Well, it sure looks like you enjoyed my seasonal yuri recap video. In fact, you enjoyed it so much that it’s frankly hard to justify not making more of them. Given how many views it got, I’m getting the sense I should be making more yuri list videos, even outside the realm of seasonal round-ups. So here we are, with a new video focusing on 5 anime that I’ve decided though my arbitrary criteria are underwatched and yuri enough to be recommended to fans of the genre. I could be totally wrong here and you could’ve seen all of these but I doubt that’s the case for most of you. Many of these have been recommended on my channel before but hey, might as well start here and make more as I come up with other titles that are worth recommending, especially since I won’t be making full videos on most of these anytime soon.
Anyway, this isn’t really ranked by quality or level of yuri or anything. It’s less a list of anime that explicitly count as yuri and more a list of anime that I think would be enjoyable to yuri fans. As always, I’ll try and be minimal with the spoilers but occasionally I’ll have to mention some important events, so use the timestamps to skip ahead if you want to keep a specific series fresh in your eyes.
The first work I’d like to look at is Bodacious Space Pirates, also known as Mouretsu Pirates. The English title, while accurate, is a bit misleading, as the term bodacious is more often used nowadays to mean attractive, bringing to mind an image of a fanservice-laden series more focused on exploring the MC’s tits than her space piracy. However, if we take the initial use of the term as a combination of bold and audacious, it makes perfect sense in describing the show.
Bodacious Space Pirates is probably the best example of a series which is fun without all that much thematic or emotional depth, perhaps rivaled only by the equally amazing Girls und Panzer in that regard. It focuses on main character Marika after she inherits her father’s ship and becomes a space pirate on her own. In this world, space pirates are less galavanting outlaws and more officially sanctioned showmen, performing piracy as a thrilling form of theater for the rich while helping insurance companies out along the way. You won’t get a ton in the way of dangerous action or daring feats here but you will get a very good time with memorable characters who are consistently enjoyable to watch. The world makes a shocking degree of sense in spite of its bizarre premise and I just can’t recommend this show enough. While hand-to-hand combat is uncommon, the many adventures involving space travel are still plenty exciting, as long as you’re not someone turned off by any and all CG in anime.
But why is it on the list? Well, there’s a number of reasons. First, Marika has a bit of a harem. It’s not 100% explicit but fellow young pirate Chiaki is very clearly a tsundere towards her, warming up as the series goes on to the point that I’m willing to call it at least a bit of a crush. Marika’s best friend in school, Mami, is similarly attached and is certainly easy to include in this dynamic. Hell, Marika even has two princesses into her, one of them being quite obviously ready to fool around as soon as she’s given the go ahead. Considering the extreme infrequency of all-girl harems in this medium, it should come as no shock that I’d fall in love with this set-up even if it is constrained to subtext, though I’d argue the sub part of that word only barely applies in this case.
What’s not subtext at all though is the wonderful relationship between two of Marika’s upperclassmen, Jenny and Lynn. There are some hints towards their being a couple early on and a look at their appearance would certainly have certain viewers’ gaydars working on overdrive but in the third arc, it’s made clear that they, uh, definitely aren’t just friends. Having a gay kiss is quite ambitious given that the series isn’t marketed as yuri and the fact that many shows which are marketed as yuri don’t even get to go that far but you certainly won’t see me complaining. The presence of these two only bolsters Marika and her harem’s gay accolades, resulting in something I’m quite confident in calling a yuri anime. Try it out, I’m sure you’ll have a good time.
The second work I’d like to look at is one I’ve covered a decent bit before but given that I did so in my third video, which was total shit, I’d like to recommend it again. Hina Logi is a spin-off to the earlier Luck and Logic, a show I can promise I didn’t watch because who cares about that het bullshit? Ignoring the actual drama and such which I can only assume made up the past series given how I’ve seen it described, Hina Logi focuses more acutely on what actually matters in life: cute girls having fun, even if that fun involves training to become magical girls who could theoretically defend the world if worse comes to worst.
If you’re a fan of cute girls doing cute things or magical girl series, then this is certainly an anime that’s worth a watch. It almost comes across as Kirara-esque in its construction in spite of being a mostly original project, something only made more prominent by the fact that it aired at the same time as New Game! season 2. It’s does a good job at establishing the characters and their relationships, mining them for as much comedy and relaxation as is humanly possible. The magical girl premise is made use of, with fights happening between the girls fairly frequently, always accompanied by absolutely stunning transformation sequences that anyone could love. It has decent development too, with the characters growing as people in a believable manner across the run with the help of those around them, which is really what all shows of this type should strive for.
Of course, like other works along these lines, it’s also full of queerness. It started off in the usual subtext-y way, with plenty of blushes and glomping going around — which I will happily eat up — but little of actual substance. One character, who’s a bit too much of a stalker, is the classic archetype of a girl with an unrequited love for her best friend, a love which is never really met in kind(perhaps because she can get really creepy). The other girls all have subtext as well, sometimes going well beyond that, such as the sisters who fawn over their “mistress” or the teacher who’s in love with her senpai. But really, it all comes back to our leads, Lion and Nina. Their build-up is great, as Nina learns to focus less on her misplaced sense of duty and more on getting what she wants, coming to appreciate Lion’s presence in the process. They have a deeply emotional moment in episode 10, resulting in the dropping of honorifics between them. And finally, this results in a kiss in the following episode, explicitly said to be for your “closest person”. Basically, these two are girlfriends and their relationship forms the strong emotional backbone that the show successfully establishes across its run. That this isn’t tagged a yuri anime is frankly a real problem but alas. It’s a great time either way and I certainly encourage watching it.
