Archive for the Yuri Anime Category


Yuri Anime: Citrus (English) Guest Review by Yurimother

January 31st, 2018

Hello and welcome to Guest Review Wednesday on Okazu! It is my very sincere pleasure to offer both a brand new Okazu Guest Reviewer and a counterpoint review to my review yesterday. ^_^ I hope you’ll all give a warm Okazu welcome to our newest Guest Reviewer, Yurimother! 

Passione’s anime adaptation of Saburouta’s Citrus is finally out with three episodes having aired time of writing. Fans of the popular manga rejoice while outsiders are somewhat more skeptical. The first thing that a potential viewer needs to know about this Yuri anime is that the main characters, Yuzu and Mei, are stepsisters. Citrus is an incest story which is not for everyone.

The story’s lead, Yuzu Aihara, a fashionable and brash teen, transfers to a prestigious school when her mother remarries. There she quickly begins to clash with the stern student council president and granddaughter of the school’s chairman, Mei. Yuzu’s situation becomes more complicated with the revelation that Mei is her new stepsister. This development thrusts them into two different relationships with each other, an unwanted sisterly one, and a confused sexual one.

Saburouta set the bar extremely high in the manga’s art, and Passione delivered. The characters look amazing, backgrounds are gorgeous, and everything from the sky to bathwater has a fantastic polish that takes the art to the next level. I found myself skipping backward more than once to watch a sequence again and marvel at the animation. This artwork is all accompanied by an above-average musical score that adds an extra layer of emotion to many parts of the anime.

The high school setting is overused and rather dull at this point, however, Citrus manages to present an interesting plot. However, this accomplishment is despite the setting rather than because of it. The school environment is at least convenient for introducing characters, problems, and even some levity. An example of this is when the school’s rule against cell phones allowed the anime to execute one of the few breast jokes that I have ever truly found hilarious.

Citrus wastes no time getting straight to a dramatic story, in which the characters’ development is rapid and interesting. Just a few episodes in Yuzu already landed her school career, family, and relationship with Mei in hot water. The plot has kept me both engaged and excited. Without outside knowledge of the manga, I would have no idea what development would happen next, even if the results of the situations are somewhat predictable.

Early episodes of Citrus do not have many interesting or diverse characters. Everyone introduced so far can be categorized as either happy and outgoing (Yuzu, her friend Harumi, and her mother) or uptight and strict (Mei, the other student council members, and the school chairman). That is not to say that these characters cannot be enjoyable to watch, but I eagerly await their growth. While individual characters have seen little early development, their relationships have, specifically Yuzu and Mei’s. These two become more sisterly even as Yuzu’s affections for Mei blossom.

The most outspoken critics of Citrus point out that the sexual moments between Yuzu and Mei are not consensual. During their first kiss, Mei pins her stepsister to the ground and kisses her for an uncomfortably long time among groans of protests. While this is certainly off-putting to many viewers, it is not meant to be cute or sexy service. I propose that the scene is intended to be disconcerting. As readers of the manga will know, there is more to Mei than meets the eye. There are complexities to her character and her relationship with Yuzu that will likely unfold, explaining, although not excusing her actions. These hidden layers are hinted at in emotional fanservice scenes that usually end with one of the characters (and at least once me) in tears (although I tear up whenever I see animated homosexuality). Assuming Citrus plays its proverbial cards right, it will win over some of its skeptics. 

While it is by no means perfect if you stick with Citrus and overlook some of its faults you will find a dramatic and salacious Yuri.

Subtitled episodes of Citrus are simulcast on Crunchyroll.

Ratings: 

Art: 10
Story: 7
Characters: 4 (Although more time with the series will likely increase this)
Music – 7
Service – 8 (it may be uncomfortable at times but there is plenty of it)
Yuri – 9 (no Yuri Goggles needed here)

Overall: 8

Erica here;:Thank you so much for this review!  It was great to see this from a wholly different pair of eyes than my own.

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Yuri Anime: Citrus (English)

January 30th, 2018

This review is going to get a counterpoint review tomorrow, so if you disagree with this review or any of the points made here, please consider tuning in tomorrow for a Guest Review by Yurimother, with a different point of view! Today, however I felt it absolutely incumbent upon me to provide you with my view of the anime adaption of Sabuouta’s citrus manga. 

I sat down to watch Citrus anime, streaming on Crunchyroll, with my wife. She has never so much as looked at this series, so I felt confident that she would bring a fresh perspective with her, while I was going into watching this anime with already negative opinion of the series as a whole. ^_^;

The anime was moderately well-animated, which was nice. I wouldn’t have paroxysms of ecstasy over the animation or anything, but it looked good. 

