I was asked a couple of times during 2014 what I meant whenever I said “2014 is the 3rd Age of Yuri, along with which were the first and second ages. I will answer these questions in the following post. Keep in mind this post is based on the perspective of an open-minded yuri fan and not a purist. Oh and this post refers entirely to yuri anime. The yuri manga industry is a different sector I am not as knowledgeable about.
The interesting thing about this post is…maybe I was wrong. Read on to find out how my view was altered.
Oh and one more thing before we begin. This is a post regarding how much yuri content there was available in each timeline, not whether it was all good. That I leave up to the readers.
This pic is not from any particular show, just an image of my dream anime.
The Ages of Yuri can be best described as “camel humps”, or perhaps they should be compared to a dromedary hump in the sense that they all have one thing in common: Long periods of time where Grade 1 and 2 yuri shows aired that not only made major impacts in the yuri nation but there were also several other anime with yuri content that aired during these said periods.
First Age of Yuri: 2004
Here’s an explanation. The history of yuri was a bumpy one for the longest time. For years it was quite rare for a big time yuri show to premiere. Yes we did get the occasional impressive yuri shows like Utena and Devil Lady in 1998 or Noir in 2001. The thing is the amount of yuri content, subtext and canon, was obscure, inconsistent or of little relevance for the longest time. That is until 2004 when the above show, Maria-sama ga Miteru made an impact. It used an archaic “Class S” style of storytelling meaning simplistic, temporary crushes between female sempai and kouhai. That mentality is still present in modern Japan (The whole “lesbianism is just a high school phase” deal) but thankfully not as forced. Anyway after Maria-sama the number of Grade 1 yuri shows slowly began increasing with Grade 2 and 3 shows following along. Shows with apparent yuri content in 2004 include Mai-HiME, Nanoha, Doki Doki School Hours and of course Kannazuki no Miko. Like I said yuri anime was still in a bumpy period but shows with yuri content kept coming one by one with the occasional Grade 1 show.
Second Age: 2006
In 2006 the next big yuri show that made a definitive impact in the yuri nation and is widely considered the definitive starting point for most “90’s kids” yuri fans was the anime version of Strawberry Panic. Purists saw this as nothing more than a parody of “Class S” storytelling but to the majority of yuri fans who watched it it meant something greater. Two other shows that opened yuri fans’ eyes that year were Simoun and Kashimashi. Still it was SP that got the most attention in the yuri nation.
Third Age: 2009
’07 and ’08 were more periods of Grade 1 OVAs like Candy Boy, Shoujo Sect and Mnemosyne so we got some yuri around that time but not at a satisfactory rate. Then 2009 hit and with it two shows that though prematurely green-lit during their manga series’ run they still left favorable impressions…despite poor sales for both shows. I think it was either because of the aforementioned premature airing or because the mainstream was not yet ready to fully accept yuri greatness. 2009 was also the premiere of K-ON and we all know what that did for moe SoL. Pretty much the same thing Madoka did for dark mahou shoujo 2 years later, meaning to make their respective subgenres relevant to the mainstream again.
Fourth Age: 2011-2012
In 2011 two more yurirific impact making shows aired. Yuru Yuri and the aforementioned Puella Magi Madoka Magica which became the more surprising of the two because Madoka was initially not seen as a show with yuri content. I do not think I need to explain how huge both series are in the nation and the mainstream, though one is bigger than the other. Amazingly enough compared to prior years 2012’s yuri content continued going strong with the second season of Yuru Yuri that was possibly better than the first one.
Although 2013 also had plentiful yuri content there was no impact making yuri show. Kiniro Mosaic was great but it did not make the yuri nation explode with rapid fire joygasms.
Fifth Age: 2014-2015(?)
I daresay that of all the ages in yuri history the fifth has to be the richest and bountiful. As I mentioned earlier, unless you’re a purist, the abundance of animated yuri in 2014 (and possibly 15) has been enormous, possibly the largest by far.
Let me count most that I am aware of by Grade:
Grade 1: Sakura Trick, Akuma no Riddle, Inugami-san, Yuru Yuri OVA
Grade 2: Hanayamata, Locodol, Soul Eater NOT, Yuki Yuna wa Yusha de Aru, Go Go 575
Grade 3: WIXOSS, Sabagebu, Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2wei, Robot Girls Z, Is The Order a Rabbit?, Chuunibyou 2, Inari Konkon Koi Iroha, Nobunagun, Engaged to the Unidentified, Yama no Susume 2, No Game No Life
Grade 4: Kill La Kill 13-25, Blade and Soul, Cross Ange, Girl Friend BETA, Samurai Flamenco 13-22, Love Live 2, Witch Craft Works, Ore no Twintail, Date a Live 2
Grade 5: Super Sonico TV, Zvezda Plot.
“Murica”: Legend of Korra Book 4 (Supposedly). No idea if there were more Adventure Time episodes involving Marceline and Bubblegum apart from “Sky Witch” and “What Was Missing”. Hmm, unlikely.
And I did not even mention the ones coming in 2015.
So I guess it is actually 5 ages. Better make some edits to old posts for the sake of consistency.