Doughnuts under a Crescent Moon | Pride Edition: Yuri Review

Doughnuts under a Crescent Moon Vol 2 cover, Hinako and Asahi holding hands

GENRE: Yuri, Romance, Shoujo Ai, Drama

MANGAKA: Shio Usui

PUBLISHER: Comic Yuri Hime Magazine, Seven Seas Entertainment

PUBLISHED: March 2019 – Ongoing

Vol 2

Whilst looking for some Yuri to gush over, I landed on this peculiar gem. It’s surprisingly dark for its warm and happy façade and the story did not go where I thought it would.

Written and drawn by Shio Usui, Doughnuts under a Crescent Moon aka Kaketa Tsuki to Doughnut is a Yuri manga staring Uno Hinako – a young career-woman that’s trying to fit in.

We first meet Hinako as she is trying – and failing – to make some romantic connections with men. She struggles with seeming normal and living up to her mother’s expectations and society’s stereotypes. She uses her femineity as an armour, studies fashion magazines to create the image of a beautiful young woman that isn’t failing as hard as she actually is. Still, none of it can change her repulsion towards men and her self-hatred.

Hinako talking to her mom

Doughnuts under a Crescent Moon starts with Hinako’s breakdown in a lonely street, and her wish to love herself, and to find love. Asahi, her serious and capable co-worker, finds her crouched like that, and from there, they develop a friendship and maybe more.

Asahi on the left, Hinako on the right

There are only two volumes out but the story is ongoing and while it is a slow burn, it’s definitely worth jumping into the story now as Seven Seas has licensed it. Hinako’s journey to self-acceptance is heart-warming as much as it is heart-breaking. Hinako clearly struggles with society’s norms and can’t show her true self even to those she calls friends until she meets Asahi who helps her open up.

This Comic Yuri Hime manga also touches on the fear of loneliness women can feel as they age yet remain single, friendships that only go skin deep, and responsibilities women feel towards their family. It was nice to see how Hinako’s love for fashion wasn’t played for laughs nor made her seem vapid, and that even if she started using it to mask her true self, it became something she loves and finds comfort in.

Whilst many fell for the art in this manga, I gotta say it wasn’t particularly great. It’s decent, sure, but nothing that would convince me to read this. What would convince me, however, is how well Shio Usui articulates Hinako’s thoughts and how her fears and anxieties are tackled. It all felt very real, frank, and adult.

That isn’t to say that there is any explicit content. So far, it’s all been very… tame. Which has made me wonder what exactly Hinako has been struggling with. Though it is made clear that she’s not into men and only goes on dates with them to find one she’ll fall in love with and eventually marry for her mother’s sake, she also repetitively tries to find those heated feelings she’s heard about all her life when she looks at Asahi. And though she does want to be with Asahi, she feels none of those promised feelings.

I don’t know about you, but this makes me think of… something. She doesn’t seem to struggle with the fact that Asahi is a woman. Maybe the story will swing another way, but I highly doubt it. 

I would give this office drama slash romance a solid 8 out 10. Marks deducted because whilst Hinako and Asahi are well explored, the other characters – not so much.