Yuri, or Girl’s Love, is a well-known Japanese manga and anime genre that focuses on romantic relationships between women. It all started with Yaneura no Nishojo (Two Virgins in the Attic), a book on same-sex love created by the lesbian writer Yoshiya Nobuko. Even though not every work can be considered healthy LGBT representation, the genre evolved a lot, and it’s still making progress. Read on for some of the best yuri anime of all time.
13 Must-Watch Yuri Anime
If you want some good examples of LGBT anime, yuri and yaoi, a genre focused on relationships between men, are your best bet. Unfortunately, outside of those genres, it’s harder to find any queer characters in Japanese media. We’ve selected a few works that will melt your heart and, hopefully, turn you into a yuri fan.
Bloom Into You
Widely considered the best yuri anime and manga, Bloom Into You follows Yuu Koito, a girl who dreams of falling in love but never has. And, even when she receives a confession, her heart doesn’t flutter. That is until she meets Touko Nanami. It’s a dramatic and deep telling of someone finding out their own sexuality and what love means to them. The anime also has great asexual and romantic representation, something rare to find.
Adachi and Shimamura
Calling all slow-burn romance lovers because this might be the definition of it. Adachi and Shimamura stumble on each other in the school’s gymnasium and start gradually developing a strong bond. Skipping class together creates more problems than just bad grades; Adachi realizes she is falling in love with Shimamura and doesn’t know what to do.
Kase-san and Morning Glories
While some yuri, like Adachi and Shimamura, focuses on the girls finding out about their feelings, Kase-san and Morning Glories shows one hour’s worth of fluff and Kase and Yamada being a wholesome couple. Not a lot of things happen, and it doesn’t go too deep on anything, but it’s the perfect watch if you want something adorable with accurate representation.
Revolutionary Girl Utena
Now, for the complete opposite. Revolutionary Girl Utena, with a lot of depth, unexpected events, heavy themes, political discussions, and fights, crafts an astonishing and thought-provoking LGBT representation. Both protagonists, Utena and Anthy, are incredibly developed while going through hardships in the fantastical (and practically medieval) world of duels and princes. It’s a masterpiece and one of the best shoujo anime you can watch.
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury
Being the first anime in the Gundam series to feature the protagonists in a yuri relationship. It focuses on Suletta, who duels to protect Miorine, but unknowingly becomes her new husband. The basic plot is actually quite similar to the one of Revolutionary Girl Utena, so if you like the former, you’ll probably enjoy the latter too. However, the stories quickly diverge and deal with different themes.
Related: Gundam The Witch From Mercury Season 2: Release Date and Plot
Sweet Blue Flowers
This a charming coming-of-age story about Fumi and Akira, two girls who used to be friends but, after a long time apart, are having problems understanding their relationship isn’t the same a before. Sweet Blue Flowers feels a lot like a slice-of-life story, quietly but surely developing its themes and characters. Not only the romantic ones, but the relationships, in general, are the best part of the anime.
YuruYuri: Happy Go Lily
“Cute girls doing cute things” is an anime sub-genre more common than it seems; YuruYuri mixes that with great absurd comedy, never taking itself too seriously. A group of girls creates an unofficial “amusement club” so they can play and have fun together all the time. If you need a feel-good show, maybe this is the one, and you can be happy knowing there are many other seasons.
Dear Brother is a very melodramatic tale of a girl having to adapt to a prestigious all-girls school while dealing with bullying, love, and much more. Dear Brother‘s ending tries to scrub off many of the LGBT aspects in the anime, but it’s still considered a classic by yuri fans and a good drama series, so be aware of that.
Have you ever felt the need to see the inner workings of a traditional hot springs inn? Well, if you have, this yuri is for you. Yuzu, a cheerful fox girl, has no experience but starts working in a high-class inn. It’s another heartwarming and feel-good slice-of-life story, but this time focusing on traditional culture in Japan and mixing that with a magical world.
The Magical Revolution of the Reincarnated Princess and the Genius Young Lady
The anime see prince Algard having to marry Euphyllia for political reasons, but he dislikes her. When he publicly calls off the marriage, his sister, Anis, rescues the bride. The chemistry between the two female protagonists is great, like the pacing, the comedy, and almost everything else in the story. Look, it’s a yuri anime about a girl stealing her brother’s wife; there’s just no way it’ll be bad. You need to watch it.
Related: Best Romance Anime You Can Watch Right Now
Maria Watches Over Us
It follows a group of girls attending a catholic all-girls school in Tokyo and what happens between them. The characterization is out of this world; the characters and their dynamics are complex and very important to the story. It’s slow and doesn’t have a lot of action, but it uses this slice-of-life aspect to its advantage with the characterization.
Yuri Kuma Arashi
By the same director of Revolutionary Girl Utena and several episodes of Sailor Moon, Yuri Kuma Arashi is a very weird and metaphorical anime about lesbian relationships and space bears trying to eat them. Really, weird doesn’t start describing it. But it’s also one of the greatest in the genre; the visuals are stunning, the characters are good, the direction is incredible, and the discussions are important and represented in a unique form.
If My Favorite Pop Idol Made It to the Budokan, I Would Die
After receiving a flyer of the idol group ChamJam from Maina Ichii, one of their members, Eripiyo falls in love with her. She starts attending every event and fan gathering. It’s one of the funniest recent music anime, and it plays with fan obsession and love in a unique way. While the obsession is definitely there, there’s also a sweet and natural love story being developed.
- This article was updated on February 24th, 2023