Instead of celebrating another year of blogging like I usually do this time I decided to ask myself questions about who I am as a 30 year old Yuri media blogger and fan of the genre.
I have a feeling this will be another “rage bait” post. Hopefully I’m overreacting.
WARNING! Post contains spoilers for several shows.
I will jot down my thoughts based on the points made in this editorial by Remy Fool discussing the Top 10 Problems for Yuri fans. See. That post and several others discussing the genre, its current state and the fan base is what got me thinking. It got me to ask myself what kind of Yuri fan have I become after seven years of blogging about the genre.
1. Neglecting to consider how a potential ship could play out
This point discusses shipping without taking into consideration what kind of relationship the girls have while hanging out or based on their interactions throughout their respective shows. As far as I’m concerned I won’t stop doing this. I do however, pay close attention to interactions, meaning I don’t go around shipping all willy-nilly. That’s why I never jumped on the KumiRei bandwagon opting to instead pay close attention to KumiAsu. Lo and behold it (for the most part) paid off in S2.
2. Accepting the controversial nature of subtext
This is connected to subtext fatigue. It refers to shows with lots of shipping material or intimate moments between two girls but never going so far as to include an on-screen kiss or the two girls uttering the words “I love you” to each other followed by a kiss or an encouraging conclusion. Basically verbal confirmation. One example (Correct me if I’m wrong) are NanoFate showing signs of being a “not married” Yuri mom duo yet the writers toying with fans’ speculation by saying, if I remember correctly, “We’ll let fans decide what kind of relationship they have” or something like that. Maybe they’re just raising Vivio together but if that’s the case why drop SO MANY SIGNS of their super snuggle power throughout the series? Anyway rather than complain about no on-screen confirmation I accepted the two as being ambiguously gay moms raising their baby girl and am content with that.
3. Being forced to accept subtext due to scarcity
This is mainly a problem for people who cannot stand/are tired of watching Girls’ Club shows (Cute Girls Doing Cute Things) due to it being difficult to find 100% Yuri in other anime. Since Girls’ Club shows are my forte…yeah this isn’t a problem for me at all. Critics would call me a naive optimist or lame conformist for thinking this way but that’s what I do and I’m rewarded for it. More often than not GC shows feature at least one or more lesbian characters so it’s not like fans ALWAYS need to rely on their Yuri Goggles. However, the chances of the girls hooking up by the season finale is admittedly slim. Still, Yuru Yuri does something very similar (I would say the exact same thing but whatever) and it’s one of the most successful yuri shows of all time. Of course there are other factors attributing to its success but at its core YY is a GC show. I would go so far as it being the Meduca Meguca of GC shows, meaning it didn’t originate the genre but popularized it, especially motivate many others to sprinkle Yuri goodness into them ever since.
4. Preparing for shipping wars due to subtext
Ah yes. Shipping wars. These can get quite messy regardless of the romance genre. I try not to get involved in these. I more often than not stick to a ship but am open to others…most of the time. I don’t ship YohaRiko.
5. Realizing that being forever alone is okay, too
Rather than just say a girl who “lost” (Didn’t get the girl/lost to another girl) will be alright by herself I see it more as “She’ll bounce back and find another girl to snuggle with someday”.
6. Not receiving a happy ending if the characters do get together
This next one is tied to the ancient (yet still lingering in a different form) “Class S” genre that started it all. Long story short Class S Yuri treated relationships between girls (usually between senpai and kouhai) as nothing more than a “phase” or “experimentation”. Something that would come to an end post-graduation. Thankfully nowadays the odds of girls who hook up but do not stay together till the end of the story is not as high as it used to be. It sucks when it does happen and I understand the rage but after being a yuri fan as long as I have I do not let it sadden me for long. It’s like losing your first match after a long undefeated streak. As for the “bury your guys trope” I’m thankful the mortality rate in yuri anime and manga is lower compared to live-action shows. Very thankful.
7. Dealing with vagueness of relationships compared to other mediums
I already touched on this in previous points so there isn’t much else to add. No on-screen kissing or “I love you” face to face. Sometimes this is made up for with the staff and/or writers confirming their relationship once the show is over. Other times it just speaks for itself the two are in love. Here’s the thing. I’ve been in this “business” long enough to realize that sometimes you don’t need “I love you” to confirm two girls’ romantic feelings for one other. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. That’s how I roll most of the time.
As far as fans who CRAVE on-screen smoochie woochies or need girl on girl action to truly be satisfied with the relationship…that’s them. They can simply keep on looking. Speaking of girl on girl action…
8. Fetishizing yuri
Queen’s Blade, Valkyrie Drive Mermaid, sin: Nanatsu no Taizai and even Sakura Trick. The notion that relationships in shows featuring a lot steamy skinship and/or smoochie woochies between girls shouldn’t be taken seriously. That or the only good Yuri is the steamy kind. Basically Yuri Hentai. Good luck finding that nowadays, especially scenes longer than 2 minutes not featuring “futanari X female” action. Back to the point. I have made it clear many times that I am a naughty boy. I freely express my desire for swimsuit episodes/segments and joy whenever viewers are gifted with such. Why should I be ashamed for being attracted to hot women showing off their beautiful bodies? Also why should I be ashamed of enjoying women “getting down to bizznizz with each other”? Point being I have seen more than enough shows featuring “dat hawtness” that still feature good relationships among the ladies. Just because it’s steamy doesn’t mean it lessens the seriousness of how much the ladies care for one another. It depends on the writing and in some cases be cool when the “hungry” girl shows attraction to, and possibly gets frisky with, other girls but is ultimately loyal to ONE! I have very few limitations to what kinds of Yuri I indulge in is what I’m saying. Plus I know women who like this stuff as much as I do so the “Male gaze” argument is considered weak to me. Yes the sexiness usually attracts more men than women but to say there aren’t women who are cool with or like them some “jiggy wiggy” is not true.
