Yuri Talk: Japan’s Top 10 Yuri Anime List

This list is based on an online poll found here sponsored by Akiba Souken on the “Anime Portal” website during the month of February 2016. There were 20 yuri themed anime to choose from (Mainly Grade 1 and 2 shows) and fans could only pick 3. Out of 4884 votes, the following were the top 10 ranked shows.

WARNING! I’ll be having some fun in this post.

Simoun

#10: Simoun.

This one actually surprised me. While I personally thought the show was great (though its appeal is debatable among the highbrow crowd) I didn’t expect it to make any top 10 yuri shows in the land of the rising sun. Maybe because its universe was a bit too much for some. Oh well, glad to see it get recognition.

Valkyrie Drive Mermaid Cover

#9: Valkyrie Drive Mermaid

Awww yeah! Much respect Japan! Again I know this show isn’t for everyone but the Nation members who braved through it out of joy and not because they forced themselves to can attest to this pick deserving to be here. Yay for an ECCHIMANIA show getting the respect it deserves!

Yuri Kuma Arashi Poster

#8: Yuri Kuma Arashi

Ohoho. From an “in your face” ecchi yuri show to a “SYMBOLISM!” heavy ecchi yuri show. I bet Utena fans are like “GRRRR! Why isn’t Utena in the top 10!? GRRRR!”. Anyway another interesting choice. Behind the sexiness lied some pretty interesting social commentary regarding lesbianism in Japan (and to an extent the world), patriarchy and the yuri fanbase to name a few topics brought up. Despite its symbolism and complexity the main story was surprisingly simple. To some that’s a detraction but I liked it a lot because of it being easier to understand than Penguindrum. Oh and Ikuhara fans, please keep the comments regarding his shows short and to the point. My knowledge on the guy is VERY minimal.

89th G-View: Kannazuki no Miko

#7: Kannazuki no Miko.

Definitely a classic. You know your show is good when there’s a group still talking about it to this day. ChiMeko with all the controversy revolving around them remain one of yuri’s best couples because of that and the fact their story is an engaging one in spite of their show feeling a bit jumbled apart from their love story.

Sweet Blue Flowers

#6: Aoi Hana

One of the more realistic depictions of a lesbian relationship in anime that I’m aware of. While not one of my personal favorites it deserves brownie points for at least that.

Nagisa and Shizuma Strawberry Panic

#5: Strawberry Panic

Another classic yuri show…if not THE classic. That isn’t to say the show is a masterpiece of writing but if one were to ask most 90’s kids what was their first 100% yuri anime, they’d more than likely point to this one. Give the show credit, despite being a spoof of old school Catholic themed yuri media it at least took the ball and rolled with it as far as it could creating a cast of memorable characters, for better or worse. I still love it for being THE first 100% yuri I watched and I still think it’s good for what it is.

Maria-sama ga Miteru

#4: Maria-sama ga Miteru

To this day the longest running 100% (debatable) yuri show and another classic. I still think think the first season was the weakest (Sei’s greatness not withstanding) and the rest was pretty good. I may be crazy for saying this but hear me out. I believe the “soeur” system was an unintentional metaphor for gay marriage training. Speaking of gay marriage…

Nene and Clarion

#3: Koukaku no Pandora: Ghost Urn.

This show hadn’t ended yet as of this writing and already it took the Yuri Nation by storm! The story of a just married lesbian cyborg couple in a futuristic world fighting for world peace had captivated the Nation with little effort. Oh and their “henshin” sequences could have also contributed to its greatness. Here’s hoping its conclusion will be a splendid one.

Sakura Trick Main Cast

#2: Sakura Trick

NOW THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT BABEH! Back when I saw this show I lauded it as one that gave me what I had yearned for a long time. I still stand by my claim as this being one of my all-time favorite yuri anime. Again, one of the best? No, but that doesn’t stop me from loving it so much. I’m sure there will be those who disagree with this one being so high but it is what it is.

So which yuri anime did Japanese nation members pick as their #1. I don’t think anyone will be shocked by this choice.

YuruYuri 3 signs

#1: Yuru Yuri.

I said it before and I’ll say it again. Yuru Yuri’s greatest strength is how accessible it is. It does everything at just the right amount. Its comedy is pretty good, its slice of life is just right, it gives any and all ships their time in the spotlight and the yuri itself is balanced. Give the show one more season and it can be considered the most successful yuri series of all time. It certainly has enough material for one more.

