The Rundown: ... have I mentioned I have a uniform fetish? Okay, now that that's out of the way, I expected to enjoy this book a lot more than I actually did. It's a solid collection, and like most things it's completely worth it just for Hasukawa-sensei, but it didn't really deliver well on the theme. Maybe I'm just bitter that the only military story creeped me out.
Himitsu no Shouzoku (by Matsumoto Temari): The first story I read from Matsumoto-sensei's cloyingly sweet "Slightly Hapless Ninja-Tai" world. This installment follows Subaru-kun, the youngest member of the clan, as he tries to prove his skills to master Yuuzuki. A reconnaisance mission gone awry ends up nicely for all (except for that poor student who got knocked unconscious and had his clothing stolen). Cute, but explicit, and probably Shouta-con even without the school uniform stuff.
Love Sign (by Hasukawa Ai): Hasukawa-sensei proves once again why she's every mangaka's favorite mangaka in this independent short story. She manages to create perfect tension without any physical contact necessary. Cool Sawaguchi scrutinizes the signs of attraction after noticing something strange about his classmate Hayasaka. Excellent first-person narration.
Netsu no Ori (by Inariya Fusanosuke): The aforementioned military installment, set in WWII Germany. Very dramatic and dark and full of Wagner-related symbolism, which you'd think would score high marks from me. Actually, this story just taught me that Nazis really, really hit my squick. Just thinking about it makes me shudder. So there ya go, Makoto DOES have a squick-point, and it's Nazis. Next.
Damatterannee! (by Hori Erio): Nao and Yae make a second Luv appearance, this time to show why camera-phones are troublesome in Japan too. Nao catches the eye of another classmate, which Yae will absolutely not stand for. Fortunately Naoya has gotten over his hesitations about sex at school. Again, it's nothing special, but I still like the boys a lot.
Trickster (by Nitta Youko): Nitta-sensei time! Okay, this month, Katou gets jealous when new hot talents Yuu and Tomoki take a photo nuzzling up to Iwaki! But Iwaki's upset too because Yuu and Tomoki push their teasing too far. The solution? Angsty sex in front of the newbies to remind them who belongs to whom, of course! (Okay, I'm so out of the loop in Haru segments that I'm absolutely not the girl to be reviewing them. But they still make me giggle.)
Kanmitsu Danshi (by Enomoto Tsubaki): This is probably my favorite Enomoto-sensei story to date. High school friends Sakura and Tetsushi finally got together not too long ago; "somehow", Sakura ended up as the uke and is desperate to change that for the next time around. Tetsu is an understanding guy, but anybody can see that Sakura is definitely not meant to lead. Taking turns may be much more challenging than Sakura-chan expects, but damn if he isn't going to try. Sweet and very funny.
Short Hope Ao. (by NEEMA): My first exposure to NEEMA-sensei's rather unusual art style. If Tajima Shou and Ousaka Miya had a kid (god forbid), this is probably what their manga would look like. Hiroki is a playboy; his friend Jun is jealous. And it's smoldering pretty deeply inside Jun, bubbling to the surface as sarcastic remarks and snide comments, but he's determined not to show any emotion in front of Hiroki. Hiroki's current girlfriend confronts him, and things get interesting. Strong characterization for a short story, a nice school romance. (And don't worry, unlike Ousaka-sensei, the children have heads of a reasonable size.)
Hisho no Territory (by Oumi Shinano): Oumi-sensei, one of the best artists at balancing humor, smut, and really intelligent relationship dynamics. Shinohara never mixes his private life with work; the two parts of his life are mutually exclusive. But his writer-boyfriend Daishi is more than interested in seeing what happens when the worlds cross over, where Shinohara can really be himself... Smart and dirty, that's what makes Oumi-sensei great.
Special Section: A catalog of uniforms, with mini-interviews with artists such as Shimizu Yuki, Kurogane Mikoto, and Yamane Ayano. (Mmm, mmm, gakuran really are the best!) If only there had been as much uniform variety in the actual book.
Warnings and Suggestions: Explicit. The first story borders on Shouta-con; three of the stories involve sex between high-schoolers. And don't get me started on the Nazis.