OG’s Newcomer’s Guide to Yuri

To everyone who has accepted or wishes to understand the wonderful world of yuri, welcome to the yuri nation. You have officially become a member of an elite fan base of a genre that is not globally admired (yet) but continues growing stronger annually, blessing its members with content of vast varieties to enjoy. Before unpacking your bags and settling into your new big house with a lily garden in the front and rear, I recommend checking this guide to get a basic understanding of what it’s like to enjoy lesbian media from the land of the rising sun.

lucky-star-yuri-motivatorMastering the art of watching yuri can be a daunting task for some. It takes skill, guts, stamina, endurance, tolerance, patience and acceptance. Being a Yuri Nation Member is a taste that not everyone can possess. Depending on a person’s mindset, the options of shows to watch can range from plentiful to a handful. The nation itself, while powerful, is still small compared to other anime genre fanbases out there, even yaoi. With this in mind, I figured I’d do my part to help newcomers understand what it takes to be a member of the yuri nation, how they can start their journey and grow stronger over time.

Table of Contents

  • Basic definition of yuri
  • Beginner level yuri
  • Intermediate level yuri
  • Subtext
  • Slash Pairing
  • Advanced level yuri

Yuri WivesBasic definition of Yuri

First of all an explanation of what Yuri is. Yuri is the generally used Japanese term for a romance subgenre in entertainment media focusing on lesbian content, both sexual and romantic. Romantic and sexual lesbian content used to be divided in shoujo-ai and yuri respectively but over time yuri became the defining for all things Japanese lesbian related, though shoujo-ai is still sometimes used by newcomers. Let’s now start with a few recommendations for beginner yuri fans.

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Beginner Level Yuri

Nagisa and Shizuma Strawberry PanicStrawberry Panic is the Hulk Hogan of yuri anime. When most people think of yuri, SP is the first title that comes to mind, whether they have seen it or not. It is an all-time classic and like many classics it has its supporters and detractors. SP is not only a good show to show fans what lesbian romance in anime form is like, it also serves to introduce what yuri anime drama is like. It’s not the “be all, end all” of yuri but it is a great starting point.

Yuru Yuri Slumber PartyYuru Yuri is another good show for newcomers to get into the genre. It is a good introduction to the more lighthearted side of yuri with very few drama moments compared to SP. It should be noted that YY is less intimate than SP so while the yuri is definitely there actual intimacy is kept to a minimum.

Maria-sama ga MiteruMaria-sama ga Miteru is the third recommended choice for newcomers and another  drama classic, although less heavy than SP. This show also serves as a great example of “beyond subtext”. The content for most of the pairings here outside of one, would be seen as subtext but the 4-season anime did a great job of going beyond subtext without crossing the line. It’s difficult to put into words but the love is definitely there and can be seen as beyond subtext. One word of advice though, the canon (in your face) yuri is in the first season. However, it is also the weakest of the four seasons. Seasons 2-4 are far superior so those interested in the series should keep this in mind.

Kiniro MosaicKiniro Mosaic is another lighthearted show with yuri in it that’s easy to watch. The yuri is subdued but it’s a start.

Thumbs up for Sakura Trick 2Sakura Trick is the most recent yuri show on the beginner’s list. Out of the five beginner’s shows I mentioned, this one has the least boundaries and restrictions of all. The show has two conditions to freely enjoy it.

1: The viewer must either be okay with or tolerant to logic defying “Breast Physics“.

2: The viewer is not a “drama oriented” viewer.

Sasameki KotoSasameki Koto is kind of lighthearted and not at the same time. It has a little bit of both fluff and drama.

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Intermediate Level Yuri

If viewers were capable of handling either of the above shows, they are ready for the next set. Again, all the shows mentioned are personal recommendations that fit the required level of viewing, not the only ones worth watching.

Kannazuki no MikoKannazuki no Miko is a strange one at first glance. Fair warning, the show as a whole is average at best (And that’s being generous.). There are SOME likable characters besides Chikane and Himeko. But the one reason why this anime is another yuri classic is because of the Legend of ChiMeko as I like to call them. Their love story is one for the history books and worth sitting through the show. If there was ever an animated lesbian love story that should be told from generation to generation, ChiMeko’s without question is one of them. Explaining why would not do it justice. It HAS to be seen to be believed.

