5 Decent Yuri Anime

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I’ve been meaning to write an article like this for a while now – not because I like yuri more than any other genre of anime, but because it’s such a niche genre in comparison to most others. Sure, you can find yuri pairings in any number of pornographic works, but anime that depict lesbian relationships in more genuine, realistic terms are actually incredibly few and far between. [As an aside, I think this has in large part to do with the general fanbase; when not overtly or explicitly sexual, yuri is a genre that’s often targeted towards women, not men – yet there are far more yaoi fans among women than yuri fans, and so the amount of anime being produced to cater to them are similarly low. Of course, this is not to say that there aren’t any men who also enjoy watching yuri anime, but this can actually become more of a problem in the long run, since it’s further complicating an already very fractured audience.] Having now watched a fair few yuri titles, many of which I will never, ever be watching again, I decided it might be a good idea to celebrate those that managed to stand out due to their intelligence, innovation, or sincerity – especially if, like me a few years ago, you have a curiosity in the genre but have absolutely no idea where to start.

A quick clarification: by yuri anime, I’m talking about titles in which there’s at least one canon, romantic female/female pairing in the series, and am only counting those where said pairing is a/the main couple of the show. For these reasons, I’m not including anime such as Sailor Moon, Loveless, or Read or Die.

Now that that’s cleared up, on with the list! These are in no particular order.

Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl

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I tend not to like either science-fiction or love triangles (the latter especially because they so often come across as clichéd or ridiculously melodramatic), but Kashimashi does both and still makes me like it. Granted, it’s not on my top 20 list and while production qualities are above average, there’s nothing that particularly stood out to me in terms of artwork or animation. Having said that, this is a good example what yuri anime can be like when mixed with romantic comedy and actually done well. The sci-fi aspects bring something fun and a bit unique to the table, but apart from setting off the chain of events they don’t play a major role in the story, which definitely works for me. I don’t know that Kashimashi really ever manages to get away from some of the stereotypical characters we’re used to seeing in yuri anime – the princely tomboy, the ultra-shy sweet one, etc. – but what it does do is weave quite a touching series that largely steers away from generic fanservice and cheap gags, instead focusing on a sympathetic cast of girls, down-to-earth romance, and some genuinely amusing comedy.

Maria-sama ga Miteru

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Maria-sama is what happens when you cram a bunch of very proper, well-bred young ladies together at an all-girls Catholic high school… without actually aiming the anime at men. Usually this synopsis alone would look to be a recipe for slow-motion pillow fights and more panty shots than you could shake a stick at (and that’s the least offensive scenario), but since Maria-sama is a classic yuri series, and one that firmly adheres to the Class S genre to boot, it’s very much a character-driven series with absolutely nothing in the way of fanservice. What we have instead is a sometimes intense but mostly slow-moving, largely plotless show that revolves around emotional rather than physical relationships. On the one hand, this means that anyone looking for something a bit racier or even any kind of overarching narrative will almost instantly fall asleep, because looking at it from these angles, Maria-sama really is nothing more than a dialogue-heavy snooze-fest. On the other hand, we’re also talking about a show whose emphasis is on romance as opposed to sexuality, which many yuri fans will no doubt find extremely gratifying. The series can certainly be over-dramatic at times, but it’s also one that is beautiful, graceful, and really quite sweet, with some nice artwork and a few surprisingly mature storylines.

Revolutionary Girl Utena

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I feel odd about listing this here, because despite its numerous merits, I really don’t like this series – for the most part I find it dull, repetitive, and often just plain silly. That said, I have an enormous amount of respect for the show, and its significance as far as the yuri genre goes cannot be underestimated. I would never in a million years recommend this series to anyone unfamiliar with anime, because a huge part of its goal is to play on and subvert a number of tropes seen in shoujo manga. It also borrows heavily from the types of visuals that those with some knowledge of the Takarazuka Revue will recognise, but will probably be lost on everyone else. Utena is essentially a postmodernist fairy tale present wrapped in distorted magical-girl tropes and topped off with a ribbon made of pure what-the-fuckery – it’s part surrealist fantasy, part psychological drama, with a healthy dash of allegory amidst plenty of the most compelling (or most terrifying, depending on your point of view) that shoujo has to offer: abuse, rape, yaoi, yuri, incest, and gender play. If you like Ikeda Riyoko’s The Rose of Versailles or Oniisama e, fairy tales with dark twists, the weirder parts of Sailor Moon, or Mawaru Penguindrum, then there’s a high probability of you really digging Revolutionary Girl Utena. Utena’s relationship with Anthy is one of the most complex and expertly woven anime romances I’ve ever seen, while the relationship between Juri and Shiori makes for another very intriguing affair.

