Title: Yuru Yuri Premium Edition
U. S. Distributor: NIS America
U. S. Release Date: Sept. 3, 2013
Genre: Yuri, Slice of School Life and Comedy
Length: 12 episodes, 288 minutes
Format: Blu-ray, 2 disc, Art Book and Box
Age Rating: Teen
Overall Personal Rating: C+
A group of friends begin the academic year in an all girls middle school. Together they are the “amusement club”.
Kyoko is the self appointed leader of the group of friends and their amusement club. Yui, more serious and patient, has been her friend since early childhood. Akari is a bit scattered brain and makes less of an impression on the world around her. Soon to join them is Chinatsu, although she was really looking for a different club when she walked in to the amusement club room. Flashback to when they were young friends in preschool give insight to their relationship. A bump on the head causes Kyoto’s personality to change for the better, but can her friends stand it?
School isn’t the only time they spend together. Yui has her own apartment (owned by a relative). She has the girls over to hang out, making a meal together. Kyoko invites herself over to spend the night. When the weather is warm, the larger group heads to the beach for the day. Swimsuits can cause some awkward moments (of course). The day is full of games, food and fun. When the night arrives, they all change into their Yukatas and light fireworks. Next it is time for a road trip. Kyoko is artistic and writes/illustrates fan manga. She take her friends along with her to a fan comic market expo. She doesn’t warn them ahead of time that they have to wear a costume! With plenty of jealousy and competition in the group, some of the others are inspired to write their own mangas. Chinatsu has an unusually bad talent that comes across as creepy. Unaware of this, she adds her artistic flair to a variety of projects.
The group often interacts with the girls from the student council. Kyoko is naturally good at getting top grades to the dismay of Ayano, student council member. A “friendly” competition begins to see who can score the best on the next exam. When Chitose, also from the council, is acting odd, Kyoto can’t get a response out of her and the reason behind it will be a surprise for the other girls. The school trip takes them to Kyoto. There is lots to see and do, but staying at a hotel is what some of them look forward to, it is like a big slumber party, with hot springs bathing.
Holidays are part of their friendship. Christmas has arrived and the idea comes up that they should have a drawing to see who will pair up and go out on a date. Since they didn’t all get who they wanted, the dates can be pretty awkward. But as time goes on, the understanding and friendships have time to grow. April Fool’s Day is also a day to note.
The season ends with a sleep over at the club room with the amusement club and the student council.
The most notable elements of this anime for me can be broken down into 4 parts; the yuri element, humor, plot/story, and the technical aspects of sound and visual animation.
The yuri element is strong throughout with girl crushes, obsessions, fan service and jokes. This in itself wouldn’t be a problem, but this would have been better suited to a high school setting or older. Using middle school students as the cast engaging in all the sexual humor was icky. They even made being sisters seem creepy.
It is a story of friendship, albeit often rather self-centered. Plot or story elements weren’t as strong as they could be. There was one episode where the first half was drowned in pointless chatter (at least it provided relief from the pointless sexual maneuvers and obsessing). The usual bath, beach and Christmas scenes/stories were there. The Christmas pairing up was the one of the more unusual holiday ideas. Some of the pluses were that the girls have some strange imaginations.
A moment on characters. Chitose was constantly fantasizing about encounters between the other girls and getting a bloody nose. Over and over. Ugh. Tedious and not funny, it was getting gross. It is not that this element can’t be used successfully, for example, Arakawa Under the Bridge does a great job of incorporating the element into Sister’s romantic thoughts.
With the enthusiastic and comically emotional characters, the humor was mostly slapstick and sexual jokes. Somethings just weren’t funny, they were just stupid. Let’s not mix the two up. Stupid can get a laugh but it isn’t really fun to watch. I did appreciate the humor of Chinatsu’s creepy art talent.
The sound is really two parts. The music and sound effects were generally invisible. I don’t know if that is good or bad. The opening song is catchy and the cicadas get very noisy is all the impact I remember. The voices varied by character, but there was some annoying voice work which involved the high pitch squeaky little girl like sounds, too much so. Visually, it is an attractive anime. The colors were a mix of bright and gentle, lending to the great illustration. The characters were well animated and very cute. The setting and backgrounds were well done with detail, plenty to look at and often pretty. This was the strongest elements in the whole anime. It has the cute look of Lucky Star and Everyday Tales of a Cat God.
Yuru Yuri is not appropriate for anyone under 15. I don’t like the way they make things look enticing to younger viewers that really aren’t for them by making everyone look so cute, young and enthusiastic. I’ve always thought that slice of life anime was either pleasant, feel good stuff, or thought provoking, not something to create disappointment in humanity. I can watch the news for that.
Season 2 will be coming next January.
Extras: There is a 32 page art book with episode lists, character sketches and bios. Also, there are location sketches and color art scenes.
Overall Personal Rating: C+
Review provided EAV