「みんなでポカポカ合宿へ」 (Minna de Pokapoka Gasshuku e)
“A Passionate Overnight Stay with Everyone”
While all the Kyouko melodrama last time would’ve worked fine as a finale, an episode where the Fun Club and Student Council let loose with animal pajamas, reluctant cosplaying, oil barrel baths, and lesbian kissing works just as well if not better. They weren’t just any old animal pajamas either, but full-body ones that Chinatsu was overjoyed about. The lesbian kissing was of the “suck you dry” variety too, which Akari got a good dose of back in episode five (…that lucky girl). Amidst all that, they even managed to find time to slip Mirakurun and Rivalun in, giving Taketatsu Ayana and Yuuki Aoi some lines one last time. I can only think of one word to sums up all that awesomeness — Tomato!
It seems befitting given that all the random hijinks picked up after Kyouko put on her tomato pajamas and opened Yui’s eyes to the pleasures of sadism. I got a pretty good kick out of seeing Kyouko get stomped on repeatedly and Yui choosing not to stop, which made just about everything afterward funny in its own way. This includes the sight of the box that’s served their club so well. There was no shortage of smart-ass remarks between Himawari and Sakurako either — something I’ve grown quite fond of since I can be pretty sarcastic myself. Just about everything in this finale seemed to hit a comedic chord with me, such as Chinatsu’s overconfidence cosplaying as Mirakurun and Kyouko awarding the victory to a very reluctant Himawari instead. It felt like a nonstop troll-fest or sorts, where the girls didn’t hesitate to dish out pranks as quickly as they were taking them. If there’s one thing to take away from Yuruyuri, it’s that everything we’ve heard about middle school girls being innocent is a lie. In reality, they’re just a bunch of lesbian trolls. Very funny lesbian trolls, but lesbian trolls nonetheless.
This episode more or less showcased everything that the series has to offer from the character nuances to the quirky interactions, which is what made it a great way to go out. Even Akari got more screen time than she realized, including the close-out
death scene, despite Mari robbing her of her title call job. She may have been victimized until the very end, but her oil barrel spill was one of the funniest moments of the entire episode. To me, it was only second to “killing” Chitose to stop her rampage. Leading up to that, I just love the way Kyouko embraced Chitose’s inner beast, though I do wish they showed Ayano’s reaction to that. After all, Chinatsu’s reaction to Chitose manhandling Yui was absolute gold. I can’t complain though, seeing as Yui put Ayano on the spot and she came through for them. I can only imagine what would’ve happened if Ayano kissed Kyouko on the lips instead. There probably wouldn’t be a trace of Chitose left — just a pool of blood.
Three months ago, I was hoping that director Oota Masahiko and screenwriter Aoshima Takashi would take their experience working on Minami-ki s1 and Mitsudomoe and provide some laughs similar to those series. Three months later, it’s safe to say that they did just that. However, a lot of credit goes to Namori’s light yuri manga itself, which proved to have “cruder” forms of humor than I imagined. At times, the jokes are of the slapstick variety, but at others it’s a lot more unrelenting and sarcastic as seen in the mistreatment that Akari receives. Rather than Minami-ki s1 and Mitsudomoe, what Yuruyuri really reminded of was Ichigo Mashimaro — an absolutely hilarious slice-of-life comedy. Kyouko fills in the idiotic role opposite of Yui just like Miu did with Chika. The difference of course is that Yuruyuri takes place in middle school instead of elementary school, which opens the door (more like the gate) to a whole whack of lesbian goodness. Chitose will forever be my go-to-girl in that regard, as her ultra-sensory lesbian radar knows no bounds. I also loved hearing Toyosaki Aki voice her with a Kansai accent.
As far as slice-of-life comedies go, it’s easy to see why the manga was voted number one by a significant margin in the Yuri Hime S magazine it was serialized in before moving to Yuri Hime (no S). The girls are all amiable with their distinct personalities and the light yuri aspect serves as a starting point for a lot of the humor. At the same time, it’s not the be-all-end-all of the humor, as there are so many other silly scenarios they get caught up thanks to Kyouko. It helps that the show features two distinct groups — the Fun Club and the Student Council — that can probably star in a slice-of-life comedy on their own yet are lumped together to give us a bustling cast of ten girls. The series slowly introduced them to give them some proper limelight and not overwhelm the viewer. After getting to know everyone, it’s hard to even remember what the show was like without the entire cast. With a plethora of comedic avenues that can be explored, it was ultimately the delivery of the material that made Yuruyuri so memorable. Even if you don’t care for the yuri aspect, it’s well worth a watch for any comedy-lovers out there. Just don’t forget about Akarin. She’s the heroine.