakened in the forest. The best non spoiler description of her is “Ye Olde Genki”. Her speech and mannerisms appear to be of times gone by. Her sentences are prim and proper (for the most part.) and she is lively and bubbly. What Marnie sees as simplistic/ordinary Leofe is left in awe and wonder. This too plays a role in Marnie’s development and vice-versa as Leofe’s worldview too changes thanks to her. It is a mix of the changes compared to what Leofe remembered before her deep sleep and her growing relationship with Marnie. Another reason for her polite mannerisms is her knighthood. See, Leofe is a female knight and a very strong one at that, capable of besting most opponents past and present. Her greatest weakness though is, without giving away much, related to the seemingly eternal patriarchy and the ongoing struggles of women in society.
The best way to describe the main theme of the story is “finding your identity”. Both Marnie and Leofe throughout their journey full of perils and romance (all set in a “boring” village by the way) search to find out who they are inside and out.
The reason I went over the girls’ characters and development more than the story events is because, although treading familiar grounds, expect the plot to have its fair share of twists. Let me put it this way. Although some readers can predict some of the surprises thanks to the dropped hints throughout, expect some turns that may have some going “Huh. That was a cool/interesting”. That was my experience anyway.
On to the presentation. For a while Strawberry Vinegar had the cutest character designs in an Ebi-Hime yuri title. Well, it just got dethroned by The Fairy’s Song. Marnie, Leofe and especially Grandma Iris are all so very precious. Marnie is a grumpy cutie, Leofe is adorable most of the time and grandma was too cute for words each time she was on screen. She is a perfect example of “Respect your elders”. When you have a grandparent as precious and loved like Iris here, cherish them for as long as you can. The soundtrack is serene. Even the battle tunes when our adorable duo face great danger. There are two themes and they do not differ much from each other but those subtle differences help them stand out despite the similarity. Good stuff, yes.
As for the yuri, so good. SO GOOD!
Overall The Fairy’s Song continues Ebi’s streak of excellent yuri stories. The main cast are precious, the side-characters serve their purpose well, the plot points tread familiar ground but its twists are pretty cool, the presentation is lovely and the yuri is wonderful. Highly recommended to Ebi-Hime fans and readers looking for a fun, fluffy and very serious when need be yuri adventure.