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Lesbian content in Anime and Manga
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Posted 1/22/2016 10:06 PM


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Quick hits on other yuri-related series:

Puella Magi Madoka Magica - I did a very long review of this series and its attendant movies, virtually none of which was about the yuri elements though, so I won't repost it unless someone asks. However, the series should be a must-watch just for the spectacular execution (a mature take on the magical girl concept). As icing on the cake, there's a very canonical lesbian pairing. I suggest avoiding the movies however.

Mawaru Penguindrum - Utena director Ikuhara Kunihiko's second (third if you count Sailor Moon S) show. It's every bit as packed with amazing art, heady concepts, and bizarre spectacle as his other shows. And of course it contains a bit of yuri.

Battle Girls - Time Paradox - An installment in the suprisingly prolific canon of "all-female, scantily clad warrior" genre of anime, it's a historical reimaging of feudal Japan as a conflict between various beautiful and busty female warlords. Plenty of service and a bit of yuri. It's at least funny and doesn't contain the nastier elements of say, Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid.

Akuma no Riddle - A more or less absurd story about a class of female assassins all playing a sort of game to be the one to kill a seemingly helpless classmate. Very mild whiffs of yuri aside from some eminently shippable pairings (each assassin is roommates with another that basically serves as a de-facto pairing).

Venus vs. Virus - This is tagged as yuri in all of the review and database sites as well as on the official stream, but there is absolutely, positively not even the smallest hint of lesbian feelings in this show. It's not there, it's not even really shippable, outside of a still image or two during the credits. However, it is an interesting show in its own right and features a fantastic opening song.

Shattered Angels - Ugh. This is awful. It's boring and irritating and stupid and doesn't make sense. It's part of a genre of shows where an animation studio takes popular characters from various past series and mashes them up in one new show with cosmetically new identities. I barely remember the plot and it doesn't matter anyway. It's not worth watching even for the few yuri bits unless you're just super desperate.

The Legend of Korra - Only hardcore shippers need apply. Perhaps the best example out there of American animators trying to take some of the things they love about anime and its ability to tell a mature story and apply it to an original English work, I think it's an enjoyable show with some interesting ideas and beautifully rendered action that is nonetheless held back by the fact that it aired on a kids network. The lesbian relationship is very, very, very subtly developed over the four seasons and the "confirmation" moment is so long in coming and so tame by romance standards that you'll think we're back in the 90's. But it's real, and it's cute, and the surrounding show is quite good.

Gakuen Polizi - Morinaga Milk's latest series after Girl Friends. It's a much smaller work (its two volumes combined are smaller than volume 1 of Girl Friends). Weirdly, it feels simultaneously too rushed and too slow. The attraction between the leads seems to come out of nowhere at the end of the series, there's really not much yuri here for the bulk of the story. And while there's more action happening here than Girl Friends most of it turns out to be non-events, and the author doesn't seem to be quite sure about how her own premise (high school students who are also undercover cops) works. But Morinaga's work is nothing if not cute and entertaining at least.
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Posted 2/6/2016 6:51 PM


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"Kindred Spirits on the Roof," a lesbian-themed visual novel "datesim" type game, has been translated and will be imminently released on Steam:

http://www.mangagamer.com/detail.php?goods_type=1&product_code=165

There's a free demo, and if you preorder before the release on Feb. 12 it's 15% off. I haven't played it yet but my understanding is that there is at least nudity and "frank depictions of sexuality." Will update when I get a chance to play.

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Posted 2/14/2016 12:14 AM


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I've played the demo of Kindred Spirits now. It was my first experience actually reading a visual novel, and I found the first couple of scenes veeery slow and was getting kind of frustrating with the pacing and amount of repetition. However, it picked up a lot after the plot started branching out into the various couplings and I definitely find myself entertained enough to purchase the full version.

There was no adult content in the demo, but my understanding is that, like all H-games, the road eventually leads to sex. The sex scenes in visual novels and H-games are generally pictures and text, so be sure to have your expectations set appropriately.

