Yuru Yuri Eps02-03

I had initially intended to batch together eps02-04, but it turned out that I had a lot more to say. Surprisingly, I'm liking this anime a lot more than I had initially expected after watching the first episode.

Super loli!

I had previously drawn a lot of similarities to A Channel and, while most of them are still true, I have to throw in that Yuru Yuri has something that A Channel was sorely missing - comedy. The allusions to lesbianism is still in full-force with these two episodes, only getting more extreme with the introduction of characters that are honestly just fangirls. The over-the-top element is what adds to the overall hilarity; while an everyday life is depicted, these episodes add the humour that kept me going back for more. Ep02 sees the introduction of the student council (sans the president) and ep03 deals with Yui's living alone.

That's pretty hardcore, being in middle school.

Ep02 picked up a few minutes before ep01 ended, although told from a different vantage point. Sugiura Ayano (the student council vice president) and Ikeda Chitose (a student council member of unknown position) were in the student council room, with Ayano discussing how she had lost, once again, to Kyouko. After becoming frustrated, she traipsed out towards the Tea Ceremony Clubroom in order to confront Kyouko, which is exactly where ep01 ended. (The overlap was pretty nicely done; it even showed Akari sheepishly sitting back down after her speech was interrupted.) Kyouko turned out to be some kind of genius (or, at least, very good at studying), as she placed first in her class after only studying the night before for exams. For the entire scene, the regular members of the club took a backseat, and the focus was on Ayano and Kyouko, with Chitose driving them on.

Senjougahara, on the left? The similarities...!

Heated conversations led to the proclamation of battle, such that Ayano challenged Kyouko to do better than her in the next tests (or, rather, continue to do better than her). If Kyouko was unable to, then Ayano would take away the clubroom from them (as they were using it without permission); if Kyouko was able to, then Ayano and Chitose would join the club. Chitose attempted to divert their attention from tests, revealing that a loss of her glasses made her go into some kind of strange lesbian-driven fantasy world (kind of like OreTsuba, except less ecchi). By the end of the episode, the results of this contest hadn't been shown yet, since the scene shifted to the next one and never really came back to this topic.

Age-old rivalry. I want to see a real cobra vs mongoose fight.

The next storyline began with Ayano realizing that Kyouko had forgotten to hand in an assignment, and heading off (with Chitose in tow) to personally collect it. Since they had been working hard on sorting all the assignments, they asked their council juniors Omuro Sakurako and Furutani Himawari to do it. These two, both candidates for the vice-presidency after Ayano's term, turned out to be bitter rivals, wanting to best each other no matter what. They also wanted to surprise Ayano by having all the papers sorted, but couldn't do it on their own, so they asked classmates Akari and Chinatsu. Of course, since their club members were helping, Kyouko and Yui decided to help out as well. Thus, as Ayano spent quite a long time searching for Kyouko (hilariously revealing that the only reason she could burst in with a booming voice was because she did it whether or not she knew Kyouko was there), the four club regulars assisted the junior council members in sorting (and Kyouko left the assignment for Ayano to receive).

I have to say those breasts are a little big, in general and not just for her age.

As typical as the "one-sided" rivalry between Ayano and Kyouko, Sakurako and Himawari don't seem to be bitter rivals to the end. They seem to show their dislike for each other only on the surface, and sometimes in retrospect (such as pointing out only after the fact that their closeness in the council picture was a facade). This was capitalized when Sakurako refused to have Himawari's cookies (the ones she made for Akari and Chinatsu as thanks for helping), but it later was shown that Himawari had packaged some for her in a separate bag (with ribbons and frills, as if they were confession cookies...). As well, Sakurako randomly carried around two PE uniforms, lending Himawari one when she forgot hers. (Chinatsu asked for the reason, but it was gently ignored.) Both instances ended with more arguing than closeness; Sakurako suggested that Himawari had gotten rejected and was passing the cookies off to her, while Himawari "accidentally" stretched out the chest of the borrowed PE shirt.

You'd think she'd carry around extra glasses...

The final scene for this episode was focused on Ayano, who was sick in bed, and the visit from Kyouko, Yui and Chitose. While Ayano didn't look to be doing too badly (until the very end, due to the commotion around her), Chitose was unable to keep herself from visioning the various ways that the Ayano-Kyouko love would play out. Kyouko accidentally breaking her glasses sent her into perma-bleeding mode, since she was very anaemic  and the episode ended with the calamity. I must say that even though it's over-the-top, all of this was still pretty funny. The characters don't have a lot of depth, but they have all the right traits for good interactions with each other.

Not even remembering the main character's name...!

