Girl Friends (manga)
The cover of volume 1 of the Girl Friends manga.
|Written by||Milk Morinaga|
|English publisher||Seven Seas Entertainment|
|Original run||October 21, 2006 – August 21, 2010|
|Directed by||Midori Shimazawa|
|Released||28 January 2011|
Girl Friends (Japanese: ガールフレンズ Hepburn: Gāru Furenzu?) is a yuri manga series by Milk Morinaga. It was serialized by Futabasha in the seinen manga magazine Comic High! between October 2006 and August 2010, and subsequently published as five bound volumes. The manga has been licensed in North America by Seven Seas Entertainment.
The story revolves around the quiet Mari Kumakura, whose only noticeable quality is her top of the class grades. Enter the cute and friendly Akko Oohashi, whose goal is to get to know Mari and become best friends with her. With Akko's help, she quickly transforms into one of the more fashionable girls in school and becomes good friends with Akko, Sugi and Tamami. The group get into all kinds of situations; boys, diets, fashion, friends and studies. However, as the plot develops, Mari and later Akko realize both have deeper feelings for each other, feelings that eclipse friendship.
- Mariko Kumakura (熊倉 真理子 Kumakura Mariko?)
- Voiced by: Mikoi Sasaki
- The protagonist, whose nickname is Mari. She is a shy and polite person who always sits during lunch breaks and read books by herself. When Akko befriends her, Mari starts to change and her personality starts to develop. She has recently become less shy and more socially-aware. In an effort to distance her feelings for her friend, she gains a boyfriend (despite having growing feelings of romantic love for Akko). Her resolve to remain "just friends" with Akko conceal her true desires did not hold for long; tormented by the then unaware Akko's kindness and care, she kissed Akko on the lips by impulse twice, but then chooses not to speak of it anymore (on the realization that her love will never bear fruit).
- Akiko Oohashi (大橋 亜希子 Ōhashi Akiko?)
- Voiced by: Aya Endō
- Second protagonist, known to her friends as "Akko". A confident and attractive girl that befriends Mari at the start of the story. She displays many attributes of a stereotypical teenage girl, such as being knowledgeable about dating, fashion and diets. She claims to know a lot about guys despite interacting with them on limited occasions and even less so when she becomes friends with Mari. Recently she had started to develop feelings for Mari; it is at first debatable whether or not she is aware of them or in denial, however, her increasing jealousy of Mari's boyfriend begins to put things into perspective for her. Akko realizes eventually that she is deeply in love with her best friend.
- Satoko Sugiyama (杉山 里子 Sugiyama Satoko?)
- Voiced by: Yū Kobayashi
- Sugi-san (as she is nicknamed) is an outgoing playgirl who makes lots of boyfriends and dates them all at the same time, she likes to go to mixers and drink a lot. It has been mentioned that she and Tamami kiss quite often (though only as a sign of girlish-friendship intimacy). She often is seen as the most promiscuous and party-loving of the group and tends to strip her clothes off when she is drunk. She is surprisingly a light-weight when it comes to drinking. She sometimes is embarrassed to be friends with Tamami whenever the latter girl is publicly cosplaying or engaging in her geeky hobbies. Sugi is often viewed and revered as the "grown-up" in the group (in terms of her attractiveness, allure and knowledge about male-female relationships, and Akiko has consulted her several times when it comes to issues involving Mariko. She is quite perceptive; she is the first and only person to figure out that Akko and Mari are in love with one another. She seems a bit wary of this, as she is concerned about their well-being, but chooses to watch over them from afar. In an omake chapter dedicated to her, she even envies how the both of them can retain their innocence and purity.
- Tamami Sekine (関根 珠実 Sekine Tamami?)
- Voiced by: Mika Kanai
- A cute and funny girl who is best friends with Satoko. Her nickname is Tamanin. She is an otaku and often buys or talks about anime, manga and video games. Contrastingly, she also likes nightclubs, drinking, food, and partying. When the original group is split up, Tamami and Satoko grow apart despite promising to stay in touch and be good friends but with help from Mari and Akko they are reunited. They have since been extremely close despite no longer being in the same class.
Girl Friends was first serialized by Futabasha in the seinen manga magazine Comic High! between October 2006 and August 2010. The series was completed with five bound volumes published. The manga is licensed in Taiwan by Sharp Point Press, in France by Taifu Comics, in Russia by Palma Press, in Germany by Carlsen and in North America by Seven Seas Entertainment.
In Anime News Network's Right Turn Only!! feature, Girl Friends was given a generally positive review; however, they noted, "The ending is rather abrupt and being your typical happily ever after ending."
- "Girl Friends" (in Japanese). Futabasha. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
- "Girl Friend (01)" (in Chinese). Sharp Point Press. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
- "GIRLS FRIENDS" (in French). Taifu Comics. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- Подружки, том 1 (in Russian). Palma Press. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
- "Wir beide!" (in German). Carlsen. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
- "ドラマCD「GIRL FRIENDS -ガールフレンズ-」" [Drama CD "Girl Friends"] (in Japanese). PB2. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
- "RIGHT TURN ONLY!! Perfect TenTen". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
- Official Futabasha website (Japanese)
- Girl Friends (manga) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
- Review of volume 1 by Yuricon's Erica Friedman