Put simply Yuri Night (Edition 0) was a special event where various yuri artists/creators gathered to discuss interesting topics about the genre. The following are bullet points of the event compiled by @nacatfan. Please do enjoy. Special thanks to both Nacatfan and @AldreCV for keeping me posted on the event.
Note from OG: To not make the post a copy-paste wall of text some images were included, along with some “witty” comments from yours truly. Gotta strut my ego after all.
Image source HERE.
On Sunday, January 14th, 2018 I attended an event in Loft Plus One in Shinjuku about the yuri industry with creators from various specialties called “Yuri Night Edition 0”. This is a report thread.
The event was organized by Izumi Kitta, a famous seiyuu mostly known for her work in Milky Holmes.
The other participants were:
Seiya Numata – Anime Director (Milky Holmes/Strawberry Panic/etc.)
Rei Kodama – Content Creator/Designer (Milky Holmes/etc.)
Tomo Awano – Theatre Director/Producer
The guests this first time were:
Akiko Morishima – Manga Author (Yuri Kuma Arashi/Hanjuku Joshi)
Minori Takahashi – Photographer
First of all let me explain a bit about the creators involved in this event.
Seiya Numata is an anime director who is mostly involved in MH, that’s how he met Izumi about a decade ago from what I understood. He said he started getting interested in yuri because he started as an animator and he enjoyed drawing girls, so drawing them together he realized that would become his passion. He is also friends with real lesbian couples who inspired him to work in such content.
His interest in yuri goes a long way, he’s been involved in directing other yuri content such as Strawberry Panic (Animation Director), Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume, etc.
Rei Kodama is a content creator and designer for anime, video games, etc. He is also involved in MH. He began liking yuri because of his love for idols. That led him to discover that there could be more than just subtext, and that outside of that he could also be directly involved in the creation of more official yuri content. He is currently involved in the production of a yuri theatre play with Tomo Awano.
Tomo Awano is a theatre director, screenwriter and producer. He specializes in creating and directing yuri related theatre plays with 100% female cast. He is the one who managed to make Yuri night a reality by helping organize the event and get a venue. Currently working together with Rei Kodama producing a yuri play.
Akiko Morishima is a famous yuri mangaka known for her many works such as Hanjuku Joshi, Yuri Kuma Arashi (she was also in charge of the anime designs)/etc. She is quite open about herself being a lesbian and has also taken part in LGBT events in the past. She was personally invited by Izumi for this talk. Her interest in yuri started as a child, and strengthened itself with anime such as Sailor Moon, etc.
Minori Takahashi who is a famous photographer in the yuri industry, she only makes albums that feature girls in love. She is also open about being a lesbian. Her interest in yuri started from her love of girls and how she liked taking pictures of them, she also liked AKB48 couples since she was a teenager. Invited by Izumi as she enjoyed her work that was exhibited during the Yuri Tenkai last year.
Last but not least, Izuma Kitta, who is quite a well-known yuri lover. Aside from her work as a seiyuu she currently co-authors a yuri manga called “Liberty” which is serialized in Galette magazine. She told us her love for yuri started as a child when she played with her friends to be couples and would go home holding hands. She said she got really sad once a girl rejected her during primary school. Once she grew up and discovered the world of yuri she was excited and frustrated since she had all these ideas welling up inside her but can’t really draw, or direct so she is really happy to be surrounded by creators who she can work with to make them a reality.
Next they began talking about what they would like to do on yuri night, what were their objectives and what they wanted it to become. All of them wrote in a notepad some ideas. Kodama said he would like to make a real yuri idol unit, no subtext but actual lesbians. The idea was well received, Numata said it could also be made 2d and into an anime. Awano suggested he could help too and Takahashi said she could her with promotional phography for the project.
Morishima suggested they should make a silver yuri night, with the theme revolving around old lesbian couples, or lesbians who have grown old together, actually having those couples go there and inviting them for a lower price or free. Izumi wanted to bring some goods for sale next time, she had prepared designs for a “Tachi” “Neko” t-shirt for couples. Or just some other weird designs she tried to draw but didn’t manage to explain very well.
