OP Sequence

OP: 「アザレア」 (Azalea) by nano.RIPE

「love affair!?」

Yuri for one reason or another has always been anime’s red-headed foster child. Whenever one comes along, it seemingly devolves into cutesy slice-of-life-esque fan service (i.e. Sakura Trick), abominable hatchet jobs (i.e. Netsuzou TRap), or pure love masquerading as conventional romance (i.e. Kuzu no Honkai). Thus when an actual “serious” yuri pops up it’s serious (and I mean serious) business, and citrus is no exception to the rule. Previewing this one—which wound up involving me reading the majority of the manga—convinced me it would prove spectacular in more than one way, and hot damn has citrus’ opener met those beliefs. This one boys and girls will prove hard to beat.

Manga (and preview) readers know exactly what to expect, but citrus’ opener does a fantastic job at succinctly laying out its premise. We have the rambunctious blonde gyaru Yuzu (Taketasu Ayana)—who much like Hajimete no Gal’s Yukana has never known actual love (i.e. high school second base)—wind up stranger in a school where everything she has held dear—makeup, clothes, popularity—is held in the highest contempt as recalcitrant behaviour fit only for fools. She’s signalled out as the black sheep, fearfully avoided except by the most unsuspecting of people, and soon at loggerheads with the student council president Mei (Tsuda Minami) who just so happens to also be her new stepsister. Talk about chaotic. Did we also mention Mei’s questionable experience with romance and domineering treatment of all things pure and wholehearted? Yeah no time is wasted here on getting to the important stuff—citrus knows exactly what we are all here for.

Anyone experienced with romance series knows exactly what citrus will eventually boil down to (*cough* roller coaster hot-cold relationships), but the strength of the series (and what wound up getting me to enjoy it) was how unabashed it is towards genre tropes. Citrus has no qualms about ubiquity or convention, it plays up the melodrama in teacher and family (just wait for the chairman to appear!) for all it’s worth and papers any discrepancies over with a helpful dose of passionate (sometimes) kissing. What we saw this episode is only a taste of what is to come—you can fully expect that budding alpha-beta relationship and hints of pseudo-incest and aggressive, potential rape to feature frequently from here on out. Citrus for better or worse is all about pushing boundaries as far as they’ll go as a means of flavouring its story, and while certainly problematic at face value (sensationalism isn’t always good), I will say it improves over time. Mei’s obvious daddy issues for example slowly dissipate into half-decent development as she learns to open up, while Yuzu comes to terms with not only a (step)sister so inherently different from her own personality, but one she eventually (spoiler) loves as more than simple family. It’s very much a romance going beyond simple ribald appearances, but you have to want to see the complexity to get the most out of it. Yuri and all that fan service only scratches the surface here, citrus is all about that penultimate relationship bubbling under the surface.

While unlikely to break through any romance barriers or wind up masterpiece material, if citrus can continue along the same track in terms of pacing and adaptation faithfulness going forward (which is pretty damn good so far all things considered) it stands a good chance of being a top romance contender for 2018. There’s a lot of drama and some pretty ridiculous developments yet to come as to be expected, but if citrus’ serious side is adapted as well as what we got this episode, it’s well-set (at least for me) to be one of the best shows the season.


ED Sequence

ED: 「Dear Teardrop」by Mia REGINA



  1. The actions of their parents makes absolutely zero sense. They’re already married and yet it isn’t until they’re all moving in together that the mom is finally going to introduce the guy to her daughter? And she doesn’t even know that this mystery man, who she still doesn’t get to meet, has a daughter of his own until she literally walks through the door to move in with them?

    1. Mom is a ditz and a lush with a thing for weirdos (in the manga, Yuzu says she hopes her mother hasn’t fallen for another weirdo). Which is not a bad try at explaining the highly contrived setup that the rest of the story depends on.

    2. It’s probably not meant to make much sense. These situations in romances are always designed to maximize the drama potential, and that missing, unknown father will factor heavily into how Mei develops from here on out for example. Definitely could have been written better, but it’s par for the course these days.

      1. Yep, some way to introduce the Mom’s irresponsible nature and the Mom’s tendency to avoid talking about subjects that might upset until too late before those traits are exposed at the critical time. Probably a monolog or something that will be criticized as telling not showing but in this case I think you want to tell before showing or it messes with some peoples normal assumptions on parents. Unfortunately, bad parenting is way too common and bad parents either though actually not caring or the mental problem of delaying possible bad news to long are also way too common.
        Yes, the writer is using a common weakness to build up a ton of things to drop on the lead but I find it an acceptable writing trick. People should not jump to conclusions on parent behavior based on good parents. Not saying the Mom totally bad but she clearly has major weaknesses.

