On Trying To Tamper Down My Delusions – Just A Little Bit

by TheBigN.
madoka and homura by caramel

I would be totally fine if they at least showed something like this throughout the show's run. We all know how Homura truly feels about Madoka.

On my blog, I think I’ve mentioned that I have some yuri-tinted goggles, but since I like keeping a lot of things in rather than letting them out, I don’t say the extent of my thoughts. Like when one girl says something along the lines of “I’ve been watching you so much, I don’t need to see you to paint a picture of you” to another. Or knowing that behind the appearances of one girl antagonizing another by constantly interrupting her time by herself lies a strong relationship between the two that I wish could be “something more”. Or hoping that when one girl declares her strong emotions for another (and I wish they tamp it down a bit, since the target gets it already), the other actually responds in kind. Or believing that that “touchy-feely” person is more so for that “one special someone” than anyone else. Or going “Kiss! Kiss!” in my head as two girls get closer to each other. Or thinking to myself “hopefully someone picks up on this idea and makes a fanfiction using these two” far too often. Or hopefully someone draws a picture of the pairing. Or does both. That would be awesome.

But aside from the above paragraph, I tend to keep this stuff under wraps since it feels “wrong” to me. It makes me question myself, wondering if it’s just for titillation, or to see if there can be a comfortable yuri relationship that’s part of a show, but not defining it show (unless it’s the main point). It tends to be somewhere in the middle though, which makes me happy to see shows like Aoi Hana or Kanamemo, and it’s the best of both worlds when I read manga like Girl Friends and Octave that both explore the relationship while showing all aspects of it (if you know what I mean :P). But when I watch Marimite, and think to myself “this is nice and all, but I wish there was more ‘honest’ actions between the characters”, or think that Azusa should be more truthful about her feelings with Yui in K-On! (the Doujin “Yui and Azusa’s Love Song” is awesome, BTW), I feel a little dirty inside.

yui and azusa's love song cover by らぐほのえりか

Self-explanatory.

Part of it is feeling like I’m denigrating the work somehow by trying to imagine something that isn’t there, or that I’m desecrating it for trying to use it for something that at least wasn’t the explicit intent of the work. Or that I might just be looking at a lesbian relationship in drawn/animated form as something titillating rather than something more substantial and thoughtful. Other parts of it are conceited thoughts that this isn’t the type of thing I should be thinking about in the first place, nor that I want to be seen in the same light as some of the more overzealous yuri fans that freely give their opinions without considering how willing people are to receive them.

yuno and miyako by 葉月ハル

Sae and Hiro are too obvious. This pairing has a little more challenge to it.

Sure, they’re all subjective reasons, not to mention silly in other ways. And besides, I may say that I don’t want to lose myself to the point where I’m like Chitose in Yuru Yuri (though I totally admire her passion and intensity, in many ways), but I often let flights of fancy dance around in my head if a hint of a serious possibility occurs on screen.  Never to be heard outside. Except maybe obscure hints in a Tweet or three. Or buried in a blog or forum post somewhere. To the point where one could see between the lines if they wanted to, but never enough to feel like they haven’t wasted time doing so. It’s unnecessarily tedious, to be sure.

But I think this self-imposed guilt is also a way to keep me from getting my hopes up too much. There’s a worry that it clouds how I appreciate the anime I watch/manga I read as well; that these thoughts help make a show better in my eyes or worse in my eyes if they play up subtext or not.  I feel like I’ve come to expect honest emotion, “realistic” struggles in life, and a more open perspective on relationships from anime/manga that I’ve read and watched featuring lesbian couples.  It could be the “rarity” of the situation, or how these relationships are still controversial at times, and as such are handled more seriously in many cases (and I can’t deny that it’s more aesthetically pleasing to me when issue deals with 2 females rather than 2 males). When I believe I see subtext somewhere, I feel like there’s a chance that this could be an added dimension to the work, rather than something that the creators put in because it knows they’ll draw people like me in. Though it’s true that there’s a lot of good and bad examples of works with yuri couples, as well as several works that have yuri and don’t take it seriously at all, I’m seeing too much into things and thinking too hard about them.

