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HOLY SHIT PEOPLE, IT'S NOT BAD ENOUGH WE'RE GETTING AN UTENA EXHIBITION RIGHT NOW

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#1 | Back to Top04-21-2016 06:05:29 AM

Koshernova
Touga Topper
From: City 7
Registered: 08-22-2010
Posts: 54
Website

Yuri/Shoujo Ai anime/manga recommendations!

Hi all!

I've been looking for recommendations for yuri/shoujo-ai anime. Thing is: I don't trust most anime reviewers out there, for the simple reason that most of them... are straight dudes. And here's the thing: I'm a lesbian raised on Utena and Sailor Moon and I care about love stories. Epic, tragic, whatever. I'm currently on a Macross kick (see avatar) but save for the occasional background character, the epic love stories are always mostly straight (some characters may be bi but this isn't explored, and I have my own theories about Alto's self-ID ;) ).

BUT YEAH! I know I'm mostly a lurker here but you lot have always struck me as a decent bunch about these things so: Is there any anime/manga you can recommend that is decently written, keeps the fanservice minimum and gives lesbian/bi/queer women's relationships the weight they deserve? I'm particularly interested in more recent work, especially if the author is a lesbian/bi/queer woman themselves

Thank you!

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#2 | Back to Top04-21-2016 10:43:11 AM

Nocturnalux
Qualified Duellist
From: Portugal
Registered: 09-10-2007
Posts: 741

Re: Yuri/Shoujo Ai anime/manga recommendations!

As it happens with BL, you are better off finding good yuri in manga format than in anime. With that said, here are a few recs:

Aoi Hana
Very compelling and heartfelt lesbian romantic drama. Unlike a lot of the genre it does not just cover the teenage years but actually follows the characters into young adulthood so that one has a sense of their growth. Great psychological insight and no fan-service at all.

Sasameki Koto
This one needs time to develop as it starts out as a comedy about a tomboyish girl who is secretly in love with her best friend, a girl who is obsessed with cute girls. The first volume or so is dedicated to the funny hijinks as one of the girls has to endure her object of affection gushing about her many crushes, all of which are the exact opposite of the tomboy, while the two endure a couple of lesbians who wish to form a club just for girls at their school; but it develops into surprisingly deep stuff later on.
Sasameki brings to attention some of the clichs associated with lesbianism and does a terrific job at contesting them. Some of the secondary cast also gets to truly shine, namely a girl who makes yuri doujin.
The mangaka is male but do not let that put you off this one. The transition from pure silly fluff to serious emotional territory is gradual and does not feel forced either.

Simoun (anime)
Simoun manages to have flying machines powered by girls kissing without being exploitative, which is quite a feat. It also has some wonderful sci-fi world-building and great characters. I need to rewatch it but I recall being very impressed by it.

Marimite
The actual lesbian content in this one is rather low, despite being so famous for being the ultimate yuri everything. But it is well worth watching for its delicate approach to relationships between girls, be they of a lesbian nature or not. The refined school setting adds a weird, borderline historical feel to it. The cast is full of unique characters and they all get developed.

Akuma no Riddle
AnR is not half as deep as the titles mentioned so far but it has so many Utena vibes that it deserves some attention. Imagine a cast full of girls stuck on Black Rose mode, all vying to kill a frail girl in order to gain something that was promised to them by a clearly shady organization, add to this a tough girl who is protecting the victim, set battles complete with a letters of challenge, make the setting a school and you are all set.
The manga is still ongoing so there is potential for its becoming better. From the same mangaka there is also Loveless where the lesbian element is not the focus but well worth mentioning since it covers two of the most interesting characters in the entire manga.

Also worth mentioning: Girlfriends (manga), Mai-Hime (anime, I personally disliked it but many people swear by it), Shitsurakuen (manga, often accused of ripping off Utena and seems to have a less than stellar conclusion), Kimi Koi Limit (manga), Octave (manga).

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#3 | Back to Top04-21-2016 03:17:03 PM

Decrescent Daytripper
Best Disney Princess
Registered: 04-09-2007
Posts: 2788

Re: Yuri/Shoujo Ai anime/manga recommendations!

