I only started watching this show for two reasons. One, it is called YuruYuri, and any show with the gall to call itself its own genre should be interesting enough to take a glance at. Two, the line, “Your breasts have ruined my Christmas.” A line that reminds could spell either greatness or doom. But is this a disappointing sack pandering of crap, or does it stand out as a humorous romp? Read on for your answer!
Length: 2 Seasons with 12 episodes each
Available for free at this Link
The show is another slice of life show that focuses on a group of girls. Except unlike, well, most of the ones that I’ve seen, this focuses on middle school girls, and has less than 15 seconds with male characters, but more on that later. The characters are divided into three different small sects, with the first one being our main four, who have started an easygoing club that centers around their own amusement. We have the energetic blonde Kyoko, a cherry girl who does tread the obnoxiousness line a tab, yet managed to remain likable due to her optimistic outlook, the fact that she is a very surprisingly renowned doujin(ameture) writer, and I’ll admit to never having seen a character design that included a bow that I did not enjoy. But she brings in the Yuri undertone, which is as subtle as a flying whale, when she encounters the spitting image of her favorite magical girl manga character, Chinatsu.
The pink pom pom haired Chinatsu fills the role of the generally sweet, but would probably rips someones eyes out if they pissed her off enough. Well, that’s a bit unfair, since she never acts anything other than annoyed by Kyoko’s attempts to fondle or smooch her. Then we see her illustrations and, well, here’s Chinatsu’s drawing of her with her unresponsive love interest:
Yes, very yes. Let’s move on to the black haired one, Yui. She serves the role as the level-headed member of this club, who needs to stop Kyoko from eating all the snacks, and keep Chinatsu from kicking Kyoko because she made embarrassing clay of her. We sadly don’t get to see her develop as much as the other two, and in the end there was just an undercurrent of insecurity with her being an independent 13-year-old girl living by herself, which is amplified by the lack of risks she takes while playing RPGs on her “Insert parody name for the PS3 here”.
Actually, there are probably more undercurrents with characters. Like Kyoko’s possible rejection of reality unless something very important involving school needs to be done, and her ability to only learn through dedication, while she would live the rest of her life in a daze, dressed like a tomato, eating tons of Rum Raisin. And the possible inferiority Chinatsu might be feeling due to her older sister not loving her as much as she loves one of her peers, and how she is chasing after someone who she also views to be alone in order to create some sort of affection. Or maybe I’m just pulling this out of my rumpus, and this show is just about high school girls having fun. And if that was amplified by one character, Akari.
Serving as our red bun haired “Protagonist”, which is why I put her as the final member of this group, Akari is probably has the least depth of the quadrat, if not the all of the main eleven. Hell, the joke with her is how she lacks any presence in the show at all, which in turns results in her getting a ton of equally as odd baggage. She mostly behaves at the beacon of happiness and cuteness, and the only one without any major Yuri undercurrent. Well, I say that, but she is the only character in the show whose likeness is on a body pillow. Which is probably my favorite scene in the entire show, due to the sheer levels of cuteness.
You see, remember how I mentioned the lack of male characters in this show? I like to ignore every mention of male characters and just think of the show, and think it is actually a story about 12 and 13 year-old girls who are entering maturity in a world where every character is a hermaphroditic lesbian, except it also examines the friendships between children within this world. Now, this is just my own interpretation, but it is the kind of thing that makes a show go from enjoyable to being a blast!
Although, the blast only gets more enjoyable with more players, such as the Tsundere(dislike that leads into affection) Ayano of the student council. This Purple haired go getter starts off as a neck to neck rival when it comes to test grades with Kyoko, who can cram like it is nothing. But as is her character archetype, she eventually becomes, almost a bit disturbingly, devoted to getting it on with Kyoko. However, I like to think that this was caused by her calm and collected assistant, the platinum blonde Chitose, the embodiment of a Yuri lover. Or at least I think that’s what she’s suppose to be, again, this is hardly what I’d imagine when I pictured Yuri, so my knowledge on the subject is limited. You know how in anime, arousal is sometimes represented via a nose bleed? Well, Chitose is the logical extreme of that, where she takes off her glasses and then fantasizes about a KyokoXAyano scene, twice to the point where she is passed out due to blood loss. Now I hate the nosebleed trope, and I’ve got to admit that it is just hilarious to see, even if it is a running gag.