And because it shouldn’t really be this serious for me, I don’t think it’s bad to take a step back and check myself before I start having delusions again.   Or at least try to stop myself from doing so. Like wishing that Ohana actually did get her chance to “sparkle”, dammit.

chitose by refeia

But in the end, just like Chitose, I don't think I have any regrets going down this path.

__________________________________________________
About the Guest Author:
TheBigN heads Drastic My Anime Blog, where he, along with other authors, writes intelligent, personal, and dissecting posts. It is a wonderful opportunity to have his thoughts here.

This entry was posted in Anime/ Manga, Editorial, Guest Posts, Yuri Anime and Manga and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

44 Responses to On Trying To Tamper Down My Delusions – Just A Little Bit

  1. Smithy says:

    As a vocal yuri fan I’m definitely not like Chitose in Yuru Yuri! Not at all!
    I’m more like Chizuru. *drools at the Azusa x Yui image*
    でも大丈夫です。よだれなんて出っていません。

  2. Overlord-G says:

    Thanks for giving me an idea on my next blog. I’ll give you a summary on what it’ll be about with this reply to your current dilemma.

    I’ve been watching anime for over 10 years and became a yuri fan 7 years ago. What started in a desire for the sexual aspects quickly grew into a passion and longing for the romantic side of a girl/girl relationship. It finally culminated in what I’d like to call the “genre based expectation ratio”. concept.

    To explain it in short, members of the yuri nation like myself watch shows with yuri potential ranging from mild to red hot for fun. Whether it was intentional or not doesn’t detract from the show’s quality at all. We can still appreciate how good a show is even if the lesbian subtext wasn’t intentional. A yuri fan should never be ashamed to secretly desire seeing two girls who have the potential of getting together…get together. It makes the payoff worthwhile when we’re surprised to see that it DOES become a reality. More often than not in shows where yuri mentioned as an important genre, we’re not meant to expect much.

    Point is that unless all you want from the girls is to see them get “jiggy with it” and nothing else, then you shouldn’t be ashamed to be wearing yuri goggles when there’s noticeable potential on screen. Now then, off to make my own response to this…don’t know how long it’ll take though.

  3. I tend to trust my instincts and look at context clues almost as “excuses” to justify my idea of the pairing. Take Hidamari Sketch—I think it’s pretty obvious Sae and Hiro are a couple, and I don’t find MiyaXYuno difficult to imagine, partly because Sae and Hiro already exist, as well as that one girl who’s tsundere for Sae, and also because I know Ume Aoki draws yuri pictures and comics for Yuri-hime. This for me is enough justification to believe that the couple is yuri unless proven otherwise.

    Now let’s take Madoka. Urobuchi Gen wrote the show long before it was ever being made as an animation, so from a writing standpoint, we turn to him. I haven’t read all of his work, but I do know that there are yuri implications in Fate/Zero, mainly between Iri and Saber. Moving past him, though, I also know that Shinbo and SHAFT are known to put yuri implications in every show they do, if not outright yuri, so they’ve got a hand in this feeling as well. Altogether, it’s enough to know that the implication is probably on purpose, and meant to let the viewer fill in the blanks.

    The consumer is really what’s important in fiction, after all. You shape your own viewing experience. If you want to believe that it’s yuri, that’s all up to you. Even if the author says otherwise. Why not enhance the story for yourself? I like Madoka more thinking of Madoka and Homura as a couple, so I may as well stick with that.

    • TheBigN says:

      I feel the same way (though my feeling of Miyako x Yuno is more because I see plenty of moments in the work that justifies it than bouncing it off of other inclinations), but for me I think it comes down to wanting to have more “certainty” in what I see rather than what I think. That’s usually what keeps me from going full speed ahead in my impressions.