If you're looking for more serious, considered efforts, anime is probably much less the way to go than manga.

Plicca is a wonderful strip that's basically just a young woman trying to find her way, but, y'know with heart. It also has my favorite moment in all comics.

Konno Kita has some wonderful romantic shorts, including the fantastic In the Afternoon.

You might want to spend some time over at Lililicious, perusing a bit.


My Brain is the Wakaba and Shiori Funtime Hour. With limited commercial interruption.

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#4 | Back to Top04-22-2016 06:00:55 AM

malna
Caretaker
From: Poland
Registered: 10-03-2011
Posts: 209

Re: Yuri/Shoujo Ai anime/manga recommendations!

Tamen De Gushi, Chinese manhua is wonderful, though it is probably much more light-hearted than what you're looking for. I find it very sweet, funny and charming. Fresh, too - a bit different to most.

Last edited by malna (04-22-2016 06:02:08 AM)


a lot of hope in one man tent

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#5 | Back to Top04-23-2016 02:41:50 AM

Yams
Nest Boxer
From: Crystal Millenium
Registered: 02-13-2007
Posts: 962

Re: Yuri/Shoujo Ai anime/manga recommendations!

Nocturnalux wrote:

Simoun (anime)
Simoun manages to have flying machines powered by girls kissing without being exploitative, which is quite a feat. It also has some wonderful sci-fi world-building and great characters. I need to rewatch it but I recall being very impressed by it.

^ This x120

Simoun is good stuff.


http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i232/YamPuff/im%20holllowz_zpsx9ddh2gp.png~original

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#6 | Back to Top05-08-2016 02:14:48 PM

Koshernova
Touga Topper
From: City 7
Registered: 08-22-2010
Posts: 54
Website

Re: Yuri/Shoujo Ai anime/manga recommendations!

Thanks for the recommendations everyone!

I just finished Sasameki Koto today. It was adorable! A bit too slice-of-life in some ways and while the art reminded me of Azumanga Daioh it didn't gel together as well. BUT GODDAMMIT THE LOVE STORY etc-love

And yeah I found out the anime just covers the beginning of the story, didn't get renewed. I also get the impression that the English release of the manga got cancelled? Volume 3 came out over a year ago and all. Anyway, it was so cute!

I'll check out some of your other recommendations, thank you x

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#7 | Back to Top05-08-2016 05:01:44 PM

Nocturnalux
Qualified Duellist
From: Portugal
Registered: 09-10-2007
Posts: 741

Re: Yuri/Shoujo Ai anime/manga recommendations!

I'm glad you enjoyed Sasameki Koto. Originally it was only meant to be a funny, tongue-in-cheek one shot but the mangaka received such positive input from fans that he decided to expand it into a multi-volume manga for which I am very glad.
As for the anime only being a very partial adaptation, that has become the trend with virtually all sorts of non-original anime. Very rarely will you find an anime adaptation that covers the entirely of the source material, for all sorts of reasons but mainly because it normally would take too long and eventually keep a new lineup from featuring each season. So only very popular anime are get more than one cour and even those in all likelihood will still be only partial adaptations even if the manga is no longer running.
These days anime serves mainly to promote the source material. 

Aoi Hana suffers from the exact same problem, what the anime does cover from the manga is great but if you want to have any sense of closure you will have to turn to the manga.

And Blue Drop just came to mind. It is sci-fi yuri and may interest you. I am not entirely sure but I think the anime is also a partial adaptation.

Last edited by Nocturnalux (05-08-2016 05:06:16 PM)

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#8 | Back to Top06-14-2016 01:46:28 AM

Aelanie
Black Rosarian
Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 377

Re: Yuri/Shoujo Ai anime/manga recommendations!

Passionate yuri fan of nearly 20 years here. Like you, Sailor Moon was what brought me to anime. Utena soon followed. Since then, I've borne witness to every step of of yuri's growth, from the prehistoric era, through the time it finally took cohesive form in the early 2000s spurred by the commercial success of SM, SKU, and Marimite, to the flowering of the Golden Age of Yuri Anime (2004-2009), and the subsequent paradoxical flourishing of yuri manga as substantive examples in anime declined (but not disappeared) in the 2010s...I've seen and read it all.