Izumi asked around to know what was their favourite yuri manga and I was really glad when Numata said he loved Husky and Medley. It is a manga that derived from a board in 2chan where a lesbian girl told her experience and asked for tips on how to conquer a girl she had fallen in love with. It was famous many years ago and you can actually check the twitter account of HasuMedo who are still together nowadays. Akiko Morishima was quick to suggest the public Akuma no Riddle. From what I understood (everyone was really loud around this part) she seems to be dating the illustrator Minako Sunao (which really makes sense, I’ve been to many Comiket and yuri doujinshi conventions and I’ve always seen her sell the author’s work in the same table as her + being together quite a lot.).
Correction: Nacatfan initially thought Morishima Akiko was dating the author but this was corrected as her dating the illustrator.
Awano was just too excited and couldn’t bring one only one manga, so he took at least 8 volumes of different manga of different representatives of the yuri genre, can’t really remember all of them right now.
They proceeded to talk about the origin of Yuri Night. It apparently began as Izumi found out Kodama and Awano were fans of yuri too when they started working together on the MH set. They started meeting up for drinks and discussing yuri every 6 months or whenever their busy schedules would allow them to. They wanted to create something and to share their love of yuri with the world, so Izumi said she would like to make an event where they could talk with other fans. This was around 9 years ago. It was only when they met Awano that her dreams came true. He knew a lot about organizing such events and quickly managed to get them a place (Loft Plus One). They weren’t even sure of what exactly to talk about or how they would even make an event out of it, so they named it “Edition 0”. Izumi said that in the future she’d love to bring more guests, and mentioned that one of her colleagues, Ayasa (BangDream, MH) wanted to go to but her schedule wouldn’t let her this time (GaruParty was the same day), and wants to invite her some time.
Everyone talked a bit about their own work. Takahashi said she started being interested in yuri photography when she realized that taking pictures of girls in love was what made her happy. She also has actual lesbians take part in her photo shoots as she feels that way she can capture the essence of what makes it real. In a couple of her photo shoot she actually let the models do whatever they wanted, and took the pictures from far away to show their love without interruption, and the raw emotions of the girls. Izumi kept saying she would love to be invited to her photo shoots because she wanted to meet all the cute girls there. She was selling her work there too, and many people from the audience managed to get a copy of her photobooks.
Morishima Akiko talked about her experience as a mangaka. She has always loved girls and knew it from her time in school. By the time she realized she loved yuri as well she started drawing and just never stopped, she said it was like a fire inside herself which could only be expressed through drawing as many cute girls loving each other as she could. Her favourite kind of yuri to draw is that of adult lesbian couples. She does know that many readers like the fleeting romance of high school lovers but she wanted to show that there was something after that too, and that two women could love each other way into adulthood, or that they could fall in love in their workplace (many of her manga do have this scenario). Izumi said she loved Morishima’s style and wanted to pinch the cheeks and touch the girls that she draws just because they’re so cute in every panel. She also agreed with Morishima about adult yuri and said that her collaboration with Momono sensei is about an adult couple because of that reason, she felt it was something lacking in yuri nowadays (but she still loves schoolgirl yuri all the same). Numata also said he agreed and loved mama-mama manga about lesbian couples having families. They discussed how much old yuri and old serializations in the YuriHime ended with the lesbian couples dying, being killed off or having to break up, which has changed in the last few years and they’re very happy about it.
Finally Tomo Awano talked about his work as a theatre director. He makes plays with girl-only casts focusing on yuri + psychological themes. His work includes many scenes where the main character isn’t sure of herself, or has lost her will or trust in others and a secondary character makes her realize, or tries to make her understand (he likes forceful girls and showed a picture of a part of one of his plays where a girl who one loved another pins her down and tries to convince her to don’t give up on love even if it didn’t work between them). He likes to explore deep themes and said he likes stories where girls have to leave together and figure out that even if they can’t call home the place where they used to be, their place to be is wherever as long as they are together.
Izumi then talked about being a yuri otaku, and asked if any of the audience had to hide it, a few raised their hands. She said that maybe young people don’t know but being called or calling oneself an otaku in the old days wasn’t a good thing. Especially being a yuri otaku was not something you would like to be open about. It sounded like you were a maniac, and extremely obsessed with it. Morishima said she was completely open about being a lesbian as a university student many years ago but she was more ashamed/scared of saying she was an otaku. Same went for Izumi and the other guys. Awano did say he didn’t feel comfortable saying he was an otaku either when he was a student. Meanwhile Takahashi didn’t seem to have gone through such experiences at all being the youngest in the cast.
