Is This the BEST Season for Yuri Anime EVER?

Honestly, I think it is. I mean first of all, let’s account for the fact that there’s been almost no solid adaptations of yuri manga in the entire history of this vast medium. I can narrow down the number of anime that both a. are good and b. Adapt beloved yuri manga to a list that fits on one hand. In fact, I’m pretty sure Aoi Hana and Sasameki Koto are the only ones that match that description, two anime that neither delivered satisfying conclusions nor saw much success, a fact that certainly did not help any of their sisters-in-arms at joining the proverbial anime battlefield. And while other anime with yuri elements did air in those seasons, it’d be hard to line them up next to those of 2018’s Fall and think they really come out on top.

But let’s back things up and actually address what I’m talking about. This season, Fall of 2018, is one that’s chock-full of sapphic tones that’ll come both under and over your expectations. Chief among these, of course, is the always wonderful Bloom into You. Praised in the community for the past three years, it easily stands as one of the best manga ever to emerge from the genre, so it getting an adaptation was great news from the get-go. If you’re looking for Girls’ Love this season, Bloom is sure to serve as the foundation of your interest; there are plenty of other shows that I’ll get into which you can use to keep building your stable of sapphic series, but Bloom will always remain as a sturdy base of support. And that’s fitting, since the show itself is so focused on finding a way to support yourself and your own unique circumstances. It’s not often you get both a queer love triangle, complete with a focus on the identities of the members and the way their sexualities affect them, and an adult lesbian pair as well. The way the show balances shoujo trappings and stage allusions in order to convincingly argue that it’s not just a phase, that the complex feelings of these girls are more than just adolescent silliness, is almost unheard of, tackling difficult topics with the delicate hands of a master craftswoman. The level of empathy that it displays to all of its characters is frankly outstanding and I’m continuously blown away by the fact that this anime so successfully distills the essence of the manga without slavishly copying its tangible details, creating one of the best shot and produced anime in a year that hasn’t been slacking on that front. Honestly, given that in Citrus we got a passable adaptation of a mediocre manga, I’m glad to see excellence elevated to its rightful place. Now, if only we could get fantastic full-length versions of Girl Friends, Octave, or Kase-san. Well, a girl can always dream of the impossible. At least we’ve got a chance at a Nettaigyo anime one of these days.

Now that I’ve cleared the requisite yuri champion out of the way, I’d like to take a trip around the seasonal chart, surveying all the many works that have some sort of value if you’re a fan of them gay girls, so skip around as you like, especially if you’re someone who tends to be sensitive about spoilers, but I’ve got an announcement at the end of the video that may interest you, so be sure to stay seated until I’m done.

What I’d like to visit first is Anima Yell. If you’ve spent enough time in the infernal realm known as anitwitter, you probably would have seen its excellent coming-out scene. Without a doubt, it’s great. For as common as yuri is in these Kirara-kei works, a moment like this, one that almost every queer person has to go through in some form, is not something we usually get. The focus on how nervous the girl is to come out signals a changing environment, one where the creators who make these works have a greater understanding of what it’s like for queer people at-large. Add to that the series’ obligatory gay crushes — though bucking the trend, this five-girl cast features two flaming queers instead of one — and you’ve got a show that any yuri fan could love, or at least any who’s already burned through the other four Kirara series this year and enjoyed all of them. Which surely can’t just be me, right? Hell, the show references yuri explicitly in regards to one of its gays, so you can tell it’s a worthwhile one.

Hold on, it’s been brought to my attention that somehow, everyone is shipping Yuuta x Rikka in Gridman. Have you, uh, seen the ED? Look, this is why heteronormativity kills your ability to understand anime, if you look at this body language and see nothing but friendship then I legitimately don’t think you’re capable of discussing your reads of media because your prejudices are blinding you of all that’s beautiful in this world. Let’s say we ignore the LGBT posters on the walls, the fact that Akane brings Rikka home with her while making it clear her parents aren’t around, the pair’s extreme intimacy, and the important detail that Rikka shows no interest in a single guy throughout the entire series, to the point that she attends a mixer with internet famous dudes while totally ignoring them, all because she’s actually there to spend time with Akane. These frames alone are gay enough to clean my water supply, ensure the life of my crops, and prevent me from ever suffering another plague. It’s perfect, they’re perfect, and I won’t hear otherwise, even if the show itself ruins this. Seriously though, Yuuta x Rikka? Where did y’all get that from?

Not talking about this one. Next.