Mnemosyne

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This series is a bit different from many anime out there, and a lot different from many yuri anime in particular. While only six episodes in length, each of them are 45 minutes long rather than the standard 20 to 25 minutes – they feel more like miniature movies more than episodes really, and I think this tends to work in the show’s favour since there’s quite a bit going on with regards to plot. With an interesting mix of action, mystery, science-fiction, the supernatural, and even elements of horror, my first thought was that Mnemosyne would have too much going on to tell an effective story. Surprisingly, it’s actually a very well-paced narrative that also manages to be boldly intelligent as well as undeniably provocative, dishing out plenty of fanservice right alongside its often very grotesque, squirm-worthy visuals. I find the relationship between Rin and Mimi, as well as some of the relationships that Rin and Mimi are involved with outside of the detective agency, to be especially engaging – even more so when their immortality comes into play. I certainly wouldn’t recommend this series for the faint of heart, and it’s fairly obvious which demographic the show is targeting, but that doesn’t mean women shouldn’t also be able to enjoy it. The series is original and creative in terms of plot as well as its approach to storytelling, and a much welcome breath of fresh air compared to some of the more mainstream yuri anime material around.

Aoi Hana

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This show is in many ways the polar opposite of Mnemosyne – both are great anime, but where Mnemosyne is in-your-face and often quite graphic with its themes and visuals, Aoi Hana is soft and sensitive and oh so sweet. A slice-of-life drama with some lovely artwork, this series features some of the most realistic portrayals of female/female romance that I’ve seen in any anime title to date. If you’re familiar with Hourou Musuko (Wandering Son), an anime I reviewed a while ago here on Otaku Lounge, then you’ll have a good idea of the kind of style I’m talking about. Although the story is simple enough and definitely won’t be keeping any action fans entertained, Aoi Hana is probably the best yuri-specific anime I’ve had the pleasure of watching thanks to how respectfully and intelligently the genre is explored. One of the things I really love about Shimura Takako’s work here is that unlike so many other yuri stories, she doesn’t shy away from also depicting males in her cast that are more than just token characters. Neither does she treat men as some kind of cruel or inferior breed – as befitting an anime that is first and foremost a yuri series, all of the main characters are young women, but I don’t get the feeling that the male sex is being excluded simply because it’s a story revolving around lesbian relationships. I also applaud the way in which the characters, complex as they are, interact with one another naturally; the relationships don’t feel forced, and the story very wisely steers away from both comedy and melodrama, instead choosing to focus on the sincerity of the narrative. To me, that’s what makes Aoi Hana truly shine.

Question of the post: What’s the best and/or worst yuri anime you’ve ever watched? Do you think yuri anime is gradually becoming more popular, or is it slowly fading into the background?

Note: If there are enough people interested, I’ll also write a post on some titles that I consider to be good quality yaoi anime. If that’s not something that readers are interested in however, I’ll give it a miss.

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34 thoughts on “5 Decent Yuri Anime

  1. Kashimashi, for me, suffers from a problem many romantic shows have, neatly summed up as “Just kiss the girl already!” I spent much of the series with gritted teeth wanting them to do just that. I missed Maria-Sama but it’s on my long list of shows to watch. On the other hand I grew tired of Aoi Hana pretty quickly, possibly because of the lack of action, so maybe I shouldn’t bother.

    What did you think of Sasameki Koto? It’s as much a parody of yuri as a straight yuri show, but the humor worked for me, especially when what I call the “Chaste Women’s Chorus” starts singing ironically in the background. Maybe I need some laughs in my yuri …

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    • I definitely agree that the whole “just kiss already!” is a major annoyance in a lot of romance anime. It probably would have gotten to me more if Kashimashi had been longer, but at 12 episodes, I found I didn’t mind quite as much.