For anime,
Simoun (Beautiful, atmospheric, thoughtful, and unutterably bittersweet. One of the greatest anime ever made, with yuri or without it. Releasing in 2006, it helped define the peak of the Golden Age.)
Blue Drop (Wistful and sad, but real. As Nocturnalux indicates, this is only one piece of a larger multi-story setting, but stands perfectly well on its own. The other pieces of the franchise are of...varying quality.)
Kannazuki no Miko (Does have some service, but the relationship of the girls is the theme of the entire show, and very seriously handled. It was a watershed moment in yuri when it aired in 2004.)

For manga, there's a lot to choose from. This is the site to go to for yuri manga, a former yuri scanlation group that now acts as an aggregator for other yuri scangroups: http://dynasty-scans.com
Over the years, it has become a very large repository of the corpus of scanlated yuri works. Particular artists that I can recommend in the style you're looking for are:

Morishima Akiko (widely considered the best of the best in yuri)
Chi-Ran
Takemiya Jin
Amano Shuninta
Ootomo Megane

If these seem like not much, that's because these are the gold standard, no-risk "S-tier" recommendations that I could make to anyone and feel safe. If you are interested I can give many more "A-tier" offerings out of my own favorites. There is a great body of stellar yuri works, some of which are great portrayals of female-female romance, some of which are simply good solid escapist entertainment.

Aoi Hana, aka Sweet Blue Flowers

A sad case. Once upon a time, it was yuri's greatest hope. Releasing in 2009, it was supposed to be the chosen one that would lead us even higher into a nirvana of substantive lesbian-minded yuri in anime. The opening sequence of Aoi Hana - designed by Ikuhara himself - perfectly encapsulates our joy and optimism from that time. In reality, it was one of the last great yuri anime of the Golden Age (which its commercial failure helped to define the end of) and ultimately the later stages of the manga were a disappointment. The two female leads do end up together in the end, but the way it happens will probably leave you feeling angry at the selfish and cavalier behavior of one of them.


Shitsurakuen

Do not read that. Ever. Do not be curious. Do not "give it a look". To sum it up, it is about a system of institutionalized, intentionally dehumanizing physical and emotional abuse of women by men, which then tries to suggest the male abusers (most of whom were enthusiastic participants) were "suffering" too because of the system. They are then forgiven and most of the women they were abusing end up romantically involved with their abusers. It is one of the worst, most disgusting manga I have ever read in my long career. Your lack of familiarity with it, which I envy, is a blessing on your life that must be preserved at all costs.

Last edited by Aelanie (06-14-2016 10:37:30 PM)

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#9 | Back to Top06-14-2016 04:23:07 PM

Nocturnalux
Qualified Duellist
From: Portugal
Registered: 09-10-2007
Posts: 741

Re: Yuri/Shoujo Ai anime/manga recommendations!

Aelanie wrote:

Kannazuki no Miko (Does have some service, but the relationship of the girls is the theme of the entire show, and very seriously handled. It was a watershed moment in yuri when it aired in 2004.)

I was going to mention KnM as I really enjoyed it but it is flawed on many levels. The way it smashes genres together did not work all that well and the mechas were rather random. For once I preferred the anime to the manga as the voice acting and OST really enhanced the story.
But it was indeed an important hallmark in yuri making it to anime. KnM manages to keep the lesbian romance at the center of the show and did not default into the usual bait-and-switch homosexuality.

Along the same lines, and suffering from some of the same issues, is Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabihito. I am only familiar with the anime and since I watched it back to back with KnM and given how visually alike the couples are I cannot help but thinking of them as kindred shows.