Figure 17Figure 17. I have a minor update and warning: Just because the protagonists look young, the show is not very lighthearted and fluffy. It’s heart-wrenching but not complicated. It is not for beginners but not intense enough to be in the advanced category.

aoi-hanaAoi Hana. As far as yuri anime go it’s the closest one I saw to being realistic. That means the drama is cranked up to high.

Kashimashi_cast_of_charactersKashimashi has one major requirement: The viewer has to accept that the lead protagonist’s transformation was destined (or made sense) and not an excuse. They have to accept the protagonist is a transsexual…or born feminine or whatever. Before I get flagged by pros (already did), I am aware that there are better stories out there with actual transsexual characters but this show as a whole is not bad. Besides, it’s less about “loving the protagonist because of their new look, it’s more about loving the protagonist as a person”

Candy BoyCandy Boy is a story that deals with the romantic feelings of twin sisters for each other. Although it may seem strange at first glance, their romance is depicted in a way that is maturely, mutually, and rationally thought out and decided upon by the sisters.The significance of this show is it showed that, if done right, sisterly love/cousins yuri can work.

Nanoha and FateMagical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, the show that probably epitomizes yuri subtext. As a franchise it’s an enjoyable mahou shoujo romp. NanoFate is a perfect example of a subtext yuri pairing that should be saying their vows at an altar…but won’t because it’s meant to be that way (according to the writers) so that the fans can decide how to interpret. Most supporters pretty much know they eventually got hitched off-screen at some point. StrikerS solidified that.

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Mugi's yuri gogglesYuri Goggles

This brings me to my next (optional) requirement to being part of the yuri nation, wearing “Yuri Goggles” at all times. There was a time long ago that lesbian media, especially canon, in anime and (for a while) manga was scarce. Not only that but shows with positive endings for lesbian characters in anime and manga were also scarce back then. I like to call that time “The Dark Age of yuri”. Thankfully the dark fog, for the most part, became weaker as time passed. Back to yuri goggles.. There are some shows featuring female characters who have several moments together that, while not sexual in nature, give off subtle signs of lesbianism. Sometimes the girls DO cross the line and get…”frisky”. Most of these characters are not confirmed as being gay by the writers but the subtle “squee” inducing moments throughout the show that the girls are in together suggest otherwise for fans wearing “yuri goggles”.

The first advantage to wearing yuri goggles is that wearers get complimentary yuri goodness that they can work wonders with…unless the writers eventually confirm the ladies being a canon couple, which is even better. The second advantage is that gives goggle wearers more options.

Slash Pairings

A sub-level of subtext where fans pair up characters because they look good together. The difference between subtext and slash is that slash has little to no hints that the two should be together. They just do. Don’t get me wrong, slash fans can also work magic with these pairings, it’s just there’s less evidence to pair the two up than in a subtext pairing.

Advanced Level Yuri

It’s not the yuri content in the show that make these hard to recommend to the inexperienced, it’s the shows as a whole. These shows take skill to get the most out of them. These shows are meant to make viewers use their brains to fully comprehend them.

Revolutionary Girl UtenaWhile Revolutionary Girl Utena is another yuri classic, it ain’t easy to fully grasp why. It can be watched and enjoyed just fine. The thing is that both the show and the movie are heavy with symbolism, depth and some intense themes regarding society.

SimounHere’s another high level show for ya. Simoun is one of those hidden gems that requires an understanding of how its universe works, accepting its rules and being open-minded to the max, even more than Utena. Realities of war, making the ultimate decision of one’s future, accepting or defying established norms, heresy and other serious stuff.

Devil Lady's Jun and AsukaWhy is Devil Lady advanced level and not intermediate? There are no pies in it. In all seriousness the show’s pretty dark and depressing but worth it for those who have the guts to pull through.

Rin and MimiMnemosyne is a show I would best describe as the epitome of curiosity. That coming from me scratching my head and asking myself why I liked it. Even if I were to review it would not make sense to me. My own words would confuse me. Like Devil Lady, Mnemosyne is no “fuwa fuwa fun time”.