  4. Swordwind says:

    I as guilty as you are in this case. Of course, I don’t know if you’ve spent much time daydreaming over how various shows, movies, visual novels, or books would be different if the male lead was a female. Frankly, a lot of the time, these changes I imagine make almost no sense, but it’s surprisingly enjoyable until I realize that. In fact, sometimes I let it continue into some sort of silly internal debate with ridiculous justifications, which is kind of cool. At any rate, I’m glad this post was something I could relate to.

    • TheBigN says:

      That’s an interesting viewpoint. I actually haven’t been in a situation where I thought to myself “how would things be if the male was female” often, though with the advent of more works focusing on crossdressers, it’s become easier to do. In cases like that, I’m a more visual person, so I’d need to see a male have a “female-like appearance” (take of that what you will) first in some capacity to be able to imagine “well what if?”.

  5. Akito_Kinomoto says:

    Huh. So I’m not the only one who often muses about this problem. xD

    But seriously, if there’s one thing about anime that couldn’t get on my nerves more it’s the Bait and Switch Lesbians trope. For the most part I’ve just given up wishing that the writers would have the guts to consummate two gals that are clearly have some very strong feelings for each other. And I’m not talking about Yui and Azusa’s dynamics which are mostly played for laughs, I’m talking about nothing ever happening between Nanoha and Fate three seasons later and how blatant it would be if not for the fact that some people would never believe it without official confirmation. And then ship Takamachi with Yuno. Ship wars away!

    I understand that authors and directors have to find ways to bring in an audience, but there’s always something wrong when the “main” pairing is worse than the “lure” pairing. Indeed, a lot of them might be better off submitting stuff for Yuri Hime.

    And because I can predict someone taking a shot at this comment, I will point out that my favorite animanga couple is Tomoya Okazaki and Nagisa Furukawa of Clannad fame. Thank you, and thank you. :P

    • TheBigN says:

      In regards to bringing in an audience, I think to them it’s not wrong if it brings more viewers (and potential consumers) into the fold, hence the pandering. But it just sucks for us that they don’t have the guts to go all away unless that’s the target audience is obviously fans of yuri. I don’t think it will be too long though to have a show where even if it’s not the main point of the show, we will have a main relationship between two girls progress to them being happy girlfriends/married couples together.

  6. gozieson says:

    I am. I am. I am. I am. I am.

    I am! I am! I am! I am! I am!

    I AM! I AM! I AM! I AM! I AM!

    IAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAM!

    I AMMMMMMMM! I AMMMMMMM! I AMMMMMMM!

    I FRICKIN’ AMMMMMMM!

    Unfortunately, it’s MaiXReo fanfic…



    Which is coming out on Wednesday (give or take).

  7. shoujoaifan says:

    holy crap that Homura x Madoka pic! Homura’s ass is not in the right place! I am slightly and mentally scarred at the sight.

  8. Ally says:

    Oh my god, there is just so much in here that I can relate to. Just… Guh.

    So firstly, I’m a bisexual woman, and there are times when I’m really happy to see yuri or yaoi because, well, they’re like me! And there are just sooooo many examples of heterosexual romance in general media (I’d say ‘opposite-sex romance’ but honestly, those sorts of romances involving a genuinely bisexual character are probably just as rare) that it makes me really happy to see really cute examples of that kind of romance! And just the fact that same-sex attraction is so often seen as something Weird or Different that having genuinely sweet examples of it and queer characters helps a lot to make people realise it’s just normal. And then there’s just the fact that…even progressive shows tend to only have the one or two token gay characters. And even though that’s probably realistic, it makes me sad. I want most of the characters to be queer!

    But. Then shipping gets involved. And I start to wonder how purely LGBT-positive my actions really are. Yes, I want anime and TV shows and movies and webcomics to include queer romances…but I want them to do that for my ships! Let’s take the latest Star Trek movie. I am, somewhat sheepishly, of the faction that believes it is possible that Kirk/Spock was intentionally put into TOS. So, I REALLY want it to be made canon. Part of the reason why is that, well, Star Trek used to be so progressive and great – it had one of the first interracial kisses on TV ever! And yet it is WAY behind on LGBT rights. So if they did include some Kirk/Spock, that would definitely get back some of their past glory! But…if they made, say, Sulu/Chekov canon, or made McCoy bi or whatever, I’d…feel really let down.

