Girl Friends is the first yuri manga I ever read, and in my opinion, still one of the very best. It’s drawn and written by Milk Morinaga, a manga artist whose name you should probably keep in mind if you are a yuri fan.
Mari is a shy, studious girl who has neither a boyfriend nor any friends. One day, Akiko – one of the most fashion-conscious and sociable girls in the class – strikes up a conversation with her out of the blue! As the days go by the two become inseparable, with Akiko often cheerily remarking on how they became best friends so easily. Mari has a lot of fun with Akiko and her group, slowly becoming more outgoing despite still being timid and awkward. But she knows, deep down inside, that she doesn’t want them to stay just friends forever… (Source: Baka-Updates)
The plot, as simple as it sounds, is about two girls falling in love with each other and the hardship they have to go through in order to really make it work out. There is no thrilling action and no exessive drama. This series is probably one of the most realistic yuri love stories out there, and that’s what makes it so enjoyable.
The two main characters, Mari and Akko, have a great dynamic. While Mari is a very shy and insecure girl, Akko is the complete opposite, loud, outgoing and very self-confident.
It was fun watching the two girls in their every day life while they slowly, but noticably, got closer and closer to each other, just in order to have this new found bond being crushed by one careless action. So even though the story of this manga was never rushed or fast-paced in general, it still sometimes felt like their relationship was one hell of a rollercoaster ride.
Milk Morinaga’s art can best be described as very cute, with round faces, big eyes, and delicate bodies. That’s why I think another word to describe it would be ”girly”. This art style is also very clean and nice to look at. In general, I would say that this is some top-notch artwork. Furthermore, I’d like to mention that in this manga, there is a great emphasis put on the aspect of clothing and make-up, which, of course, counts as an advantage for most of the female readers.
Since this is a yuri manga, the relationship between the two protagonists, Akko and Mari, is the main theme of the story. While we get introduced to many other characters that all include their own problems and interests to the plot, Mari and Akko remain the center of attention. As already mentioned, this is a very realistic story in which the ever-changing emotions are the driving factors to all the actions. The two girls’ relationship is gripping yet not exaggerated, and you’ll find yourself questioning their actions many times, yet the more time you’ll spend thinking about it, the more you’ll be able to empathize with them.
In the end, I would recommend this manga to all yuri fans, because this is probably the best yuri title out there right now. Furthermore, I also recommend this to everyone that enjoys a cute and heartwarming love story with a lot of great comedy elements and very nice artwork.