      If the lack of action is the main reason for your dislike/ambivalence with Aoi Hana, I absolutely wouldn’t recommend Maria-sama. The series is practically the very definition of lack of action.

      Actually, Sasameki Koto is one of the yuri shows I haven’t yet seen. Like you, my to-watch list isn’t anything to sneeze at, but I’m sure I’ll get there eventually.

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  2. Not into yuri, as the pertinent relationships don’t interest me, but I wanted to say that your writing skill is truly excellent. =D Maria-sama, if not for the genre, sounds like something I’d really, really enjoy, as I lean heavily toward the storytelling side of “romance” plots whenever they come up in something I’m watching or reading. I’ve seen too many poorly done or abusive romances (I’ve read all of the Twilight novels and all of the available Song of Ice and Fire novels, so I know what dumb, selfish, or thin romance looks like) to immediately recall.

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    • Thank you! It’s always lovely to know that a few people enjoy what I put out there. 🙂
      Oh god yes, I’ve certainly seen my fair share of awful romances too. The worst of it isn’t even that Twilight actually exists and is popular – it’s that a lot of people honestly believe that such a story is sweet and romantic in the first place.

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      • You are very welcome!

        Oh my gosh. Twilight: A boy micromanages a girl’s time and friends in the name of her safety and only just so happens to be “right” about how much danger she’s in. A Song of Ice and Fire: A woman is forced into sex (she even tries to physically resist with a dagger, if I recall), and then she goes and sleeps with the guy again, by choice, maybe two pages later. And the closest thing to an actual “romance” in all five books that was actually given very much plot time, seems very similar to the sort of I-love-you-I-hate-you nonsense I got tired of in Spider-Man 3. Oh, and it’s incestuous.

        I tell you what, between all the politicization of “marriage” I’ve seen on one side (I’m starting to wonder if some people see it as anything more than an excuse for legal/financial benefits, as if that’s all that’s important about it), and between all the poor romantic writing I’ve seen on another side, I’ve … kinda been aggravated in this area of life lately.

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    • Which parts do you mean by A Song Of Ice And Fire romance. I can’t remember off the top of my head anything that I would classify as romance. Lots of lust though 🙂

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      • Pretty much that, honestly. I got extremely tired of all the self-centered behavior and attitudes. One, the “romantic” manipulation felt like Twilight all over again, this time with politics and explicit rape, and two, the Song of Ice and Fire story universe, which seemed to be about tossing away standard fantasy ideas, seemed to get caught up in its own, such as (indeed) people being lustful and selfish instead of having a variety of romantic approaches.

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  3. Mnemosyne was really the only anime I’ve seen with a decent yuri component in it. I mean, like Shinsekai Yori had a tiny bit but i wouldn’t count that. I enjoyed Mnemosyne a lot, though probably more through other aspects of it than the yuri in particular. I don’t think I’d watch a yuri anime just because it’s yuri though. For me, I’m quite happy with romance in my anime, but usually I like it to be combined with another genre.

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  4. Some of these I haven’t seen, some I’m intimately familiar with; I’m glad to see there’s more to explore and some of the usual suspects didn’t make this list.

    I’m unfamiliar with Kashimashi, but I’ve never watched a yuri with a love triangle. I may make time to watch this series in the future.

    Maria-sama, I find this show utterly impenetrable. It reminds me of Honey & Clover in that it’s one of those rare popular series among anime fans that I just can’t seem to like no matter how hard I try. It’s likely the combination of extremely slow narrative, soothing to the point of inducing sleep tone and atmosphere, and complete lack of sexuality that makes it Kryptonite for a perv like me.

    Revolutionary Girl Utena is one of my favorite shows of all time! It’s for me, one of the rare shows that actually managed to do what so many anime in the mid to late 90s failed to do, which is do what Eva did. It managed to subvert an entire genre of anime, while being a huge influence on that genre moving forward.

    My fanboy gushing aside, I never really thought of it as yuri anime, probably because the show just had so much going on. That said, the yuri romances in this show are really unique and interesting to watch.

