What Do We Think Of Girl-Love Comedy, YuruYuri?

When one thinks of the yuri genre and its milder counterpart shoujo-ai (girl’s love), one usually associates it with a dominantly male audience. What many fans forget is that in its native Japan, girl’s love was for the most part marketed towards the shoujo and josei demographic of women as a way to exercise their imagination in a safe and private setting. What would it be like if their friendships took on a more romantic note? How would it feel to give in to secret lesbian urges? Shoujo-ai titles which seriously explore female/female relationships like Aoi Hana are just as likely to be picked up by women as they are by men.


However, the recent success of the moe genre, which has been popularly summed up as “cute girls doing cute things,” has brought girls’ love to the audience where it would arguably be more successful in Western countries: males in their teens and twenties. Male viewers have responded positively to the hints of girl’s love in many the moe titles which have used them to spice up their generally all-female casts, so it came as no surprise when YuruYuri came out and fully united the two interrelated worlds of moe and girl’s love.

YuruYuri was developed from an ongoing manga series written and illustrated by Namori, and was released in two 12-episode anime seasons in 2011 and 2012 by Dogakobo. North American company NIS Americalater licensed the title, releasing season one in September 2013 for English-speaking audiences. Season 2 is set to come out in January of 2014.


The story of YuruYuri, such as it is, stays true to its moe/slice-of-life comedy roots. The episodes take place in Nanamori Middle School, and center on four young girls as they go about their super cute daily lives and take part in their school’s “Amusement Club,” which pretty much involves them doing whatever they feel like on any given day. Their classmates, particularly the vitriolic Student Council, also share the spotlight with Akari, Kyouko, Yui, and Chinatsu, the leading ladies. Most of the female cast has plenty of moments where they indulge in lesbian fantasies about their fellow classmates, so shippers can pretty much pair whoever they want and have it be fairly accurate to the canon.

YuruYuri‘s greatest success is that it knows its target market well, and delivers exactly what its kind of viewers want. Moe comedies do well with a significant portion of male fans, and since many male viewers enjoy teases of girl’s love just as much as female viewers enjoy their boy’s love, the concept of YuruYurisimply makes sense. Fans of both genres are likely to very much enjoy the execution of YuruYuri’straditional slice-of-life vibe paired with frequent nods to the brand of girl’s love geared to male audiences.

On the other hand, this target market is niche and most certainly will not appeal to everyone. It’s comedic nature, which is for the most part enjoyable, may endear it to female fans, but its basic structure won’t do much to capture audiences looking for more plot and action driven titles. It is also unlikely to fully capture the girl’s love fanbase. The same kind of fan who enjoyed titles which seriously explore lesbian relationships such as they might exist in real life like Aoi Hana or Sasameki Koto, for example, probably won’t get much out of YuruYuri.

YuruYuri also suffers from the fact that the market is currently flooded with similar titles. Each anime season releases several moe/slice-of-life titles about the daily lives of four to five girls, and most viewers are familiar by now with the jokes, tropes, and character models that go along with these titles. YuruYuri‘s greater girl’s love emphasis does manage to set it apart from some of its competition, but it doesn’t quite do enough to become one of the leading titles in the genre.

That being said, YuruYuri is a comedy, and it does a fair job of bringing the laughs it promises. For those who haven’t overdosed themselves on moe over the past few years, the antics of the cast will hold a lot of charm and ridiculousness to surprise a few giggles out of you. On the other hand, if you’ve been watching every moe comedy that has come out recently, the jokes will pretty much be the same as what you’re used to, but with a few additional nosebleeds due to girl’s love overload.

Should you watch YuruYuri? If you’re a shoujo-ai fan who enjoys moe, definitely. This show is tailor-made for you, and will not disappoint your taste for cute girls fantasizing about other cute girls. If not, the series’ comedic elements make it a decent pick to squeeze in between other titles, but simply may not be up your alley. Which is perfectly fine, by the way. Niche genre shows may not speak to the greater body of anime fans, but if they make their particular fanbase happy, they’ve done their job well.


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