To help the council with oddjobs, we have the dynamic duo of the lazy, cheerful, and feisty dirty blonde Sakurako. Also, her best friend, who she often has grudges with, the intelligent, kind, dark Blue haired, and C cupped, Himawari. Despite having nearly half the cast as cheery girls, Sakurako is the only character who I would call out for being both rude and, let us be honest, pretty darn stupid. From her laziness, lack of desire when it come to learning nearly anything, and her unsubtle wave of tit envy.
She certainly does stand out and as negative as that description sounds, she’s still a joy to watch. Part of that balance needs to be the only endowed character in this show, Himawari puts up with some major crap, with Sakurako acting like she owns her, which does come full circle in a lovely flashback, but their on and off dynamic actually feels natural. Sure, this show covers about three years years of events, but I’ve had friends where we would get back together every month after we have a fight. Mind you I was 9 at the time, yet Sakurako certainly acts like someone of that age.
The cast contains a few more characters, like the “mute” student council president, who instantly intrigued me. A science teacher who loves to blow things up. In addition to Chitose’s twin sister, Chizuru, who is slightly ruder, is into the whole AyanoXChitose paradigm, and drools instead of nose bleeding. I enjoy all of them, but they are not really utilized much. In fact, I am actually a bit upset that we don’t see all of these characters mix and match. For the most part, they stay in their cliques, which do get a great deal of characterization.
There is a reason why I loves the random Christmas dates in one of the earlier episodes, because it had odd pairings, like Chitose with Akari, and Yui with Ayano. It is a point in a show’s favor to get me to care about fictitious entities more than most humans I’ve met, but Odd mix ups like Himawari with Chinatsu, and Kyoko with Sakurako, are both barely acknowledged. I just think that seeing these interactions has ignored potential, yet their banters still made me laugh once every 3-5 minutes.
I do suppose that there are issues. One of the most notable ones is how the show is in what amounts to a vacuum, where nothing really advances, most likely due to the time machine from one episode. Oh sure, they reference previous events, but not they get to the point where they literally repeat an event, although from a different perspective, yet it turns out that it already happened. It is not much of an issue, but it supplies more depth to this already interesting world that feels a bit wasted, since I find a lot of potential in the whole monogender world, especially if they are doing time travel in a way that is fairly unique. In the end, through some repetition, the show still remains to be enjoyable due to the colorful cast and dialog that surprisingly remains humorous despite a language barrier.
However, I can see a bit of a barrier to entry with the look of the show. Now, this is pretty standard animation, with nice expressions and not too many stiff moments that I can recall, but I’m horrible at noticing that stuff. Then we got to see the character’s eyes. They are pretty much circles with the normal eye design over it. There is something nearly uncanny about one of the characters staring blankly. I got used to it, with the exception of the first intro, where the stare still make me mildly uncomfortable. And unfortunately, whenever I try to look at it as a new viewer, the main four can look unded at times.
Although, I actually do like the simple and colorful character design, even if they use the same body, with the exception of the early bloomer, I was surprised how attached I got to most of the designs, with the Student Council President and Yui notwithstanding. Also, while I am not often a fan of the school uniforms in these shows, I actually really like the look of the red dress and the little short sleeved smock thing that is buttoned once. It just looks cute and is something different, since even with only a few shows with student uniforms under my belt, this still looks oddly refreshing.
Wrap it up, and I really can’t find much wrong with this show. It has some untapped potential and does repeat a bit, but even disregarding the interesting undertones the show is still one of the most traditionally fun programs I have watched in awhile. The colorful cast might be a bit odd looking from a quick glance, but it remains competent despite the fact that the industry is starting to look ever more similar. It did not set my world on fire due to the neglected monogender idea, yet I still say it is worth looking into. Well, as long as your relationship with Yuri is indifference at worse.