The Direction of Yuri Anime

I’m concerned about the direction of yuri anime these days.

All of this is in regards to yuri anime, by the way. I’ll have to read more yuri manga to talk about the topic with any sort of certainty, and yuri visual novels are in a pretty good (albeit niche) place. Hopefully I can talk about those two particular topics later.

As for yuri anime — the general trend is for the more controversial and/or “dark” yuri titles to get anime adaptations. Last season we had Uchi no Maid ga Uzasugiru! and this season we have Watashi ni Tenshi ga Maiorita! and both are clearly comedic shows. Yet it doesn’t change the fact that these older onee-sans are definitely predatory and that some viewers simply can’t forget that and enjoy the series. Many of us yuri fans are able to overlook these creepy mannerisms in order to enjoy these shows since we don’t get too many yuri titles in general, but it breeds misunderstanding from those who aren’t very familiar with the genre to begin with.

But there are definitely serious yuri! It just so happens that a lot of more contemporary yuri titles seem fond of depicting dysfunctional relationships which also paint a less flattering picture of yuri. Yuri relationships can be normal, too, but you wouldn’t know it looking at Citrus or Netsuzou TRap or Kuzu no Honkai. Then again, maybe I’m the one who doesn’t know what’s a normal relationship considering the amount of lovers I’ve had during the past five years is well over double-digits, but I digress when the offerings consists of step-sisters, cheating childhood friends, and one-sided fuck buddies.

I mean, there’s basically no way to avoid taboo yuri couples. There are some out there, yeah, but you’re in for a hard time if you try to avoid any all stigma since yuri is thoroughly involved with it.

All hope isn’t lost, however. Even individuals who normally don’t get into yuri anime loved Yagate Kimi ni Naru. The OVA for Kasesan also received a lot of praise, as well. There are also more and more “Cute Girls Doing Cute Things” shows in which lesbian relationships are treated seriously (Slow Start and Anima Yell! come into mind).

It’s just hard to defend lolicon yuri to people who don’t get it, that’s all.

14 thoughts on “The Direction of Yuri Anime

  1. The issue in my mind is just that the yuri fandom is not very neutral. We kind of stack up on two sides for the most part. I’ll be the first to admit that dark yuri IS my niche, it’s what I like, and obviously I’m not alone in that, since the stuff getting adaptations must be getting it for a reason.

    BUT, on the flipside, you’ve got the “non-yuri” yuri titles which are also profitable, like Lucky Star, Kiniro Mosaic, or even the currently airing Endro~! (I’m just calling it now, if it surprises us all, then all the better). I don’t see very much vocalized interest in the middle-ground from the core fanbase.

    BiY and Kase-san got a lot of love outside the yuri fandom, which was heartwarming in its own way, but those were also just plain good. I’m glad they happened to be yuri, but BEING yuri wasn’t key to their success imo. That said, I think adaptations of better sources is in order moreso than less taboo (though I hear your point about explaining oneeloli lmao). I think Murcielago and Girlfriends, which are polar-opposites in terms of appropriate content, would still both be well-received by audiences inside and outside the fandom just because they’d make interesting adaptations.

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    1. This divide you speak about is super interesting. I guess it comes down to whether or not you like the “dark” / intense / morally questionable stuff. I had figured I was in the middle ground, but I liked / am liking UzaMaid and Wataten a bit too much.

      I also happen to have very different tastes when it comes to yuri visual novels. The more explicit and messed up and graphic, the better, in my opinion!

      BiY and Kase-san being good and yuri not having a part of it is interesting. Are you saying that they were great and they just happened to be yuri?

      I’ll have to look into Murcielago, but I mostly agree about Girlfriends! I think people who typically don’t dabble with yuri would probably like it!

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      1. It is interesting, if a little bit frustrating at times lol. I think it’s fine for everyone to just enjoy what they want to enjoy, but yuri has a particular quality to it that seems to make people hardcore gravitate one way or another. I don’t like to bring social politics into conversations on fiction, though I suspect in the West that may have a lot to do with it.

        I do think BiY and Kase-san were good without being yuri, though I’m still self-conscious enough to realize I probably wouldn’t have watched them had they not been yuri. But I certainly think that those shows as het romances would have been similarly received. I haven’t seen so many people who are not yuri fans gather around a yuri show since, oh, probably Utena. Citrus as well, but unfortunately that immediately got hit by this “non-consent” label, which struck me as really hypocritical given that’s not at all a yuri thing, it’s just an anime romance thing (and I don’t find it distasteful to begin with).

        Murcielago is basically a yuri crime drama with a lot of psychological seinen elements thrown in. It’d be a hit adaptation if they didn’t hold back any punches and had a good animating team.

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  2. I’ll disagree with you on Kuzu. *Every* relationship in it was dysfunctional. The anime was *about* entering and breaking free of toxic relationships. Making the yuri relationship shine would have made yuri exceptional rather than the norm.

    The problem is both the people who produce anime and the people who watch it. Neither you nor I nor bloggers, in general, are the norm and we do not make up the market nor do we make the anime. If Bloom is successful enough, we’ll see more.

    Double digits of lovers is nothing. That is normal for 5 years. I could say the same for myself over the 5 year period before I got married. Some of them were almost but not quite right. Settling too quickly is a mistake and for someone like me there really wasn’t a good way to make the decision without playing the field. That and there is nothing to be ashamed of about letting unbridled lust run away with you.

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    1. Fair points on Kuzu.

      Hmmm. I don’t think us bloggers are too different from the norm considering how Bloom seems to have universally high ratings. But yes, I see your point.

      Well, thank you for considering me to be normal. I’m deemed to be some sort of degenerate playboy for having that many flings, but it’s probably because of the people around me having conservative backgrounds, haha.

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  3. Even as someone who enjoys these “darker” Yuri titles, I’m a little concerned about the status of Yuri in the community and the misconceptions inexperienced viewers are starting to have about the genre as a result.

    I’ve just recently started to get into more “serious” Yuri, and seeing so many people generalise the genre as “problematic” as a result of the few problematic shows happening to be the only ones to get adapted is… Really unfortunate.

    We need more “normal” Yuri. We really, really do.

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  4. I think Yuri is becoming a little bit like Yaoi but in a different note. I mean, Yaoi troupes are still “worse” than Yuri. But, as you said, Bloom Into You was a great Anime where many people praised even without being inside the genre of Yuri… So, I think things are still not lost 😀

    Anime shows like UzaMaid will always exist though… Although smaller it is a profitable niche to be in 🙂

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  5. I was thinking about something similar last night when I was drafting up my review for Wataten ep2 and I even wondered if maybe Yuri anime in general needs a sort of reinvention. But then I realized the problem isn’t that there aren’t enough types of Yuri out there it’s just that not enough per season are being adapted rather than 1 or 2 we need 3 or 4 and that’d give the wider anime community a better representative sample of Yuri as a genre.

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  6. Every genre has its problem titles or titles that people are less fond of or more drawn to. The problem with Yuri and BL is that so few titles get adapted in the first place that some of the problematic ones end up unfairly representing the genre for the whole season and it does make it harder to discuss the range possible in a genre when it isn’t on display.

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