    Mnemosyne always struck me as too weird and obtuse to even try. And I’m not even considering the yuri aspect when saying that.

    I’m quite familiar with Aoi Hana, I have a couple of friends who adore the manga with all their hearts. I only found the anime to be average, but I did find it more interesting and entertaining than Maria-sama. And I did find myself emotionally invested in the relationships by the end.

    My fave yuri anime is likely Sasameki Koto. I found the anime really funny to my surprise, and it managed to have some really tender parts as well. I will admit that the fact that it was a tad more “touchy feely” and sexual than some of the other shows helped as well. Every season I hope to hear of the show’s return to animation.

    As for the yaoi post, I say go ahead with it. I’ve always strove for diversity in my anime list ever since I wrote one down, and yaoi is clearly my weakest genre, even more so than josei and harem anime. I’ve been trying to find some quality/not creepy yaoi anime for awhile.

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    • Hmm… come to think of it, the only other specifically yuri anime involving a love triangle that I can think of off the top of my head is Stawberry Panic – which I really didn’t like at all.

      Maria-sama is possibly the series with the least action (of any kind) I’ve seen – ever. But I think that’s probably one of the reasons it’s become so popular among yuri fans, since it presents a lesbian romance without the least bit of fanservice whatsoever. It’s like the ultimate in pure romance.

      You’re definitely right about there being a ton going on in Utena. Primarily I suppose I think of it as a psychological drama, but yuri still comes across as one of its core elements, albeit not in a typical way. While I have and probably never will particularly enjoy it, I have a lot of respect for the series.

      Yup, I’d say that in a lot of ways, Mnemosyne is indeed weird and obtuse. But somehow it all just seems to work pretty well. Regardless of the yuri elements, I think it’s one of the more underrated anime out there.

      I haven’t read the Aoi Hana manga (I don’t really read manga as such), but it wouldn’t surprise me to find that it’s better than the anime. Nonetheless, I think Aoi Hana is still one of the best (if not the best) specifically yuri series I’ve seen to date. That said, I haven’t yet watched Sasameki Koto, although you’re not the first person to say it’s worth a go to me.

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  5. Let me second or third Sasameki Koto. It’s an upfront yuri romcom that works hard to play against a lot of anime tropes (the beach episode fails to get to the beach, the crossdressing boy doesn’t like it, etc). The music is excellent — simple, but widely varied. Unfortunately, it looks like it’s been dropped from Crunchyroll.

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    • Looks like I’m bumping Sasameki Koto further up on my to-watch list. 😉 No matter about Crunchyroll – I rarely watch my anime on there anyway, so I’ll find it somewhere else.

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  7. Well I guess I’m late to the discussion and late to anime/manga and Yuri in general but .. wow “the feels”…
    Sasameki Koto I’d put well up the list, however I almost cried *again* when I realised where they stopped in comparison to the Manga and how long ago that happened. It had some heart rending scenes but i felt it was let down by the musical scoring for the anime which left something of an emotional vacuum.
    Kashimashi on the otherhand had some beautiful and emotive scoring which underscored some powerful scenes (even if a bit angsty at times) and had me in tears during quite a few episodes. I really hated the aliens though .. I guess my tolerance for sci-fi is just low (he reminded me of The Great Gazoo from the Flinstones ……..) .

    About to start Aoi Hana and Maria-Sama Ga Miteru … crossing the proverbial fingers.

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    • I should really get around to watching Sasameki Koto at some point – it looks like it could be quite fun.

      Aoi Hana and Maria-sama are two of the most respectful yuri anime I’ve ever seen. They’ll probably be too dull and non-eventful for some, but they both came across as incredibly genuine and heartfelt to me – particularly Aoi Hana, which I’d still probably say is the best yuri anime I’ve seen to date.

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      • Only 5 episodes into Aoi Hana so far but WOW … it’s just beautiful. Being totally new to the genre (both anime/manga and yuri) Is there a name given to the difference I’ve seen so far where some anime becomes surrealistic in it’s presentation (over the top stylised reactions and little tiny characters) as opposed to a very naturalistic style (ie; what I’ve seen so far of Aoi Hana) ?

        Also, again. WOW. A very realistic sense of emotion and beautiful music as well.

