Original Run: July 5, 2011 - September 20, 2011 Number of Episodes: 12 Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life Based on the Series Created By: Namori
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Yuru Yuri. Reader discretion is advised.***
Akari Akaza (voiced by Shiori Mikami) is excited to finally be reunited with her two childhood friends Kyoko Toshinou and Yui Funami (voiced by Yuka Ootsubo and Minami Tsuda). Together, these three make up the Amusement Club, and they are ready to spend their time lounging about.
Even still, given their personalities, particularly the loud and boisterous Kyoko, the Amusement Club can’t help being the center of attention. This becomes, even more, the case when three becomes four following the addition of new club member Chinatsu Yoshikawa (voiced by Rumi Ookubo).
Now, you may be asking yourself, what exactly does the Amusement Club do? Well, if Akari, Kyoko, Yui, and Chinatsu are any indication, the club is happy to do whatever may come its way.
A message from LofZOdyssey:
When putting together a Pre-Blog Month, it is hard to say which series I am looking forward to the most. For 2020, the title of “most anticipated” could have been shared between several shows: Yuru Yuri being one of them. However, I was interested in returning to Yuru Yuri, not because I remember being blown away by it.
Granted, I do recall enjoying this show quite a bit. Before my re-watch, I was expecting a relaxing slice-of-life anime filled with plenty of humor and fun characters. Resoundingly, I can confirm my expectations were met, but more on that in a moment (and if you wish to jump straight to that part of the review, scroll down to the section marked Yuru Yuri Positives). Be that as it may, what really had my attention was a question that has been sitting in my head for the past few years leading up to this post.
Why does everyone insist on labeling Yuru Yuri a yuri anime?
Now, some of you might be thinking I am ignoring the obvious. Yes, I realize yuri is right in the title, and, from what I can tell, it doesn’t represent some lesser know definition. The word is referring to what the word typically means. And for those who are unfamiliar with the term: Yuri stories revolve around lesbian relationships.
Past yuri anime I have reviewed include, but are not limited to:
Considering Yuru Yuri, which was made up of an entirely female cast, I can’t deny that there were some – as in, a lot of – themes that were yuri-ish in nature. For example, some characters had rather intense crushes towards other characters. However, any romantic feelings were secondary elements. Amongst the members of the Amusement Club – Akari Akaza, Kyoko Toshinou, Yui Funami, and Chinatsu Yoshikawa – I would argue their behavior was no different than any other slice-of-life leading group.
Of course, Kyoko was often quite handsy (borderline gropey) with nearly all her fellow cast members, and Chinatsu often had vividly erotic fantasies involving herself and Yui. Nevertheless, I have a hard time considering Yuru Yuri to be a yuri anime. This series was more in line with something like Azumanga Daioh than it was with something like Sakura Trick (a show that has a very good chance of being part of a future Pre-Blog Month).
I apologize for the lengthy tangent. This was something I wanted to get off my chest, but it could come up again when we get to the second season of Yuru Yuri for Pre-Blog Month 5 next year.
Yuru Yuri Positives
Disregarding whether this series was a yuri anime or not, how was Yuru Yuri as a stand-alone show?
It was fine.
Trust me, more than anyone, I wish I had more to say than just that.
(But if you think that’s sparse, wait and see how tongue-tied I become during the Series Negatives section.)
To its credit, Yuru Yuri was an above-average slice-of-life comedy. This series’s well-received reputation isn’t undeserved, and it is quite the standout in such a broad genre. Admittedly, I’m not sure what this show did that allowed it to rise higher than others, but its popularity isn’t a fluke.
Yuru Yuri was funny, as well as a thoroughly enjoyable watch.
So, if I had to think of one thing this series did that allowed it to be as strong as it was, it would have to be its cast. Or more to the point, the integration of this rather extensive collection of characters. By the end of the series, there were nearly a dozen names and faces that were regularly involved in what was going on. More impressively, though, everyone had the right amount of screen time to be excellently entertaining.
The Amusement Club dominated much of Yuru Yuri’s personality, but everyone else, most notably the student council, added to this show’s overall charm. Essentially, no one in this series felt undervalued.
For instance, Sakurako Oomuro and Himawari Furutani (voiced respectively by Emiri Katou and Suzuko Mimori) were the definitions of filler characters. If you were to remove either of them from this show, nothing much would change; maybe we would lose a few one-shot jokes. Nevertheless, whenever they did appear, with or without the other characters, even after an extended absence, they were instantly recognizable and fit right in with whatever was going on.
A slice-of-life anime lives or dies by its characters. Therefore, it is no surprise that the best examples of this genre also have some of the best casts in all anime. Yuru Yuri succeeded as a slice-of-life comedy because it succeeded at crafting characters that were worth following.
Oh man, this section is going to be even harder to write than the last one.
I’m not having difficulties because I think Yuru Yuri was a flawless masterpiece. No, this show was, through and through, a slice-of-life anime, for better or worse. If you enjoy this type of series, then there is no reason to think you wouldn’t like this one, too. However, the opposite is true, as well.
What I can say is that if you haven’t watched Yuru Yuri, you’re probably going to get more enjoyment out of it than someone who has already seen it.
To this show’s credit, it did have replay value. The humor, situations, and characters were worth a second viewing. Unfortunately, and this goes back to what I said about not understanding why this series managed to be so popular, Yuru Yuri wasn’t exceptional.
I’m curious to see what happens down the road. There are two more seasons to this show, and although I have seen season two, I have never seen season three. That makes me wonder what it will be like to look at this series through a critical eye without any prior expectations.
Until then, you’ve got to ask yourself if this is the right anime for you. Again, if you enjoy slice-of-life comedies, then you’ll find this one to be better than most. Conversely, I don’t see how Yuru Yuri is going to convert anyone to liking this genre who already doesn’t.
Sometimes when writing one of these reviews, I can point to specific examples that explain why a show is either good or bad. As it happens, though, sometimes a show is just inherently good or bad, so it is hard to explain.
I wish there more I could say than this series had strong characters, funny humor, and a relaxing atmosphere. I don’t want to leave it at that. However, that is what this series had, and in my head, that sufficiently paints the entire picture.
This show plays to the audience that likes this kind of anime. As it so happens, I am among that audience, thus, shockingly, I had a lot of fun with it.
As a result, I am more than happy to tell you that Yuru Yuri has earned a recommendation.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Yuru Yuri? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.