GokujoGokujo or Gokuyjo is one of those shows that screams guilty pleasure. It’s no literary masterpiece but dog gone it it’s enjoyable trash. It’s popcorn trash.

KuttsukiboshiKuttsukiboshi is a strange little 2-OVA tale. These two do not hold back at all once they make their feelings known to one another…but then the end of episode 1 happened…and then there was episode 2…proceed with caution. This is not a hentai but it requires the viewer to have a “just roll with it” approach.

Yuri Kuma Arashi Poster

Yuri Kuma Arashi: Like Utena the show is not for the casual to delve into unless they are prepared for lots of symbolism and complicated storytelling. However, for viewers who persevere it will (most likely) make sense as more of the plot is explained. Also the yuri here is raunchier than in Utena yet still quite romantic. All part of the show’s message and themes.

So there you have it everyone, my personal newcomer’s guide to yuri anime. Keep in mind that I do not guarantee everyone will enjoy these picks and could get more enjoyment out of other shows with yuri, of both subtext and canon variety, in them. These shows are personal recommendations. I hope this guide will serve newcomers well.

When ready to go out into the nation full of lilies, swimming pools, empty classrooms, nurse’s offices, trains and other yuri hotspots, check out The Yuri Anime List for even more options.

https://yurination.wordpress.com/the-yuri-list/

100 Responses to OG’s Newcomer’s Guide to Yuri

  1. Pingback: Blog Update: Newcomer’s Guide to Yuri | The G-Empire

  2. froggykun says:

    You are the greatest, OG-sama. I will use this guide wisely!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hello says:

    what about candy boy?

    Like

  4. Lena K. says:

    Very nice guide~
    This reminds me that I still have some great shows to watch, like Utena.

    Like

  5. Mercuria. says:

    All hail OG-sama, this is so great a guide!

    The only one I have yet to watch is Figure 17, though.
    Wondering whether it’s as great as people say 0.o

    Like

  6. Yuri! says:

    Is Mnemosyne really yuri? Started to have doubts ’cause I read somewhere that Rin was going to marry a guy.

    Like

  7. x says:

    clap! clap! clap! OG this is a awesome guide for the new yuri fans to try, watch , and understand the many levels of yuri congratulation

    Like

  8. Good job on this 🙂
    Notes: 1.Oh what is Firure 17? First time I’ve ever heard the title… 2.Kashimashi is not about transsexual, but rather magical gender bend. 3. I’ve told you my objection about ‘who makes the sandwich’: whomever- no assigned role needed, much more one linked with submissiveness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Overlord-G says:

      I never Kashimashi was a good transgender story. Whatever it is, I think it’s a good show.

      Figure 17 is an interesting old school-ish sci-fi show, which already signals red flags in your head. I would recommend it to Neko-kun though.

      I don’t care about the actuall meaning of the term. I see it more as literal. I would challenge my future wifey to a sandwich making contest. I still dream of a morning where one of us wakes up and makes a sandwich from the other. I’ll iron my own clothes though. I am very specific about the sandwich.

      Like

  9. Hello says:

    What about Rinne no Lagrange?

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      I made an exception for Candy Boy because of its significance. Lagrange is a good show but not a recommended show to introduce people to yuri. That can be watched after the viewer had become more used to yuri as a whole.

      Like

  10. Elizabeth says:

    I actually thought that Sasameki Koto was very realistic in my opinion. Some people might not have liked that Ushio kinda ignored Sumika as a dating prospect but that’s because 1. She didn’t know Sumika liked girls, and 2. Even if she did know, Sumika wasn’t her type. That second reason was what made it most realistic to me. Just because someones gay doesn’t mean they have to automatically like you, that there is a harsh reality.

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      SK is easier to approach than AH. AH being realistic refers more to its presentation than its themes. Most of the shows here have believable situations that could happen in real life.

