A Garland for Girls: Blossoming Shoujo Imagery in Ace wo Nerae

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If one were to daintily waltz through the lily garden, of light foot and lighter heart, they would perhaps stumble upon Ace wo Nerae! (1973). A shoujo coming-of-age tale courtesy of Yamamoto Sumika, it facilitated the blooming of flowers within closed gardens for decades to come through focusing on its plucky protagonist Hiromi swept up in the trials and tribulations of her school’s tennis club. It would be considered an early yuri contribution in part due to Hiromi’s attraction towards the club’s shining star, Reika, in turn establishing genre hallmarks long before they were officially adopted by the mainstream.

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