Aelanie wrote:

Shitsurakuen

Do not read that. Ever. Do not be curious. Do not "give it a look". To sum it up, it is about a system of institutionalized, intentionally dehumanizing physical and emotional abuse of women by men, which then tries to suggest the male abusers (most of whom were enthusiastic participants) were "suffering" too because of the system. They are then forgiven and most of the women they were abusing end up romantically involved with their abusers. It is one of the worst, most disgusting manga I have ever read in my long career. Your lack of familliarity with it, which I envy, is a blessing on your life that must be preserved at all costs.

I am glad I never got around to finishing it, then. I read enough to know just how disturbing and truly offensive such a conclusion is.

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#10 | Back to Top06-14-2016 04:34:26 PM

Aelanie
Black Rosarian
Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 377

Re: Yuri/Shoujo Ai anime/manga recommendations!

Nocturnalux wrote:

Along the same lines, and suffering from some of the same issues, is Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabihito. I am only familiar with the anime and since I watched it back to back with KnM and given how visually alike the couples are I cannot help but thinking of them as kindred shows.

Ah, Yamibou. It was always an interesting case. You're correct; Yamibou was very much a kind of precursor to KnM, and certainly seems to have influenced it. I like to think of it as "the promise" and KnM as "the fulfillment". Yamibou is indeed deeply flawed, but also very compelling. Hazuki and Hatsumi's feelings are beyond doubt, it's just that the ending was something of a mess due to actually being THREE different endings (one happy, one neutral, one unhappy), in an experimental mimicry of the visual novel from which it was born. Hazuki and Hatsumi do in fact canonically end up together in the VN; they're actually very minor side characters, which makes it all the more mysterious that they - and their relationship - were selected to play the main role in an anime adaptation.

It is not the best, but it's a show I look back on fondly both for its own merits and due to its curious place in yuri history.

Last edited by Aelanie (06-14-2016 04:47:06 PM)

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#11 | Back to Top06-22-2016 12:29:22 AM

cel
New Student
Registered: 11-17-2015
Posts: 4
Website

Re: Yuri/Shoujo Ai anime/manga recommendations!

I highly agree with Aelanie's recommendations of Morishima Akiko (collabing with Ikuni for Yuri Kuma Arashi) and Amano Shuninta, their stories are beautiful and are must-reads. emot-keke
Some light hearted manga would be Ratana Satis's works and Kuzushiro's Inugami-san and Nekoyama-san!
And then there's of course What Does the Fox Say... (nsfw is in there emot-redface)!

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#12 | Back to Top09-20-2016 10:15:53 PM

Amasis
Juri Jeerer
Registered: 05-23-2016
Posts: 40

Re: Yuri/Shoujo Ai anime/manga recommendations!

http://dynasty-scans.com/series/the_pri … loneliness
[Запиcки из подпольюри хахаха]

Last edited by Amasis (09-21-2016 01:59:32 AM)

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#13 | Back to Top10-16-2016 08:16:59 AM

malna
Caretaker
From: Poland
Registered: 10-03-2011
Posts: 209

Re: Yuri/Shoujo Ai anime/manga recommendations!

Oh wow, the latest chapter of Tamen De Gushi involved a fearsome goose(!) resolving conflicts with basketball. Coming next, Sun Jing no Basuke. This manhua is so lovely.


a lot of hope in one man tent

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#14 | Back to Top10-25-2016 06:27:35 AM

Koshernova
Touga Topper
From: City 7
Registered: 08-22-2010
Posts: 54
Website

Re: Yuri/Shoujo Ai anime/manga recommendations!

I haven't checked this thread for a few months so all I can say is: wow! My cup runneth full!

Thank you so much everyone for the recommendations! At the moment I'm trying to wrap up some anime/manga loose ends before I embark on new stuff again (I'm in the last couple episodes of Macross 7 and the second Legend of the Galactic Heroes Gaiden, and manga-wise I'm trying to finish up Japan Tengu Party Illustrated).

Also a big thanks to Aelanie for the very comprehensive contribution! Believe me, I'll be using what you and the others have written here emot-smile

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#15 | Back to Top11-11-2016 02:46:40 PM

Aelanie
Black Rosarian
Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 377

Re: Yuri/Shoujo Ai anime/manga recommendations!

My pleasure, believe me. As said, I would be happy to provide more at any time.

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