As a modern version of the traditional dark-haired, emotionally intense classic Japanese beauty and the energetic lighter-haired girl (the same exact couple we’ve seen in many Yuri series throughout the last century,) neither Yuzu nor Mei are original character types nor particularly well-wrought examples of their types.  

Yuzu is not overtly clumsy or stupid, but she is presented as critically naive. Every school I have ever even considered applying to sends parents and students a metric ton of “Dos and Don’ts.’  While things have changed, I know for 100% sure from teacher friends that – here in the US, at least – schools communicate more with parents and students, not less. A student arriving at an elite school without the slightest clue of anything at all was irritating in 2007, when Aoi Nagisa did it. In 2017 it is simply, flatly, unbelievable. That said, Yuzu’s obliviousness naivete is an important component of this series.

When Yuzu gets to school, somehow wholly unaware that the school has rules (rules that are commonly deployed as plot complications in every single existent form of entertainment in Japan and could be guessed at, even if she was too lazy to read the documentation,) she is sexually assaulted for not knowing the rules. The search she undergoes has nothing at all to do with “looking for a phone.” No one keeps their phone tucked under or between their butt cheeks.

Mei’s behavior is not sensible…except that nonconsensual, passive-aggressive assaults are wholly consistent with a girl who has endured sexual abuse. Mei’s sexual assault of Yuzu continues, moving from groping to a deep kiss and later forceful undressing, without any of the steps that must come before such behavior – knowing the other person consents, primarily. You know, the the attraction and affection of two people who are looking to learn more about one another. The entirety of the relationship that we cherish in the Kase-san series is completely excised from citrus. The narrative refuses to admit sexual assault or anything Mei does as a consequence of it, and so, it throws the premise of the story into unacceptable implausibility. Even more implausible is the narrative’s assumption that I will somehow root for these two to become a couple. The only thing I am rooting for is for them to both seek therapy. 

Mei’s passive-aggression and sexual acting out works in this context because Yuzu is presented in the first few minutes as naive. She knows as much about sex as she does about the school rules. She is the kind of person who lies about her lack of experience rather than admit she has not had sex. Additionally, “having had sex with a boy” is left hanging as the benchmark for “sexually knowledgeable” as if they are one and the same thing. Let me assure you, they are not. Mei even uses this as a weapon against Yuzu. “Someone who has never kissed before can’t know anything.” Patently untrue, and it can only work if the audience as well as the characters believe that sexual experience is equivalent to knowledge is equalivalent to maturity. It is not. Neither is anything in this series indicative of “love” as Yuzu naively (and alarmingly) imagines.  

We also meet Yuzu’s mother, whose behavior is likewise implausible. This is when something dawned on me.

About the time we encountered Yuzu’s mother, I recoiled as I gasped, “Oh my god, they are playing this for comedy.” I watched, horrified, as the story demanded that I find a sexual assault amusing. Oh haha, look Yuzu was just sexually assaulted on her first day of school and she gets to live with that person! Hahah. How droll! As we’re dealing with #metoo and the repeated public flagellating of people for being brave enough to talk about their experiences with sexual assault, this is so far beyond insensitive, I am gobsmacked by it. Days after watching, I am still horrified that I was supposed to find it appealing in any way. (Update: I have just watched all I can manage of the third episode and this trend continues. We are repeatedly expected to find sexual assault acceptable, justifiable, romantic and, in some cases, comedic.) 

We made it through the first two episodes and then my wife and I debriefed. I offered her the chance to write part of this review. This is what she said. “I felt triggered by it.” Those of you who know my wife will understand that this may be the very first time in her life she has ever uttered this sentence. I have never heard her speak it in 34 years. She agreed with me that the assault was being played as comedy.

Along with the creepy fanservice added in many scenes, citrus anime was, in a word, grotesque.

Ratings:

Art – 7
Story – #metoo
Character – No. Absolutely not. This is not how healthy people behave, speak or deal with things.
Service – Infinity
Yuri – 100% Sexual Assault until Yuzu and we are groomed to believe it’s okay. It is not okay, not ever.

Overall – 1

Feel free to comment, but under no circumstances should you feel free to justify using sexual assault as a replacement for sexual attraction as a plot complication in this anime, or in life. I will not allow those comments.

For those of you who disagree, come back tomorrow for a completely different point of view!

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Top Ten Yuri Anime of 2017

December 29th, 2017

Anime’s always harder than manga for me, because despite the premise that “only guys buy anime” being disproved over and over again, the prevailing belief among producers is that only guys buy anime. Sigh. Despite that, 2017 wasn’t a bad year for Yuri anime, although I had to fiddle a bit to get us up to 10.  I won’t apologize. ^_^ Most of these series are streaming, and several of them are also on the Yuricon Store!

