I sure haven’t made one of these in a while, have I? Well, it’s 2019, and you know there’s a lot of yuri manga right now, some of them mediocre but many of them great, so let’s get right to this, and try not to skip around or leave the video, because many of the best are on the backend. I’ll only be listing series with an English translation, will put details on-screen if they’re licensed, and have timestamps in the description, so let’s go.
Starting off we’ve got Bloom into You, the ongoing classic that everyone is surely already aware of. The series is wrapping up by the end of this year, so if you somehow haven’t jumped on it, or were waiting for its completion, now’s the time. Its recent handling of the characters is just as strong as ever, and no aspect of the series, from its art to its paneling, has taken even the slightest dip with time. Nakatani-sensei’s work has played a major role in the current popularization of this genre, and any fan owes it to themselves and to her to go read this.
Shimeji Simulation is the newest manga by the author of Girls’ Last Tour, and yes, you heard that right. It’s a 4-panel gag series, so don’t expect any serious material here, but the yuri is most assuredly real. If you want some idea of what to expect, imagine the most absurd moments of Girls’ Last Tour, and turn that dial in your mind all the way up to 11. Its surreal depiction of nihilism and depression feels perfectly fitting, and honestly the main relationship is even kinda cute in spite of how bizarre it all is. I can’t promise that GLT fans will like it, but they should at least give it a shot.
Yuri is My Job is like if Blend-S was good, and by that I mean it’s set at a “yuri cafe” where all of the waitresses perform the roles of classic yuri archetypes, and our main character is roped into this against her will after injuring the manager, which probably isn’t legal but ah well. This focus on performance brings up important questions of how well we can know others and even ourselves, and its writing is incredibly deft for what could otherwise be a very schlocky series. Poking fun at voyeurism is a classic premise going back at least as far as Hitchcock, and it works to great effect here both in creating drama and in delivering a satisfying yuri romance.
Liberty is exactly what we all need: a serious musical drama manga about two adult women. Now, I know that Octave, After Hours, and even another manga further down this list count, but this one’s got its own appeal. Written by Izumi Kitta, who’s a relatively well-known voice actress, it stars that classic yuri pair: a bored and somewhat detached games writer who finds herself pursued by the up-and-coming singer of a band she’s working with, after almost running over her in her car. Said singer is sometimes a bit… pushy when it comes to her advances, but it’s more than reciprocated, and is just one of many fantastic series on this list about adults.
Urasekai Picnic, or, Otherside Picnic, is an adaptation of a light novel by Iori Miyazawa, whose interesting interview will be linked in the description. Part of a new wave of yuri stories, it’s a science-fiction work taking a neo-Lovecraftian bent, where the main characters find themselves capable of accessing the titular Urasekai, meaning Reverse World, and attempting to discover how it and its dangerous oddities function, all alongside strong yuri drama. It’s a series named after the novel which inspired Stalker, so, I think that should be enough of a selling point. It isn’t licensed, but the novels are, so you can read those soon if legality is important to you.
Next up we’ve got Kase-san. As with Bloom, this shouldn’t need to be one I need to say too much about, but I’ve seen the strange rumor going around that it’s over, and it isn’t. It just isn’t. Anyway, with that clarified, let’s talk shop. While the release rate has slowed down, it’s been worth it, as Kase and Yamada contend with the newfound challenges of work, college, and living further away from one another. Their relationship is only strengthening with these new hurdles to clear, and damn are they clearing them. Also, Kase is really hot when she dresses up, and I just wanted you to know that.
Otona ni Natte mo, or, Even Though We’re Adults is about an utterly repulsive and captivating woman who cheats on her husband with a girl she meets at a bar. It’s not pleasant, but it’s pretty realistic as to the troubles of a relationship, and its handled wonderfully by the same mind who brought us Wandering Son and Sweet Blue Flowers, Takako Shimura. It’s still in its early days, but for those who clamor for a serious, adult drama about two grown-up women, this is exactly what you want, even running in a josei magazine. For those interested in reading fluff, and those who can’t feel a drop of sympathy for a cheater: turn elsewhere.
Watashi no Kawaii Koneko-chan, or, My Cute Little Kitten is the latest manga from Milk Morinaga, a name that should need no introduction but will get some anyway: she’s the author of Girl Friends. In her first series depicting two adult women(noticing a trend in the contemporary yuri market?) she portrays two roommates, both of whom have feelings for one another but find difficulty in spitting that out. It is, for the most part, a very Milk Morinaga story, with an overflowing of shoujo style and a plethora of misunderstandings, but its focus on adult roommates gives it a different tone, enough so to make it worth reading.
