Yuri Anime: Yuru Yuri Guest Review by C. Banana (English)

September 30th, 2011

One of the great joys for me as curator here at Okazu, is when our readers escalate into advocates and reviewers in their own right. It’s been my pleasure on multiple occasions to present to you reviews by readers who have decided to commit themselves to a higher level of engagement. Today’s Guest Review is especially wonderful, as it was written by long-time Okazu reader and commenter, C. Banana, someone whose views rarely match mine, but whose perspective I appreciate.  CB is writing about Yuru Yuri, a slice-of-life anime available legally and for free on Crunchyroll. As the first “Yuri” anime from Ichijinsha (publisher of Comic Yuri Hime magazine) this is a significant anime for Yuri fans. The story is a very understated “wacky adventures of four girls goofing off.”  As this was a series I myself did not enjoy, CB offered to step up and write a review for us.

Please welcome our newest Guest Reviewer with all the warmth I expect from the Okazu audience!

Ah, the Yuru Yuri anime series. By my own anecdotal evidence, this would seem to be the most polarizing series among Yuri fans. Considering that it seems to have beaten the polarization of Kannazuki no Miko, it’s quite an accomplishment. I seem to fit in between those who adore and those who despise the series as Yuru Yuri’s episodes for me, ranged between mediocre, alright, and pretty decent. I really didn’t have that strong a reaction to any of the episodes. The fanservice, while not something, I would seek out really didn’t bother me.

One good quality of Yuru Yuri is that while it is definitely in the moé slice-of-life comedy genre, it does mix it up enough to not feel like a rehash of others. In some episodes, it follows more of sitcom formula than a slice-of-life formula, and its wacky hijinks are played up more than in most other shows of the same ilk. Another thing is that some of the characters were allowed to have traits that escaped from moé templates. Also, while not as self-aware as their manga counterparts, the cast is certainly more self-aware than the characters of other moé series. Of course, for better or worse there’s also the fact that the Yuri fanservice is up a couple of notches compared to something like K-ON! or A-Channel.

The Yuri, as a whole in the series, is actually a notch higher than it was in the manga. More effort is put into the characters being portrayed as having genuine crushes rather than it being just some random Yuri gags. However, the sparse development in any of the relationships will definitely turn many Yuri fans off of the show. Himawari and Sakurako in particular would benefit from some character and relationship development rather than being stuck in their double tsundere gag.

Kyouko definitely steals the show for me. She got the most laughs with her suitably punchy and absurd theatrics. A lot of the time, you’ll be wondering why the other characters are friends with her since she’s really a big jerk (but admittedly that’s part of the joke). Kyouko’s character does underline the fact that the show places wacky hijinks as its highest priority. However, the humour taken overall can be a bit hit and miss. It’s not briskly paced enough to be a laugh riot and sometimes relies a bit too much on slapstick.

Overall, while the show has some good qualities going for it, it would need better comedic pacing and/or character development to get closer to being one of my favourite shows. The show definitely leaves itself open for having iterative seasons so if the show is reasonably successful, I’ll likely sign on to the next season to see if show builds on itself or stagnates. From my point of view, it could go either way.

Ratings:

Art – 6
Story – 7
Characters – 7
Yuri – 4
Service – 8

Overall – 7

Erica here. Thank you so much for the review of a series I wish I could like, but have never been able to. The superficiality of the comic doesn’t stand up to too much analysis, and any anime that included underwear gags in the first 10 minutes has already lost my attention. It is obvious that Ichijinsha is putting money and effort into promoting this series which both pleases and distresses me. I’m not seeing polarization in the fandom here, though. Mostly I’m seeing the same kind of ambiguous “it’s okay” that this review expresses. I’m in a minority (as always!) in feeling very negatively towards it.

Nonetheless, we should acknowledge that Crunchyroll did as decent a job as I’ve seen on the localization, and they have made it available as widely as they were allowed, so each of us can decide for ourselves what we think of it.

Once more, thank you to C. Banana and to all of our Okazu Guest Reviewers!

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7 Responses

  1. Felix says:

    Congratulations C. Banana on your first guest review.

    I have to say, while I agree it is lacking in the actual Yuri, overall I rather quite enjoyed this series. I really went into with the mindset that this was more of a slice of life school girl series then a Yuri one and was not disappointed. Actually in someways I am ok with the low level of actual Yuri because they are in middle school.

    I would really like to see more development in Himawari and Sakurako’s relationship, preferably when they were older.

    I really hope this series is successful. Not necessarily because I want more, which I do, but because hopefully it will give Ichijinsha the idea that it will pay off to have anime adaptions of their other Yuri Hime series, picking ones with progressively greater actual Yuri content. It also helps if they can separate the fan boys from their money and use that fund even better series.

  2. C. Banana says:

    @ Felix – Thank you for the kind words. I hope to see a second season too as the series was at least reasonably enjoyable.

    @ Erica – I actually agree with you far more than I let on. It’s just that I’m far more likely to comment to the blog when I disagree than when I agree. ;)

    As a note, I’m certain I’ve NEVER agreed with a reviewer more than with you when you did your Maria Holic review.

  3. Felix says:

    @ C. Banana: You’re welcome.

    I said this long before Yuru Yuri started, I would definitely buy the U.S. licensed version of this series, if to nothing else to support Ichijinsha to make more Yuri anime. Hell if the original Japanese release had English subs I would definitely consider buying that too.

    I am quite sure Maria Holic is the only series that ever really got the entire Yuri fandom (or at least 99%) to agree on something… It was horrible.

    @ Erica: One of the things I really do like about your blog is that you do have other people time to time writing on it. Specifically people, who do love Yuri as much as you do but not necessarily agree with you 100%.

  4. @Felix – You know – that’s what I like best about this blog too! I’m not kidding when I always say how pleased I am to provide Guest Reviews. It gives me a break, and provides a perspective that is different, but completely valid (since all opinions are valid. ^_^)

    @C. Banana – I still get hate mail from the Maria Holic reviews, can you believe it? The Yuri audience seems to have mostly agreed with me, but the others (I was tempted to call them “unbelievers”)…man they are some troubled, angry people.

    I really appreciate you taking this on. I’ve tried to like it, but it has failed in any way to appeal to me. So of course it’s a surprise hit, with very good chances of a second season. ^_^

  5. Ayra says:

    Nice review C. Banana!

    As for me, I fit under the “Not offended but not interested crowd”. I occasionally enjoy that kind of show (I found Hyakko to be absolutely hilarious after the first episode), but Yuru Yuri just didn’t catch my interest. I watched two episodes and I found myself mostly bored so I stopped there.

    I’ve never seen Maria Holic but after seeing the comments here I think I’ll keep it that way :)

  6. the_patches says:

    Interesting review. I was personally too turned off by the pseudo-rape of Akarin in episode five to continue a series that I would otherwise have enjoyed.

    Thanks for the insightful review.

  7. Thank you for a good review.

    I just wanted to add that, as I understand, some Western viewers (well, me, but I was not alone) found this series for the Saki Fujita voice. In other words, Vocaloid fandom spillover.

    I find the voice acting (not just Ayano, voiced by Saki Fujita) to be the best part of the show. It’s amazing to hear how they are playing it out really well – even when the script is contrived, the animation way too obviously “budget”, and the Yuri sometimes outright squicky because of the age factor.

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