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Lesbian content in Anime and Manga
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Posted 1/19/2012 6:42 PM


Supreme Being
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I'm surprised to see no one put up a thread about lesbian content in anime and manga. Not sure if this is the right place to put the thread but here it goes. I put the thread here since anime is basically animated shows from Japan and manga is Japanese comics, for anyone who did not know. In Japan lesbian content in anime/manga is split into two categories, shoujo-ai and yuri. Shoujo-ai is the softer version and is typically not adult in nature. It is most common in mainstream anime/manga and goes more in depth with the feelings a girl can have for another girl. Yuri is a more growing portion and is the most explicit. Yuri is lesbian content in anime/manga that portrays love, emotional intimacy, and more often than not sex between two women. Some softcore yuri is portrayed in mainstream anime/manga today but it is still associated with pornography and is most common in adult themed anime and manga. Needless to say there is A LOT of yuri content out there and I will be sharing all that I have here. I will provide summarys, screens, and reviews of my favorite yuri franchises. Needless to say this will be a LONG thread. If anyone else has thoughts, or info on any yuri anime and manga out there feel free to throw your two cents in.
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Posted 1/19/2012 9:16 PM


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Yami to Bōshi to Hon no Tabibito(Darkness, the Hat, and the Travelers of the Books)

A yuri anime released in 2003. Actually an adaptation based on an adult Japanese PC game by the same name, the anime is much more focused on the lesbian content than the game. The story follows Hazuki Azuma as she journeys to find her lost adopted sister and love interest, Hatsumi Azuma. Hazuki is aided in her search by Lilith, the keeper of a great inter dimensional library. Hazuki and Lilith must traverse the many different worlds in the library which are represented as books to find Hatsumi. Hazuki is the steryotypical tall, dark haired beauty who appears cold and uncaring to anyone but her older sister. Despite being younger she is much stronger and more athletic than Hatsumi. She is fiercely protective of Hatsumi and goes to great lengths to bring her sister happiness. Despite her devotion she views her romantic and sexual attraction to Hatsumi as vulgar and uses every inch of her will power to hold off her lustful thoughts. Hatsumi is is the older, but shorter of the two. She is mute and must talk through sign language. She is the opposite of Hazuki as she is much kinder and open with others. She always smiles at Hazuki and shows great understanding and care to her younger sibling. Lilith watches over the library which houses the books containing all worlds. She lusts HARD for Hazuki and will do anything to get her attention to the point of wearing skimpy bekinis and doing sexy poses in front of her. One of the better series I have seen, the animation quality is really good and all the characters are really likable. The story itself can be confusing at times but is well worth the wait for the semi big payoff at the end. As I said this series is filled with beautiful women lusting over each other and has one of the best lesbian kissing scenes in anime. Not the best or happiest of endings but worth it for the lesbian content.

Rating: 8/10


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Posted 1/19/2012 9:43 PM


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Looking forward to your contributions, chimekolover!

I've been a huge fan and collector of anime/manga with lesbian content for a long time, though my collecting waned after I graduated college. Dunno if that was the *real* reason, and I hate to be all "it was better in my day" about it, but it seems to me that the mid-90's to early 2000's was the pinnacle of creativity and ambition in anime. I would be delighted to be proven wrong with any new series you can bring to our attention.

I'll run down the series near and dear to me here:

  1. Shoujo Kakumei Utena - Duh. Any discussion of lesbianism in anime has to include this series (and its awesomely bizarre movie). Has to top the list in terms of the ambition and scope of the show, quality of the writing, animation, music, and acting, up-front-ness of the lesbianism (and other sexual fluidity), and actual happy ending. I did a more detailed review of this series for the store:

    Series - http://www.lezlovevideo.com/product_details/default.asp?cat=&scat=&ProductGroupID=DFA70C1945954B5E9BA9991746EB6F05

    Movie - http://www.lezlovevideo.com/product_details/default.asp?cat=&scat=&ProductGroupID=E60A016A3D3445B49B8828497933090F

