It is little secret that Girl Friends is one of my favorite yuri manga ever. After all, this little gem is perhaps the most influential piece in the yuri canon—if there were such a thing—serialized within the last five years (along with few others, like Aoi Hana and Octave). The appeal is clear. Girl Friends wraps a gripping romance with all the charming elements of shoujo: bubbles, sparkles, fluff, adorable girls… etc. Indeed, not since Maria-sama ga Miteru have we seen such a wonderful combination of yuri and the shoujo genre. Not only that, Girl Friends goes into a remarkable level of detail. In her usual gorgeous style, Morinaga Milk weaves into the drama her sophisticated fascination with glamour and fashion. This is yuri for the “girly girls.”
A particularly noteworthy fashion spot is the little feature of Anna Sui. This line of clothing, cosmetics, fragrances, and accessories is best known for its rocking youthful, yet luxurious look. In some sense, Anna Sui is the perfect brand to add authenticity to this already super chic manga. The intricate designs—often adorned with frills, patterns, and art noveau-esque aesthetics with a dash of punk and Goth—compliment the delicate styles seen on the characters and in Morinaga Milk’s panels. They share the same sexually empowering, but growing maturity.
That the Anna Sui is a gift to Sugi-san—my favorite character in Girl Friends as well as the most fashion, relationship, and sexually conscious of all the girl—is rather fitting. And just look at those legs~ ♥
Furthermore, on another level, the brand itself could be seen as a representation of Girl Friends. Anna Sui has an interesting place in the fashion industry. It is at that sweet spot between casual and glamour. It is gorgeously accessible, yet remains very editorial, such that it consistently graces the stages of fashion weeks. This unique blend of fun and serious is not unlike Girl Friends’s approach to yuri romance. The manga hits with considerable angst, but still delivers a fairly fluffy, sugary-sweet atmosphere (as opposed to, say, Octave with its josei styled, down-to-earth story).
Similarly, CECIL McBee brings to mind a further light flirty touch characteristic of Girl Friends. As with Anna Sui, fashion here again wonderfully aligns with the mood of the manga. More than the slightly darker Anna Sui, CECIL McBee adds an even younger innocent, spring atmosphere. It just goes along so well with the other fashions in this story of a maturing, cute romance.
Yes, this is my favorite yuri manga. The attention paid to all the subtlest aspects puts Girl Friends above most other yuri manga. Morinaga Milk deserves all the applause and spotlight for fashioning such a stylish, beautiful work. I love it!