Romance and love is something that everybody longs for and desires at some point in time. Whether they’re going through their final years of education, trying to balance a stressful work life and social life, or even spending the rest of your years in relaxation, finding that romantic relationship happens at some point in our lives. And love has a habit of finding itself when we least expect it. Sometimes we find ourselves falling for somebody we would have least expect, unable to take our eyes off of them when we have the chance. They may even be of the same gender, making it even more unexpected. But sometimes, that can be the best kind of love.
Across thirteen different romances, all involving women in various situations, Whenever Our Eyes Meet… is a manga anthology that explores the theme of women’s love, relationships that involve a woman having feelings for another woman. Published by Yen Press, Whenever Our Eyes Meet… gifts us with the talent of over a dozen different manga artists, including Kurukurhime (Yuri Life), Yukiko (Futaribeya), and Mikan Uji (Now Loading!). Each of the thirteen romances offers different scenarios in which a relationship revolving around two women are the forefront of the story, whether it’s through romantic tension, sexual desire, or even a comedic coincidence. Even if the stories are only a couple pages long you’ll really be able to feel the romance coming though. You may even feel your heart flutter if you find a story you want to read more about.
Each story in the anthology is able to distinguish itself from the rest, no two stories being too similar. At best, the most common theme between some of the stories is that a few of them involve some kind of professional work relationship, but that’s about it. Even with similar starting points, the stories themselves don’t mimic another. For example, “The Woman at a Certain Company” by Mikan Uji revolves around two women who met during a one-night stand and turns out to be coworkers. “I Want to Make My Work Senpai Moan!” by Kurukurhime is another office story but focuses on how the women turned their relationship into a competition. Two office stories, two different plots. But with the similarities aside, both stories are well thought out and detailed, bringing the main characters to life in just a few pages. The same goes for every story in the anthology. Through the use of artistic ability, emotion-filled dialogue, and a focused point on women’s love, the stories bring to life the various kinds of scenarios in which romance can be found.
Among the thirteen stories, a personal favorite is “Fish and Water” by Kanarashi, a story revolving around two women who were high school friends and find each other again as adults. The overall story is simple, but successful in showing how their feeling for one another finally managed to break through years later. The art is detailed mostly around the characters themselves, adding to the affect of the story being only about them, every line and detail being meticulous while still having the normal manga art style. While every story in the anthology can easily become an entire manga on its own if given the chance, the main reason why “Fish and Water” deserves its own is due to the looming questions brought on after reading it. Personally, knowing why they split after high school and reading about what happened before and after reuniting would be very enjoyable to read in a full manga.
Overall, Whenever Our Eyes Meet… is a successful women’s love anthology. Having a variety of manga artists coming together to put their vision on the different kind of love between women is a great read. Each story is able to stand on their own even when focusing on the same theme. And with yuri-themed stories and manga on the rise, seeing a second anthology from a new set of manga artists wouldn’t be a surprising thing to see in the near future. Maybe we’ll see a different kind of scenario that hasn’t been done yet.
Want to read it for yourself? Whenever Our Eyes Meet… available in print at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Right Stuf, and other major book retailers, and digitally on Amazon, Google Play, and other digital services.