Long time, no see.
My schedule continues to be pretty much untenable insofar as anime blogging is concerned. Ah well. This may clear up after Easter, but that remains to be seen. All depends on duty assignments and such! From an economic standpoint, it’ll actually prove better if I have less time to blog since that means I am employed full-time, although I will continue to miss blogging… but, well, at the same time, I do need a paying occupation.
Anyway, that aside: crappy and cheesy yuri. Oh, how I adore thee. For all my complaints about dreck like YuruYuri (notice: boring, full of fake yuri), I love love love crap like Strawberry Panic, and Nobara no Mori no Otome-tachi, a manga I fervently hope to see show up in anime listings every season. In fact, I recently purchased a friend (who is both gay and a lady) Strawberry Panic, knowing she’d love it in all its trashy glory. The verdict? Bullseye!
Some of you may be expressing bafflement, as I so often castigate service-heavy yuri. Additionally, I also am very quick to remind everyone that yuri is not targeted toward lesbians (and, again, may I express my own bafflement that this upsets so many straight, male fans of the genre to be reminded of this? I don’t understand what is so terrible about liking a genre that is meant for oneself).
In the case of both Strawberry Panic and Nobara no Mori no Otome-tachi, it helps that they are extremely self-aware of what they are (admittedly, Strawberry Panic’s light novels moreso than the anime) – gigantic piles of well-worn tropes, with a heavy dose of cheese. They realize they are not “serious” material. And, as such, I can coast along with their lesbianism-as-service elements, because I also can see the author winking at me as we hurtle down the hill.
Another thing that helps, too, though is that neither is boring, and that while, yes, they take place in secluded environments populated only girls, they don’t resort to truly egregious handwaves (the Etoile contest may be absurd, but it isn’t “durr, I can’t see guys, good thing the guy I liked turned into a girl!”). Kashimashi is hideously dull and grabs for the most ridiculous of contrivances (although, good on it for not reverting boy-who-became-a-girl back to a boy by the end… which I think qualifies as damning with faint praise). Kannadzuki no Miko is likewise dull, and adds in rape = love for its crowning trope of choice from ye olde trope tree. The generally forgotten Yami to Hoshi to Bon no Tabibito simply didn’t make sense, to the point that I can’t really tell you what yuri tropes it bothered with other than the whole dark-haired girl/blonde-girl thing.
Simoun and Aoi Hana are fantastic yuri shows… although, Simoun really is an excellent show regardless of the yuri. Yes, its there, and, yes, it does play a pivotal role, but it isn’t ultimately what the show is about. Aoi Hana is a fantastic yuri show since it occupies that small but growing sector of yuri which actually has resonance for real! live! gay! ladies!. But, honestly? Given the choice, I would rather re-watch Strawberry Panic or re-read what there is of Nobara no Mori. Honestly. I love our honest portraits, I love our complex stories, but, at the end of the day, I’d rather unwind to the crap.
I should probably also mention Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora/Shattered Angels, which was crappy and not a yuri show, but which I enjoyed and which contained some legitimately good yuri as well as an Evil Psycho Lesbian. I find its iteration of the KnM main characters to be much, much preferable, as it skips the whole “she raped her because she loves her!” crap. And Mai-Otome, which was also a bit crappy but quite enjoyable, and had some excellent yuri couples, although, really, Tomoe’s fetish was rather skin-crawling.
By the way, in case you were wondering, my favorite couple in Strawberry Panic was the Evil Psycho Lesbian couple. Amane and Hikari were terribly dull, and I never liked Shizuma (go, Tamao!). Man. Just call me a shipwreck with that show (NagisaxTamao! YayaxHikari!).
And, for old time’s sake, let me close in reminding you that, while I and many other lesbian or bisexual women may enjoy these various shows, it does not mean that they are ‘lesbian’ or that they were meant for gay ladies. I’m willing to grant that Takako Shimura, while Aoi Hana runs in a magazine with a majority male audience, does remember the ladies when she writes, but the remainder certainly do not qualify. At the same time, this isn’t meant as some sort of insult against those of you who like yuri and are not a gay lady. While I may bemoan the fetishy aspects of yuri as a genre, I don’t think enjoying yuri is a bad thing. Hell, I’m a massive BL fan, and I’m not a gay male.
Anyway. Have run out of steam. Help me buy up tons of volumes of Nobara no Mori so they make an anime. Please.
* credit for post image to the Fuck Yeah Strawberry Panic Tumblr
EDIT: How could you hate a show with cover art for DVD releases like this?