 

10. The anime you think should be on this list, but isn’t. 

I might even have just forgotten it – it was a crazy year. 

Comments are open for your suggestions for this slot. I know I never put the one you think ought to be here on this list, so go ahead and let me know why I should have included that one!  

 

9. Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

I might not have put this on the list but for an extraordinary and passionate retelling of the main themes of this series at the Yuri Court game at Yurithon in Montreal last summer. The story, which I had seen as an unfunny waste of potential was recast as a triumphant search for family and intimacy. It was so good a recitation, the judges and audience were moved to applause. 

This is an excellent example of why I want other people’s opinions on Okazu. Without this fan, I would have never thought twice about this series, but as I put together this list, I was reminded that people who are not me saw something special here. And that’s good enough for Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid to make #9 on the list. Streaming on Crunchyroll.

 

 

8. Girls Last Tour

I am putting this here for Bruce. It’s a post-apocalyptic story that makes little sense, but has moe art, and two girls traveling together in a winter landscape with little food, and nothing much to look forward to. And yet, he loved it. 

He loved the armaments and military vehicles and he wrote a paean to the manga for a panel he never made it to last summer. So, as a tribute to Bruce, Girl’s Last Tour is #8. 

Streaming on Amazon Anime Strike and the manga is available in English from Yen Press.

 

 

7. NTR 

You know how I feel about this series. I don’t know how well it is doing, I don’t care. I know some folks like it and that’s good enough to get a mention here.

You can certainly look at the series as a glimpse into abusive relationships. You can look at it as just another way to glorify a fetish and, of course, you can see it as two girls struggling to find legitimacy for their relationship in a world that doesn’t accept them. 

However you enjoy it (or not),  I cannot pretend it is anything other than an anime designed to appeal to some portion of Yuri fandom.

Streaming on Crunchyroll and the manga is available in English from Seven Seas. 

 

 

6. Steven Universe

There is no way a series so deeply, lovingly inspired by Revolutionary Girl Utena, and filled with a smörgåsbord of queerness, could not be on this list.

I am waiting on pins and needles for Lapis and Peridot to fuse. I really am. I literally sit around thinking about what gem they’ll become, because this is just such a great cartoon for people who love being fans of great cartoons. ^_^

A cartoon made for fans, by fans so we can all be big ole queer fans together on TV is something we should absolutely be celebrating!

Streaming on Amazon Video.

 

 

5. Mikagura School Suite

We’ve had a few evangelists of this series here on Okazu and I think it’s worth a look, at any rate. The lead character is openly desirous of other girls and makes no apologies. That’s got to be worth *something,* right? I certainly think so. 

At this point, we can allow ourselves series that do nothing but run around and scream, surely? We’ve worked so hard and to legitimize this genre, it’s perfectly okay to just kick back and watch some nonsense with a lesbian in it. ^_^

Streaming on Crunchyroll and the light novels are available in English from One Peace Books. 

 

 

4. Sailor Moon S

Yes. Again. Because years pass and Haruka and Michiru are STILL the best Yuri characters ever and they will never not be welcome. Next year Sailor Moon turns 25 years old and I’m still loving that they make an elegant and mature couple in the eyes of the Inner Senshi and that they care more about dying together than saving the world. I will never get enough of them.

I can’t wait for Stars, not because of the Starlights, who I don’t actually like all that much (sorry not sorry folks!) but because of the much more overt coupley-ness of Haruka and Michiru. Because it’s all about them for me. 

Streaming on Hulu, and available on DVD/Blu-ray from Viz. Part 1 | Part 2

 

 

***

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3. Sailor Moon Crystal

How much was I waiting with bated breath for that moment when Michiru turns in Haruka’s arm and cups her cheek, animated? #3 much. Haruka and Michiru are and forever will be the Queens of Yuri.

Despite a rough start to the animation, Season 3 of Sailor Moon Crystal was pretty much everything I hoped it would be. The new voice actresses are excellent. Haruka and Michiru’s end musical theme was perfect.

This is the anime that Takeuchi Naoko-sensei wanted when she drew her manga. And, finally both she and we can see her vision realized.  And it was good.

Streaming on Crunchyroll and available on Blu-Ray from Viz Media.

 

 

 

2. Konohana Kitan

Good heavens, really? Yes, really.  I can’t hate it. Don’t think I didn’t try. ^_^ Konohana Kitan has occasional lapses into really gross fanservice, and aside from those moments is still pretty servicey, but despite that, it’s kind of a cute little fetishy Yuri series. 

The characters are likeable, the set-up is designed for scenery porn and the sensibility is olde tyme Japanese folklore, which will always hook me like a guppy.

So, yeah, I’ll never have the girl-with-animal-ear fetish like some folks, but despite that, and despite myself, I enjoyed Konohana Kitan

Streaming on Crunchyroll.

