Syrup: A Yuri Anthology is a collection of short stories portraying the different love stories between two women. Volume 1 features the works of 15 notable authors, including Kodama Naoko, the author behind I Married My Best Friend to Shut My Parents Up and Morinaga Milk from Girl Friends, among others. These stories present adult women making sense of their feelings towards one another while navigating through the hardships of being a working citizen. They capture a variety of aspects surrounding a couple's unique set of challenges, ranging from finding your first love in your 20s to owning your own body. Yuri featuring adult women isn't as commonplace as teenage love, but this volume embraces that which is lacking in the genre, and should appeal to an adult audience because of it.
Each tale sets a new tone and thus gives a new experience. Not every love story starts or ends like the movies, either. Some are gratifying and give the audience what they want while others are bittersweet, leaving us wanting more. Even if the romantic love is one-sided, there is always a strong connection of platonic love, at least, that fortifies a special kind of relationship between the women featured. Not all of the tales are that serious, though, with some providing a more light-hearted read through hilarious characters and exaggerated expressions.
The anthology features a variety of talented artists with a variety of different styles; each totally unique to the story that's being told. That means that it's possible for readers to find at least one they'll prefer over others, either for its attention to detail, absorbing use of lighting or simplistic design. The varying degrees of the art truly makes every short story stand out as its own separate entity.
Also, with the contributions of many creators comes an array of characters all with varying perspectives on their distinctive situations. While some characters might care about showing affection for their partner publicly for fear of facing discrimination for their sexual orientations, others don't and strive for a more open relationship instead.
Altogether, the volume is like a collection of poems, each dealing with various relatable themes from heartbreak to healing. Some are touching while others are hilarious and nothing more than a fun read. The ability to take an intimate love and twist it with elements of a character's personal life and the situations a person cannot hope to change might hit close to home for some. For example, Mama x Mom, by Yoshidamaru Yu, is a story that follows a woman named Fumi after she's taken in her best friend and baby daughter after fleeing from her cheating husband. Fumi wrestles with her secret romantic feelings while being a source of support for her friend while also being a loving caretaker for her friend's infant daughter. Another example is The Abandoned Cat and the Lamp by Ohi Pikachi, which features a defeated young woman finding companionship following a messy breakup and problems at work.
Navigating the lives of adult women makes Syrup: A Yuri Anthology a mature read. Though the harsh realities of love as an adult are painfully clear, the sweetness of its title runs through it all, ensuring that switching from contrasting stories to follow separate characters still feels cohesive. If you're looking for a light and fun read than Syrup: A Yuri Anthology Vol. 1 might be worth checking out.