      1. this is old… i remember of an old joke. when i was a kid…

        remember when the consoles controllers got the vibration? it’s call force feedback. Well in my youth “innocent” mind, i called it the vibrator for Males

        Now imagine why… lose on purpose on Tekken and so on… okay, stop imagine now.. of course this would work on other gender place very well

    1. Harumi’s also my favorite. Love how you think she’d be as rigid as some of Yuzu’s new classmates only to be like “Psyche! I’m a covert gyaru who’s just really good at sneaking all the banned items”.

  2. I stayed away from Kuzu no Honkai since I thought it was a disgusting/over dramatic representation of youth/school life. Will I have similar feelings here?
    Well, I’ll give it a try, I guess.

    1. Likely not, citrus is more “traditional” romance than KnH, there are some issues concerning certain themes (ex. that aggressive kissing on the part of Mei), but nothing in the same vein as KnH’s exploration of teenage romance.

  3. That was a confident start. Pretty good character designs and animation quality, even with attention to some little details like the lighting (OK, and the bra flash) in the shot from inside Yuzu’s wardrobe. And by covering just the one chapter, it left a little extra time for things that we don’t see in the manga, like Yuzu trying on her school uniform as it was meant to be, and really hammering home the point that Mei’s experience of kissing has so far been truly appalling.

    Of course, as Pancakes has already pointed out, the nature of the romance manga is that it tends to devolve quickly into drama because otherwise how do you justify its continued existence? Person meets person, person falls in love with person, person and person form stable, happy relationship – you could do that in a one-shot. So here, the journey is the thing rather than the destination, and the art of the mangaka is to spin that journey out as long as possible whilst still keeping the reader yearning for that destination.

    An anime adaptation of an ongoing romance manga doesn’t have the same problem due to its limited length, here the question is whether to adapt faithfully and finish with an open end or even a cliffhanger, which will leave everyone unsatisfied, or whether to go anime original and end with the protagonists as an item, which will only annoy the manga fans but then have to be retconned if it gets a second season.

    So anyway, it looks like this is going to be a definite watch for me, even though the ending may spoil it to a degree.

    1. Sensationalism most likely, yuri a lot of the time is borderline porn (owing from its “non-natural” state) so it’s easier working basic intimacy in because—for better or worse—most people watch it for the fan service first and any potential story second. It’s a similar situation to any yaoi series, the idea is to maximize reader-/viewership.

      Regular romance though has always been structured around a intimacy payoff, where kissing (or hell even hand holding) is the prize at the end of the drama-fuelled tunnel. People read/watch it for all the trials and tribulations of relationship building, so there’s less need to bring out the big guns right away. Also a convenient way to avoid the porn label damn near all same-sex stories get slapped with.

  4. I walked into this one blindly, so I was taken aback by how many twists and turns this ended up taking. It started out relatively pleasant….and then Mei cops a feel on Yuzu to confiscate her phone. And then Yuzu catches Mei kissing the teacher. And then she’s her new stepsister. And then Mei makes out with Yuzu. What a crazy show; I like it!

    Should be a lot of fun to follow up where the story goes from here. They really started off strong with how much they included in the first episode.

  5. My first thought on the new school is, “this is why the Japanise economy stuck for decades now no creativity or independent thinking alowed”. And also a reminder of how much many women are held back in that male-dominated society. Now I wore a military uniform gladly as a member of ROTC and then a military school New Mexico Military Academy. But that voluntary and the military can still have a problem with creative thought when as a cadet and new officer you get high marks on how shiny, athletic and gung-ho you are. Then I reached the Army Infantry Officer Advanced course and only a third of the class could think their way out of paper bag in tactics which I’m great at and graduated in the top of the class for the first time.

    Took giving the lead an irresponsible drinking parent to get the fun surprises this episode so I greatly enjoyed it. Unfortunately, an irresponsible parrent is realistic. I would say in a Western Drama that the mother must have had her daughter at 13 but Far Asian women don’t age till they are 60 ;).

    Yes, there are possibly abusive sex situations shown but that is real and good drama. The current idea that abusive sex must be censored but killing someone is fine to show is stupid and wrong. And relationships can start with an abusive start. This abusive start does happen and does not excuse the abuse, but it up to the person who was abused to decide to accept or reject. Again the idea of censoring this type of relationship start to pretend that everyone is the same and to try to stop the abuse in censoring when violence is allowed is the sex is worse than violence fallacy.

    Now to the fun, wonderful Yuri yes yes yes yes. Kiss with the teacher was hot too after all Japanese society right before the modern era was bisexual and sort of still is in private.

  6. I swear their eyea were wayyy biggerrr in the first teaser but hell im glad they somehow “fixed” it i guess?

    Anywayss, watching ep1 really reminded me how i used to love Yuzu in the manga but sadly i dropped it when shit got intensed. But nevermind, let us rekindle the old affair again this year shall we? Nice yuri is nice <3

    onion warrior
  7. I wonder how everyone would react if it was yaoi? I feel like pushing the boundaries of consent is a-ok in everyone’s book when it’s two girls (heck even with a boy and girl) but as soon as it’s two boys we suddenly remember to respect the humanity of those poor unsuspecting characters that bring out the predatory talents of others which are obviously unacceptable!!!

