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.
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.
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.
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.