1005: Easygoing Lilies

Well, as I suspected might happen when I wrote my first post on the subject of Yuru YuriI appear to have become mildly addicted to the thoroughly silly adventures of the Amusement Club.

For those who missed aforementioned post and are too lazy to click on the link and see what I’m talking about, Yuru Yuri is a show about lesbian schoolgirls. No, not like that. That is basically what it is, though. (A show about lesbian schoolgirls, not porn.) It’s a show that features an all-girl cast where homosexual feelings towards one another are the norm rather than the exception — rather refreshingly, the show regards same-sex feelings of attraction and love as just something that happens rather than something that is in any way “shocking” or out of the ordinary. It’s not a show that’s trying to push a particular agenda on its viewers, in short — certain members of the cast feel certain ways towards one another, and they just happen to be girls. Which is cool with me.

After a little while, this simply becomes something you accept in the world of Yuru Yuri, and you are then able to focus on the real highlight of the show — the characters. This is not a show where anything earth-shatteringly important happens, you see; no-one is struggling with Big Issues, no-one is feeling a sense of guilt over their sexuality, no-one suffers anything other than the most temporary setbacks (and then usually only for laughs) and no-one gets hurt in anything more than the most ridiculous slapstick fashion — we’re in the territory of comedy “bumps” popping out of people’s heads here, which is something I don’t think I’ve seen since I was a kid.

But no; there are no Big Issues to come to terms with, which lets the characters shine simply by being themselves. It’s an excellent and diverse cast made up of an interesting mix of established tropes and characters who subvert said tropes nicely.

Chinatsu, Akari, Yui and Kyoko, the four girls who make up the school’s “Amusement Club” pictured above, are the main stars, with Akari ostensibly being the “protagonist”. Akari’s main distinguishing feature is that there is absolutely nothing remarkable about her whatsoever, however, which tends to lead her being the butt of many episodes’ jokes as she gets left behind entirely or, in some cases, ends up turning completely invisible due to her lack of presence. She is endearing and entertaining in her own right, however, and despite the show’s joking insistence that she is not worth focusing on, she’s sweet and cute. She also has the most terrifyingly creepy siscon older sister I’ve ever seen, too — in one particularly hilarious and memorable (if weird as fuck) scene, said sister settles in for a comfortable evening home alone, clutching her Akari body pillow which she’s dressed in one of Akari’s uniforms, and wearing a pair of Akari’s knickers on her head. It’s a gloriously uncomfortable scene, particularly when Akari comes home early and her sister only just manages to hide the evidence of her misdeeds.

Yui, meanwhile, is “the sensible one”, and a bit of a tomboy. She’s the sort of character who rarely smiles and is quite softly-spoken. In many ways, she’s the mother figure of the group, as she lives by herself and puts up with the others — particularly Kyoko — invading her home and demanding food. Yui sometimes seems to be a bit of a “blank slate”, but occasionally we get a glimpse of her humanity through her getting into a video game or playing with her younger relative Mari. Yui is also particularly skilled in dealing with Kyoko, regularly shutting down her often-incoherent hyperactive rants with just a single word.

Chinatsu is the exact opposite of Yui. A lively, energetic young girl with bright pink frizzy hair in bunches, Chinatsu is carrying a rather large torch for Yui and will do anything to try and get closer to her. While she is initially presented as a sweet, innocent, shy girl, it becomes very apparent very quickly that Chinatsu can be aggressive, grumpy, mean and a bit of a bully at times — though she’s not particularly good at any of those things, often leaving her looking rather ridiculous. She’s also terrible at drawing, creating pictures that look like something out of a particularly unpleasant horror movie.

Kyoko is the clear highlight of the show, however. Kyoko does not give a shit what anyone thinks and just does what she feels like. She clearly has some sort of attention-deficit disorder, and is usually hyperactive. Despite this, however, she is fiercely loyal to her friends and clearly values her time with the group. She’s also caring and considerate, and is also the most obviously “gifted” of the group — not only is she a talented (and respected) doujinshi manga artist, but she’s also able to score full marks on almost every test she takes with minimum effort, much to the chagrin of her rival Ayano. She’s also mildly obsessed with Chinatsu’s unbearable cuteness, and takes every opportunity to find an excuse to make her cosplay as “Witch Girl Mirakurun”, to whom Chinatsu bears an uncanny resemblance even when out of costume.

Although these four make up the main cast, the secondary characters are all interesting and entertaining too, particularly in the second season, where they each get much more of a chance to shine. We have the aforementioned tsundere student council vice-president Ayano, who likes Kyoko but would never admit it; her best friend Chitose, who has a habit of getting nosebleeds as a result of perverted thoughts about Ayano and Kyoko getting together every time she takes her glasses off — and also goes on a kissing rampage any time she ingests chocolate; and the ever-entertaining duo of rivals Sakurako and Himawari who are absolute polar opposites in almost every way but clearly care deeply for one another. Sakurako is extremely childish, aggressive, demanding, hot-headed and flat-chested; Himawari is mature, motherly, firm but fair and in possession of a fine pair of breasts which Sakurako is quite understandably very jealous of.

The way these girls interact with one another and play together is the reason to watch Yuru Yuri. You can get to the end of an episode and realise that absolutely nothing happened beyond “some girls hung out together” — but that despite this, you still had an entertaining experience. It’s one of those experiences where you feel like you’re “friends” with the characters and that you’re getting the opportunity to just chill out and hang around with them. It’s not a show that’s going to slap you around the face with The Feels on a regular basis, nor does it ever claim it’s going to be, but for something that’s just plain fun to watch, I think it’s going to be hard to beat.

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Pete Davison

Southampton-based music teacher, writer and enthusiast of Japanese popular culture.

2 thoughts on “1005: Easygoing Lilies”

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