Kyuuketsuki-san has the thirstiest lesbian who has ever lived. Do not let her looks fool you, if you are female, this vampire will pounce. Be warned. Of course, jokes aside, this is a great series. Resident doll-lover Akari falls head over heels for friendly neighborhood vampire Sophie to the point that she moves in with her, getting the parental OK just by explaining she’s pretty, which is a pretty big mood. Meanwhile, Akari’s close friend Hinata is forced to deal with her jealousy over their relationship, though she isn’t left lonesome for all that long, as previously mentioned thirsty vampire Ellie — who surely must have engaged in “certain activities” with Sophie when they were younger — takes quick interest in her. Aside from this interesting rectangle, some of Akari’s other friends are quite explicitly in a relationship, celebrating Christmas together, alone, while their parents are away. This show is H-O-R-N-Y, yet it still serves perfectly as a cute Kirara-kei series that helps you to unwind. With both this and Anima Yell on the table, we are eating right now. Hopefully, more of the frankly shocking number of vampire yuri works come over soon, because I’m not gonna lie, vampires are hot and I want more of them.

Seems as if two shows this season are telling us that the correct way to avoid burying your gays is bringing them back from the dead, because Zombieland Saga isn’t a haven of heterosexuality either. While nothing else is quite as blatant as Lily being a trans girl — which is explicit by the way, you’re either a reactionary or a sap if you think otherwise — there’s certainly plenty to read here in terms of quality queerness. Take Saki and Sakura’s close relationship — and need I say that Saki’s former partner was called her gal pal — or Ai and Junko’s fantastic dynamic as idols from different times who manage to patch up their differences. Look, again, this stuff isn’t explicit, it isn’t what I’d call “definitive yuri” or anything, but there is some subtext here and if the fan artists can properly pick up on it, we should be able to as well. The privileging of text over subtext is something I’ll get to in a future video, but suffice it to say I’m tired of it.

Double Decker, unfortunately, did not listen to the “have undead lesbians” part of the other shows’ advice. The direction is nooooot perfect in spite of how much I love the show still. That said, the girls do basically kiss in the ED, and the other pair of women on the team is far from lacking in subtext. Bear my caveats in mind and I think you’ll be able to enjoy it, especially considering that it’s an incredibly fun series that managed to get me to like cops, but really, do keep them in the back of your head as you watch.

Release the Spyce does not make the same mistakes that Double Decker does, but unfortunately, it makes one larger one — it’s not well-written. Honestly, I don’t trust its writer, Takahiro, further than I can throw him, and while Yuuki Yuuna is great, he doesn’t even approach being consistent. Unlike Princess Principal, you will not be getting a truly fantastic series here. However, it still more than warrants a mention, given that the explicitness of its queerness is clearer than for most of the shows on this list, somehow. If you’re someone who’s turned off by really dumb costume design, twists which seem to exist purely for the sake of it, and characters whose motivation seems flimsier than water-logged cardboard, then this won’t be a great experience. If you can somehow get past all that and just enjoy it as dumb fun, though, then it should be alright. Just don’t expect any interesting writing.

Sora to Umi and Himote have some gay, but look. The former is, uh, awful, almost entirely lacking in redeeming traits as much as I wanted to find some, while the latter is funny every week — if you’ve got the interest in absurdist humor and improv that I do — but so drenched in the out-there that you can hardly see what’s genuine. Is the gay here good rep? Hell if I know! Are the jokes that it makes in its yuri episode offensive? Who am I to say! When you get this irony-poisoned, it’s hard to pick apart what you’re supposed to get from a work, so you’re not going to hear an actual recommendation from me, but it exists and I do enjoy it, sooooooooooo.

Hello everyone and welcome back to your quarterly “Gay Content in Kids’ Anime”. Let me tell ya folks, this season has been extremely good for this stuff, our agenda is moving along as smoothly as ever! Gegege no Kitaro wasn’t content to leave Mana with a crush on Nekomusume, no, they had to add a cute witch girl for her to have a very intimate friendship with. Is it explicit? Of course not! Is it excellent? Absolutely!

Kiratto Prichan still has Sara and that’s all you need to know it didn’t drop its lesbian overtones. This show isn’t exactly rushing to outpace its comrades in the “level of gayness” charts but again, does it need to when it’s introducing the glory of boyish lesbians to those at such a young age? I think not.