    So it’s like…how much of all that stuff about queer rights is just me rationalising it to myself? Am I just some obsessive shipper who’s figured out a way to blame Society for her OTP not being canon? How much is it just that I want to see these two hot guys make out? There are other factors, though – Kirk is a main character, and having the guy supposedly supposed to represent what the audience wants to be like be queer is definitely a bigger thing than having that with a side character. But what if Kirk/McCoy became canon?

    It’s the same sort of thing with yuri anime like Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Saki and ESPECIALLY Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha. Sometimes I just get so frustrated with all of this having to stay in subtext and I really just want them to include definite yuri! You don’t need to throw away the plot to do that – Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito and Kannazuki no Miko proved that! (Sadly, no such proof exists for yaoi anime…) Just…add it in! But then I wonder if maybe I’m being silly. Shouldn’t I be happy with just close friendships between girls? They exist, too! Not every close friendship is secretly romantic! But some ARE, and I feel like those are underrepresented, but… Is that really what I want, or do I just want to appease my shipper’s soul and/or see two pretty girls make out?

    Gurk. Shipping is hard. It’s hard and nobody understands. :(

    • TheBigN says:

      When you have someone people arguing about the first name in a specific ship, you realize how serious it can be. And in my opinion, regardless of the ship, I just wish there were more episodes where relationships are text text, not subtext.

  9. greenapples says:

    I’m a straight yuri fan, more interested in romance between girls than titillation, and I have a lot of the same self-doubts and neuroses about it that you do. I’ve alternately rationalised it to myself by saying things like “girls are just more interesting to me” and “male anime characters are uniformly idiotic”, but in the end I guess I don’t care what my reasons are: I love yuri and that’s just fine. I have massive yuri goggles on almost all of the time, though, and it is occasionally frustrating to see things merely hinted at (madoka, ohana) as opposed to an honest treatment.

    • TheBigN says:

      I’m probably going to keep rationalizing till I see several examples that can get an “honest treatment”. It always stings when the words said are things like “you’re very precious to me” or “you’re my best friend”, but not “I love you”. Where’s the consummation?!?

  10. schneider says:

    I have sort of an opposite problem. My goggles are anti-yuri coated, not that I’m against it, but in the sense that my mind automatically moves to deny such evidence for yuri. When the show I’m watching passes hints that these girls might be more than friends, I systematically blush, shake my head, and affirm out aloud that “they’re just friends!”.

    I don’t find this unhealthy. The truth is, I do like yuri, it charms me in a way that more proficient fans (i.e. the good people of this blog) could describe in greater detail. I guess it’s the excitement of watching a harmless taboo unfold on screen that gets me, so I never exerted a significant effort to banish my knee-jerk reactions, which my friends like to make fun of.

    I’m playing a Madoka Magica-inspired RPG that has a bunch of yuri overtones, and I’m told my character is totally Chitose from Yuru Yuri. So yeah :v

    • TheBigN says:

      My question is what’s the source of the denial, though? Not wanting to be disappointed? Being perfectly fine with a set upon status quo? Something else?

      And your avatar for some reason makes me think that character’s fantasizing about something yuri. Just because. :P

      • Schenider and I have this crazy friend who draws pretty well. Unfortunately he’s also a bit of a debased pervert and well…

        That picture of his character IS from him. But I’m not in said game, so I dunno about the context.

  11. Kai says:

    And my goggles are anti-yaoi coated but I guess that’s beside the point right now.
    I’m actually quite open with any kinds of yuri scenes, be it plain, mild or steamy ;D Probably one of the reason I like yuri is because watching a taboo relationship being visualized is fun, we watch anime because most of the time we want to see things which is close to impossible to accomplish, and being in a lesbian relationship is one of those, well, it’s not impossible but it is going to be quite a tough road since it’s not easy to get acknowledge. Another reason would be most of the anime straight couples I seen had very lame male leads.

