Yuri Talk: Side-Characters/Couples

Been ages since I posted one of these. For readers new to these posts here I talk about topics related to the yuri genre, be it a trope or development of certain couples. No deep analytical essay like posts though, just me discussing stuff based on observations. On the subject of couples the following has been going on for a long time and I figured now would be a good time to give these ladies their time in the spotlight. I am of course referring to lesbian side-characters and couples in anime. They are present in other media also but for the sake of simplicity we will stick to girls and women in anime.

Note: This post will feature examples of side-characters and couples I am aware of and am fond of. Do not expect a large collection of every lesbian side-character or couple who have appeared in anime up till the end of 2020.

Note 2: There will be potential spoilers.

Sailor Uranus and Neptune ED

Probably one of the most legendary yuri side-couples, Sailor Uranus X Sailor Neptune.

So what is it I wanted to talk about? Specifically how despite usually not getting as much screen time as the main protagonists/couple, they are side-characters after all, these girls/women/couples often have great stories to tell.

Maki X Yumeri cold

Yumeri X Maki (OshiBudo)

They often go through their own journey. Sometimes it is related to one of the main protagonists or they have their own quest, their own path to love, personal struggle/s, resolutions etc.

Bummed Sayaka

Sayaka (Bloom Into You)

Midori is seeing the light

Midori (Tamako Market)

Kaede foiled again

Kaede (Assault Lily Bloom)

In the case of side-characters’ quests connected to the main heroine/s the odds of them winning the heart of their beloved is often very slim. They often go through great struggles and despite their best efforts, sometimes greater than the lead love interest’s, they end up with the short end of the stick.

Karen vs Mahiru

Mahiru (Revue Starlight)


Yayaka (Flip Flappers)

Sometimes these girls/ladies are forced to battle their #1 rival or even the girl they love under varying circumstances. These too rarely find victory with their beloved. Usually it is the protagonist who lucks out should she be forced to fight her lady love.

Rose vs Alisha

Alisha got into a scuffle or two with Rose in Tales of Zestiria before they realized fate had other plans for them.

The few times these battles come out favorably for side-characters is when the protagonist does not pursue either of them regardless of attempted advances from both ladies.

Back to the ladies crushing on a girl they most likely will not woo. Worst case scenario is they will continue to fight or love them until their beloved and their lead squeeze tie the knot or leave the country together or something like that.

Ice X Ploy

Ice X Ploy (Lily Love 2 – Frosty Jewel)

Orange Cream side-story

Orange Cream side-story after the main epilogue

Best case scenario for side-characters who failed is either they find love with another lucky lady out there or when it is two rivals vying for the same girl who has her eyes on another they either come to a realization near the end of the story or in a spinoff starring them. Basically “love rivals discovering their true soul mates were each other all along”. This of course is not always the case but it has happened a couple of times at the end of the main story or in a sequel/spinoff starring them.

Mizore X Nozomi

Mizore X Nozomi (Hibike! Euphonium and Liz to Aoi Tori)

Kotone and Shizuku kiss

Kotone X Shizuku (Sakura Trick)

Back to blessed side-couples. They either already found love or fall for each other whenever they have scenes to themselves. Usually their journey to happiness is a less bumpy one than the main couples becoming a figurative example of what the main lovers can become once they find the answers they seek.

Party Girl Harumin

Harumi (Citrus)

More Nagafuji X Hino

Nagafuji X Hino (Adachi and Shimamura)

Miyako is hungry

Miyako X Riko (Bloom Into You)

Jenny and Lynn

Jenny X Lynn (Mouretsu Pirates)

The main point I wanted to make in this post is to mention how oftentimes lesbian side-characters and couples, be it in a 100% yuri series or even an anime featuring such characters, they end up becoming more popular than the main characters/couples. Be it because of their adorable/sexy relationship, great personalities or more intriguing character arc despite getting less screen time than the leads, I have come across several shows where it was the side-character or couple who stole the show. Sometimes the side-characters are even favored to win “the great war” instead of the main protagonist. I do not know if this is by design in most Japanese stories featuring or centered around lesbians but that has been the case for me on multiple occasions.


Papika X Cocona (Flip Flappers main couple)

Haruka, Yuu and Yuuka

Haruka X Yuu (Sakura Trick main couple)

Haruka confesses to Kanata

Haruka X Kanata (Harukana Receive main couple)

Riri and Yuyu together again

Riri X Yuyu (Assult Lily Bouquet main couple)

Hibiki and Miku

Hibiki X Miku (Symphogear main couple)

Not in every single yuri anime/anime featuring yuri of course but it has happened several times.

