Been a while since I wrote a manga review so here I am with a neat surprise I stumbled upon thanks to a Tumblr follow. However, instead of a full review this will be a first impression of an Italian manga novel. The manga novel in question is Orange Cream or as it will most likely be nicknamed, Italian Citrus.
Genres: School Life, Yuri
Plot Summary: Miyuki Ikeda is a transfer student who instantly became the center of attention because of her beauty and magnetic charm. She was quickly approached and befriended by one Yukino but the one girl who subconsciously captured Miyuki’s heart was the class representative Rei Asakawa with her own beauty and cold stare gave quite the first impression. Things heated up further when Miyuki showed prowess as a skilled basketball player and caught the eye of the resident b-ball hunk Yamato. That was only in the first two days. And to think all Miyuki wanted was a tranquil high school experience…
The manga, written by Scarlett Bell with the drawings by Aeryn Sun, is presented in a manga-novel format where the story is told in a light novel style with occasional manga illustrations of certain scenes in the story.
Miyuki (Not Yuzu), Rei (Not Mei), Yukino (Not Harumi) and Yamato (resident jock).
As I mentioned in the introduction readers will instantly compare OC’s drawing style with the (inexplicably) yuri nation phenomenon known as Saburo Uta’s Citrus. It’s definitely inspired by it that’s for sure. The similarities go further than appearances of the main trio. They also have similar personalities. Miyuki’s an energetic girl who gets dragged along by others interested in her. Rei’s a cold beauty who usually has a serious look on her face, follows school rules by a fault since she is in the student council and cares little what others think of her. Yukino is the cheerful and super cool best friend of Miyuki’s who supports and stands up for her though I cannot say if she is as sexy as Harumi as I have yet to fully see her body. However, that is where the similarities end, especially with Miyuki and Rei.
The leading lady, Miyuki is a cross between Yuzu and Adventure Time’s Fionna the Human. I will leave it at that without spoiling anything.
Rei and Mei are like Super Smash Bros’ Mario and Dr. Mario. They seem identical on the surface but have enough differences to make both characters stand out from one another. I will put it this way, although they look and act similar Rei can express and convey more than one emotion. Rei is livelier than Mei basically. As for Yukino, for the most part she plays the same role as Harumi.
Besides character differences the plot, while sharing some similarities is for the most part also different. The jock, Miyuki’s response to situations, Rei’s approach and a certain other character.
The most surprising realization while reading OC is that despite it being similar to Citrus I found myself enjoying this manga more than the former. Yes I stated that most yuri manga are better than Citrus but OC’s differences were enough to have me enjoy reading a Citrus-esque manga without having to pick one up. Basically OC annoyed me a lot less than Citrus did. One example is me liking Rei more than Mei. Funny how giving a character who is similar to one I dislike more than one figurative emotion is all it takes for me to not be as annoyed by them. Now this is only after reading the first bunch of translated chapters. Whether or not my thoughts will change depend on how the plot progresses but from what I read so far I am most intrigued.
Overall Orange Cream may have been inspired by Citrus but it did enough to set it apart despite feeling familiar. Will other readers who dislike Citrus get into this one? That I cannot guarantee but it cannot hurt to see for one’s self…unless the reader is a certain someone I know. Otherwise it is worth trying.
Interested readers can check out the English translated chapters by clicking on the link below and if there are lucky few around they can read new chapters in Italian. Here are the Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr pages so readers can stay informed on new releases.
PS: the English grammar needs work but readers can quickly get what is being said.