Lily Love – Manga – METANORN

Lily Love – Webcomic Review

Lily Love - Title2 shot

Read a story about Donut

winter15-highw I’ve been reading more manga and webcomics lately, but again found one that just really felt great to read this week. As you can already see, the name of this webcomic is Lily Love. I call it a webcomic because I don’t know what they would call a manga-form comic from Thailand, so that’s what I’m going with.

Girls in Love

Lily Love - Friends with big ears

Let’s start off with some suggestive conversations…

So what is this story about? This one’s really simple: two college women who fall in love with each other. This one skips right past yuri and goes straight to Girls Love. And to be honest, that’s the way I like it. I don’t need 40 chapters of “What is this feeling I have when I see her with another person?” and “I think I like her but what if she doesn’t like me?” This is frequently even worse with stories depicting same-sex relationships, because of the assumed attraction to opposite sex people. This often translates into even more fear of being honest about feelings because there’s that additional hurdle. It’s almost a miracle that anyone ever gets together in some of these stories.

Lily Love - nice look

Mew on the left, Donut on the right, and Leo in the middle with the bandage

So in Lily Love, the main character from the beginning is Donut. From the beginning of the story, she’s the one who isn’t chasing boys, or really anyone, and has to listen to the other girls in her college group talk about it. But then a new girl moves into the dorm room next door, and things start happening in Donut’s life. Mew is a year older, finishing up her fourth year of college, and makes a pretty poor first impression, first smoking, then forgetting her access card to get back up to the room. But Donut is not that much of a stickler for the rules, and helps Mew smuggle a hamster up to her room. But the real relationship parts start when Mew barges in to spend New Year’s with Donut since they’re both staying in the dorm. Get a little bit drunk, and maybe spend a little too much time too close to the other person, and follow that up a few days later with a hug that lingers a bit long…

Girl Friends

Lily Love - Cats out of the bag

Mew doesn’t leave it a question for long

And that’s what begins Donut’s investigation of her feelings, as she wonders why she can’t get Mew out of her head, and why she feels so bad when Mew starts ignoring her. Finally after talking to her friend Ice about whether it’s ok for two girls to be together, Donut catches Mew as she’s about to leave town and confesses for everyone to hear. And so starts a nice relationship where both people are obviously into each other, which helps weather the worries about it being the right thing to do, or about Mew’s ex-girlfriend demanding a lot of her time dealing with her overly-possessive boyfriend.

Lily Love - Art styles

Different levels of detail for different artistic effect

I think the first thing that pulls me in to this comic is the visuals that Ratana Satis uses. The character designs are really great, and allow for both expression and just outright beauty without changing much. Since it’s Donut’s perspective, most of the shots that go for prettiness are of Mew, but Donut isn’t exactly ugly. The faces do go from simple to intricate, but that’s part of the charm and expression. The thing that really keeps me in the story, tho, is the great messaging with regards to same-sex couples. From the beginning, when Mew comes out to Donut after Donut assumes she was dumped by her boyfriend, to Ice’s advice, to almost everyone else’s reaction, there’s no shame in being in love with someone, no matter what their gender is. Nor do they say that lesbians are ok, but bi is not (this is sometimes even an issue in US, although not as bad as with trans identifiers). I don’t know what the general opinion is of homosexuality in Thailand, but it hasn’t come up as an issue as yet. There hasn’t been any hiding of their relationship, and the only person opposed to it is Mew’s ogre of a father.

A Couple More Images
(Prepare for Scrolling!)

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header-winter15-highw

I also find it interesting to learn more about Thai customs from the translation notes. Like the reason there are such odd names (Donut, Jigsaw, Mew, Ice) is that apparently it’s common to use nicknames for everyday use. Or the wearing of uniforms all the way through college. It’s certainly not anything that makes you think you know everything about a culture, but interesting differences are interesting (and if I’m not correct, feel free to correct me in the comments. I certainly don’t want to claim to be an expert).

I hope that you’ll give Lily Love a try. It’s licensed in English at Lezhin Comics, and reprinted with permission at dynasty scans.

