Yuri Anime Subgenre
Also known as shoujo-ai in some circles, yuri is the subgenre of anime that focuses on the pure love between girls. It often deals with budding romance between girls who are already friends, exploring their growing relationship which can move anywhere to intimate friends to outright dating.
Yuri isn’t often known for being all about the down and dirty, but porn exists of everything and many early favourites of the subgenre are hentai OVAs. If a yuri anime is a running series though, chances are it’s of the mild, cute and fluffy variety.
Subtext. The world of girls love is often thought of as the ambiguous line between friends and lovers. Sometimes anime takes this to mean that the girls can’t overtly show interest in each other, which is where Yuri Goggles™ comes in. Equip these to see past even the lightest of subtext and almost every show can be yuri.
Schoolgirls. You’ll be hard pressed to find a yuri anime that has any characters outside school age range. Fortunately, this can also be said for a large chunk of current and recent anime.
A world devoid of men. While not uncommon to have series that just focus on a group of girls, yuri anime often takes it a step further, sometimes cutting out all guys completely. This can take the form of every background character being a girl or even go as far as to have male character but make sure they are never shown or given speaking roles.
Opposites attract. Cool beauties pairing up with small puffballs isn’t a new concept to romantic anime, but yuri often favours pairing contrasting girls together. Long hair with short hair, red with blue, loud with quiet – be prepared for copious amounts of similar designs and aloof + outgoing personalities.
Tragedy. Rather than focus on the forbidden love aspect like its subgenre partner boy’s love, yuri likes to ramp up the drama and make everyone suffer. Prepare for abusive backstories, tragic memories, missed chances, fatal character flaws and downer endings.
Slice of Life. While sometimes venturing into fantasy or science fiction, yuri anime tends to focus on everyday life, preferring to deal with its characters over a complicated plot.
Drama. Perhaps a result of the soap opera-like stories set in all-girls schools, yuri likes its drama and freely delves into the pits of despair. Bittersweet romance is yuri’s common go-to thing but it’s not so prevalent anymore that it’s overwhelming.
Romance. Yuri by definition is two anime girls coming to like each other. Depending on how overtly that’s shown in any one series, the romance genre can come into play or it can become just a slice of life.
Hentai. Audiences like girls who like girls. Audiences especially like girls who get very intimate with other girls. While sometimes appearing in otherwise straight porn, exclusively yuri hentai can be a mix of 18+ scenes and a lightly romantic or dramatic story.
Here's our top 10 'Best Yuri Anime Recommendations'
1. Revolutionary Girl Utena – Princely Utena stumbles upon a secret society that fights for the right to be engaged to a student known as the Rose Bride. Utena’s only thought is to save her. A classic psychological drama shoujo anime.
2. Yurikuma Arashi – Bears and humans have long been separated by the Wall of Severance. When human Kureha’s closest friend is eaten by free roaming bears, she vows to eliminate them, but much more is happening behind the scenes. An odd fantasy anime that delivers yuri and weirdness in equal quantities.
3. Yuri Yuri San☆Hai – Four friends create a school club that’s just for them and pass each carefree day together. A slice of life comedy series that knows what you want to see but doesn’t go overboard.
4. Maria-sama ga Miteru – Yumi enrolls in the prestigious Lillian Girls’ Academy, a school with an elite “sister” program designed to guide new students through their school life. What she doesn’t expect is to catch the eye of the school’s popular cool beauty. Considered as one of the founders of yuri anime.
5. Strawberry Panic – Nagisa transfers to one of three connected schools that have established a hierarchy system of student representatives. The sole representative of her school is immediately drawn to Nagisa but her troubled past makes connecting difficult. A yuri anime that heaps on drama as much as it does romance.
6. Sakura Trick – Haruka and Yuu have been best friends for a long while but one day they decide to share something just between the two of them. They then proceed to never stop kissing. A cute yuri slice of life show with plenty of affection and relatively little drama.
7. Aoi Hana – Fumi is entering her first year of high school and is slowly coming to terms with her romantic life. When she bumps into her childhood friend from years past, the two reconnect and help each other through life. Possibly the only series on this list that tries to explore being a lesbian in Japan.
8. Simoun – On the war-torn world of Daikuriku, everyone is born female. It’s only when they turn 17 that they choose their gender, but only those who refrain can pilot ancient flying ships to protect the planet. A mech meets yuri series with plenty of drama and action.
9. Sasameki Koto – Kazama likes cute girls. Sumika likes Kazama. The only thing in her way is that she’s tall, athletic and totally not Kazama’s type. A romantic comedy series that ends just short of the payoff.
10. Kannazuki no Miko – Chikane and Himeko live their fairly peaceful lives at school until they are suddenly disturbed by a great evil. They must become shrine maidens of the sun and moon to fight back. More a series to laugh at than anything else.