Still Sick is another popular genre of adult yuri romance… that of the office coworkers. Did that specific subgenre pop up, in spite of the relative infrequency of dating coworkers, because it duplicates the school dynamic in many ways, complete with senpai/kohai? Probably. Anyway, it stars a doujin manga artist who’s caught drawing yuri by her colleague at Comiket, or maybe some yuri event I can’t remember, a fact which is used to blackmail her into becoming friends. It’s frankly shockingly funny, and for anyone who enjoys stories about following your artistic passions, this is a good one.
Hayama-sensei and Terano-sensei are dating is exactly what it says, a fluffy romance about two teachers who also happen to be dating. Unlike many of the previous manga on this list, there is nothing here for you if you are a grouch who doesn’t enjoy cute girls being cute and sapphic with one another from time to time. To soapbox for a second, I’m happy we’ve reached this point. There was a time where all fluff was in schoolgirl series and romance with adults had to be dramatic, but that time has passed, and going off this list, it’d be hard to claim yuri has too many more schoolgirl stories than manga romance as a whole. Go us!
Tsukiatte agete mo ii ka na, translated as, So, Do You Want to Go Out, or, is not just a mouthful, but absolutely, searingly good. A college manga—man I love those—it stars two young women who just kinda lapse into a relationship because both are open, rather than out of some blinding passion. It’s nice, even with all the drama that comes with. More importantly, it’s legitimately laugh my posterior off funny—sorry for the censoring, gotta play to the adsense algorithms—though much of that comes down to the translation work; it’s nice to get a translator who’s willing to use modern slang when it’s appropriate. Five stars, must read for all.
Sasayaku You Ni Koi Wo Utau, or, Whispering You a Love Song is the kind of manga which is shockingly rare on this list, a simple girl meets girl love story set at a school, and yet it doesn’t feel at all out of place. When a young woman immediately falls in love with the performance of her senpai at her class reception, she promptly tries to tell her that… but ends up wording it like a confession. The senpai is enraptured with her right then and there, which is what begins this absurdly adorable little romance. Detailed lineart makes for very cute characters, whether troubled or over the moon. It’s a classic formula, but there’s a reason it became that way, because it’s still good.
My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! is universally, and by universally I mean in the West, called BakaRina, because the main character’s name is Katarina and she’s a complete idiot. Reincarnated into the world of an otome game she played once, it stars the purest girl who has ever lived, someone who only and always does right by those she cares about. Because of that, she accrues quite a harem, three members of which are girls. There’s plenty of guys in love with her too, so if you’re more of the separatist variety this might not be in your strikezone, but given that she’s unlikely to end up with any one person, this should satisfy yuri fans who want a bit of isekai mixed in.
Kimi ga Shinu Made Koi wo Shitai, or, I Want You to Love Me Until I Die is a fantastical horror series, where a magic academy employs young girls to fight and often die against some unknown enemy. Very little is clear in this series, and that includes my opinions on it! It’s strange, and even the relationships, constructed as they are by the school for the sake of their operations, do not feel the most genuine. But maybe that’s the point. I feel legitimately unnerved reading this manga, especially when its more gory bits come in, and it’s certainly yuri, so if that sounds up your alley, it probably is.
Cheerful Amnesia has been recommended before, but I’m gonna do it again. Another four-panel gag comedy, this one involves a girl who loses her memory and yet is still intensely attracted to her former girlfriend. Things have progressed since the time I last mentioned it, and while I won’t spoil too much, I will say that it feels like a manga that plans on wrapping up on the sooner end of things, so I’d jump on it now. It remains hilarious and with its progress has avoided dwelling too long on jokes that may have gotten stale. Go read it and thank me for doing so.
Motto Hanjuku Joshi is exactly what it sounds like: more Hanjuku Joshi. Said Hanjuku Joshi comes from Morishima Akiko, one of the most esteemed mangaka in the genre, and the fact that we’re getting more of it after a decade speaks to how blessed we are as a people, so if you focus on yuri alone and not literally anything else in the world, it seems like we’re moving to a great place! As with its predecessor series, it’s funny, it’s round, and it’s a damn good time. Morishima follows up on threads that were never quite tied in the original, while still letting its main girls be mostly happy, since they solved their problems in the past. This is how you do a sequel.
Lily Marble is strange, but it’s a good one. Its art style may not appeal to everyone, but a glance at it should show it’s for those of truly discerning taste. Centering a number of women who work at a gym, it shows various couples and pairings, while also demonstrating the fact that the members of those pairings have other friends, and lives, and other silly things like that. Perhaps more important though is that this manga is incredibly hot. It’s fanservicey, for sure, it’s just that the manner of fanservice isn’t D-cups and panty shots—no hate if that’s what you like—but fit women, stretching and stuff, and oh baby is that something which should exist.