Ep04 suspiciously began with Akari's voice-over of how much she liked being in middle school, suspicious because the episode wasn't particularly about her. (It's funny because even the writers poke fun at how Akari's status as "main character" is questionable.) Kyouko, just barely making it to class on time, forgot her homework and so she was given extra as punishment. The conversation in the clubroom, as she whined about not wanting to do the extra pages, turned to forgetting things, after Yui was spotted with "cabbage" written on her hand. This most reminded me of A Channel, at the very beginning, because of the way the mundane conversation topic was presented. However, I realized just why I like this anime more than A Channel - this one has fast-paced conversation, due to the characters' various fetishes and delusions. A Channel was more streamlined, with conversation topics changing slowly.


As an example, after Chinatsu asked Yui to go together to a movie, Kyouko thought about how cute Chinatsu was and what she would look like with her hair down. With that in mind, her view shifted to Akari, and she suddenly began wondering what kind of hairstyle that was, having two specific delusions. I do have to throw in my two cents here: how is such a hairstyle really possible?! I always questioned what was going on with Sailor Moon; not only is that some really long hair, but how are those two buns created? Akari's hairstyle is even more suspect, due to the length of the hair left down. Maybe she just has thick hair (as in, a lot of strands), and so the buns look full and heavy. I don't know any girl that would grow out her hair in various lengths all over her head for the sake of one particular hairstyle. (Not saying they probably don't exist, though...)

Middle school students with lingerie. That's pretty fast.

Just as quickly as Kyouko had shifted to having delusional theories about Akari's hair, the scene shifted to a visit to Yui's house. She very calmly revealed that she had begun living alone, at an apartment complex where the landlord was a relative, and Kyouko immediately thought of visiting. I have to admit, since the scene jumped so quickly, I thought for the first 5min of the visit to Yui's house that it was only a fantasy. Anyway, Kyouko dropped by unannounced and, after much pestering, was allowed in. Yui suggested that the other two visit as well, and she went to go pick them up after they got lost while Kyouko made herself at home. When all four headed to the supermarket to get ingredients to make lunch (omurice and miso soup, with tossed salad), I was reminded of A Channel's episode with pancakes. That was one of the better episodes, although still overall not that great, and I definitely liked this rendition of hanging out and cooking much better.

+1 for showing me cute children.

Just like with A Channel, the visit to Yui's house involved a bath for one of the characters. Do people really need to bathe after spilling something on themselves like that? I mean, I really can't imagine doing that in someone else's house, even if I was spending the night. Anyway, the episode showed some childhood memories of Yui and Kyouko (with Akari tagging along!), and I must say that the children were drawn pretty cutely. As quickly as the visit had begun, Chinatsu and Akari had to get back home. It was really sweet how Kyouko invited herself over, already wearing pyjamas and slipping into the futon. While she may seem overbearing and thoughtless sometimes, her sleep-over was sparked by the fact that she worried Yui was lonely (and she was, a little). It's luck to have a friend like that, one that without instigation would secretly care about you and your well-being. I would have felt a lot better about A Channel's Run and Tooru were the latter not always so lonely and insecure; both Yui and Kyouko here seem happy and fully functional without each other, which makes their time together even better.

Did the sparkles cost extra?

Before leaving this episode discussion, I really have to comment on the housing situation. It's very strange that a middle school student is able to live alone like this. (Yui is in her 2nd year of middle school, so that would make her a 13-year-old in 8th grade, more or less.) I suppose the culture is very different, but it's still a little suspect. At any rate, the thing I have the most problem with is her apartment. I hear lots of talk about how married couples want a 2LDK, or how single salary-workers are lucky to live in a 6-tatami room. However, in many anime about children, the apartments are always large and spacious. I realize that this apartment is pretty much a bachelor, but it still looks pretty big to comfortably fit all four people like that. Moreover, as best as I can imagine, lofts tend to be slightly more expensive due to the extra-high ceilings. Things might be different in Japan but, given the extremely high cost of living, I seriously wonder how she's affording it. I'm pretty sure her rent is different, since the landlord is her relative, and she also didn't have to jump through the typical hoops to get accepted as a tenant. On the other hand, her parents might just be rich, which would be the answer to all my questions.

The president's face is blocked! Cliche, but interesting.

I can't remember who it was that commented in the chatbox, but that person said that Yuru Yuri was definitely his guilty pleasure of the season. Putting the "guilty" part aside, I'd have to agree to an extent. I'm enjoying it for the time-being, much more than I enjoyed A Channel after getting 3 episodes in. I wonder how long this kind of episode structure and comedy will be intriguing, though...