  2. Oniisama-he - Earns its place in my heart almost up there (and at times surpassing) Utena for best lesbian anime, and one of the few with lesbianism as an explicit focal point. It's sort of the origin point for all of the school-romance type series that have come out recently, but those series all seem to miss the point. They outwardly depict all the same trappings - a beautiful western-style all-girl boarding school with an elite clique of ruling girls, a shy newcomer who gets swept up in all the drama. But the soul of the recent series is missing to me - the characters are all one-dimensional traits and it seems little thought was given to anything but the most papery motivations. Oniisama, written in the 70's by the great Ikeda Riyoko (who uses princely women and lesbian themes in many of her works), shows all of the richness of plotting that the others do not. Often melodramatic, it nevertheless captures well just how crushingly important the trials and tribulations of young teenagers seem when you're caught up in them. Alas, since it was written in the 70's, you know that the lesbian relationships don't really fare well in the end.

  3. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon - My introduction to anime (at the time, Dragonball or SM were pretty much the main gateway drugs), and still a masterpiece of the mahou shoujo genre. That it manages to so matter-of-factly include canonical lesbianism makes it remarkable beyond the ways that it reinvented its genre. It's not on the same level as the previous two series - the target audience is different and the constraints of its formula made that impossible, but there is still much charm to enjoy, especially into the final season where they take real chances with the kind of story they want to tell.


At this point you're already pretty much getting into "Also-Ran" territory - series that have a tangential lesbian character mostly played for laughs or titillation, reading between the lines of dialogue and glances to find pairs (or overreaching on big sister or senpai-type relationships), or one-off features. In roughly descending order of lesbian content/hinting:

  • Versaille no Bara

  • El Hazard

  • Shamanic Princess

  • Fushigina Kuni no Miyuki-chan

  • Battle Athletes

  • VS Knights Ramune & 40 Fire

  • Saber Marionette

  • Mahou Tsukai-tai

  • Slayers (*Really* stretching it now)


Now, of the new stuff I've seen:

  • Simoun - Yes, it has canonical lesbianism, and it's pretty to look at. But they could have done so much more with this premise - the ideas presented in the show and the relationships are remarkably shallow. They also have little real courage in what is depicted, as most of the physical and emotional content are only in relation to their piloting pair duties.

  • Aoi and Mutsuki - Features a common and regrettable plot device, the gender switch. Although the title pair are the main couple and relationship and get together in the end, one of them is actually a male transformed into a female, with all the jokes and stupid stuff that goes along with it. To me it's a cop out.

  • Kashimashi Girl Meets Girl - Our second example of "lesbians, but don't worry, one of them is REALLY A BOY!" The gender switch gimmick makes me take my evaluation down a notch for sure, but beyond that it's a fairly unremarkable relationship drama.

  • Strawberry Panic - One of the empty spiritual successors to Oniisama I was talking about earlier. There's a
    nice payoff at the end for the central pair but far too little good content (either on the relationship, plot, or characterization front) to make it worthwhile.

  • Nana - The best of the more recent anime I've seen in terms of a whole production. The lesbian content is really just an undercurrent, a sense that the main characters need each other that way, and they do often joke about it and have one playful kiss. The ending is pretty sour, though - really wish it wasn't so rushed, and I hope there will be more if the manga-ka ever gets back to writing.


Looking forward to others chiming in with their favorites and suggestions!
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Posted 1/20/2012 12:39 AM


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Candy Boy

Don't be fooled by the lame name. This is pure yuri/lesbian goodness! Candy boy is a 7 minute animated anime made for viewing on the internet. The sheer success and positive response to this short film led to a mini series of 7 episodes and 2 DVD exclusive extras ranging from 12-20 minutes. The series follows fraternal twins Kanade Sakurai and Yukino Sakurai as they attend high school together. Make no mistake these two have more than sisterly feelings for each other and say so several times through out the series. No unfortunately this is not a raunchy porn style love fest but that does nothing to diminish my love for this show. There relationship is fleshed out nicely(and cutely) throughout all 10 episodes. They also deal with the affections of Sakuya Kamiyama, who is in love with Kanade. This is one of the cutest and most beautiful yuri anime out there. The animation quality is top notch and almost movie quality. The girls themselves are beautiful and are a blast to watch. Yes there is a kiss in this show. The franchise also continues in two spinoff manga one simply called Candy Boy and Candy Boy: Young Girls Fall in Love. Do what ever it takes to watch the series and read the manga. There are also several Japanese fan comics called doujinshi out there that adds a more "sexual flare" to my favorite twins. I recommend them too!