Right now it's available on Steam, which I understand is a milestone to have a game with sexual content on that platform. If you don't use Steam, at some point it will be available directly from the publisher, mangagamer.com, but right now they're not taking orders because of issues with their payment processor.

Will update again after I read the whole thing.
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Posted 3/29/2016 11:44 PM


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Aoi Hana

Having been a fan of yuri/shoujo ai for a long time, I have seen (and previously remarked) on the way the genre has developed. It used to be that for the most part, reading between the lines was about the best you could hope for. You could count on one hand the number of canonical lesbian pairs, and with like, two fingers the number of shows with lesbian main characters.

For better or for worse, while the yuri genre isn't exactly prolific, it has become much more established and in any given year you can expect at least a couple of anime and quite a large number of manga/doujinshi on the topic. The downside is that as the genre has achieved more popularity, a set of tropes and formulas has crystallized around it that seem to really stifle creativity. Before, when lesbian characters popped up, they could be anything from the pervy princess' consort Alielle in El Hazard to the powerful Outer Senshi Haruka and Michiru in Sailor Moon to the tormented Saint Juste in Oniisama-he. Nowadays, you are likely to find that the overwhelming majority of yuri involves a young moe girl starting out a prestigious all-girls high school where pretty much everyone seems to be crushing on everyone else, no one ever says the words "sex," "I love you," or "lesbian," and if you're lucky there's a kiss at the end of the series. Most of the rest is the flipside of this in smutty dreck like Valkyrie Drive and Koihime Musou.

The reasons for this basically boil down to, 1. The primary consumer for yuri is Japanese male otaku, and 2. this is what they buy. Much like the primary consumer for yaoi/shonen-ai (boys' love) works is women, it's not a commentary on anything so much as a matter of numbers. As an afficionado of lesbian material in other media spheres, I certainly understand the market factors at work here. But the gap is still disappointing - it would be as if the only lesbian porn available was pg-13 women-in-prison movies, and your traditional mainstream toyfest. That satisfies some desires, maybe even a lot of them, but there's a whole fertile middle ground missing of all the fantastic amateur and small studio content we've been blessed with over the past 15 years or so.

This is a very long-winded way of delaying me saying "Aoi Hana is about young girls starting at prestigious all-girls academies where many girls harbor secret and not-so-secret admirations and crushes on the other girls around them," because while it *IS* that, and in the elevator pitch would never make you distinguish between it and the many soundalike yuri series out there, it is distinguished in some very key ways that make it a transcension of the genre rather than just another clone.

The story, written by a female manga-ka in a magazine for a male audience, nevertheless proceeds quite deftly and fearlessly into depths usually unplumbed by similar works. The manga spans 52 chapters over 8 volumes, and the anime covers roughly the first 3. I highly recommend you seek out both, because you will want to read the conclusion of the story, and in many ways I found the anime to be a better paced and more coherent version of the story (it is also unbelievably gorgeous, starting with the opening credits done by the master of yuri himself, Ikuhara Kunihiko. See if you can spot the many, many Utena parallels).

Because the story spans 3+ years and includes the comings and goings of a large number of characters and their families, it is hard to do true justice with a synopsis here. But that in itself is rare - most of the time series like these tend to only span one academic year. And, in another feat, there are actual realistic male characters here with roles to play.

The basic plot is about a tall, bespectacled, quiet crybaby named Fumi and her small but energetic and confident friend Akira reuniting after many years apart. They are attending separate high schools, but after a meet cute are able to rekindle their friendship. The story goes through their lives and loves and that of their friends and family. All of the characters act in reasonably realistic ways and are given space to grow and change.