    And no, I’m not promoting including yaoi into this “it’s only fanserv- er I mean passion” mentality. I just hope fans can give the same respect to characters who aren’t men being assaulted by men (pointing out that plenty of women assault men in anime too for some reason) or at the very least, condemn yaoi for the fact that it’s not their type of genre but please, please, please, stop having this double standard of empathy with only male characters! Thanks!!!

    1. To be fair, I think a lot of people are unsuspecting how far citrus is going to take the abuse theme because what Mei did here is only the tip of the iceberg—it gets worse pretty damn quickly. On that note though I agree with you wholeheartedly, I imagine a lot of us are hypocritical is because a good chunk of yuri viewers are males, and the vast majority of males are not homosexual. Romance are often written in a way to appeal to wish fulfillment, so it’s naturally easier to envision oneself in a role (or generate a fantasy from the setting) fitting one’s sexuality. It shouldn’t be surprising then two guys kissing or displaying affection for one another is an efficient way of turning readers/viewers with that mindset.

      Empathizing is always difficult, but when you add in love and lust—especially same-sex—it becomes a whole new ball game. It’s sadly one part of ourselves which will never change, so all you can do is keep on pushing the issue in the hope it reaches the few receptive ears.

    2. Far as I can garner from the mass influx of media in recent years, consent only seems to come under hard scrutiny in the traditional male-to-female relations. Consent hasn’t been a question in homosexual relationships, because the focus has been more upon their rights to marriage and just general discrimination. Only when it mixes with pedophilia does it come to attention.

      Bit of a blind spot, it seems.

    3. I got a strong impression including cartoons on the subject that this type of abuse is common in yaoi. And I and many Yuri fans find the behavior wrong. But I utterly reject those who’s complaints meant to stop abuse from being shown. Having abuse in a story reflects reality and can tell a tale and I reject the idea that sexual abuse not be covered but killing people for fun is fine. And healthy relationships can form even if one person was abusive at the start. Abuse severely damages people also. The idea that you have to insist all chambers of the revolver be loaded in all stories like this to prevent abuse and harmful to people who the abuse was an aberration or solved that now have a good relationship. I feel that telling people that playing Russian Roulette, with the gun not fully loaded, with other people is wrong even if it does not always result in long-term harm.
      One of the keys is what is the nature of the person who is abusive, is it a chronic thing they enjoy it and will keep doing it, are they a victim acting out and can stop with help and reflection, is it a one-time extream variance in their behavior.
      And there is nothing wrong with enjoying seeing abuse done even if the person knows it’s wrong and is only indulging the predatory instincts most of us have. This is enjoyment in the same way one can enjoy killing people in a game.

      1. I wasn’t making a statement about whether it’s ok to show actions like assault and abuse in media to tell a story and I appreciate when it’s woven into a story in ways which show a character’s flaws but also capture their humanity regardless if they learn from those flaws or not. It creates dimensions and complexity in the characters and those around them which is great!

        … I was commenting on how there seems to be a growing number of people who condemn these acts in one genre on moral grounds but right it off as acceptable in others which I feel reflects a more deep-rooted problem. It’s not that people are claiming “this just isn’t my type of genre because the relationships don’t interest me” but they are saying they feel that abuse should not be normalised when it concerns certain gendered characters. Does that mean that it’s ok to normalise it for another gender???

        This double-standard really disturbs me and when you recount the amount of anime, shounen/shoujo-ai, yuri/yaoi or hentai there is … I feel like female characters suffer the brunt of these abusive acts which are more often than not played off as jokes or passion and different explorations are in the minority. However, I’m aware this is the case in most media and that I’ve gone very deep but I will always try to point it out as I see it and hope people will ponder it slightly like pancakes said

        PS. I know some people relate to characters more and I always have a favourite character that I want to stay out of harms way whether physical or sexual abuse buuuuut that’s individual characters and not a whole gender.


    4. @SomeoneIsuppose: I wonder which kind of shows you watch. There is a lot of abuse of male characters, usually played off as jokes. I would guess it’s more common to show the abuse of males, because males are perceived as disposable. The abuse of woman and girls is shown less often, because it has a greater shock effect.

  8. This show sorta pissed me off with the drone behavior, i know its Japanese culture to fall in line but i just couldn’t enjoy most of this ep and found myself skipping rule-crap/old-fart-lecture/dumbass-mother to find actual story elements.

  9. lovely
    I had a chuckle at the wannabe “gyaru” actually being the more innocent girl wqhile the “elite, strict, disciplined” president is underneath that surface broken, sesually stressed girl abused by teacher of all people and returning the abuse on newly found stepsister…
    I had even biger chcukel at the a-cup-angst when the phone fell thru


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