      Like

    • Scarlet Yui says:

      Actually, Ushio DID indeed like (love) Sumika as a for who she was, inside and outside, despite the fact that she was the opposite her type. That’s why she started to get frustrated when Sumika didn’t call her when she promised she would It turns out that she’s liked her from the start, from where they first met, when Sumika saved her to now. She denied it because before they met, she went to another school and Ushio told her best friend ,back then, she love her and got rejected, so she didn’t want to loose Sumika in case it happened again. As shown in this quote,” She herself develops feelings for Sumika, but is afraid to act on them based on a bad experience with one of her old friends…” That’s why she started crying when she found Sumika and Azusa together on the ground thinking they were kissing. The only reason why she ‘liked’ cute girls and/or anything that was opposite of Sumika was to avoid and neglect the true feelings she hels for Sumika

      Like

      • Nakano Yuu says:

        thank you for your information. So that’s how it is. now,I know what exactly the whole story of SK. i really liked it. it is more realistic than AH.(just my opinion).

        Like

  11. Kai says:

    As expected of the master of yuri, there are tons of titles I haven’t try yet here, lol. Out of curiosity, do you plan to extend the guide to other media somewhere down the line ? I think series like Sono Hanabira deserves a mention.

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      Sono Hanabira is a legendary series by this point in time but I already made a page dedicated to it and Listless Ink has a lot more SH support going for it than I do. I also haven’t played enough visual novels or eroge with yuri content to make such a guide.

      I want to make an updated top 10 yuri manga list instead of a guide because there are many more yuri manga than anime out there.

      Live-action I need to watch more of them. I’ve seen several but not enough to make a guide. Perhaps another top 10.

      Like

  12. Wandering Wastrel says:

    I’m glad to see you included Figure 17 on your list.

    There are a few shows here I was unaware of; they’ve been added to my already absurdly long list of shows to watch. Seems I’m adding to the list faster than I can watch ’em, though.

    Like

  13. Hanneman says:

    Nice list, man. This will prove to be useful to many people, including me.

    I was thinking the other day, and i’ve come to a conclusion. My journey here in the yuri nation has been nothing less than perfect. It’s like everything that happened was made so that i end up here in this great nation. As an example:

    One day a friend of mine told me that a friend of hers watched many ecchi anime. So i was curious and remembered i saw that word in the only time i’ve been in 4chan. So i went there and, as i was searching for the word ecchi, i’ve came across the word Yuri. I found it funny, ’cause i’ve met some people named Yuri, so i decided to take a look. That was when i discovered what Yuri was…kinda.

    Then i decided to look for a yuri manga, thinking it was only hentai and such. I opened an manga reading site, and began looking for a manga, when i saw the one who would be my favorite until today: Girl Friends. I thought: “Hey, nice name.” and began reading.

    When i started, i was only looking for hot chicks making out and having sex. But, when i finally got to chapter 8, when Mari kiss Akko while she is sleeping, is that i finally realized that it was not a hentai manga. I wanted to stop reading, but i thought: “Hey, i’ve come this far, now i’ll finish it just for the sake of finishing”. I would never thought that my decision would change my life the way it changed, man, really.

    When i finished reading Girl Friends, i started crying for some reason, and i had an emptyness in myself. I decided to look for more yuri manga, that’s when i came across Lena K.’s blog (which i love, btw). There, i started wanting to read Strawberry Panic, but i came across a problem: the last chapters weren’t translated for some reason. I decided to watch the anime, thinking it would be the only that i would watch (i talked about it in one of your Life Lessons).

    In Lena K.’s blog i saw a comment from a guy named Overlord-G (i got the Disgaea reference, but i didn’t think that was it). Then i decided to check you blog, and everything else is history.

    (Damn, that was supposed to ba an example, not my life history. Sorry, OG)

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      That was an interesting read about how you discovered both the wonderful world of yuri and my castle. Funny how you found thank to a cute ninja.

      So Girl Friends was your first manga eh? No surprise that SP was your first anime.

      Like

  14. Yurimylove says:

    Excellent guidebook, OG-Man! Easy to read and comes with great suggestions for the newcomers who are always welcome to the nation. The more the merrier!

    Just reading through your list here briefly walked me down the memory lane on my own journey (in the past 6 years). Ah the nostalgia…

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      Indeed. You have shared your experiences over the years and have been a most benevolent member of the nation. I know the nation can count on your continued support.

