Girls Kingdom, Vol. 3

By Nayo and Shio Sakura. Released in Japan by GL Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Philip Reuben.

This series, in general, should not be taken seriously. I know that seems like a really obvious thing to say, but we are dealing with something written for a yuri audience, and yuri audiences have been conditioned to take things Very Seriously Indeed a lot of the time. This works on a 2005 yuri level, but it’s also clearly being written around 2020, and knows that too. So no one is going to be using the words lesbian or queer in this book anytime soon, but bathing together – complete with tickle fights – is still on the menu. Likewise, there are no canonical couples in the book, and yet the entire book consists of plotlines like “what is the perfect present I can give to my mistress” or “I am obsessed with my mistress to the point where I have become a living ghost story”. It’s a lot of fun to read. It also has Misaki, who still makes for a great protagonist, since she is, as I’ve said before, Yumi without all that self-doubt.

In the first part of the book, Misaki and Kirara, along with the other first-year maids, get that most important of things – their first paycheck. It’s tradition that part of that check should go to their mistress, but it’s up to them to figure out what the perfect present would be. After this, there’s rumors of a ghost on campus, and the student council president is trying to see what’s really going on, though it’s Misaki who has already worked things out. All of this is going on, of course, while Misaki and Kirara are still trying to learn how to be the best maids out there, and realizing they still have a LONG way to go. Especially if they want to compare themselves to Sara, whose mistress, who had been in England, is finally arriving to join the school. Will she upend the salon system? Or just create chaos? Probably, it’s that kind of series, but I expect all will work out in the end.

My favorite parts of the book are when you’re able to spot the tongue lodged firmly in the author’s cheek. Sometimes this is obvious because Misaki, our “common sense” character, points it out, such as student council president Angelica pulling a map of the campus out from between her breasts. And sometimes it’s obvious simply because it’s too ridiculous not to giggle. Sara’s past is tragic, but it’s tragic in a “Little Match Girl” sort of way that makes the denouement that much funnier. I’m amazed Sakura didn’t find her abandoned in a box with dog ears on her head. And sometimes the ridiculousness is actually a plot point, such as Sara’s “very English” mistress being named Sakura, which is noted by the characters but which we might have to wait till next time to actually figure out why.

Next time promises a 3-way Salon War – at least- and, I suspect, will have a lot more of Sakura and Sara, a relationship I can see going in several direction. Still, this was an excellent volume in the series, if only as I made it through the entire book without wanting to kill Kirara with my laser eye beams. Also, thanks must go to Angelica, for adding another common yuri trope the the overflowing stack already on the table.

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