Yuri 101 |A 40-Year Long Gap

1945-1970, the two-and-a-half decades immediately following the deadliest war in human history, a war which reduced much of Japan to rubble. The first period of Japanese industrialization and capital accumulation was long since over, and with it, the social environment had changed. While young women in all-girls’ schools continued to fall for one another while facing the idea that their feelings were mere practice for heterosexual marriage, the Class S movement, and the pessimistic hope for escape which accompanied it, were long-since dead, giving way to the growth of a broader queer subculture. But the path to yuri was not untread during this period. The rebuilding of Japan really did change everything, all aspects of the culture, and for our purposes, one of the most notable such changes was the blossoming of manga.

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Flip Flappers: The End of Psychosexuality

Flip Flappers was developed as a project drawing from topics which interested director Kiyotaka Oshiyama, and among those topics were the various branches of psychoanalysis, especially those of both Freud and Jung. As a work very directly about the psychosexual realm and its impact on development, specifically through the lens of queer awakening and the role of relationships in subject formation, the influence of these thinkers, as well as other works which drew upon them, like Neon Genesis Evangelion, is startlingly clear. Yet simply analyzing the series along psychoanalytic lines misses something; the show’s powerful pushback against many aspects of psychoanalysis. Cocona’s story, while certainly one of sexual awakening, is not a cut-and-dried Freudian or Jungian process of therapy and actualization. Mimi, despite clearly resembling an image of the Oedipal Mother, is not so simple. Rather, through both narrative and animation, Flip Flappers elaborates a view of the world and the mind which is much less singularly-focused than the thought of either Freud or Jung, telling a story which encourages us to forge connections and improve ourselves through an understanding of our fluidity and status as assemblages of disparate elements.

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