So, what about the yuri? Well, it is everywhere, probably to an unrealistic degree, everything from your standard akogare crushes to a teacher who is all but married to her friend from school. But the centerpiece is Fumi. Fumi is gay. No equivocating, no "I don't understand these feelings for another girl, is this wrong?" She knows and accepts herself as a woman who is sexually attracted to other women. This highlights her most amazing quality - she has an unmatched inner strength that is VERY unlike your standard anime/manga girl. She may be shy and cry easily, but she is fearless when standing up for herself and confident in what she wants, which is pretty amazing to witness.

*SPOILERS NEXT PARAGRAPH*
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Her friend Akira is not so lucky. As you might expect from the covers/opening, the main relationship is between them, but Akira is not as blessed as Fumi in terms of understanding of who she is and what she wants. In fact, they are just friends for over half of the series, with Fumi realizing and nursing her crush alone only after breaking up with another girl. By the time they get around to trying things out, Akira is only trying to please her friend. She has no real understanding of romantic love or lust and doesn't feel it herself.

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*END SPOILERS

I will refrain from discussing the end explicitly. Unfortunately it does seem a bit rushed and out of the blue. It is certainly not disappointing, or out of character, and it could be interpreted a few ways, but is generally happy, which is a good thing. It suffers as many of its peers do from ending at an arbitrary and abrupt place without a lot of explicit resolution. I think we are still waiting on the perfect series that marries great characters, an interesting story, realistic behavior, and a statisfying, direct, happy conclusion. But Aoi Hana comes *damn* close.

I took a long time to come around to this series. The somewhat plain watercolor covers and often minimalist character art didn't immediately appeal to me visually, and the summaries I skimmed seemed like it was just another schoolgirl romance. But it's actually a stone-cold classic, and I'm writing this hoping other fans won't make the same mistake, and maybe, just maybe, a miracle will happen and our support will encourage a season 2 of the anime to cover the rest of the story!

* TL/DR - BUY THIS. WATCH THIS. FIND THIS. READ THIS.

PS - The English version of the title, which appears on the Japanese books by, I assume, decision of the author, is "Sweet Blue Flowers," though the Japanese title does not contain the word "Sweet"
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Posted 4/22/2017 9:10 AM


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I am back from the dead. lost the info for my old account and decided to make a new account. lots of yuri to post about so here goes.

Gamma

A 2013 action manga series, Gamma is a series involving super heroes, super villains, giant monsters, and aliens in a future Japan. The story follows sisters Miyuki and Yuri Kitajishi as they help Japan's heroes save the world from tyranny. Even if the premise sounds like it would end with a hetero romance, trust me it doesnt. in fact in this series its safe to say that roughly 90% of the main female cast winds up in some lesbian relationship by the end, including the two main sisters! This series has lots of action, a fun story, great and over the top characters and best of all, lots and LOTS of great yuri content! absolutely worth a read and it can be found in English fan translations in the link below! Just a heads up, the author of this awesome series seems to have a preference for doing mostly lesbian stuff. A lot has been done and I will post what I can on here.

Manga score= 9.5/10
Yuri Score= 10/10

https://dynasty-scans.com/series/gamma


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Posted 4/23/2017 11:35 AM


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I will post more Gamma pics from the author of Gamma showing off the awesome art and sexy lesbian action!

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Posted 4/23/2017 10:17 PM


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Welcome back, Chimeko! Gamma is definitely a good one, especially from the standpoint that it features a story other than your bog-standard "naive girl new girl at a prestigious all-girls school falls for a dreamy upperclassman. They do normal school stuff and maybe at the end they kiss."

It takes the author until the last volume to take the training wheels off and show some real physical affection (before that it's mostly jokey "siscon" stuff played for laughs, and the ultimate pairing is not the two sisters, if you were hoping for that). And I didn't entirely love the way the end plays out, but still, it's a solid 8/10 for me.
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Posted 4/24/2017 7:27 AM


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More Gamma.

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Posted 4/24/2017 2:41 PM


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Even more Gamma!

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Posted 4/25/2017 1:36 PM


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Yet even more Gamma!

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