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        • Yeah, I’ve yet to see a yuri anime that’s more realistic in story and tone than Aoi Hana. The artwork is lovely too.

          The term usually given to characters when they’re drawn as tiny and ultra-cartoonish is chibi and/or super-deformed. I’m not sure if that’s exactly what you mean, but both terms have their own articles on Wikipedia if you’d like to look into it further. 🙂

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  8. Aghhhhh. That ending!!! I don’t know whether to cry happy or cry sad or cry frustrated!

    Also thanks for the info .. looked it up and think I have a bit of a better idea now 🙂 I just adore the artwork in Aoi Hana.

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  10. Hi. Firstly, let me just say that I enjoyed your writing style a lot. It was the reason why I continued on reading, somehow, it dragged me along before I realized what and I found myself already finished with everything. Secondly, in your list here, you got the decency element down. I actually watched Maria-sama, and it was a toll. I spent my time just saying “Oh please! End already!”. I was really frustrated with how ‘proper’ they all were. Even when they were pissed (which hardly even happened), they were ‘too damn proper!’ and due to that, my vein popped a lot. However, since I’m a stubborn person, and I don’t like not watching an anime I spent hours downloading, I continued on to the second season… and finished it. I still have the third and fourth seasons and I’m afraid of them already. T_T”

    Revolutionary Girl Utena. The sole reason I watched this disastrous anime was because of a picture I saw, it had Utena with short hair and Anthy kissing. I watched it all to the very end and put up through the idiocy of everything -though I did enjoy the part about her prince, yet not the sex, very much- and when I reached the final episode, I was shocked that the picture was from the movie.=_=’ At that time, all I could do was laugh at my own stupidity of not checking before I began that… thing. And just on a side note, can you please tell me what the hell happened to her prince and Anthy? Were they in another universe? and dear God, what’s the deal with girls being princesses?! When they were explaining that, it felt like the only thing they provided was additional confusion for me. Out of sheer spite, I deleted the whole series.

    Sorry for ranting, but it’s been a while since I came across a blog that made me feel like I want to rant. ^_^ + Aoi Hana, that anime I haven’t watched it yet, but if you say it’s good then Ill give it a chance.

    To answer your questions, the worst would probably be Blue Drop. That anime just wasn’t entertaining. It felt like everything was crammed to me and the girls were too immersed in their roles. for example, the hotblooded girl was too hotblooded, the tomboy was too tomboy and the manly was just… awful. At the beginning, I thought I’d enjoy myself -even thought I’m not into Sci-Fi -, however it proved to be a bust. Next time, I won’t be watching Yuri Sci-Fi’s with a lot of hope. >_<

    The best anime, hmm there was this one, I forgot it's name by now, but I really enjoyed it. Its ending was left open but it was really wonderful to me. You'd probably be familiar with it, it's about a girl who loves her best friend, but her best friend is always falling in love with the wrong girl. They come across two female couple kissing and become friends with them, and I do recall that her friend was in love with the girl responsible for the library or something. Anyways, it was a good watch. So I'll put it down.

    About Yuri anime being popular or not, well, I wouldn't really know. I'm a girl, a hetero one at that, but I enjoy Yaoi and Yuri anime more than the normal anime. Maybe because the first anime I'd ever watched was Yaoi but I find attraction between the same sex thrilling. Yet, amongst my friends, let's say out of ten of them, there's zero who enjoys Yuri or Yaoi. Maybe that means it's not spreading real quick in my country or something. lol

    Anyways, thank you for reading so far and wonderful blog. excuse my excessive ranting, thank you! ^_^

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    • Thank you so much for your detailed comment! I’m really glad you found this article worth while, and of course, it’s always wonderful to have people come along who find my posts engaging enough to comment on. 🙂

      I feel a bit the same way about Maria-sama as you, as you can probably tell from my article. I confess that I didn’t make it through every single season and almost certainly never will, despite my respect for the franchise. I did manage to finish the first couple though.