9. Finding it difficult to recommend/talk about shows
Like Mr Remy I too created this blog because there are few people to share my yuri love with offline. The few I could do so with live abroad. A good friend of mine is cool with my liking yuri but is not big on it himself. Also like Mr Remy I too ran into a shounen/sci-fi person who mistook me for “one of THOSE people” when I said I watch shows with lots of girls in the cast. As for “needing a male character to project myself into the show”…there’s a reason I stopped watching het-harems and rarely watch mainstream sweethearts nowadays. I think the only one I’m keeping up with is Attack on Titan and that’s because of the ladies (and YumiKuri of course…while it lasts). Anyway not many people to talk to about this stuff offline. That has always been an issue for me but I adapted and will continue to do so until my eventual retirement from blogging in the very distant future…hopefully
10. Coming to terms with why you’re a yuri fan
I’m a yuri fan because I enjoy watching/reading/playing through stories about girls/women falling in love with each other. I started off being only about the “jiggy wiggy” but over time came to appreciate the beauty of love stories between girls/women and never looked back. That to me is enough of an answer to why I still look for and enjoy these stories in as many forms as I can find them.
11: Enjoying different kinds of Yuri
Remy’s post only had 10 points but I recently noticed an eleventh problem. Certain Yuri fans having an issue with the kinds of manga getting anime adaptations. Specifically ones referred to as…”troubling/problematic” Yuri stories. Examples include Citrus, Netsuzou TRap, Happy Sugar Life and Uchi no Maid ga Uzasugiru. Basically Yuri stories starring “troubled” lesbians, lesbians labeled as “troubled” or lesbian love stories in a “problematic” scenario. Some fans are tired of these kinds of stories getting anime adaptations or in my case getting upset by my either being excited for (HSL) or willing to give a chance (Muscle Maid). Like I said above I watch as many kinds of yuri stories in as many forms as I can find. There aren’t many that upset me. Put simply all I ask for is to not humiliate the girl/woman for her sexual preference or who she is or write the character as a “joke” lesbian. Do that and I am good. Sure there are some stories I “proceed with caution” but for the most part I approach them with an open mind.
Of course like most Yuri fans I much prefer love stories with no strings attached, no “problematic scenarios”, no love triangles where one of the combatants is a guy (though I don’t complain as much as I used to about anime FEATURING guys like Uma Musume -Pretty Derby-) and no life threatening journeys. I too would be much happier with stories like Kase-san, “A Kiss and a White Lily” and Kindred Spirits on the Roof getting 12-26 20 minute episode anime. I too want Sasameki Koto and Sakura Trick (I still love it. #DealWithIt) getting animated conclusions. But for now we’re getting more “troubled” yuri shows. Drama sells and all that. So be it. All the more reason the Kase-San OVA and Bloom Into You should do well. It’ll AT LEAST send a message to adapt more grounded Yuri stories…hopefully. In short I’m not ashamed about my excitement/interest in “troubled” Yuri shows. Why should I be? Am I to assume that detractors are saying based on their disgust that I’m a part of the problem? Is that it? Well TOO BAD! You don’t like these shows? Don’t watch them. Done.
My reflection summarized in one tweet. For a moment I questioned my “optimistic conformism”. Maybe I should become more critical of the anime I watch or that are getting adaptations because of the supposed message it sends to animation studios and the general audience. Maybe I should cut down on the Girls’ Club shows. Maybe I should only stick to reviewing 100% Yuri shows. These thoughts crossed my mind ever since I got blocked and Unfollowed on Twitter by select Yuri fans or questioned by some in the Amanchu! Advance comments section for sticking my ground on PikaTeko’s anime incarnations despite what happened in the manga…before ultimately cancelling my coverage. In the end I came to one conclusion.
“Nah. I’m good”. I’m happy with the kind of Yuri fan I am. I’m happy that I can still have fun blogging. I’m happy I get to share my Yuri love with loyal fans and newcomers interested in the genre and what I have to say, even when some disagree with me…so long as they don’t insult anyone. Episodics are slowly dying with Animeniacs focusing more on editorials and reviews. I of course do reviews. As far as editorials go…I consider myself a simple man with simple needs who does not ask for much. Plus I don’t consider myself profound enough to articulate in-depth analyses of shows I’m watching or the Yuri Community. I just do what I do, have fun doing it and that’s good enough for me.
Here’s to (hopefully) 7 more years and beyond.