Three Common Taboos in Yuri

There are a few controversial themes somewhat frequently seen in yuri and said themes tend to complicate these relationships. Romance is already plenty messy enough on its own, but sometimes these extra elements are added to make the dynamics between characters even spicier.

Of course, some of these elements show up in yaoi or boy-meets-girl stories, too. But I’m only commenting from a yuri perspective~

Abusive / Yandere

I ended up lumping these two mannerisms together when one could argue they are distinct enough to warrant separate categories. Still, I think they are both somewhat similar since they effectively portray unhealthy relationships.

Abusive relationships go without saying. This includes mental abuse such as gaslighting, by the way. Yet somehow we’re supposed to hope the poor girl gets together with her abuser. Some do, whereas others can’t accept the other girl’s conduct. In the same vein, some might not even consider a particular relationship to be that abusive. This particular category is quite subject to subjective opinions~

Examples: Netsuzou TRap, citrus, Strawberry Panic!

Yanderes are sort of an extreme manifestation of clingy, possessive love. Your mileage may vary in regards to whether their radical behaviour is justified.

Examples: Happy Sugar Life, The Shadows of Pygmalion (visual novel)

Incest / Inseki

To some, incest is beautiful to see since it demonstrates that love conquers all obstacles (which is a disgustingly simplified exaggeration but this entire article is basically just generalizations, anyways). Others may be completely put off by incest. Romance between siblings or cousins is quite controversial, after all.

Examples: Sisterly Bliss (visual novel), Ne no Kami (visual novel), Love Ribbon (visual novel)

There’s also inseki, which means “sex involving in-law, step, or adopted family relatives.” Off-putting for some while others may consider this to be a cop-out. Sometimes characters, whom viewers were led to believe were blood-related, turns out to not be later in the story, so I’ll refrain from including examples here.

Age Gap

This can go multiple ways. Either one of the characters is much younger compared to a high school student or middle school student (which happens to be the child’s love interest) or the student is chasing after a teacher or similarly older individual.

I don’t think I need to elaborate on why these are controversial~

Examples: Yuzumori-san (manga), Kindred Spirits on the Roof (visual novel)


If you personally want my opinion, I’m okay with everything aside from the abuse. To me, fiction is just that and I trust myself to not confuse reality with fiction.

What are your thoughts on these yuri taboos?

Thank you for reading

13 thoughts on “Three Common Taboos in Yuri

  1. There’s also the currently airing “Uchi no Maid” for that age-gap goodness.

    Whoop, did I say goodness? Yes, well, actually I find the taboos to be more entertaining than otherwise ^^ As you say, fiction is fiction, and where the heck else can I enjoy some good-old-fashioned sisterly love in good conscience?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t help but laugh at the cover of the first volume in which there’s the younger girl is running away from this scary maid that’s smiling like a pervert. I need to check this one out, thanks!

      Mmmm I’m glad we agree on that!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Personally I don’t care. I don’t have any taboo subjects. Highly sexualized lolis bother me because I cannot help but wonder what culture produces people who want to see this.

    I’m not talking about a vaguely naked Sailor Moon transformation. There is nothing wrong there. The target audience is shoujo and preshoujo little girls. And, IMHO, even as an adult male I find nothing sexual about it.

    In the US animation in general is free to do whatever. There are social and commercial consequences to be paid.

    Incest and child rape are legal subject matter. Supreme Court has ruled that you can draw pictures of people doing things that would be absolutely illegal if you filmed real people doing it. Quite a big change from a couple decades ago. It is because of that the uncensored version of Boku no Pico won’t land you in jail.

    HOWEVER…

    Nobody in the *mainstream* media will show incest and underage sex – though they may imply it in order to create a victim for the good guys to chase. (Adult sex, even abusive and kinky stuff, seems perfectly OK as long as you stick to theatrical release and premium cable. Think “Fifty Shades of Grey”.) To just casually toss a whole cast of scantily clad lolis, like World Conquest Zvezda, into mainstream media would cause such a violent social reaction that the purveyor would be financially destroyed.

    Fortunately in the US anime largely flies under the radar – unless you are Shinkai or Myasaki. The SJWs and the fundamentalists would both have a screaming shitfit about Zvezda. But you will note that, even so, many anime are censored before importation to the US. It is a voluntary thing, driven by market considerations.

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    1. It might be the culture’s fault. It might not. I’m not knowledgeable enough to say either way.

      Fifty Shades of Grey wasn’t actually good at portraying kinky sex, but it sure was abusive.

      Like

  3. Interesting article here, and likewise, I’m okay with everything except abuse.

    Although I do find abuse interesting from a storytelling perspective, similar to a lot of the taboo stuff I find myself witnessing in a lot of fiction, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me feel uncomfortable or unsettled.

    I wasn’t aware that these taboos were so common in Yuri. I guess I should watch more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mmm makes sense. But the unsettled feeling isn’t enough to deter you, no? A series can make viewers uncomfortable and still be good!

      I think you’ve already dabbled with yuri inadvertently given your preferences!

      Like

  4. Good article. I’m a bit odd with this I think. Abuse is terrible. I’m fine with it being portrayed as such, but when we’re supposed to root for someone getting together with an abusive partner, that’s a big nope for me. I’ve sent what it does to people, and I simply can’t support it. As a side gaslighting is a term I only heard for the first time this year.
    Incest is again a no for me. It’s illegal in reality and puts me off in fiction. If shown in explicit scenes, the fiction could also fall under the illegal category in the UK too in some cases.
    Step-siblings I don’t go for either though it’s probably less problematic as a trope.
    Age gaps are up and down for me. I’ve been in a few age gap relationships myself. The key for me is if one character is under age then it’s terrible in my eyes. The student likes teacher trope is common, but in reality would be viewed as abuse if the teacher acted on it. Same as if one is under age, it’s abuse in reality. If both are adults and there’s no abuse of power then fine though.
    I should point out here that as much as I’m against a lot of the tropes, I don’t judge those who do like them in most cases. Tastes in fiction does not equal a propensity for terrible acts in reality in most cases. I just reserve my right to not watch/read something if I know I won’t enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely. Enjoying stories that feature things that I don’t like doesn’t necessarily mean you also do those things, so I try to be as fair as possible on them. Life is fae too short, so I’ll save my disdain for those that actually deserve it.

        Liked by 1 person

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