So recently there’s been some discussion going around about whether Banana Fish, an adaption of a classic 1980s shoujo manga, is properly considered to be a “Boy’s Love” work. Unfortunately I can’t really comment much on that due to not being in that space at all, not watching the Banana Fish anime or having read the manga. But it did bring to mind something I’ve thought on more than once: just what is a “yuri” anime?
Back in 2003 an anime aired named Kimi ga Nozomu Eien (The Eternity You Desire, Kiminozo). It was, fundamentally, a fairly standard romance show. The kind I wouldn’t give a second look these days. But back then I was young and inexperienced and didn’t realize the show would lead to me writing this post now, fourteen years later.
This is my path to Muv-Luv.
Spoilers for Kiminozo, minor spoilers for Muv-Luv Extra and Unlimited, vague spoilers for Alternative after the jump.
A while back we discussed Watanabe You, and her role as a traditional “Childhood Friend” character for Takami Chika. Childhood Friends thrive in a static environment, where they don’t have to confront their feelings for the protagonist. So stories with them almost always start with a disruption, very frequently the unexpected arrival of a new love interest. Enter Sakurauchi Riko.
The idea of the “Childhood Friend” (Osananajimi, in Japanese) has long been a staple of anime and manga romance stories, particularly ones with a harem bent. They are, especially in popular consciousness, somewhat tragic figures. The girl who’s been by the hero the longest, but is never able to convey that she likes them as more than just a friend. Love Live: School Idol Project technically has had many “Childhood Friends”. Honoka, Kotori and Umi all knew each other for years before the story began, for example. However their is only one true “Childhood Friend” character in this franchise, Love Live Sunshine‘s Watanabe You
At the end of episode 2, Cocona and Papika are taken through the bowels of the Flip Flaps base to reach a device that will help them go to Pure Illusion. According to Doctor Hidaka, this device is called the “Thomasson”. What is a Thomasson? Where did that name come from? Well, that is an interesting story and one quite revealing about some of Flip Flappers’ core themes and goals.
So as I’ve been adding articles, reviews and videos to the index, I’ve found a somewhat common theme among many (though not all!) of the end of series reviews. A dissatisfaction with just what the show chose to explain and more specifically, what it chose not to explain. This is not surprising, honestly. Flip Flappers is a show that was always more interested in the subtext than the text, but in the end it did make certain things explicit text. Lets consider this for a bit.