Home > Episode Reviews, First Impressions > Yuru Yuri Episodes 1 and 2 – All I Really Want is Girls

Yuru Yuri Episodes 1 and 2 – All I Really Want is Girls

Last season brought us A Channel, a slice-of-life show that was memorable primarily for the various ways it provided quasi-lesbian antics within the confines of the traditional plotless comedy formula. Since in anime (and in many other things) things always progress toward the more subversive and perverse, it was only a matter of time before something came around to top it.

Therefore, I shouldn’t be surprised by Yuru Yuri, which as the title suggests spends a great deal of time laying out enough girl-on-girl affection (or implied affection, or fantasized-by-other-cast-members-affection, etc.) to inspire libraries worth of fan-made porn. This is made all the more creepy by the fact that the entire cast is made up of seventh and eighth graders.

The first real sign that Yuru Yuri is going to go in unexpected directions is when Kyouko discovers that Akari's sister is stalking her sibling, down to regularly stealing her underwear and having a custom made, obviously overused body pillow

At first Yuri Yuri looks like a normal, if stereotypical, slice of life story, with Akari Akaza serving as the expected airhead, complete with toast in her mouth as she prepares to leave for her first day of junior high. (Only to discover that she forgot that junior highers are supposed to wear uniforms, which is one of the most obvious things in the world.) Very quickly she gets left in the wayside, however, as the show moves on to focus on what it really cares about.

Akari’s older friends Yui Funami and Kyouko Toshinou started their own unofficial club when they got to junior high, which Akari promptly joins. But when Akari’s classmate Chinatsu Yoshikawa wanders in accidentally (she thought she was joining the Tea Club), Kyouko is so struck by her resemblance to anime magical girl Miracle-run that she forces Chinatsu to join the club. Chinatsu doesn’t seem to mind because she rapidly develops a crush on the boyish Yui, who makes it a point to defend Chinatsu from the worst of Kyouko’s harassment-disguised-as-affection.

It's a good thing the show introduces new characters fast, because this dynamic isn't enough to drive more than an episode

Since that isn’t a complicated enough chain of characters for the show’s taste, the second episode introduces four more girls from the student council. (The show is set in an all girls school, naturally.) Vice-president Ayano Sugiura has a longstanding rivalry with Kyouko, who consistently beats her in academic rankings; fellow officer Chitose Ikeda spends most of her time encouraging this, so as to openly fantasize about their rivalry leading into a romantic (and sexual) relationship.

Meanwhile, Akari’s classmates Sakurako Oomuro and Himawari Furutani have a longstanding rivalry from kindergarden, which continues in their drive to succeed Ayano as vice president next year. Their bickering is more intense and derogatory, which is perhaps why no one else seems to notice that their relationship is exactly the one Chitose imagines Ayano and Kyouko have—albeit in an earlier stage, before they are quite willing to acknowledge it.

The rivalry between Sakurako and Himawari is so intense that signs pointing to a more romantic interest on one or both of their parts come as a complete surprise. Given the entire show is about girls with romantic or quasi-romantic interest, that's actually an accomplishment

Small wonder with all the relationships flying about, Akari herself winds up being ignored, despite having been presented at first as the main character. (The show, which shows an occasional tendency to break the fourth wall, turns this into a running gag rather quickly.) This is a pity, as the gags with Akari tend to be the least sexually oriented, and most likely to break the fourth wall. That is, they are the most likely to be actually funny.

To be fair, the show is directed by the same guy who did Mitsudomoe, who is quite capable of drawing out humor even from events involving creepy sexualization of underage girls. (That same director, Masahiko Oota, also worked with the same series composer on the first season of Minami-Ke, the only really good one of the three seasons that slice of life series got.) That talent does peek through now and again. I’m left with a more positive impression of this show, purely on the level of comedy, than I had with A Channel after watching the same number of episodes.

The show quickly abandons Akari's absent-minded nature to focus on making her the designated loser. Honestly, it's much funnier for the shift

And precisely because the show is as open as it is with its premise and mode of appeal, I’m perhaps not as upset about it as I am with a show like Mayo Chiki, which both does even more visually and regarding the plot to sexualize its cast, while still pretending that it can manage serious drama as well. Yuru Yuri does not have such pretensions, and it’s a better show for it.

That doesn’t change the fact that Run from A Channel might have boob flipped Yuuko a dozen or so times, but that was out of anger and a desire to harass, without any of the implied physical attraction that Sakurako has for Himawari. Hiyori Tamura from Lucky Star might have fantasized about possible yuri pairings of her friends, but she kept it to herself, whereas here Chitose is up front about exactly what she’s doing, and still manages to remain friends will all involved parties.

Chitose makes it clear that everything she encourages Ayano to do, she does to provide a better jumping off point for her pornographic delusions. She also suffers from nosebleeds often enough to make her anemic

Look, I’m sure there’s a certain reader base of antiotaku—you know who you are—that eat shows like this up like popcorn. For you, I can say that this is one of the better offerings of this particular subgenre, both with regard to comedy (which isn’t saying much) and with regard to laying on the fanservice (which is saying quite a lot). For you, the series is available here; enjoy, and don’t tell them I sent you.

I, on the other hand, am not committed to watching every single show that comes out every season, no matter how sporadically entertaining or constantly titillating it winds up being. And Nichijou/My Ordinary Life has progressed over the past season from being a merely good example of the genre to one of the greats, vying with Azumanga Daioh and Ichigo Mashimaru for a spot in the slice of life pantheon. Pretty much anything else is going to look shoddy in comparison.

A show with not one but two friendly breast gropers is going to look really shoddy by comparison. Seriously, who ever thought this was funny?

Given that, I’m going to need some form of justification, a compelling reason, for picking up another slice of life/comedy show. This show has kindly provided several compelling reasons for me not to pick it up.

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