The Ages of Yuri Anime

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.

Kitchen yuri

This pic is not from any particular show, just an image of my dream anime.

Camel

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.

Maria-sama ga MiteruChikane and Himeko

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.

Nagisa and Shizuma Strawberry PanicSimounKashimashi_cast_of_characters

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.

Sasameki Kotoaoi-hana

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.

yuruyuri_103madoka-magica-dark

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.

Sakura Trick Main CastAkuma no Riddle CoverInugami-san and Nekoyama-san

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.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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27 Responses to The Ages of Yuri Anime

  1. Lucas Magnus says:

    This year has been amazing in terms of yuri, and 2015’s looking to be promising too.

    Like

  2. Hanneman says:

    Awesome post, i was wondering about these other ages of yuri, but never got to actually ask it to you.

    I wasnt aware of how productive this year was. Time just flew by with these awesome works presented this year. I’m sure as hell that 2015 wil be as good as this year was for our Nation. We got it covered for the first semester of the next year, at least!

    Like

  3. cirno9fan says:

    I really need to go over your rating system again…

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      Not that complicated.

      1: Show’s all about yuri and its content is 100% canon.
      2: Subtext or canon the yuri plays an important secondary role in the plot.
      3: Yuri is not important to the plot but it’s not meaningless.
      4: Usually meaningless fanservice. Sometimes the yuri is sweet but other times one wonders why it’s there to begin with.
      5: Subtext to the max.

      Like

      • cirno9fan says:

        I wonder why Witchcraft Works is questionable though? There was a confirmed lesbian couple (they kinda split up and had kids, but they still are in love with each other even after that), and then there’s some subtext in there outside that. It’s definitely not a grade 3, but you should be able to put it in a grade 4 or 5.

        Maybe it’s just that you haven’t seen it yet?

        Like

      • Overlord-G says:

        You got me there. Grade 4 it is.

        Like

  4. Wixoss Observer says:

    Glad you clarified your views of the “yuri ages”
    Personally, I don’t even consider 2004 to be a yuri age but more like a smaller particle of an age. whatever that’s called. small hump on the camel? 😛 lol.
    Yuri started for me with SP novels and manga + Kashimashi (genderbent yuri, but whatever, still have mixed feelings bout it).
    I didn’t compute that Kashimashi was a form of yuri till later tho.

    ~~~~
    Btw, what’s a purist in this context here? You mean someone who can’t stand something like kashimashi, which was a genderbent yuri? or someone who absolutely hates seeing a partner in the yuri couple kiss a boy? (tho this latter part I find happens to many regular yuri fans anyway)

    Like

    • Wixoss Observer says:

      Oh, and what do you mean by “maybe I was wrong”?

      Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      That’s part of what purists are. Also they refuse to accept anything other than Grade 1 yuri as actual yuri. Subtext does not compute with them, neither does gender-bending.

      Kashimashi is yuri. You just have to accept that Hazumu has always been a girl even though he was born a boy.

      Like

  5. r0nkun says:

    Hopes to this not being the “fifth age”, but the beginning of a continuous trend of growing yuri with content for years to come.

    Like

  6. rishi1998 says:

    Hey there so i was saying that u missed mouretsu pirates (who needs subs for its movie ???) Where is the yuru yuri ova ? Rinne no lagrange? Speaking of which this blog freshemed up my memories thx a bunch for this u rock!!!#^_^#

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      -Lagrange was last year.
      -Haven’t seen how much of Lynn X Jenny time there is in the movie.
      -Don’t know when the OVA will get a release but the movie came out this year.

      Like

  7. David says:

    It’s hard to think of them as ‘ages’. It looks more like cycles, where there’s a spike in activity every couple years. Certainly, an ‘age’ should not be able to be describable in a single year.

    In general, an age is usually thought of as describing an overarching concept spread out over time. The Bronze Age, the Industrial Age, etc. Though it would be a very superficial classification since I haven’t spent a huge amount of time on it, I’d probably describe yuri ages as:

    1) Class S. From Utena to Maria-sama, to Strawberry Panic, to Simoun. Even if not strictly falling under the ‘Class S’ formula, there’s a fairly strong sense that the relationships are part of a ‘phase’, being implicitly or explicitly the romance of immature individuals. This doesn’t require that yuri is left behind on graduating, only that the relationships that come after graduating are on a very different level than beforehand (Simoun in particular uses this in a most blatant manner). Roughly 1998-2006.

    2) Warmth. I really don’t know a proper term to describe this, but it includes Candy Boy, Aoi Hana, Sasameki Koto, and such. The feeling that it’s just part of a ‘phase’ isn’t there; rather, it’s an implicit part of the characters, and treats the relationship as important, rather than immature. Stretches out to Yuru Yuri (more on the immature side, but it’s also a comedy, so that’s expected) and Madoka Magica. Roughly 2007-2012.

    3) Precocious. Discards the notion of phases (immaturity), but also pulls back from the mature warmth. The relationships become more public than private (where the second age was more private and personal). Much of the older stigma has been removed. It’s become ‘accepted’, but still in the “it’s new and interesting!” way, and not yet in the “perfectly ordinary” way. Roughly 2013-present.

    Would expect the current age to last another 3-5 years before it reaches the completely accepted and integrated phase.

    Obviously, the above isn’t definitive, and there’s plenty of the finer details that cross periods, but that’s largely the feeling I have for the progression of ‘ages’ of yuri in anime.

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      Time to use one of my self professed catchphrases. While I thank you for explaining in depth a clearer definition of what an age is my answer to that is, “details details”. “Age” sounds more epic than “cycle”, wouldn’t you agree? If that were the case I would have left it at my original though of it being three ages.

      Like

      • David says:

        Well, yes, it sounds more epic, which is why I expected more from the post. I’m far from well-versed in the history of the topic, so hoped to read a grander analysis.

        Like

      • Overlord-G says:

        I do not consider myself a philosophical person. Most of my morals and messages are intentionally easy to understand and only deep when necessary and even if I somehow were to leave a profound message in a post I would not see it coming.

        Like

  8. mutopis says:

    look what spain gave us.

    Like

  9. yurimylove says:

    Great post my friend! Brings back sweet memories. Oh the”feels”…

    Like

  10. AkumaChan says:

    The fifth age was PERSONALLY the Golden Age for me. The lily inside me blossomed into the world of Yuri.

    Like

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