      Like

  15. Kiryuin Satsuki says:

    Hold up, Shojo Sect isn’t kinda beyond advanced ? Also why isn’t it on the list ? :/ (Because of the explicit scenes *cough*hentai*cough* ?)

    Like

  16. Pingback: Sakura Trick episode 12 is OUT!!! | Lazy Lily Fansubs

  17. FlappyGao says:

    I found a different definition.
    According to the paper, YURI JAPANESE ANIMATION: QUEER IDENTITY AND ECOFEMINIST THINKING by Kimberly D. Thompson, yuri is defined as below:
    Yuri or Shōjo-ai, a sub-genre of Japanese Animation and Manga, can be defined as
    women-loving-women narratives that explore the relationships between women.
    The yuri relationship in yuri animes generally has 2 types: Class “S” (kurasu esu) Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Class_S_(genre) and ome relationship. The latter consists of a “butch” and “femme” couple.

    I suggest you give different user guide according to the reader’s gender. As far as I know, gender plays an important role in the preference of yuri anime.
    Some yuri anime is aimed at man while some mainly attracts women. For those male-targeted yuri anime, yuri is more a new kind of moe rather than a sexual orientation. Yuri scenes in those animes are basically designed to provide fanservice or add to the attraction of the characters. This is commonly seen in slice-of-life animes, such as Kin-iro Mosaic ,IS the order a rabbit, K-ON and Lucky Star. Guys are mainly attracted to characters. But girls love yuri anime in a different way. In most cases, girls who love yuri anime are lesbians. They are maily attracted to the love between those girls, rather than the characters themselves. Aoi Hana ,for instance.

    Like

  18. Demonlover741 says:

    Can you tell what anime that is above the Basic definition of Yuri

    Like

  19. Kai says:

    So after months of procrastination despite saying I will check out some yuri shows from here I haven’t watched before, I finally started on one, and I started with Kiniro Mosaic. Subtext’s actually pretty “huge”, couldn’t be any more obvious :3 Aya x Yoko ftw.

    Like

  20. ero-sama says:

    Uhm… Hey. Im kinda new here but I already watched Hanabira (REO Mai), Shoujo Sect 3OVAs, Sakura Tricks and I just finished watching Kuttsukiboshi. Damn that last one. I…I can’t stop looking for more. =.= any suggestions? I discovered kuttsukiboshi, hanabira and shoujo sect because of this site. So I was kinda wondering if you could help me out. 🙏

    Like

  21. DarkKirby says:

    Sorry, but I’m not sure exactly what you mean by canon. I tried looking it up but it kept giving me references to the Roman Catholic Church. Can you please explain?

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      Canon in media, to put it simply, refers to content that is 100% official. Subtext/fan fiction is the opposite. An example from Sakura Trick:
      Harula X Yuu along with Kotone X Shizuku are considered canon. Kaede X Yuzu is considered subtext/fan fiction.

      Canon and subtext in media refers to the difference between facts that are established in the story and what fans would like to see be true using the numerous hints given by the writers. Another example:

      Nagisa X Shizuma = Canon
      Nanoha X Fate = subtext but because of all the obvious hints throughout the series the fans can easily see them as canon despite their subtext status.

      Like

  22. miharusshi says:

    I find it interesting that I watched none of these recommended shows, and now I’m trying to get to know this romance subgenre more. A total beginner in every sense. Wish me luck (on putting my yuri goggles on).

    Like

  23. DrAnimaniac says:

    Awesome guide! I shared the link for this post on my blog so my followers will be able to see it.

    Like

  24. What’s the title of the anime in the 1st picture? thank you. n_n

    Like

  25. Sorry, what I meant was the 2nd picture, below the Lucky Star.

    Like

  26. DaisyMoe says:

    I fell madly in love with Strawberry Panic! Thank you so much for these recommendations I love it!

    Like

  27. Cryssoberyl says:

    Well met after many years, old friend. You’ve done well. Who would have thought, from your humble beginnings in the shoujoai.com forums, that you’d be where you are now. I look around me and I see such staggering ignorance about yuri, even by people who are fans of it. I’m proud of you for continuing to spread the knowledge and experience we the old veterans earned through time and trial. I wish I had done so well, to have built up a platform such as this. Use it wisely.

