Before getting into this review, I must admit that I am entirely new to the Yuri sub-genre, a place for romantic stories involving women, so I have nothing to compare this to, no manga or anime to refer back to when I write about this show.
Thanks to a Crunchyroll-sponsored ad, the other night I discovered an anime called Citrus, based on the well-received Manga of the same name. Citrus follows Aihara Yuzu as she transfers to the prestigious Aihara Academy for young ladies due to her mum remarrying and moving, where upon she clashes with another student, the diligent student council president, Aihara Mei.
Its only after heading back to her new home after her first day at the new school that Yuzu realises Mei, the sullen and uptight student she clashed with, is her new step-sister. And a complex relationship forms.
I have to say, this anime exceeded my expectations. I mean, yes there’s awkward butt grabbing, up-skirts, conveniently blocked shower scenes – all fan-service to the genre, I assume? – but the more the anime rolls on, the more the meatier themes begin to appear.
There’s themes of friendship, love and a coming-of-age element to the story that is quite charming. It kind of brought me back to my own years of discovery and young love.
At the forefront of these themes is the relationship between Yuzu and Mei, both beautifully voiced by Ayana Taketatsu and Minami Tsuda. It’d be very easy for these roles to fall into ludicrous delivery and miss the emotional beat, but the voice work here goes above and beyond.
Their relationship is fascinating to watch in this episode, purely because things take a turn for the dark, moving into a territory I will only say is non-consensual.
Adding to this, interestingly enough, events don’t quite fall into fantasy mode here. There’s a sense of realism to the procedure, to the thought process, of Yuzu’s reactions, which makes the series all the more interesting to watch unfold.
If this first chapter is any indication how Citrus will handle its presentation and focus on its relationships and events then count me in for the continuing ride.
J’s Verdict: ☆☆☆