Traces of Yuri
In reading around the web, I often come across mentions of series in which there is supposed to be yuri of some kind or other, subtextual or not. About half the time I agree. Here’s a quick overview of two such series, one on either side of the fence:
This is a reasonably inoffensive anime adaptation of a hentai game into about three sisters and their maid who take a lot of baths, show their underwear a lot and play dress up. As you can see, I find it simply fascinating. If any of these the above, breasts and/or lolicon are your particular fetish, then its probably a good choice. Since none of them are mine*, and since I saw only a bare trace of yuri (the youngest sister liking “squishy” things, including her older sister’s breasts
does not, IMHO, count as yuri) then I’ll have to call this one a “not really.”
It just dawned on me that I called a breast/loli/bathing/panty-shot filled anime “inoffensive.” How jaded am I? ^_^;
The plot of Popotan is initially silly, but becomes serious – sisters Ai, Mai and Mii, and their maid, Meah, travel from place to place (and ultimately, we learn, through time itself) to look for someone or thing. To find this someone or thing, they talk to the “Popotan,” their cutesy word for dandelions. (The Japanese word for dandelions is tanpopo and “-tan” as an honorific is a silly name ending, with extra cutesiness. Think Amy-wamie, or Billy-willy.)
In the course of their travels, the sisters run into and become close to several people in different places, but leaving those people becomes increasingly difficult and emotionally draining for them. They move through time and learn that their friendships had far-reaching consequences; some positive, but other outcomes are horribly tragic. Eventually, when they meet the person they were lookig for (a kind of princess of the popotan) they are given a choice – do they wish to continue to travel, or split up and stay in one time and place? Both will mean separation from those they love.
I won’t give away the ending, because while this isn’t high art, it’s not the worst thing in the world to watch, either, if a little manipulative. :-)
Is there yuri? Well, if you squint, or ar desperate to find it, then you can easily make Mai’s friendship with Konami into a yuri relationship. It’s portrayed as shinyuu; – a very close friendship with bonds that last long after the girls part company. Between they way Mai and Konami connect so deeply, and a few moments of touching closeness (and close touching,) if you really wanted, you could see yuri there. I’m sure there’s a load of doujinshi out there somewhere with the two of them. On the whole, I think there are many series with more yuri than this one.
One last note: Beware – the opening music is horribly sticky. Once you get any of it in your head it won’t go away. It’s weeks later and I’m still singing it.
Ratings: Art – 7 out of 10; Character Designs – 8 out of 10, there’s something for everyone here. Story – 5 out of 10. It has moments, but that’s about it. Music – 5 out of 10. Yuri – 3 out of 10. Overall – 5 out of 10. Not bad for a H-game into anime, but not great, either.
As always, visit Yuricon, voted one of the Top 25 Anime-related sites on the web, for more shoujoai and yuri in anime and manga.