Ever thought of exploring the Yuri genre of anime? Or perhaps you’re curious about what it’s like to watch an anime series that is focused on the spectrum of girl love.
‘Citrus’ is originally a Japanese Yuri manga series that is written and illustrated by the author named Saburouta. Due to its popularity, the manga gained a 12-episode anime television series adaptation by Passione which aired from January to March 2018.
The series follows Yuzu Aihara, a fashionable and spontaneous city girl who transferred to a new neighborhood after her mother’s remarriage to another man. Yuzu has no intention to focus on her studies, instead, she was more occupied with shopping and the idea of dating which resulted in her struggle to fit in at her new school, known as a conservative all-girls academy. Her struggles made her stubborn when it comes to following the school rules, which caused her to frequently get in trouble with the student council, specifically Mei Aihara.
Mei is the student council president, popular for being beautiful but cold and distant. She also happens to be Yuzu’s younger stepsister and both girls obviously couldn’t stand each other but ended up sharing a bedroom on their first day of school.
So why is Citrus considered harmful in the Yuri Genre?
Citrus follows the story of two girls and the evolution of their relationship. As Yuzu and Mei began to learn more about each other, the confusion also grows when Yuzu discovers that she is starting to have romantic feelings toward Mei, her new stepsister.
Despite its popularity due to the intense and melodramatic scenes of the anime, Citrus received various criticisms, especially on IMDB and MyAnimeList. Most of the manga’s problematic themes include pseudo-incest, toxic relationships, poorly executed romance, and the forced chemistry between the two girls.
The most common criticism of the series is the pseudo-incest. While it is true that Yuzu and Mei are not real sisters, stepsisters are still seen as members of the family. The concept of Citrus is forbidden love between two girls however, the execution of the manga’s ‘forbidden’ love fell under the category of taboo. The taboo setup also adds to the non-consensual intimacy between the two girls since most of the kissing scenes are either forced by the other. Since both girls are aware that their ‘relationship’ is wrong or forbidden, the physical contact between the two is often forced or driven by lust.
Regardless of its problematic themes, citrus has a huge fan base as a Yuri series but the anime still received low ratings causing Passione to discourage a follow-up season for the series.
It’s no secret that there are only a few or fewer Yuri anime television series available for the GL stans to consume in the media, causing citrus to be heavily popularized by the fans despite its problematic themes. However, it is important to take note of these problematic issues since they can cause serious harm to the female same-sex relationship trope.
The sexualization between two underage girls who are involved in a forbidden love as stepsisters is not exactly the type of representation that creates a positive view on the side of the wlw community, and while the fans are grateful for its media adaptation, one can only either ignore its problematic themes for the sake of representation.
Having said that, if you’re looking for a cute slice-of-life Yuri anime to watch with less problematic themes, stay tuned for more articles every Wednesday regarding Yuri manga and anime.
This is Vion Valen, signing off.