      Ahh, Utena. It’s a really classic series, and I have the utmost respect for it in terms of its cultural significance, as well as because of it’s rich symbolism and how it deals so interestingly with its many themes and ideas. I can see why so many people love it, and why it’s seen as such a powerful anime. However, it’s also really not my cup of tea. Too silly, too melodramatic, and too repetitive for my tastes – though I did finish the entire thing, so clearly it can’t have been too painful.

      As for Blue Drop, I haven’t seen it yet, and I can’t say that it’s near the top of my priority list. Still, I may get around to it at some point just to see what I think of it.

      Again, thanks for reading and commenting. Always great to swap opinions with another yaoi/yuri fangirl.

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  12. I’m going to put “RIN: Daughters of Mnemosyne” in as one of my favorite all-time anime, not just Yuri. I know you have seen many, many more series than I have. I liked that it was a short series, and had an ending. My major complained about many series is that they drag it out over two seasons and never come to a satisfying ending.

    I wish I had better access to these others on your list. Why did I major in something stupid. Why didn’t I become a Japanese pop culture scholar …

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    • I’ll agree with you on that front – Mnemosyne is a good anime regardless of genre. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s an all-time favourite of mine, but it does what it does really well.

      Technically I just majored in English Lit. It’s just that in my post-grad years, I chose research topics (and university staff members willing to supervise them) that appealed to me on a more personal level.

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      • Your all-time favorite would be derived from a much, much longer list than mine. I’ve always liked anime. I always watched the English dubs of Miyazaki movies and the like. I always watch anime in Japanese now, even though I understand little of the language. It just sounds better, more emotional.

        I remember how much I liked the original “AstroBoy” on a black and white TV in 1965.

        It has only been in the last three years that the dam broke, and my love for Japanese pop culture came rushing out …

        Look forward to your posts : )

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  13. I wish your list had been longer actually. I have seen some yuri animes, though I didn’t realize they were Yuri when I started them. Strawberry Panic became evident really quickly, but I still really enjoyed that tale. I recently watched Saki, and while there is nothing at all overt, it clearly had yuri undertones. There are many romantic type scenes between girls in that one. I also saw Kannozuki No Miko (sorry if my spelling is off) and I honestly was surprised at the direction that anime went as well-clearly into the yuri zone. I REALLY enjoyed Maria+Holic as well as Maria+Holic Alive, though I found myself often feeling sorry for the main character while laughing quite a bit.

    I have seen well over a hundred animes and these ones stand out in my head as clearly having Yuri elements-and I enjoyed them all. I guess I wouldn’t mind it if I come across another good one that is in the Yuri genre. I can appreciate a romance if it’s written well even if it’s not what I personally go for in my own life. Murder Princess – I’m not even sure if that’s in the Yuri genre, but it seems like it was teetering on entering that zone. I liked that one as well. I will continue on my hunt but wanted to comment anyways. Did you ever watch the one you said you’d moved up on your list?

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    • I may make another list at some point discussing some different yuri titles. One of the issues about the genre is that it’s so niche, so as far as anime is concerned, there are very, very few titles available – probably the least of any genre in fact, including yaoi.

      Sorry, it’s been something like 5 months since I published this post – remind me which title I said I’d move up on my list?

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  14. I have been tediously searching the internet for anime/yuri recommendations but, as you have written very well in this article, the most voices out there on the subject don’t come from women who appreciate some depth in their yuri. Well, “unfortunatelly” I’ve already watched all of the shows listed but with that knowledge I have to say: I cannot agree more with you.

    Seeing that you reviewed the shows by story and characters rather than kawaii and shippability makes me want to check out everything else you recommend. I mean how often do you see somebody really trying their best to objectively list decent shows and not just dishing about their favourites. Even though you’re not a major fan of Utena you do recognise its importance for the genre and the intelligent storytelling behind all the “what-the-fuckery”.
    Personally it’s one of my favourites, since I really enjoy philosophising about every little details the animators and writers tried to hide in the show as well as the writing and directing work of Ikuhara Konuhiko in general. Always been one of those artsy kids that enjoy not understanding everything about an “art piece”. Also, the psychodelic-rock soundtrack is just gorgeous.