Here are numbers 11-20. Thanks cirno9fan.

  • 11 Inugami-san and Nekoyama-san
  • 12 El Cazadorde la Bruja
  • 13 Hidan no Aria AA
  • 14 Noir
  • 15 Revolutionary Girl Utena
  • 16 Mikagura Academy Suite
  • 17 Madlax
  • 18 Battle Athletes Victory
  • 19 Doki Doki Precure
  • 19 Akuma no Riddle

DD! P and AnR got the same number of votes.

There you have it Nation. Japan’s picks for best yuri anime since 2016. I wonder how the list will change come 2026? Hopefully we’ll all still have yuri passion in our hearts by then to find out. But for right now, what are your thoughts on these picks?

Source:

Crunchyroll

 PS: I didn’t want to say this before because I thought it would be too mean but I’m going to now. This list is even better because Puella Magi Madoka Magica IS NOWHERE NEAR THE TOP 10! My faith in humanity had been restored.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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73 Responses to Yuri Talk: Japan’s Top 10 Yuri Anime List

  1. Denny Sinnoh says:

    A bow of respect for SP, which was the first (and maybe only?) yuri dvd set available from Netflix.
    I have a theory about the origin of the name-term “Strawberry Panic” but will spare readers for now. Instead enjoy this heartwarming cosplay tribute from my anime board on Pinterest:

    Liked by 3 people

    • OG-Man says:

      You’ll post said theory later I imagine. I am curious now.

      Like

      • Denny Sinnoh says:

        The original manga author probably is the only one who knows exactly. Perhaps it is a phrase or expression in Japanese which really does not translate verbatim into English.
        How does a strawberry actually panic anyway? … and what would it have to do with young girls in love?

        In kawaii culture, strawberries are a common food image, and in fact are part of cute desserts in maid cafes. Strawberry frosting is pink, so you see that a lot at these Lolita tea parties.

        My theory is that the “Strawberry” represents a girl’s clitoris. A clitoris, upon close inspection … does look a little like an inverted pink strawberry. Quick, rub the tip of a Strawberry, and tell me what it feels like.

        The “Panic” is the first sexual awakening, and first feelings of love that Nagissa has. She has never had these pangs in her loins before, although she is a little confused, her clit throbs in passionate excitement when she is with Shizuma.

        Thus “Strawberry Panic” is a metaphor for clit throbs.

        PS: Thinking back, and this was a long time ago — When I rented the series from Netflix, apparently they changed the setting from a “girls boarding school” to “junior college” in the English translation description. Nothing was changed in the animation, they just referred to the school in a different way. You see, if they were high school girls, you would have to be some type of pervert to think about minors in a sexual way. But if they are “junior college” students, then they are 18 – so WOO HOO!!! ain’t nothin’ wrong with that now!

        Liked by 1 person

    • the_elevator_man says:

      Dang, you put a heckload of work into your theory, so mass props. Personally, I think it’s simpler than that – strawberries/ichigos are just Japanese for symbolically representing innocence, fluffiness and love, and “panic” as you mentioned invokes that “doki doki” feeling of Nagisa, Hikari and Kizuna in the original light novel. Of course, I just plagiarized from tvtropes http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StrawberryShorthand, but have to admit yours does make sense.

      I’ll have some fun with this post too, since it’s good to see the newcomers rise up so much (Pandora, really, that’s impressive). But damn, I guess clinging onto KnM, Marimite and StoPan is really dating me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • OG-Man says:

        I like Denny’s theory better.

        Yup. A fine blend of old and new.

        Like

      • The title of the series is actually a reference to the love blooming between the girls throughout the dormitories on Astraea Hill, which are called the “Strawberry Dorms”.

        I do like Denny’s explanation, although I think it is overthinking it. Plus I don’t have nearly as much passion for SP, since I pretty much detest the anime but do enjoy the books.

