Another season of anime has come and gone, and with it, another crop of anime full of yuri have completed their runs, or at least made significant progress since I last spoke of them. Rather than wasting any time, let’s dive right in. Again, there’ll be minor spoilers where necessary, so use the timestamps in the comments if you wish to avoid those.
As with last time, I’ll begin with shows that have clear yuri elements but which I won’t recommend on that basis. A mostly anime-original episode HeroAca this season featured a number of prospective heroes from what seems to be an upper-class all-girls’ school. As you’d expect from the stereotypes about those kinds of places, all the students seem quite into their leader. Which is more than fair, really, I certainly get the appeal. Nonetheless, this obviously isn’t the show to come to if you’re invested in getting any serious yuri.
The same is true for Attack on Titan Season 3. Its lesbian was killed off already and its other lesbian, uh, won’t go down an amazing road, if you know about the manga spoilers. Seriously, don’t expect yuri out of mainstream shounen adaptations, it won’t serve you well, no matter how great the ships are.
Hanebado, unlike these two, is a lot lighter on gayness. There’s certainly a bit between Connie and the leader of her school’s team but uh, it ain’t much. Which is definitely disappointing, since I came into the show being promised we’d get some yuri. Well, it isn’t the only false expectation I was given; it was more than enjoyable as an absurdly over-the-top melodrama, at the very least.
Happy Sugar Life sure is yuri and it sure is problematic. Look, this show is abysmal as a yuri anime. Its key romance is a pedophilic age gap founded upon kidnapping, that’s often framed as, maybe not right but certainly not as bad as it should be given how transparently awful the situation is. Of course, the series in general fails at presenting abuse in a believable manner — everyone affected by it has become broken to the point of having no coherent morals whatsoever, leading to absurdly funny but utterly unrealistic actions all-around. What I’m trying to say is that it’s fun as a horror anime, especially due to the honestly quite impressive directing, but utterly awful as yuri. I can’t really recommend it but I enjoyed my time with it, just for the ridiculousness of it all.
Uhhhhh what left do I have to talk about? I guess Chio-chan. While this show clearly heads down a straight path in the manga — you get it, you see, it’s a double entendre, you know, straight means [cut off here]that — the anime never goes all the way with that, so its entirely palatable if you can handle a bit of het build-up. There’s one explicit lesbian who’s an absolute stereotype, sex-crazed to the point that she certainly gets close to assault at times, while learning from a man who outright assaulted girls. Yeahhhhhh it ain’t great. Now, Chio and Manana have plenty of subtext in spite of Chio’s explicit crush on a guy, so it’s not all bad but I definitely can’t recommend the show, even though I by-and-large enjoyed it quite a bit.
Do I have any others that I won’t recommend? Uhhh, it’s not yuri at all but Banana Fish is gay enough that it’s definitely possible you’ll like it. I have little interest in MxM series and it’s still a great time for me. Mana continues to have a crush on Nekomusume in Kitaro. Otherwise, nada. I’m sure there’s some series I forgot to mention but I won’t spend too much time dwelling on that. Onto the recommendable works!
Let’s begin by returning to the little girls’ shows I praised to high heaven last time. They’re still doing great! Emiru and Lulu continue to be absolutely adorable in Hugtto Precure, remaining strong as the Precures of love. Homare’s crush on Harry became more prominent over the last season but she recently accepted that he’s in love with someone else, so you’re still free to ship her with one or more of the other Cures if you wish. Really, though, the recommendation is for Emiru and Lulu, who I’ll never fail to adore. Please support these wholesome girls in their quest to spread love. There’s gay boys, too, if that’s what you’re into.
Kiratto Prichan still has Sara, so it’s still gay as all hell. This girl continues to flirt with every maiden she sees, from rivals to fans, while still clearly showing her love for Anna. It’s great. As with last time, Mirai and Emo are legitimately just friends but Sara is so powerful that she absolutely makes it worth it to recommend the whole show. Please, watch it for her, though the subs literally haven’t done any of this cour, so, hope you can understand some level of Japanese!
