So here we are at last. Looking at what was considered one of the most highly anticipated yuri anime back when it was first announced. It made it clear back then that I did not share the excitement as I thought the manga was overrated and average at best before losing interest in it. Years later this anime was announced and I went into it with the mindset of “having” to watch it instead of “wanting” to. Now after finishing the show how has my opinion of the series changed, if at all? Find out as we talk about the anime adaptation of Citrus.
Note: This will be a rarity for me as I will be bringing up the manga a lot. However, it is not to compare the two in storytelling but more to make a point.
WARNING: This is a story that is heavy on drama about two stepsisters falling in love with each other. If this sounds unappealing to you then do not bother watching this show.
Genres: Yuri, Drama, Romance, Pseudo-Incest
Themes: Stepsisters, School
Number of Episodes: 12
Plot Summary: Fashionable Yuzu imagined the first day at her new school she transferred to after her mother’s remarriage a bit differently; she didn’t know it’d be an ultra-strict and conservative girls’ school. So instead of a sweet high-school romance, she butts heads with the stern half-machine student council president Mei-Tron – who turns out to be her new step sister. And she has to learn that hate and attraction are often not that far apart.
First and foremost I must talk about the thing that stood out the most on the show, the animation. Is it the most spectacular form of animation to ever exist in history? No…BUT…it did something that the manga failed to do for me on a personal level: Breathe life into the characters, especially one I will talk about in detail later. The animation looked stunning from Yuzu’s trademark different daily hairstyles to the intensified sexiness of all the ladies everything looked gorgeous. It greatly helped me get more invested in a story that my memory was foggy on but remember not being as invested when reading the manga years ago. There are also minor additions (most of them lighthearted) that also helped breathe life into the story. Usually in arguments manga beats anime because manga are able to tell more expanded stories and get away with more stuff than anime. But there are those exceptions where the anime surpasses the manga. Diehard Citrus fans will say otherwise but as great as the manga’s art is (I still believe the art is what initially drove everyone in) it failed to capture my intrigue unlike the anime that had my attention around episode 2 (I was negative during the premiere but fans helped me lighten up). The soundtrack is befitting a heavy drama story like that of Citrus while the OP and ED are nice to listen to.
Speaking of breathing life into the story the same goes for the characters. First up we have las dos amigas Yuzu and Harumin, unarguably the two best characters in the story. First up is the undisputed best of the best in Harumin. She was already the best in the manga and the sole reason I kept on going and the anime served to make an already great character even better. Harumin is now one of the best anime babes of all time alongside Ikkitousen’s Kan-U Unchou, Queen’s Blade’s Tomoe, Hidamari Sketch’s Yoshinoya-Sensei and of course Aqours’ Dia Kurosawa. An elite list of badass anime beauties to be sure…Also kudos for animating one of my personal favorite Harumin moments in the manga.
Of similar praise as Harumin is Yuzu who shone brighter than before in animated form. Yuzu, like Yuma from Netsuzou TRap (Though Citrus is less hardcore believe it or not), is a girl who one day had a…naughty encounter with another girl and her life was forever changed. She has difficulty finding understanding what exactly it is she wants. Her encounter with this ravishing black haired half-robot made her question her sexual preference as her craving for steamy mecha meat buns grows with each passing day she spends together with the cyborganic beauty. What sets Yuzu and Yuma apart…without giving anything away is that Yuzu is nowhere near as oblivious…for the most part anyway. A commendable trait of Yuzu’s is her courage when it comes to getting what she wants. When there is something she absolutely wants to do or something she desperately wants to help she will do all she can or stand up to whoever is in the way of her happiness despite feeling lost on several occasions. She is as great of an ally as she is formidable when push comes to shove. She is at the end of the day a nice girl who does not like taking crap from people…as long as she realizes she is in trouble or facing an enemy.
Next up we have what I consider the greatest miracle courtesy of the anime version and that is Mei-Tron, the sexy half-robot stepsister of Yuzu’s. I mentioned this during my weekly coverage of the show but half of the reason I had a hard time caring about the manga was that to me Mei-Tron felt like a sentient block of wood with a brain. Not ONCE did it look like she emoted. Compare that to the anime where right away it (in the infamous scene early on) I could tell this person was not a hollow mechanical shell but a troubled human conscience trapped inside a mostly metallic vessel. That realization worked WONDERS for the anime along with everything else working in its favor to help enhance the experience. Mei-Tron, while still not my a favorite of mine by any means, was much more tolerable in the anime to the point of being a “decent” half-human who just needed to hang out with the right people to help her slowly reawaken her human heart. An arduous task for the lovely Yuzu to be sure but not impossible.
Having sung the show’s praises all this time, are there any flaws? Well…the same ones in the original story. At its core this is a telenovela/soap opera/trashy romance drama (or whatever you wish to call it) about a girl initially annoyed by another girl but then starts to become more and more sexually attracted to her and eventually considering that there may be something more to what she is feeling that “This chick’s hot and I want to eat her up”. However, there is the dilemma of their parents out of nowhere getting married, leading to Yuzu contemplating her role as a big sister and potential lover of her mechanical step-imouto. This being a heavy drama…
Another reason besides Harumin’ magnificence I was willing to give this anime a go were the anticipated raunchy yuri scenes. Again it did not disappoint. However, the catch is most of them are…let us just say…”pushy”. This will not sit well for viewers who feel uncomfortable watching “not consensual sexy time”. Keep this in mind should a newcomer who had never read the manga before be interested in picking this up.
Continuing with the narrative most of the arcs are were well done and, like everything else, done better in the anime because of the stellar presentation. The same cannot be said for the last arc (The one I dubbed the “Silver Twins” arc). While it of course has its supporters few can deny it is the weakest arc in the series. Credit to the animators they did the best they could with what they were given.
Overall the Citrus anime was a lot better than I had anticipated. The presentation is really good, the characters are true to their manga counterparts but greatly improved despite being the same, most of the arcs covered were done well enough that the weakest was tolerable, which is a massive improvement. Lastly as I said before the best contribution from the anime is they made Mei-Tron MORE HUMAN! I cannot emphasize enough how much of a praiseworthy accomplishment that is. People who disliked her in the manga or people with her kind of personality may not tolerate her in the anime either but trust me when I say she is more tolerable here. This review is primarily directed to newcomers despite my bringing up the manga a lot. What I mean is I have no clue whether this will please diehard manga fans or not. I imagine it depends on HOW HARDCORE of fans some are. When it comes to curious yuri fans it all depends on how tolerant you are of telenovela/soap opera/trashy romance drama stories and the “pushy” content. To make it simpler: the Citrus anime is much less difficult to get through than the Netsuzou TRap anime. There you go.
So…has my opinion changed of the series? No. I still do not think it is one of the greatest yuri series of all time since Girl Friends. However, I will admit it is a pretty good telenovela/soap opera/trashy romance drama. I would not mind a second season…though because it was easier to enjoy the story animated I will never read the manga again.
PS: What also helped was I watched and covered the anime MY WAY.