        Like

    • OG-Man says:

      Thanks to your excellent hypothesis I can say that it all makes sense now. So much sense.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rory says:

    Quite a decent mix of old and new – clearly Pandora in the Crimson Shell must be doing something right to earn it third place.
    In terms of yuri, I’d say Sakura Trick would be my top pick, though Yuru Yuri has arguably better humour overall. Strawberry Panic will also always have a place in my heart, being the first 100% yuri anime I ever watched.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. goodboy64 says:

    Sadly, I’ve only watched about a quarter of that list. On the plus side, I have a lot to look forward to when I’m looking for something new to watch!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Kai says:

    Whether or not Strawberry Panic is good, I do agree it’s the gateway yuri anime for most, I know it was for me. Other than that, not surprising to see Sakura Trick and Yuru Yuri on the list, and very nice to see both of them so high on the list :p

    Liked by 3 people

  5. bcy says:

    Well, about Ikuhara, all you need to know is that he’s awesome. Here’s what he says about yuri in what he directs :

    Q: Ikuhara-san, Utena and Sailor Moon are two of the most popular anime amongst yuri fans. Do you intentionally include shoujo-ai subtexts in your work?
    A: No. I’m still able to make a story where it’s between a boy and a girl. But I feel irritated to see my girl getting together with some other guy. I’ve tried to kill off Tuxedo Mask in Sailor Moon many times. But no matter how many times I tried to kill him, he gets resurrected so I only get angrier. So I decided it would be way better if the girl just didn’t have a boyfriend to begin with. Of course I’m just kidding. In reality, if I have a guy in the show, the love relationship gets to have a bigger role than the show. And that would be an interesting element, but I wouldn’t want that to make that the scene-stealer of the show. Most other shoujo shows are in that direction. It’s about who-and-who are getting together, or who-and-who are breaking up. I thought it would be a loss if that would be the big motif just because a girl was the main character. I think there could be more shows with other motives than that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Okie dokie. Cool.

      Like

    • I love this quote. But I would also add this little gem. “Everyone needs to hear someone say, “Nobody else will do, it has to be you” at least once in their lives. As long as they hear these words, they can get through anything, no matter how painful.”

      While he’s not explicitly talking about yuri/homosexual relationships, I think he personally feels that as long as someone tells you that they love you, it doesn’t matter what gender or race they are, or how much adversity you face, because in his eyes that’s enough to make a person capable of enduring anything.

      This theme plays a huge role throughout the narrative of Penguindrum as well. Presented in abstract and allegorical manners, it is literally the idea of “Love overcomes all.”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. tzitzimine says:

    Real pleased at Valkyrie Drive sneaking up in that list. Not only is one of the most upfront and risky animes I’ve seen but is also a totally new IP, very impressive.

    Here’s hoping the franchise gets a second season.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. kracen says:

    Strawberry Panic should’ve been #1 imo… As much as I love Sakura Trick (Which is second, which seems right to me). Strawberry Panic to me will always be the Yuri show that took itself seriously as a Yuri romance drama. No needless fanservice, no ‘omg we’re both girls’ tropes, just pure and simple Yuri romance drama done absolutely perfectly.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Error says:

    Hmm. I’m agree with this list, i think. Only the SPanic interesting, it should be in top 3.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Shoujo Aisha says:

    Good tastes all around. Kind of surprised a precure title was selected for the list though, Mana too dope for a kid’s show.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. DrAnimaniac says:

    You already know I share the same enthusiasm as you do for Sakura Trick, so I’m quite pleased to see it be so high up and it’d probably be #1 if I were making this list. However, I haven’t actually seen Yuru Yuri in it’s full glory, only the first couple of episodes, so I can’t really count it out either. Regardless, I find this list very agreeable, though I think that I might have liked to see Sasameki Koto on there too, but I guess you can’t have it all when you have to narrow it down to such a small number. I think Pandora was probably the only one I was pleasantly surprised to see in this list because it’s so new, but I guess that in itself speaks volumes to it’s quality. Let’s hope we’ll continue to get more yurific shows like that and Valkyrie as well in the future.

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Yes indeed. ST is LOVE!

      I look forward to seeing your thoughts on YY when you eventually finish it.

      Sad that SK didn’t make it but Japan had spoken.

      Pandora made a surprising impact and I’m glad it’s been well received.

      Oh yes. More no-holds barred yuri shows in the future!

      Liked by 2 people

    • cirno9fan says:

      Sasameki Koto has this thing where it really dropped the ball on the ending, and that left a not so good taste in the mouth of many. Even if the manga turned out much better, this was a poll for anime, not manga.

      Liked by 3 people

      • OG-Man says:

        Which is why a 2nd season would have been swell. Oh well.

