February is the month of love, where it’s all spamming roses and chocolates. I recently went through my old archives of yuri anime, since a friend was looking for recommendations. Going through them felt like riding a nostalgia train. Yuri anime in the 90s until 2010s was when my love for the genre skyrocketed.
The following anime titles, in my opinion, deserve remakes for the benefit of fans and to welcome new fans into the wonderful world of yuri and girl’s love.
First off, let’s look at Revolutionary Girl Utena, an anime series that first aired in Japan in 1997. It is based on the manga of the same name, created by Chiho Saito. If my memory serves me right, I was able to pick up this series around the 2000s during the era when DVDs was still a very new format and your local video store was still flooded with VCDs for you to rent to your heart’s content.
Revolutionary Girl Utena is about a girl named Utena Tenjou who dresses up like a prince after being so impressed with a prince during her childhood years. In Ohotri Academy, she crossed paths with a girl named Anthy Himemiya, who was actually in an abusive relationship with another student.
Due to the desire of wanting to protect Anthy, Utena challenges Anthy’s partner and the other members of the Student Council through sword duels. Anthy is referred to as a “Rose Bride” and is given to the winner of each duel. It is also said that those who win in the tournament will receive a mysterious power that will change the world. The champion is unfailingly challenged for the possession of the Rose Bride.
I was still quite young at the time I stumbled upon this franchise and, looking back at it, it does get pretty confusing. Especially regarding the topsy-turvy relationships that this anime series features. I don’t want to go into details, but looking back at it now, Utena is a popular example of a heroine who breaks common norms. She dresses as she likes — I’m a no-skirt kind of girl, so I think this was the anime that started it — as well as protecting and loving someone regardless of gender. It has a pretty loyal fanbase even now.
Next is Kannazuki no Miko, an anime series first aired in 2004. Based on the manga series of the same name created by the manga group Kaishaku, the series centers on the relationship between Chikane Himemiya and Himeko Kurusugawa. Frankly speaking, it’s most notable for having mecha as part of the series’ theme. The anime is quite popular, and its ending theme sequence has become a meme of sorts.
A lot of my friends who were yuri fans started out with this anime series, and I can’t blame them. Chikane is one awesome character and probably the onee-sama that every girl would want to follow around school. However, my admiration for Chikane went kind of downhill halfway through the series. I don’t want to share spoilers, but it’s still a yuri anime worth checking out if you have the time.
Talking about Kannazuki no Miko also reminded me of this manga series made by Kaishaku called Zattai Shoujo Seiiki Amnesian. Both the characters are also named Chikane and Himeko and they are the sixth reincarnation of the same people. This manga series, however, is not something I’d recommend to anyone as it’s a bit NSFW.
Let’s fast forward to 2007, when another Kaishaku series called Shattered Angels was given an anime adaptation with a total of 12 episodes. The series wasn’t as memorable as Kannazuki, but the DVD Specials/OVA were, since the moments between Himiko and Chikane were more intimate. Just in case you are confused, both the characters are reincarnations of the same people in Kannazuki.
Another memorable yuri anime of the past was Maria-Sama Ga Miteru and Strawberry Panic. Both are set in a school, and focus on student council members.
Maria-sama Ga Miteru is centered on a girl named Yumi Fukuzawa, who was chosen suddenly as the “little sister” of the older Sachiko Ogasawara. As the series goes on (it has a lot of anime seasons and a couple of OVAs), you’re introduced on each of the character’s pasts and how they deal with school life. By explaining all this, it does feel like it’s just some typical kind of school anime with a mix of yuri undertones. However, what made me hang on to the series are the unique characters. It does tend to slow down but it’s worth following until the end.
Now to Strawberry Panic. Like Marimite, the series has a lot of adaptations from the manga, drama cd, light novel, and so on. However, this series is more straightforward — you know, more kissing and obvious signs of affection. If you’re looking for an old yuri anime to start with, Strawberry Panic could be the best choice. I recommend reading the manga as well.
Are there other yuri anime you enjoyed? Share it with us in the comments below.