Rating: 9/10

After a while I will post links to some of this stuff.


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Posted 1/20/2012 7:10 PM


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Re: Cutey Honey

A 2004 anime based on a series of manga that started in the 1970s. The story follows android girl Honey Kisaragi, who has the alter super heroine ego Cutey Honey. She defends Tokyo from Panther Claw, a evil super villian organization responsible for her creators' death. Honey is assisted by the gung ho Inspector Aki Natsuko of the Tokyo Police Department. At first Aki does not take a liking to Honey's bubbly and cheerful personality but over the course of the 3 episode series Aki really "warms up" to Honey! This is an awesome over the top action anime with great animation, great comedy and some great lesbian content in the form of one super hot kiss! Another must see!

Rating: 8.5/10


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Posted 1/21/2012 2:34 AM


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Loving the posts! Lots of stuff to check out.

It would be helpful if you could include whether the shows you are mentioning have been released in America and are still in print and for sale, or if we have to hunt them down, er, "other" ways.

I can imagine a sub-thread going on the topic of lesbian characters in Japanese RPGs and datesims (I already posted about Artificial Academy). Fertile ground there, as well as once you get to "stuff that was manga-only and never made it to animation."

Speaking of nothing, it's too bad that t.a.t.u. anime died on the vine. :/ It might have been pure junk but I'd have watched it. ^^v
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Posted 1/21/2012 3:39 AM


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Chirality

This is a sci-fi action manga which began in 1995 and ended in 1997. This is one of the best yuri manga EVER and is one of my favorite of all time! The story takes place in the not too distant future when Earth has been overrun by a technovirus that attaches itself to human spinal chords and transforms them into literal machine zombies known as GM. The virus was created by Gia a computer program used to regulate nature but has malfunctioned and gone rouge. Gia is in the midst of repairing itself and once complete, will set out to destroy the Earth. Humanity bands together to try and stop both GM and Gia. One response is to build an artificial being to save humanity. This being is the insanely beautiful Carol. Carol holds the DNA of every known animal species of both genders in her body and is able to shape-shift at will to any form as well as having the ability to absorb individual DNA from different people. However, when she was young she suffered greatly at the hands of humans and lost sight of her mission. She regained the will to keep going through with her mission thanks to the kindness of a human girl named Shiori. Now after meeting again years later Carol has never forgotten Shiori and will stop at nothing to protect and love Shiori. This is one steamy hot manga. The love that develops between Carol and Shiori both sweet and sexy at the same time. While technically a mainstream manga there is no shortage of ultra hot naked women running around. One of the best parts however is the insane amount of lesbian kissing that goes on in this series. You can barley go two chapters without Carol and Shiori frenching the living hell out of each other! And the reasonably lengthy build up in the two girls' relationship pays off big time in the final volume as we get TWO consecutive lesbian sex scenes! Did I mention these two have a happy ending? This is one of the most beloved and respected series in the yuri fan community. The artwork is painstakenly drawn and is amazing to look at. Also the author of this series is famous for putting lesbian conyent in almost all his works so expect more from this author on this thread. Lucky for us this manga IS available here in America and English. It has been a while since release so the 4 volume series is hard to come by. Expect to shell out some serious money for the final two volumes. Is it worth it? Look at the images and you tell me?