Hana ni Arashi is even more “that one yuri manga you read back in 2005”, but I still love it. Its girls are keeping their relationship hidden, as the series is sure to tell you at the start of every chapter, but the thin, almost ethereal art is enough to draw the reader into the precarious romance immediately, and its endearing seeing them find little spaces for intimacy in and amongst their attempts at hiding their romance. Progress is slow, and drama can be brutally hard to sit through as a result, but hey, I somehow haven’t had anything quite like this on the list so far, and for what it is, this is very good.
Oddman 11 is another one I recommended before and oh my god has it ever changed in the year and a half—oh how time flies—since. As always, take the necessary caveat that the main character theoretically wants to date a boy into account, because even though the current path is clearly towards her beginning a polyamorous relationship with all the girls who are into her, it’s theoretically possible that my man Dowman Sayman could flip the script on me and go the bad route. Still, it’s probably about as absurd as Shimeji Simulation, and honestly funnier, so you don’t have an excuse to not be reading this. IT REFERENCES THE DRAKENGARD ENDING FOR PETE’S SAKE.
Luminous=Blue is an outstanding new series about a young photographer who transfers to the school of her idol, only to learn said idol is in a slump. Getting involved with a pair of ex-girlfriends, she finds herself caught in a web of deceit and manipulation. Which doesn’t sound like a cute romance because it really isn’t. There’s plenty of cute moments, but the ultra-detailed art contributes to both a very beautiful series and a deeply disturbing one, with plenty of room to fill in all the blanks with the lies told by the characters. Mean things happen here, and it could be the darkest work on this list if it weren’t for one more coming in a bit, but through that comes some very strong material on being honest with your feelings, the way photos reveal our hidden emotions, and the framing of sexuality. The fact I talked about this longer than any of the others says it all: this is a must-read for literally any yuri fan.
Koushin Koinu ni Koibumi wo, or, A Love Letter for the Marching Puppy has what sounds like a very thirsty title, but really, it’s quite a cute series, a classic senpai/kohai story with the twist of being in some alternate world’s version of a pre-war all-girl’s military officer school. It has an aesthetic that’s frankly to die for, though its vagueness surrounding the status of the Japanese Empire in its world may make some uncomfortable. What makes it really work is the dynamics: a senpai who’s gruff but soft on the inside, nervous about expressing affection, and a kohai who’s very outwardly loving make for funny jokes and heartwarming times. But also I just love the aesthetic, pre-war modernism is bae.
Dekisokonai Himegimi-tachi, or, Useless Princesses is another classic, the tale of a bullied, unpopular otaku girl and her bully, a fashionable, popular gyaru. After sticking up for the otaku on one occasion, the gyaru is bullied as well, and a friendship unites the two. This is a slow burn, not in terms of drama, which is frequent, but in terms of romance, which is slower than the tortoise. Still, the inherent unhealthiness of their relationship is explored in excellent fashion, especially in relation to fashion and presentation itself, acknowledging that things can be fixed, while also not glossing over the harm that was done before they had the chance to open up to one another.
“Omae Gotoki ga Maou ni Kateru to Omou na” to Yuusha Party wo Tsuihou Sareta node, Outo de Kimama ni Kurashitai, or, Do You Think Someone Like You Could Defeat the Demon Lord? is obviously a light novel adaptation, just look at the title. Set in a fantasy world, its lead was thrown to slavery by her allies in the Hero Party due to her supposedly weak skillset, but oops, she’s not that weak, and is able to save herself and her future girlfriend. It’s a gritty story that manages to find optimism in the worst of situations, aka, exactly what I live for. Read the web novel if you want something which actually updates, but warnings for very serious gore and depression, it’s really not a light work.
Hero-san and Former General-san is a tokusatsu-inspired comedy about a city’s hero and the alien(?) antagonists who wish to defeat her, except oops, one of the generals falls for her real fast and moves to join her team, making things a lot easier. This is primarily an otaku comedy-type series, one for people who are into toku, so if you’re both a big yuri fan and a toku lover than this is a manga for you, but its humor should be clear enough if you’ve seen, like, any Power Rangers before.
And last but not least we have Nettaigyo wa Yuki ni Kogareru. I said last year that it may be the best ongoing yuri series, and while contenders have popped up, I maintain my stance, even as the mangaka says she doesn’t see it as yuri. Its art and paneling continues to capture the wistful, melancholic feelings of young love better than anything else, and I won’t let anyone take that away from me, even its creator. Just please, please read this manga, especially if you’re a fan of Bloom into You.
And that’s all for this time! I’ve heard good things about Adachi to Shimamura but haven’t read it too deeply myself, and there’s surely some that I’m missing, but I hope you enjoyed. Now, I’ve gotta go watch Given with my bro since I’m a fujoshi now. Watch out for the Fragtime anime, it’ll be great! See ya!