Yuruyuri ♪♪ – 01
OP: 「いぇす！ゆゆゆ☆ゆるゆり♪♪」 (Yes! Yuyuyu☆Yuruyuri♪♪) by 七森中☆ごらく部 (三上枝織, 大坪由佳, 津田美波, 大久保瑠美) (Nanamori Chuu Goraku-bu (Mikami Shiori, Ootsubo Yuka, Tsuda Minami, Ookubo Rumi)
Watch the OP!: Streaming ▼
「帰ってきた主人公」 (Kaette kita Shujinkou)
“The Protagonist Returns”
It wouldn’t feel right for the new season of Yuruyuri to commence without returning full circle and putting Akari back into the spotlight. Akari’s (Mikami Shiori) lack of presence has become something of a fad even outside the anime itself, ranging from repeated edits to the series’ Wikipedia page, to transparent PVC figures and the distinct lack of figures attached to name tags at events. That’s why it’s even more entertaining to see her in the spotlight once again for the first half of the episode. The complete reversal of the gag – turning her from an invisible entity to a celebrated and immensely popular individual – makes for a nice spin on the original joke, breathing a little more life into it without allowing it to get too stale. It also feels extremely surreal after all she was subjected to last season. Of course, it was all a dream – I’m sure everyone saw that one coming!
What was it that made the first season of Yuruyuri enjoyable in the first place exactly? In a way, it’s hard to pinpoint – humour is a very personal thing. Some people like one thing, others like another. I like to consider myself open minded when it comes to comedy – I can enjoy anything from British black comedy to the brand of humour that’s so unique to Japanese works. For me, Yuruyuri was entertaining not just for its comedy elements, but also for the interjection of slice of life segments and… of course… the yuri. Gag comedies such as this can often grow tiresome very quickly, but I never found that to be so with Yuruyuri. It always seemed to use its jokes perfectly for the duration of their lifespan, putting them aside just in time to avoid stagnation. Slice of life comedies are not exactly easy to write well either – taking the mundane and drawing out an element of humour takes skill, much as with the precarious tea in this episode.
But that’s not to say Yuruyuri is the only anime that’s done this well – there’s a plethora of slice of life comedies out there such as A-Channel and, more recently, Acchi Kocchi. Each of these have their own merits and I’d be hard pressed to find reasons why any one would be better than the other. But what actually sets Yuruyuri aside from these other, equally entertaining series? Why is it worth watching when there are so many others just like it out there? I see the answers as pretty simple. Firstly is the obvious yuri element which is handled arguably pretty well. If you happen to like yuri (and why wouldn’t you?!), there’s boundless entertainment to be found in those scenes alone. Whether it’s watching Chinatsu (Ookubo Rumi) lick cream from Akari’s face or seeing Ayano (Fujita Saki) blush beet red over Kyouko (Ootsubo Yuka), there will always be scenes to satisfy.
On top of this, I also find a unique charm in its characters and the dynamic of their relationships. It took watching this episode to make me realise how much I’d missed Yui’s (Tsuda Minami) adorable subtle lisp and more reserved manner, Chitose’s (Toyosaki Aki) daydreams, and the variety of different quirks shown by each and every character. Watching them fight over various minor things is also a joy because it highlights their close relationship while simultaneously providing comedic relief.
Even the episode of Mirakurun that features within the anime has merit in its own right. While overuse of tropes in a ‘serious’ anime can often lead to its downfall and ridicule, when they’re blatantly used for comedic effect (sometimes not intentionally) the result is the opposite. There’s very little deviation from tropes in most mainstream Magical Girl anime – even Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica held on to several. This short skit is no different, but instead chooses to parody the tropes in a way that I felt was pretty successful in the grand scheme of things. The two close friends (who are actually enemies in their Magical Girl guises), the mascot characters, and even the skull-crushing (ouch) hammer (correct me if I’m wrong but I’m pretty sure that’s a reference to Vita from Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s) all reek heavily of overuse, but in a good way!
All in all, I expect the series to deliver just as well as the original did. If you’re still on the fence about whether or not to watch, don’t be – I’m sure you were drawn in by pretty pictures of yuri and/or hilarious reaction faces in the excerpt. Watch it! It will not disappoint on either count! Since I’m sure many people will ask, I would love to keep blogging this for the rest of the series (and I know Stilts would too), but time constraints aside, the choice not to keep it up really comes down to the challenge of blogging gag comedies episodically. At the end of the day, each episode boils down simply to ‘Was it funny?’ and since humour is a personal thing, that’s a judgement based entirely on the individual.
- It took me a moment to realise that ‘Toshino Kyooookooooo!’ became ‘Akaza Akariii!’ during that first segment. A nice touch. Also, Ayano is adorable. But you already knew that right?
- Chinatsu’s hair was probably one of my highlights for this episode. I was only expecting the balls to get lodged in there, not eaten!
- Still on the subject of Chinatsu… kinda funny how she looks so much more like Mirakurun than Kurumi does!
- I kind of miss ‘Yuri yura-ra-ra-ra yuruyuri!’ The new OP isn’t bad either, but nowhere near as spectacular (or as catchy!).
ED: 「100%ちゅ～学生」 (100% Chu～Gakusei) by 七森中☆ごらく部 (三上枝織, 大坪由佳, 津田美波, 大久保瑠美) (Nanamori Chuu Goraku-bu (Mikami Shiori, Ootsubo Yuka, Tsuda Minami, Ookubo Rumi)
Watch the ED!: Streaming ▼