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Posted 1/21/2012 3:09 PM


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Queen's Blade

A series of visual combat books based on American game company Flying Buffalo's Lost Worlds series. Queen's Blade was later adapted into a 2 season anime series in 2009 along with several manga and novels. A third season is due out this year. The franchise is a high fantasy series in which a tournament called Queen's Blade is held every four years to determine the most beautiful and powerful Queen. Women from all over the world compete in the tournament for there chance to reign supreme. This series is the shit! Beautiful women in skimpy outfits with those outfits more often than not been torn to shreds and revealing bountiful breast! Oh boy is this series FULL of bare breasts! It's not short on yuri either! Depending on the series or manga you watch the lesbian content and the women involved vary greatly but the anime series is where it's really at! Luckily the story is none too shabby either despite being basic fantasy fare. All the girls get there time in the spotlight and you really get to know them which is a plus in my book. The first two seasons of the anime are available in America on DVD and Blu-Ray and are pretty easy to find. Check Best Buy or Fry's Electronics, even Amazon. Recommend both seasons but season one is best for me due to having the most lesbian kisses!

Rating: 9/10


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Posted 1/21/2012 11:13 PM


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Strike Witches

An sci-fi action comedy franchise which began in 2006 with a series of novels and expanded into a two season anime series, several video games, and many manga series both official and fan-made adult. Strike Witches tells an alternate history of our world in which World War I never occurred as all the nations in the world set aside there differences to fight a common enemy, the alien race known as the Neuroi. While common weapons even by WWI standards are somewhat effective much territory is lost to the invaders. To better combat the Neuroi all military forces draft and enlist women with magical abilities, witches. Witches use there powerful magic to completely turn the tide of the war and the Neuroi are driven from Earth. The franchise takes place during the equivalent of World War II as the Neuroi have returned with a larger invasion force and powerful new combat forms. To fight these new Neuroi new "witches' brooms" called Strikers are built. Strikers are advanced weaponry designed and named after real world WWII era fighters pertaining to each respective nation. They are worn, one on each women's legs to enhance her magical abilities as well as allow her to fly. This is one hell of a great series! The anime itself follows the exploits of the 501st Joint Fighter Wing as these girls fight to liberate Europe from Neuroi control. This show has everything! Action, comedy, great characters. Did I mention that all witches the world over don't wear anything on the lower half of there body? That is right all the witches wear nothing but panties in and out of combat! While this is a mainstream franchise it makes no bones about showing us how beautiful and sexy each women is! There is tons of female nudity and fantastic panty shots throughout this series! There is also tons of yuri! There are so many lesbian pairings in this franchise to even count. Couples vary from novels to games to manga and anime. The novel series that started it all has a lesbian love rectangle in which 3 girls pine for the loven of one particular Japanese girl. This same series of novels has two loving sex scenes. Another novel series has two American witches who are happily in love. The anime itself has at least 1 main pairing and several others with not so subtle hints! The main character of the anime for example, Yoshika Miyafuji, while being sweet, gentle, and kind has an extreme lust for large breasts. A German witch and Japanese witch share a drunk kiss that may have more meaning behind it. The main in your face couple share many sweet moments together throughout the series. This is a great series that has a little something for everyone! The anime series is available in America but so far only season one is out on DVD. Season two is slated for later this year and a new anime movie is in development and will be released in Japan in spring 2012. Several manga and the light novels have been translated by fans and I recommend it ALL! The best way to learn about this franchise is to visit the very extensive Strike Witches Wiki. Don;t miss out!

Rating: 9/10

Note: All witches gain there abilities by having animal familiars. When each witch activates her striker she gains some features of that animal. Mostly things like dog, cat, rabbit ears and tails. Kind of weird but it is Japan!


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Posted 1/22/2012 11:28 PM


Supreme Being
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Ragnarock City

An erotic one volume yuri manga, this full colore comic is short, sweet and to the point. A sequel to Chirality, the story follows Carol and Shiori's daughter Rachel Shiori Guardian as she heads to Ragnarock City to attend college. There she meets and falls in love with the mature and beautiful Kaede. This manga is filled with lesbian love and beautiful naked women all in glorious full color. Available in English but VERY hard to come by.

Rating: 8/10


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