    Anyhow, it’s almost a year I had been into yuri, not as long as some people here, I’d say. At first, I tried my best finding fanfics and manga featuring yuri, but only after getting to know this blog and Sono Hanabira, I started to get into yuri all hardcore. Before Sono Hanabira, I was quite interested in other official or fan-made couples, with the latter being Yui X Mio (fav couple in K-ON, with Yui X Azusa being the second fav).

    Like I had said, I’m quite open, and watching two girls loving each other puts a smile to my face. I never feel guilty and probably never will. I never find anything wrong with two girls in a lesbian relationship, likewise with gays too. It’s as they say “Love comes in all shapes, sizes and gender”

    • TheBigN says:

      I wish there was more Mio x Yui material pushed myself. Before Azusa came around, it seemed like Mio was more openly being charmed by Yui than everyone else was. That helps.

      And I don’t think of a homosexual relationship as taboo, nor hard to obtain. It’s definitely hard to be open about it to a lot of people for many, and we’re probably a couple of decades removed for it being something that will reach commonplace acceptance. I just wish anime is more ahead of the curve sometimes.

  12. Wieselhead says:

    I also have this“Kiss! Kiss!” voice in my head, well mainly in male – female pairings :D
    Im not a yuri fan and don’t go crazy if there are traces of yuri vibes, but I have nothing against it either. The Nanoha – Fate pairing in the 3rd Nanoha Season was nice, even though it was never mentioned what kind of relation they actually had, it was quite subliminal.

    I would say I like nearly every kind of serious romance in anime (never tried Yaoi, well Sengoku Basara 2 might be an exception XD) The only anime I watched which had a obviously clear yuri pairing was Candy Boy, a nice show, but they could have deepen the relationship of the two a bit more.

    I often see myself dissapointed with the way straight relationships or yuri relationship are portrayed in anime, there is a lack of normal bodycontact, I hate it when they blush just from holding hands :D

    • TheBigN says:

      Relationships are always portrayed as awkward to begin for the most part in many anime, and I feel like real life isn’t quite as awkward. But I can’t say that I’m the best person to say something like that. :P

  13. OtakuHobby says:

    I am a huge yuri fan and claim that my yuri goggles are on 24/7 XD. Hm, this is quite an interesting post seeing as I have rarely, if at all, actually thought about toning down the amount of delusions I share with others. What works for me is that I actually dive into yuri more by reading doujins or fanfictions and searching for pictures O.O.

    Also, speaking of Hanasaku Iroha yuri……. XD http://mylostheart13.deviantart.com/art/Ohana-x-Minko-227414051

  14. Cell says:

    It’s especially painful when a series has a male main lead. There’s that one pair of girls that would make the best yuri pair, but then the male butts in.

    • TheBigN says:

      Those are indeed annoying. Not necessarily the worst, but it sets up a dichotomy between what’s normal and what’s not, and what society favors is what’s deemed normal more often than not.

  15. bluedrakon says:

    I have to say as I guy, I would rather watch/read Yuri material than Yaoi. Not to say that those are bad either, just not my draw in life. It is hard to say that you are a Yuri or Yaoi fan because of it’s sexual overtones that are not necessary there in the shows.

    I love how women are much more interesting when it comes to relationships than us guys. It seems (but not always) a slow affection process which builds to a nice climax of seeing them finally accept each other.

    Need to go watch KissxKiss now as this touched on my feminine side too much :P

    • TheBigN says:

      Nice to see this elicited that reaction from you. With women and relationships, you see it in works of all types. It’s good to see there’s more “feeling” on their end portrayed, though I’m not sure how accurate those feelings tend to be when taken out of the confines of the work.

  16. We’re all guilty of having our Yuri goggles on too high at times.

    Well, since we like Yuri so much, I don’t think its bad that we like to imagine something extra to anime and manga we watch/read.