 

 

 

The best Yuri anime this year was…a 6-minute animation clip that changed the world.

 

1. Asagao to Kase-san (あさがおと加瀬さん。)

I’m starting to think of this series as the “little series that could.” It began life as 3 volumes of a serialized manga in a quarterly magazine that ended after 3 years, then made it’s way to the online version of that magazine, then several online manga outlets until there was just enough content for a fourth volume…and then, suddenly, it burst into flame.

A social media campaign convinced folks that there was enough interest for an animation clip…and interest in the animation clip on Youtube convinced the same folks that there’d be interest in a OVA which is headed for theatrical release next summer in Japan…AND this week, the manga continues in Wings magazine.  

The world is ready for Kase-san and Yamada, and a lovely, realistic Yuri romance. In Asagao to Kase-san, that’s exactly what we get.

Here’s to Yamada and Kase-san and the Top Yuri Anime of 2017!

 

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Yuri Anime: Asagao to Kase-san OVA Release Date and Main Cast Announced

December 7th, 2017

The Asagao to Kase-san official Twitter account had a major announcement today – Asagao to Kase-san OVA has a release date and main cast!

Yamada Yui will be played by Takahashi Minami, who has had roles in Aikatsu! and Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid.

Kase Tomoka will be played by Sakura Ayane, who has had roles in Psycho-Pass, and Land of the Lustrous.

The OVA will be getting a theater release on June 9, 2017 at the Humax theater in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. Advanced ticket purchases will come with a special clear file and commemorative ticket.

 

 

Here is the promotional video of the new OVA on Youtube. I remind you that the team for the OVA is bilingual, so please take a moment to like the video, and comment!

 

 

Based upon Takahashi Hiromi’s manga from the defunct quarterly Pure Yuri Anthology Hirari, the series has a popular 6-minute music video,  Kimi no Hikari on Youtube, which has gained almost 300,000 views.

The Asagao to Kase-san manga is sold by Seven seas in English as Kase-san and Morning Glories.

 

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Yuri Anime: Konohana Kitan (English)

December 3rd, 2017

As I sat down to watch Konohana Kitan, I thought back on my experience with the manga, which was to mostly ignore it when it was running as Konohana-tei Kitan in Yuri Hime S magazine. Animal ears are not my thing; I just never bothered to follow it.. I’m familiar with Amano Sakuya’s work though, and I was ready to not very much like the anime. To my surprise I did not hate it. ^_^

The story follows the adventures of a kitsune-girl named Yuzu, as she apprentices at an inn in the world of supernatural beings. Streaming on Crunchyroll,  the anime is based on the manga that now runs in Gentosha’s Comic Birz, which is a good fit for the series. Birz tends to have a fair smattering of supernatural stories and a heavy dollop of fanservice. Konohana Kitan fits both these criteria easily, and adds a slightly schmaltzy overall tone of joyful appreciation of life and emotionally engaging/manipulative narrative,  as well as lovely scenes of Shinto ritual and religion.  A little like Natsume’s Yujin-cho with fox girls breasting boobily and occasionally saying and doing things with overt sexual tones for basically no reason (in a way that no one ever would.)

The schmaltziness increases as the series goes on and, since this is slice-of-not-human life, there’s a splash of tsukumogami, youkai, gods, and other random things that populate Japanese myth and folklore. I’m basically watching the series for these and doing something else during the frequent and extended bathing scenes. Honestly, my favorite scene so far was when we saw Izanami and Izanagi drawing Onogorishima from the primal waters.

The Yuri in the series is exactly what one might expect under these circumstances – it’s there, it’s servicey. Yuzu is sharing a room with Satsuki, a moody and irritable sempai at the inn. They are instantly a couple, as Yuzu’s ineffable upbeat attitude quickly wears away Satsuki’s cynicism. Ren is another passive-aggressive character, paired with boyish Natsumi who is the most openly honest of the vixens at the inn. She and Ren are already a couple when we meet them and they share the few kisses in the series as of yet.

Would I recommend this anime?  If you actively enjoy fanservice, yes. If not, then yes, with reservation. I don’t dislike it, although I do resent being manipulated by it and still find the service tiresome. Otherwise it is mostly cute and sappy and Yuri.

Ratings:

Art – 8 Lush backgrounds, detailed textiles, beautifully rendered floorboards, generic faces.
Story – 7 Sometimes sweet, occasionally creepy (both intentionally and just because some service is downright creepy,) mostly sentimental.
Characters – 6 Most of them would be intolerable in any real life situation
Service – 8

Overall – 7

You might be put off by the oversentimental tone, or the service, but if neither of those bother you much, you’ll probably enjoy Konohana Kitan.

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