After a short break only the girls returned to make some “girl’s talk”. Izumi proceeded to ask them about their preferences in women. Morishima said she liked all girls but that her strike zone were women over 23 (all the way to old ladies). She felt mature women suited her tastes better and it is one of the reasons she enjoys drawing adult yuri more than anything else.
Takahashi said she prefers young girls, and likes 14 year olds/high school girls (cue Izumi letting out a giggle and saying once again she’d like to be invited to one of her photoshoots w).
When the guys came back they all talked about what they called kuro-yuri and shiro-yuri. Meaning darker (black) yuri and lighter, purer (white) yuri. Kodama and Numata both preferred lighter yuri, they said it was relieving to see such relationships that were normal and cute instead of going for stuff like ntr or darker themes. However they did point out some darker yuri once in a while is necessary to balance things out. Morishima prefers lighter yuri, with happy couples, she said real life has enough struggles as is for her to draw more. However she does like to make things a bit difficult for her protagonists, but quickly resolves it. Her darkest manga was Yuri Kuma Arashi (she was very glad to be able to work with Ikuhara). Izumi claimed she didn’t exactly like dark yuri but proceeded to draw chains and talk about dom/sub and handcuffs (everyone looked at her saying it was pretty obvious what she really liked).
Takahashi said she preferred darker stories with profound themes and broken hearts, pain but ultimately with a good resolution. However she said she prefers to focus on taking pictures of lighter yuri, as she doesn’t want her models do anything with heavy/negative emotions (and said she doesn’t know how to compose something like that either). Finally Awano said he liked both so he couldn’t choose, said both are important to the genre and everyone agreed there are many works which are one on their own, but a mix of both.
There was a special collaboration with yuri themed drinks (non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages). They had names such as “The time when you were here” and “Alone with you until breaking dawn”. If you bought over an amount of money including food + drinks you would get a ticket to participate in a lottery. At around 9:30 right before ending the meeting they announced the prizes.
Kodama’s was a copy of “Hanamakura”, a light novel which he and Awano are adapting into a play coming out on April. They also announced for the first time that Izumi would take part in the play too (didn’t specify her role). Apparently they just told her it would be a yuri play and she jumped on board immediately.
Numata’s was a shikishi he drew when he directed Strawberry Panic, a really rare item and it was also signed by him.
Morishima’s was a shikishi she drew of her characters from Hanjuku Joshi, also signed.
Izumi’s was a copy of Galette that has the manga she is currently publishing. It was signed by both her and Momono sensei.
Takahashi gave out a set of her photobooks, once again signed by her.
Finally, Awano gave away a t-shirt that wrote “It’s not like this is yuri”.
There was a guy who won two of the prizes, really lucky.
After getting the lottery sorted out they proceeded to finish the talk and when Morishima was talking she said “Yuri wa Uchuu” which means “Yuri is the universe”. Izumi got really excited and decided right there to make it the final salute. They asked everyone to join pinkies (specified girls should join them with girls and guys with guys). Then raise their joined hands and say “Yuri wo uchuu e” which roughly translates to “Yuri to infinity and beyond!”
My personal thoughts on this event was that this is a step that was necessary to the yuri industry and fandom. Nowadays the popularity of yuri is growing at a really fast pace, new yuri manga coming out every week and being published, as well as anime. Creators being united by their love of the love between girls and talking with the public makes for a great opportunity for new projects being born and many people knowing about their work too!
I’m glad Izumi and her friends managed to make it a reality and want to continue organizing such events. Such famous personalities reaching out to the fans in this way is really inspiring, and as a creator too I love the chance to hear their experience as lgbt artists making lgbt content, feels like there is a chance of making it out in the industry too!
- Seiya Numata – https://twitter.com/numa_milky
- Rei Kodama – https://twitter.com/reikoda
- Akiko Morishima – https://twitter.com/morishima_akiko
- Minori Takahashi – https://twitter.com/tkhsmnr108
- Tomo Awano – https://twitter.com/awatomo0115
- Izumi Kitta – https://twitter.com/izugyoza
For additional information on Yuri Night drop by @nacatfan‘s Twitter page.