    But I’m also guilty of being overly enthusiastic to the point where I would watch a show just because there’s Yuri or to not focus on anything other than the Yuri. So yeah, toning down is the key

    • TheBigN says:

      I don’t get to that point myself, but if I do hear that a show has some, it makes me more inclined to check it out rather than not. That being said, I have Strawberry Panic and Kannazuki no Miko on a queue, and I’m not planning on watching those anytime soon, so there has to be something more that grabs me than just “THERE’S YURI” present.

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  19. Valence says:

    Perhaps all your delusions are actually canon but just that it’s not confirmed by the studios.

  20. glothelegend says:

    I could really go for some nice lesbian sex right now…

    Oh shit! I’m a guy! DRAT! Foiled Again!

  21. Unlike most people, I don’t have this problem. I am completely oblivious to any sort of shipping, yuri or otherwise, until it is pointed out to me.

    Though if it wasn’t for the expectation of hilarious lesbian action, I would never have watched Nanoha. Or enjoyed Clannad’s SEEN0666. Though most of this only happens in my anime viewing afterhours. (Stuff I learnt from the Internet: Homura is a debased pervert and Madoka stalker. Sanae gets a little TOO turned on while exterminating youkai. Sayaka and Kyouko are totally a couple and Sayaka is the pertverted seme and Kyouko would be the pure uk- No wait, that one’s canon except for the last part)

    Part of this is that I find homosexuality hilarious (I used to say that I read yaoi mana for the buttsex. In some ways, I still do. :P). The other part is that I’m still painfully naive.

    AND WHY WOULD YOU THINK YUNOCCHI AND MIYAKO ARE A COUPLE I MEAN HIDAMARI ISN’T THAT KIND OF SHOW etc etc etc.

  22. Ryan A says:

    I’m likely ruined via that scene in Cruel Intentions (1999) between Selma and Sarah, but I think it’s about keeping cool and taking things for what they are. Homura is a more difficult case to assess than say Azusa and Yui simply because she was in this high-emotion cycle of turmoil, but Azusa and Yui (or any of the K-ON! relations) were fairly clear so long as we don’t run off into a romanticized dream fic. What was clear imo: Azusa had a mixture feelings for Yui [and the others] which were quite intimate and endearing, a love, but vague in a sense that it isn’t “romance.” We never reach that definitive point, but there is a warmth to the relationship that makes it feel honest, gentle, and very much like close sisters. *

    Now, I feel there is potential for romance in such a relationship, and if we let the mind wander off just a bit we can enjoy it, but it’s not that simple. There aren’t any plot points to bring us there, and realistically we understand there are bridges to be crossed. Paths in life do not rely on teleportation. We cannot simply “be married” or “be a surgeon” as there are necessary steps one must take to get there, and I think that applies when we want to be honest about taking fictional characters for what they’re are.

    My personal opinion is that if we don’t overextend on what we’d like to find (probably in a fanfic), it is simple to remain with genuine sentiments. Nothing more, nothing less, perhaps sad, but it cradles the heart like warm sunshine when one is attuned.

    * Tangentially, I feel Akari in Aria held something similar, but it was a more personalized relationship with herself, and the world for brief moments.

  23. Yi says:

    I think I can kind of sympathize with that guilt at times, at least in my earlier days of watching anime (nowadays, I just don’t care as much and rampantly, irresponsibly ship characters who have any sort of interactions). I think that guilt does come from trying to inject titillation in a series that might not have intended it. This feeling is especially pronounced when my yuri delusions are inspired by the smallest actions: a smile, a look, some alone time, assigned seats… etc. It is even more funny if we were to imagine wearing our goggles in real life. Everyone would be in love with everyone else if we judge love based on these interactions.

    Still, I guess it’s more fun this way–I watch Hanasaku Iroha in the hopes that Ohana would sparkle with Nako. The subtext is definite there.

    p.s. Thanks for the fantastic guest post on a topic that is undoubtedly very relevant to many readers here!

    • TheBigN says:

      No problem at all. Would be glad to do it again. And I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees Ohana X Nako there. I still think Ohana x Minko is there as well, though Minko pines hard for Tohru. I don’t know. :P

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