Hugtto Precure, not keen to be outdone, somehow delivered the gayest episode between Emiru and Lulu yet, which is honestly quite impressive given past ones. Throughout this run the show has deftly handled this relationship, constantly portraying the problems that those experiencing a young love will fall into. Yeah, they don’t kiss — though they come close — but their proclamations of adoration for one another, when paired with their explicit desire to be with each other “forever”, make it pretty hard to deny the romantic overtones of the two. Plus, in a season where we can get a gender non-conforming or perhaps even x-gender boy who not only has a boyfriend but becomes a Precure, it’s hard to write queer readings off. Henri’s relationship with Masato, by the way, is blatantly meant to parallel Emiru and Lulu’s, so you’d have to be trying to miss what’s going on here.

Yet Aikatsu Friends once again managed to emerge as the victor of little girls’ anime! Quite impressive that it did so, but not a shock given its numerous pairs, love of having girls perform explicitly romantic roles, and penchant for forcing Aine and Mio into increasingly gay scenarios. Was the “breakup” arc something that we all saw coming from 6000 miles away? Yeah, absolutely. How well it’s handled could not have been predicted, however. Their breakup was a mere separation, made in the knowledge that they’ll get back together when they’ve made enough progress to be capable of it and our lovely leads accompany their mutual decision to do this with explicit affirmations of their love for one another. Do young girls who are just friends give each other interlocking heart lockets? Yes, I’m sure plenty of them do, but they probably don’t do so with emotional music and romantically coded shot composition. Factor in that the members of Honey Cat and Love Me Tear are no less in love with one another than they used to be, and the fact that many of our side “Friends” groups are equally gay, and Aikatsu remains queen of kid’s queerness, the number one propagandist of our increasingly successful gay agenda.

Last but not remotely least is the true shocker of the season, an absolutely underrated work that can not be overlooked. Yes folks, I’m talking about Akanesasu Shoujo, aka, thank god Uchikoshi only did the concept and wasn’t in charge of the ending, I don’t trust him to wrap things up after Zero Time Dilemma. I can only dream of imparting in you, fair viewers, the feeling that I got as I continued to watch this oh-so-beautiful program, slowly having the scales fall from my eyes as I realized that this, too, is Aikatsu. I mean yuri. Look, maybe it shouldn’t have been a shock that this series which seems to have walked straight out of the mid-2000s has surprise yuri, that was all the rage in those days — and I say this in the most loving terms possible — and yet I didn’t expect it. When one of the side characters, nicknamed “Sexy Yuu”, shows clear gay interest in the main character, Asuka, I acted like a moron, breezing it off. “Oh, anime girls are constantly acting gay without it going any further. This is cool but nothing special. Not worth noting in a season this gay.” Ah, how naive you were 4-weeks-ago Zeria. Little did I know that actually, this show is woke enough to believe that its main characters’ feelings for one another exists across all dimensions. Yuri is truly the fifth force that holds the universe together. Which is honestly not that far from the thesis of this show, so what are you doing if you still haven’t started it? Go watch it right now. Even subtracting from the yuri, which is something you should never do, let’s be real, this show is surprisingly fantastic and the ending will legitimately blow you away, so get this baby queued up this moment. Well, let me finish real quick but then get on this, there’s no time to waste.

Given all these shows, I really don’t see how you could find a better yuri season. It’s got something for any anime viewer, from pure romances to comedies, from kirara-keis to kids’ shows, and everything in between. Not every series executes on its queer content with quite the tact some might want, but with this overwhelming amount, I can’t really see fit to complain about the general trend. Bloom may stand upfront as the vanguard of this great sapphic assault on the anime industry but it’s an excellent season all around. So, in honor of this noble struggle, I intend to drop a full-length analysis of Bloom into You, a sister of sorts to the polemic against Citrus I released earlier this year. With any luck, I’ll complete this effort before we hit the new year. So, fellow yuri fans, I hope you can join me in enjoying the conclusion to what is almost certainly the greatest season that our community has ever experienced, even with the bad apples we’ve had to combat. With both the quality and quantity of yuri consistently rising, there’s nothing to stop us now.

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5 thoughts on “Is This the BEST Season for Yuri Anime EVER?

  1. Bloom Into You have definitely been a well scripted and directed anime and one that caught me by surprise. There was a lot of chatter prior to Citrus coming out and then I ended up really not being able to get into the characters but Bloom Into You has definitely lived up to its pre-season hype and then some. Just a great and well written anime.

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  2. Given my recent interest (and dare I say “love”) for Yuri shows and romantic sub plots, I can definitely agree with you that this season has been pretty damn good for Yuri fans.

    It’d be nice if each subsequent season had just as much. We definitely need to see more, especially in shows where it’s not the main focus. More plz.

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  3. No anime has caught my interest as much as Bloom since Violet Evergarden. That is saying a helluva lot. Already blogged about it twice and simply gushed all over it. Rhetorically, that is. 😉

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