        Like

      • DrAnimaniac says:

        True I definitely agree that the manga was better by miles. I still really liked the anime though despite the ending, but it’s definitely understandable why most wouldn’t place it in the top 10.

        Liked by 1 person

      • yurimylove says:

        my biggest regret was when they (the animators) had the chance to really woo us during that “practice kiss”, she keeps the mask on. Ruined the scene. They should’ve gotten her to take it off first. Regardless of what happened in the manga (which i haven’t read so I don’t know), it’s not like they’re expecting more seasons to adapt the whole manga so there’d be more opportunity down the line right?

        Like

  11. Dimdom says:

    Not surprising to see YuruYuri and Sakura Trick on the top list 😀
    Very happy to see Hidan no Aria AA and Doki Doki! Precure get into the top 20 too 😀
    But Strawberry Panic! only be 5th and there are no Sasameki Koto.
    I watched the first yuri anime in 2007 because Strawberry Panic!
    So Strawberry Panic! always have a number one in my heart.

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Yeah. Sad that SK didn’t make it but Japan had spoken.

      At least there’s no Madoka in the top 10. My faith in humanity was restored because of that.

      DD! P is showing me that it deserves yurirific acknowledgement as my research continues.

      SP holds a special place in many a 90’s Nation member’s hearts.

      Like

  12. Star Light says:

    8, 3, 2 sure are my taste. The other rest a cool too, but somehow it has been too romantic, or non-sense, or too dramatic. Well, everything should be in moderation, except comedy LOL.
    PM: The #9 is not please me at all, it like I’ve watch a cheap hentai.

    Like

    • Star Light says:

      PM again: I don’t see the point why do you hate Madoka Magica that much?
      BTW, there was a comment on the Crunchyroll feel disappointed that Sasamekikoto didn’t make it. I’ve the same opinion too. (To me, it should be the top of top) However, the manga had finish for a long time so I guess 2016 list couldn’t have it is reasonable.

      Like

    • OG-Man says:

      VD’s not for everyone.

      Like

  13. zuneko says:

    I was pretty pleased how this list turned out. Especially Sakura Trick, which was my first yuri anime. :3

    Liked by 2 people

  14. FantasyGirlKanna says:

    Oh~ I’m glad to see that my fave yuri classics made it to the top 10. Yuru Yuri in the top spot?…totally agree and Sakura Trick coming in second, double thumbs up on that one 😉 I actually thought that Valkyrie and Yuri Kuma would have be in a higher spot 😛 Oh well, overall I like this list 😀

    PS: I also I agree with your PS lol 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Good to see Maria-sama get a mention. I bought all the seasons on iTunes many moons ago. Yeah I nearly dropped the show due to the slow start but after a while the characters grew on me.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m surprised to see Sakura Trick so high on Japanese fandom’s list of top yuri shows. Although I very much enjoyed Sakura Trick when it aired, I know that it didn’t sell well in Japan compared to Yuru Yuri and likes.
    Glad that it did have a great impact on anime viewers, so much that it topped some yuri classics such as Maria-sama.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. MarkS00N says:

    I was positive that Simoun wouldn’t be in anyone radar until this poll shows up and now I am pleasantly surprise…
    One of the best anime I’ve watched (though my favorite pairing is still ShizNats, which I don’t know if the anime is categorize as yuri or not)…

    Also, it is good that there are a balance of old and new yuri anime, although sad Sasameki Koto isn’t up there along with Aoi Hana, but I suppose people only has one place for Tall-Glasses girl in love with Short-Genki girl…

    And a nice surprise Sakura Trick manage to be on rank two…
    Clearly this means we need more yuri kiss and lesbian physics in our anime!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. ThreeofEight says:

    Those top spots fill my soul with joy.

    On another note, quite pleased to see El Cazador on the list (Also enjoyed seeing Noir and Utena up there too).

    Liked by 2 people

  19. John Hayabusa says:

    This is the one list that I can agree with. Yuru Yuri is pretty much the best yuri series in this generation. I can almost see S4 coming soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Interesting list. Can’t say I’m pleased at the inclusion of Sakura Trick and Strawberry Panic, but I also can’t say I’m surprised at them being there either. Meh, but that’s just me personally. I’ll finish Sakura Trick one day I guess.