    Oh, and on that note, have you already watched Yuri Kuma Arashi? Since it’s also from Ikuhara the same level of what-the-fuckery was expected. In the same fashion as Utena there’s an alternative manga out there from nobody else but Morishima Akiko, yuri titan. It’s also her anime debut, which was thrilling. Even though the animation of the series lacks here and there, seing her style in motion was surprisingly pleasing. Also, other than SKU’s themes of self-image and social pressure, the show focuses solely on the way lesbianism is dealt with in japanese society – so 100% yuri. It’s easily another of my favourites. Again, that artsy knack 🙂

    But on the other hand Aoi Hana won my heart over with its fantastic realism which you really, really seldomly find in anime. I remember the scene of Fumi coming out to A-chan and how only in that moment I realised that I had never before seen an actual coming out in an anime. Well, oddly enough most Yuris take place in either girl schools where everybody’s gay from the get-go or sex is some sort of weapon. So it was refreshing to see a work that dealt with the real struggles of sexuality and coming off age. Already read most of Shimura Takako ‘s works and was so thrilled back in the day as Aoi Hana was announced to be made into an anime. Actually am rewatching the show right now with a friend of mine since he demanded more realistic animes opposed to the shows he’s familiar with (Naruto, One Piece, Dragonball, all that popular Shonen stuff).

    From all of the others above Maria-sama ga Miteru was the only one that couldn’t make me watch all of its seasons. I think I’ll have to give it another try though, since I did crave a little more action in my teen years than I do now. From what I can remember it was still great though, compared with Strawberry Panic or Kannazuki no Miko. Not that they are utter bullshit; just not my cup of tea. Too melodramatic and flashy.
    But yes, I’d say the genre is slowly evolving, maybe not necessarily becoming more popular, but due to women/lesbians being more and more involved in the making of the shows they do have more variety and realism which I very much apreciate. Even though its not Yuri, a manga like Hourou Musoko wouldn’t have been made 10 years ago. I’m looking forward to what more’s to come in shows portraiting the struggles of sexuality and gender or just of badass women living through compelling stories while being positively queer.
    Well, there will always be that Sakura Tricks out there though, purely made for the male gaze. Oh how I loath that show 🙂

    Either way, enough rambling! Thanks again for this list and I’ll definitively be checking out more of your recommendations/blog in general. Have a great day!

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    • First off, let me just thank you for taking the time to write such an in-depth comment! All comments of whatever size are of course welcome, but it’s always nice to see people engaging so thoroughly with my blog posts like this. Even though you’ve already seen the titles listed here, I’m glad you enjoyed the article, and I hope you’ll be able to find some other interesting material on Otaku Lounge. 🙂

      I have indeed seen Yuri Kuma Arashi, although I have to admit that I didn’t think much of it. In terms of subtlety and general themes, I much preferred Utena – watching Yuri Kuma Arashi was like being repeatedly whacked over the head, everything was that in-your-face. That said, by no means do I think it’s a terrible anime – just once more not really my cup of tea. I’m just not an Ikuhara kind of person, I guess.

      You know, I never made it through every episode of all three seasons of Maria-sama ga Miteru either. I watched all of season one, and I watched enough of the second season for me to realise I’d be getting more of the same. I appreciate a lot about the show and think its rather a good one, but even yuri aside, it’s easy to see that unless someone reeeeally loves school-centric slice-of-life shows, Maria-sama will inevitably become fairly dull. I’ll take that over shows like Strawberry Panic any day, but I also can’t blame people for wanting something a little more fast-paced.

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  15. Well, it’s only natural to write an “in-depth” comment after the work you put into your writing, in my opinion. Also, it’s refreshing to start a conversation with somebody on the internet who has a passion for something without them being overwhelmed by their love for it.
    Think I’ll check out the yaois you recommended next. Also hadn’t had the time yet to watch the Studio Ghibli series so your review will give me some inkling if it’s “worth my time” 😉

    I get that Ikuhara isn’t for everybody. By all means, as you said, his works aren’t shows for people unfamiliar with anime and even if they are his style doesn’t speak to every anime fan… whereas anime in general hast so many styles and genres, so “anime fan” is a bit too generic either way.
    Also the short format of Yuri Kuma doesn’t give us time to explore the characters and themes in the sublte ways we can in Utena, so I agree with you on that. It is very much overwhelming with its analogies at times 😀

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