So if these characters and couples are often so good why do the stories not revolve around them? Simplest answer, drama sells. In any case it just fascinates me how often this has happened and keeps happening. I have no issue with this.

Sanae Scum's Wish

Sanae (Scum’s Wish)

Ume Shiraume, untouchable goddess

Ume (Ben-To)

Yaya Nanto in her most iconic moment

Yaya (Strawberry Panic. My first side-character I liked more than the main leads. Tamao is a tertiary protagonist so she isn’t really a side-character. Still legendary herself.)

Until then I will continue relishing awesome side-characters/couples even if their screen time is often less than half of the lead characters/couples and root for them to succeed or hope they find happiness with another should their quest head toward/end in failure.

Happy Scorpina

Scorpia (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. Felt like throwing in at least one Western example in the end.)

Feel free to share thoughts on the subject or mention your favorite yuri side-characters/couples in anime or even other media.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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14 Responses to Yuri Talk: Side-Characters/Couples

  1. cirno9fan says:

    A really good one would probably be NoaHina. They stole the show for me in Wataten ❤

    Although I actually often find myself caring more about the main couple than the side couple (in a yuri work), so it always baffles me why fans flock so hard to side couples time and time again. From my view, they’re usually less interesting. Thought not always. It’s probably closer to a 50/50 split for me.

    I think the draw tends to be that people want the side characters, because their relationship usually moves faster, because they have less time to spend on it.

    As for non yuri works, it’s because a yuri fan is more often than not less interested in what goes on in a het relationship, so even if the het relationship were written better and everything, a yuri fan just would not find it as interesting. This doesn’t hold true for all fans of yuri, but probably the majority. A person is naturally more drawn towards what they enjoy, so it’s only normal that they’d find something they enjoy to be more enjoyable (I sound like a line from a type moon work….but it’s the wording that makes sense).

    Now as for the third wheels out there, it’s probably because they usually have really strong personlities, precisely to make it more dramatic when they keep on losing, but also to make it so we never see the third wheel as something that is a problem that needs to be gotten rid of. Maybe also rooted in a lot of these authors having unrequited love? Could be possible, considering the sort of work they’re in, they probably had interests that made them pretty unpopular. So they end up putting a lot of that into the characters that are forever unrequited. And finally, there’s the whole “cheering on” part. If the third wheel is being a jerk/unlikable, then people will be less likely to cheer on said character. Which will lower interest to a degree.

    I do tend to fall for the third wheels, that I can relate with more than side couples. Fortunately, sometimes there doesn’t have to be one, as you stated. But you left out the “OT3”. Course, I can see how this is harder to do, as anime have not really ventured into this territory very much at all. I know a certain LN that is wonderfully progressing in that direction and is not slowing down as I get closer to catching up (25% through LN 5 of 8). Maybe if maybe, one day it’s animated…..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Error says:

    “Yaya (Strawberry Panic. My first side-character I liked more than the main leads…)” Same here! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. tbiscut74 says:

    A great article!

    Harumin is my all time favorite yuri side character! She got her own “arc” in Citrus + that just finished. It brought me great joy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Alexis says:

    Los personajes secundarios enriqueceran a la historia, afortunadamente si el creador tiene visión le hará una obra propia, un personaje que también apreciaré siempre es Sei Satou, otro personaje genial que no será olvidado.

    Aprovechando el espacio, hoy 31 de diciembre es el cumpleaños de dos personajes muy queridos: Kurosawa Dia y Kaede J. Nouvelle, de entre las mejores ojou-samas que conozco y que me gustan mucho.

    Happy New Year


    • OG-Man says:

      Sei es una leyenda, si. Espero que encontro felicidad despues que su primera jornada por el amor no tuvo un final feliz.

      Una es una leyenda de yuri mientras la otra es la mejor idolo en el universo.


  5. opaco1234 says:

    Overral, in yuri manga this side character had a real chance to had a proper lover, meanwhile in other titles far less, but when happens is call more attention than from a yuri manga, for example, in Scum Wish prequel, Eechan get her proper ending and that probably that was happier than recently events on Citrus.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. yurimylove says:

    Speaking of “love rivals discovering their true soul mates were each other all along”, my favorite such couple is Urara x Shino from Aria the Scarlet Ammo AA. It’s hilarious slapstick comedy, but they actually stand a chance if you pay attention to writers’ hints.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OG-Man says:

      Oh I I know about their hopeless rivalry over Akari’s heart. I covered and reviewed the show, remember? Anyway Urara X Shion hooking up would make sense after the end of the manga.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Yuri Talk: Side-Couples/Pairings 2: OG’s Epiphany | The Yuri Empire

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