    I am glad that YKA and Pandora made the list though, as I was afraid they weren’t very popular in Japan (though of course I keep forgetting, despite BD/DVD sales contributing to an anime’s success nowadays, that doesn’t mean that online polls and merchandising aren’t a factor in keeping a show relevant even when its not doing as well commercially perhaps due to lack of mainstream interest). I still need to finish VD, but yes, I’m sure the show did what it was supposed to for its intended target audience lmao.

    Still haven’t seen a couple of these yet, but I think I definitely agree with Yuru Yuri being #1. It is definitely a show that I think is accessible for all yuri fans, whether they like comedy/slice of life or action/drama. Though I know some people who think otherwise, but meh, they’re weird. I definitely agree that a season 4 (Hell, them fully catching up to the manga even) would make the show an instant classic, if it isn’t already.

    Nice list as always dude.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. K says:

    This list is quite interesting. I’m impressed that Sakura Trick ranked so high. Pandora as well, since it’s new.

    Inugami-san & Nekoyama-san ranked right outside the Top 10. Not bad for a short. In fact, it’s the only one on this list. Terrific!

    Can’t say I know Strawberry Panic all that well. I remember reading two hentai doujins a long time ago but that’s it, really.

    Yuru Yuri being No.1 was an expected outcome, I think. And speaking of that, here’s some artwork from the mangaka herself, with one that you’d especially like. http://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-news/2016/03/01-1/yuruyuri-and-fairy-tail-author-sketches-heat-up-a-snowy-day

    Liked by 1 person

  22. makotachi says:

    I feel like this list had a bit of a recent bias, where it’s the things that are most recent get voted for because they were relevant, but I digress. Can’t complain much about the list other than UTENA SHOULD BE HIGHER OH MY GOD JAPAN STOP WITH THIS LETTING ME DOWN UTENA IS THE BEST LOVE STORY EVER TOLD.
    That was me joking. In case people can’t tell.

    Like

  23. mutopis says:

    we have come very far

    Like

  24. automaticimperfection says:

    An anime is ranked on #3 and I haven’t seen it?? How dare I? I immediately pick it up!

    Like

  25. chikorita157 says:

    I have to admit that I have been behind the eight ball when it comes to yuri anime, but I have to admit that some of the shows I watched that made it on the list (Sakura Trick and Pandora) are very enjoyable. Only watched a few episodes of Sinoun and not anywhere close to finishing it… Maybe someday.

    This poll reminds me there is still a lot of shows that I didn’t get to watch. Still need to watch Yuru Yuri, but maybe someday.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I’m a 90s baby (born in ’97) and I’ve been watching anime since I was a child. I didn’t know about Strawberry Panic until 2 years ago, however, but I can agree as a 90s baby that it is my first yuri anime and I can definitely say that it’s an extremely beautiful anime. My second one was Kannazuki no Miko then Marimite followed after that. Sadly, I couldn’t stomach through Valkyrie Drive without getting a nosebleed but I still think it’s a pretty good anime. I think Love Live should’ve gotten an honorable mention though because of its low-key yuri, however, this is just my opinion. Anyway, thanks to this list, I discovered more yuri anime to check out. It’s a pretty solid list.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Reblogged this on haveyouexperiencedshitsurakuen and commented:

    Interesting list. Can’t say I’m pleased at the inclusion of Sakura Trick and Strawberry Panic, but I also can’t say I’m surprised at them being there either. Meh, but that’s just me personally. I’ll finish Sakura Trick one day I guess.

    I am glad that YKA, Utena (though its more than just yuri, but whatever) and Pandora made the list though, as I was afraid they weren’t very popular in Japan (though of course I keep forgetting, despite BD/DVD sales contributing to an anime’s success nowadays, that doesn’t mean that online polls and merchandising aren’t a factor in keeping a show relevant even when its not doing as well commercially perhaps due to lack of mainstream interest). I still need to finish VD, but yes, I’m sure the show did what it was supposed to for its intended target audience lmao.

    Still haven’t seen a couple of these yet, but I think I definitely agree with Yuru Yuri being #1. It is definitely a show that I think is accessible for all yuri fans, whether they like comedy/slice of life or action/drama. Though I know some people who think otherwise, but meh, they’re weird. I definitely agree that a season 4 (Hell, them fully catching up to the manga even) would make the show an instant classic, if it isn’t already.

    Nice list as always dude.

    Like

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