Title: Kindred Spirits On The Roof: The Complete Collection
Author: Hachi Ito (Another Yuritopia) & Toi Tentsu, Aya Fumio (Friendly Quiz)
Artists: Hachi Ito (Another Yuritopia) & Aya Fumio (Friendly Quiz)
Genre: Yuri, Contemporary
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Kindred Spirits on the Roof is a yuri manga omnibus based on a bestselling visual novel game of the same title. The story follows multiple schoolgirl romances with some ghostly interference! Two friendly spirits inhabit the rooftop of an all-girls’ school and, inspired by their own feelings of unrequited love for each other, try to make more yuri couples among the living students. The Kindred Spirits on the Roof game has been localised into English by MangaGamer and is available for download on the popular digital game platform, Steam. Kindred Spirits on the Roof, the manga, features adorable artwork, charming love stories, and unforgettable characters that are spun-off directly from the digital game. This omnibus contains the complete two-volume manga series, along with multiple full-colour inserts, and will be adored by fans of such titles as Girl Friends and Strawberry Panic. Mako and Shiori have been best friends since they were children, but when Mako suddenly confesses her love to Shiori, all Shiori can do is run away! One year later, Shiori sees Mako and decides she wants to rekindle their friendship. Can the two girls go back to their relationship the way it was before, or are they ready for it to evolve into something else? Meanwhile, fellow student Hase Chiharu loves seeing yuri romance play out. For that reason, she becomes enamored by two senior classmates, Natsuki and Rika, a power couple in the school’s Quiz Show Club. When Chiharu joins the club so she can be closer to them, she meets the adorable Tokino. Tokino can’t take her eyes off their beautiful upper classmates either, and as Chiharu and Tokino observe the couple together, their own sweet relationship begins!
Kindred Spirits on the Roof was originally published by Hirari Comics in 2015 and is a spin-off from the popular visual novel of the same name. It features two story arcs, Another Yuritopia by Hachi Ito and Friendly Quiz by Toi Tentsu and Aya Fumio. They focus on new characters that weren’t in the game, but also feature appearances from a few familiar faces for those that loved the source material. From a personal standpoint, I always liked the concept of the visual novel, but haven’t yet had the chance to play it. Luckily, the manga runs in such a way that you don’t need to have done so to understand what’s going on.
Both stories are really quite sweet. Another Yuritopia follows Shiori, a high school girl who ran away when her childhood friend Mako confessed her love to her. She spends the arc working through her feelings and eventually coming to realize that she too is in love. It plays out at a natural pace, and watching Shiori’s struggles makes her genuinely endearing. Best of all, when she dips into the ever-awful “Isn’t it weird because we’re both girls” trope, she is talked down very quickly. It was a really great read, and one where it’s very easy to root for the would-be couple.
Friendly Quiz takes a different approach, seeing two girls, Hase and Ichiyama, join the school quiz club because they like to ship the upperclassmen running it. The two seniors in question, Rika and Natsuki have a very friendly relationship, and it’s easy to see why the new starters would view them as potentially being in love. While perhaps not as sweet as Another Yuritopia, this was another fun story, and watching both pairs grow closer within the quiz club setting was an enjoyable experience.
The overall writing felt very tight throughout the release. If you’re looking for authentic feeling yuri stories that avoid the usual round of negative tropes, they’ll offer plenty for you to enjoy. The only stumbling block may be that the ghost girls featured in the visual novel are barely present in the book. Not having played the game, it wasn’t a huge deal for me. If you were a fan of that particular story arc though, it may be a mild disappointment.
In terms of art, both stories feature some really good – but visibly different – illustrations. The detailing is high, shadows are used to create depth well, and the girls all exhibit a wide range of facial expressions. If I were to try to define the difference between the two, it would be this: Another Yuritopia feels very old school, and would fit in alongside some CLAMP releases. Meanwhile, Friendly Quiz is perhaps a little tidier, but the characters faces feel more round in terms of both general shape and details. I personally preferred the art in Another Yuritopia, but neither is in any way bad. I was also happy to see the book avoid any fan service; the stories simply didn’t need it to be interesting, and adding it in would have felt off-kilter with the general tone of the release.
Overall, I was very impressed with this. Seven Seas Entertainment has spent a fair amount of time growing an excellent selection of LGBTQ titles, and this fits in nicely alongside the sweeter end of this. It’s a good-natured, light read that should make anyone with even a touch of romance in their soul smile. Easily a 5 out of 5 for me.