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou’s anime is not exactly the work I want to recommend. Its pair of two-episode OVAs are great of course, it’s just that they simply can’t compare to the manga, which easily stands among the best ever devised in that medium. Still, I wanted to recommend it and recommend it I shall. Just bear in mind that everything I say applies to the manga and would be better experienced there.
YKK isn’t a series you’re going to enjoy if you don’t like iyashikei but on the flipside, if you have any interest in the genre whatsoever then it’ll be an excellent time. Focusing on an android named Alpha in a tranquil post-apocalyptic world, we see what is aptly described as humanity’s twilight, as people continue to go about their lives in the time they have remaining, content with the fact that relatively soon, only the androids we created will remain to succeed our legacy. Essentially, it tackles some similar themes to Girls’ Last Tour and Sora no Woto, — I even made a video comparing them — though in markedly different ways.
What makes it gay though? Well, early on, especially in the OVA adaptation, Alpha meets another android named Kokoro. Androids transmit data by kissing, so right off the bat you get some good gay girls right there. But as they spend more time together, the two continue to move closer, with others noting that their relationship is much like that of lovers. Another android gets jealous of Alpha because Kokoro is so enamored with her and eventually, as humanity continues to decline, the two eventually begin to cohabitate. It’s really beautiful and also thematically appropriate, as the androids ultimately love in a different way than we do while still carrying on what we started after our collective death.
Again, most of this isn’t in the anime. While you will get the kiss, you’ll miss out on the real bulk of their development if you don’t read the manga. And as I previously stated, reading it is just better in general, especially when compared to the second OVA, given that work’s unfortunate application of early digital coloring. Still, give one of its forms a chance if you’re interested in iyashikei and yuri, you won’t regret it.
Next, I’d like to look at the Gainax classic: Diebuster. First, it’s worth noting that its predecessor, Gunbuster, isn’t all that gay. I mean, if I’d been around in the 80s, with so few girls to ship together, I certainly would’ve taken the small amount given to me but since I’m not in that situation, I can recognize that it’s pretty weak on the gay front. Diebuster, however, is radically different and since I’m of the opinion that it’s just an all-around better work in almost every conceivable way, it’s not something I can pass on recommending.
Main character Nono loves Lal’C from the start, proclaiming that the girl is her long-sought “onee-sama”. On first glance, this doesn’t come off as too different from the work’s predecessor, a simple case of adoration caused by admiration. However, Nono is incredibly dedicated and refuses to abandon Lal’C no matter what, even when miscommunications between the two of them cause a rift in their relationship. It’d be hard to deny that her feelings are romantic and, as Lal’C comes around and realizes what Nono means to her, the emotions become mutual.
This is all threaded in between an absolutely excellent narrative focused on what it means to grow up and move forward, somehow making its entire cast feel incredibly well-rounded even in its short 6 episode run. This is absolutely Tsurumaki’s best work and it’s probably up there with Flip Flappers when it comes to “queer girl FLCL” which is kinda what I need for FLCL to be for me. Throw in the mecha combat and the excellent direction and you end up with one of the best anime ever made. It’s not something worth missing, though do make sure to watch Gunbuster first so that the finale can have its full impact, even if I do find it to be quite a bit less enjoyable in all respects.
Lastly, I’d like to look at Yama no Susume. To start things off, I’ll be clear: the third season of this is airing right now and will, without a doubt, end up being talked about when I do my summer seasonal roundup. Primarily, I put it here so those of you who haven’t started it yet can begin the show prior to the conclusion of this season. Anyway, YamaSusu is above all else a fun slice-of-life show which is always sure to demonstrate the hardships involved in the activity it’s focused on, while never distracting from the cute character dynamics that make it stand out. And one dynamic is key here: that of the principal two characters, Aoi and Hinata.
The series practically begins with Hinata barging into Aoi’s life, excitedly eager to fulfill the childhood promise they made 10 whole years ago. If that sounds romantic to you, well, you’re not alone, and this coding continues throughout the series. The two of them often get into fights and can’t go 5 seconds without bumping heads yet they’re closer than anyone, thinking about each other constantly. A real point is made of the fact that they behave like a couple and have no other romantic prospects. There’s a reason that much of their screen-time is devoted to them holding hands and it’s not just because they’re climbing mountains. If anything, their fighting makes them a better couple, as it shows how comfortable they are with one another, demonstrating a real chemistry that many pairings in anime utterly fail to replicate.
And as I said at the start, this is a series with real pathos, something their relationship plays a role in. They constantly support each other in improving as they learn more about climbing and how to do it without utterly falling on their asses. After Aoi suffers a particularly heartbreaking failure, it’s her connection with Hinata that cheers her up and makes it possible for her to move forward once again. They’re inseparable and adorable. As long as you can forgive the fact that they definitely don’t look anything like high schoolers, you should check it out(no, seriously, why do they look so young, I’m not one to complain about this in most cases but what the hell).
I hope you came out of this with at least one anime you’d like to watch! Again, I don’t care if you disagree with me about whether or not one of these is yuri, so please don’t comment about that, it’s just a waste of both our times. I’ll try and ensure I’m back next month with another one of these so I hope you enjoyed this!