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Proving that you don't have to be young to love anime, I enjoy all genres and styles of shows. If it's not hurting anyone else, you should never be ashamed of what you like!
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9 Responses to “Lily Love – Webcomic Review”

  1. zztop says:

    I haven’t read this exact title, but I have come across some Korean webcomics(webtoons) under Lezhin. Funnily, most of the ones I’ve encountered have high ero-hentai content, some on par with Japanese works.

    • Highway says:

      Yeah, Lezhin is a pretty adult site, especially when you consider that just about all of their titles are tagged with at least one of either BL, GL, Romance, and Mature. And most of them do seem to be Korean, or at least following the format more popular for Korean webtoons, with that “scroll down forever” reading style. And while Lily Love uses a manga format (albeit read left to right), another by Ratana Satis on Lezhin named Pulse (which I’ve just started reading) uses the scroll forever format.

  2. Overcooled says:

    Wow, cool, I’ve never read a thai webcomic (I’m not sure what to call it either). This one seems rather sweet. I also dislike romance series that linger far too long on the “denial” stage. It drags things out and puts too much of an emphasis on how “wrong” it is to like someone of the same gender. Of course, this can be the thought process of someone discovering their sexuality for the first time, but it can be a bit of a bore to read through.

    Also, yay, college age instead of high school!

    • Highway says:

      Oh, this one is tremendously sweet, but not treacly or sappy at all. Another thing that I like about its treatment of Donut’s feelings for Mew is that Donut doesn’t linger on anything like “What does it mean to be a lesbian?” In fact, so far, Donut doesn’t even really care or think about the idea that some might call her that. It’s far more that she loves Mew. That means it avoids the stereotyping that could go along with it, while still leaving the door open narratively for the possibility that others might stereotype her and Mew and their relationship in the future.

      I personally really like the way it handles it, because I much prefer the idea that you fall in love with a person, and the classifications aren’t really that helpful when it gets to the individual level. This is actually something that comes to the fore a bit later in the story.

      Yeah, college aged is good, and this one is late college, to boot. Although I’m finding that the Korean webtoons I’m reading are more likely to be based on college or even later. Pulse, which I mentioned above, is about a practicing surgeon. And Fluttering Feelings is about college-aged women.

      (Edited to add: Pulse is another Thai comic by Ratana Satis. Fluttering Feelings is Korean)

  3. skylion says:

    For some reason, Krispy Kreme is starting to sound really nice right now. Either that or my cat….

    Like you, I’m taken by how well the artist is able to move from the cartoony look to the a more detailed character design to sell the expressions. They do a great deal of love with the body language, which is sometimes missing from Japanese manga, or either taken for granted?

    Good stuff, I’ll put it on the Stack of Many Recommendations.

    • Highway says:

      It does take just the littlest getting used to with the nicknames, but I find it endearing most of the time. Some are a little jarring, like Ploy and Jigsaw, but for the most part it’s just naming.

      It really feels like the art style and aesthetic is informed by Japanese manga, but is not beholden to the style, which I feel really lends a freedom to the expression. Of course, in the end, I mostly just like it. 🙂

      • skylion says:

        Manga influenced or manga inspired is an odd duck. I recall this huge influx of artists and comic books (many still working today) in the 90s that ran on the manga influenced wagon (which was at times a real bandwagon). But it was really on the character design that was forming the basis of the influence as none of the paneling, plot structure, or aspect to aspect (American comics typically follow action to action in panels structure) movement between panels were followed or even payed much attention to outside some emerging academia; which mostly focused on controversial stories…

      • il-Palazzo says:

        Heh. Thai person here. Glad to see Thai comic being appreciated.

        Ploy actually means “jewel” in Thai. Jigsaw is still rather weird, though.

        • Highway says:

          Thanks for commenting! I hope I haven’t made any awful generalizations. 😮

          I think it’s easy to appreciate a comic like this, and I would love to see more comics like this one.

          (Also, while I don’t know how Lezhin treats the artists (it seems like they let artists set prices to an extent, and it’s not subscription, so presumably some of what you buy goes to the artist), the fact that they’re actually publishing things *and* publishing translations in what seems like a legit manner is great. I’ve long been an advocate of the idea that if you make something available for purchase at what seems like fair value that most people would prefer obtaining it that way.)

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