    Like

    • OG-Man says:

      I can’t credit you if you have had nothing for me to credit on SA.com till its end. I actually mentioned your yuri guidepage over there on my “yuri anime list” before the site went down and I deleted that link and the one to Peppah’s manga guide. I’ve only known you by your username up to the blog’s cancellation and in Zeflberyl translations.
      I will correct this by looking up every single review I copy/pasted your words from and give credit where credit is due.

      Like

  28. koneko says:

    advanced level yuri mostly not yuri……..

    Like

  29. Temp says:

    So I have one question? Is there a title for yuri fans? I know there are titles for yaoi fans such as fujoshi and fudanshi but how come none for us. I’ve been just using the term yuricon. You think that’s alright?

    Like

  30. afrte says:

    This is a fantastic list! I’ve been watching anime, in general, for a while now and as a genre yuri is probably my second favorite to watch. There were a couple of shows on here that I haven’t seen yet and I’m looking forward to checking them out!

    On a side note, do you feel as if Hibike!! Euphonium could be added to the beginner’s list?

    Like

  31. AkumaChan says:

    Wow! I finally have something to show to my Yaoi loving cousin! Thanks so much OG-Sensei! ❤ YOU ARE THE JESUS CHRIST OF ALL YURI

    Like

  32. Oh Wang Jing says:

    Long live YURI KUMA ARASHI ~!!!

    Like

  33. yui says:

    Strawberry Panic is my favourite anime and always will be. I just loved every second of it. I’ve never been so attached to a set of characters as I did with SP. Honestly (imo) a drama masterpiece… Great guide by the way 😀

    Like

  34. Candace says:

    I’ve been played yuri visual novels for quite a long time but I still have no idea about one term. If you call the type of game in which the protagonist is a girl who pursues many guys “Otome” game, then what do you call one in which a protagonist is a girl who pursues many girls. I haven’t seen any term regarding to this type of yuri game yet.

    Like

  35. mr. Ioper says:

    You should play Monster Hunter 4U if you do a sidequest in the game a hot girl lives with your character weather male or female, Dragons Dogma also has lesbian romances.

    Like

  36. Maera Fey says:

    Wow, thank you for the guide. Me and my friend are trying to get into the genre and having troubles finding titles suitable for beginners. My friend is a huge fan of yaoi and gets turn off by yuri easily. Hopefully, thanks to the list of beginner-level anime you provided I will be able to get through her “all yuri is awful” mindset.

    Once again, thank you very much.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. sheanlaurence says:

    Thank you OG-sama for this guide. It is really helpful for a beginner yuri enthusiast. Got to give you a huge thanks for your elaboration on the yuri status of Marimite, it is really helpful.

    Like

  38. zedila says:

    Hi! I am looking for a specific yuri anime that I saw a while ago but I can not for my life remember its name. It was about a girl with unusual mental abilities and her (girl)friend helped her develop them. In the end they travel to another planet using this mental ability in a desperate moment. It was not a long anime, just a few episodes but I would realy like to see it again and hope someone can help me find it!

    Like

  39. Jenna G says:

    What is the picture of the marriage under the table of contents from?

    Like

  40. OMG I’m getting addicted on Yuri 😄
    It’s fun because I started watching precisely the ones you called “Begginer Level”. I really liked Sasameki Koto and Strawberry Panic… I know SP has A LOT of drama and is a little bit of reality, but the history of main characters is very beautiful… Sakura Trick is funny, but too easygoing for me… OK Maybe I’m dramatic 😄 Could you indicate the best options for me? THX

    Like

  41. styxl says:

    I have yuri breast sucking/breastfeeding fetish, so can you please tell me all yuri level anime that has uncensored yuri breast sucking/breastfeeding scene on it?, as far as I know I already found yuri breast sucking scene on these anime that I already watch it:
    – Manyuu Hikenchou
    – Queens Blade
    – Saikin Imocho
    – Seikon no Qwaser
    – Valkyrie Drive Mermaid

    So you must tell me the rest

    Like

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