Lastly as these go, there’s Aikatsu Friends. This is the best of these three works and also the gayest. Friends pairs are not always indicative of romantic interest but they sure are an awful lot, especially our lead combinations of Pure Palette and Honey Cat. Over the last 13 weeks they’ve developed a lot, coming into their own not just as idols and characters but as members of relationships, helping each other out and demonstrating the value in having each other. It’s absolutely adorable and one of the best shows airing, straight up. I’ve gotta get to the original Aikatsu asap. Unlike Prichan, this one is subbed, so you won’t have to do any studying to watch it!
Harukana Receive is absolutely excellent as a yuri anime. If you can get over the little quibble of its main couple being first cousins — and it’s understandable if you can’t — then there’s no reason not to watch it. Sure, the fanservice can be a tad much at times but Haruka and Kanata are so good for each other. Haruka even confesses! And no, heteronormative internet dudes, that was not an “I love you as my cousin” confession, she was told what this meant and made no effort to walk things back. Somehow, these two’s gayness is outclassed by the casual intimacy of Ayasa and Narumi — who, I might add, is explicitly referred to as Kanata’s ex-girlfriend multiple times — and by Akari’s love of the “athlete mommy”. Yeeahhhhhhh this show is gay as shit. Again, if you can handle the cousin situation, it’s a must-watch, especially since it’s a great sports anime as well.
Jashin-chan Dropkick is perfect. No, really. I mean, it has plenty of gore, especially early on, so if you can’t handle that, I wouldn’t watch. But it’s absolutely hilarious, using its character dynamics perfectly, frequently breaking the fourth wall, just, damn this is easily the best comedy this season, maybe my favorite of the year. At first you’d expect the yuri to be between Jashin-chan and Yurine, and I won’t deny that there may be a touch of tension there, but really it comes from Jashin-chan and Medusa, the sweetest little demon ever to come from Hell. This relationship certainly can’t be called unproblematic, with Jashin-chan constantly using Medusa’s love and goodwill as a way to enable her awful lifestyle and personality but I can’t help it, they’re cute! At times, Jashin-chan even makes it clear that she really does love Medusa back! I’m sorry, I might be trash, but this show is great, for yuri fans and comedy lovers alike. Please watch it.
Revue Starlight is inspired by Takarazuka and as an obvious result,t it’s gay as all hell. Mahiru yearns for Karen, who’s mutually in love with Hikari, though I’d support the three of them getting together more than readily. Claudine and Maya’s heated but ultimately loving relationship is excellent. Nana and Junna have the least going on and they still serve as wonderfully domestic roommates. Also, Futaba and Kaoruko are literally dating. WATCH. THIS. SHOW. You will not get another outright yuri anime this year that even approaches this in quality. [Cut to Bloom and Release the Spyce]. Okay so you might but you still better give it a shot. Also, read the Overture manga, it’s got even more sapphism to savor.
Planet With is excellent all-around, and while it doesn’t have a ton of yuri, it’s got a good bit. Haru and Miu are clearly into each other, confirmed when one of them explicitly sees the other as their prince. Some spoilers here, but as they get older, they grow into a perfect duo, college-aged lesbians who enjoy teasing their resident punching bag. Seriously, if you think they’re actually into Souya and not each other, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Can I say to watch this just for them? Normally I wouldn’t but here, I will, mostly because I love the series so much. It’d be AOTS in a weaker season and will certainly pop up on my end of year list!
Lastly, we’ve got Yama no Susume season 3. Naturally building upon what the series had already done until this point, the season begins with Aoi and Hinata climbing a mountain for lovers and it doesn’t stop there. While the eventual second attempt at Fuji is a key background element, the real arc for this season is Aoi’s opening up to those other than Hinata, and the latter girl’s feelings of jealousy and fear that result. The degree to which Hinata cares about Aoi above others feels distinctly romantic, and shots where they pose like they’re marrying don’t do much to diminish that impression. This is subtext, certainly, but it’s not remotely hard to read, especially when you throw in the scene in the finale which is clearly framed as a confession. You’ve gotta watch the previous seasons first, but it’s worth it for one of the best anime of all time. Please grant us a season 4, seeing us again as you said you would. Before I overstay my welcome, let’s end things here! Remember to keep yearning for yuri!