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Warnings: Nudity, Mild Fan Service, Sexual Situations

My Review:

Citrus had been on my radar for a while being one of the more well-known Shoujo Ai manga available in the west. I finally sat down to read it and found myself feeling conflicted about it. The art is spectacular and the manga is worth reading to appreciate that in itself. The characters and the story can be charming and genuinely heartfelt at points, and horribly cliche and boring at other points. My ratings for each volume ended up moving up and down wildly and left me wondering how much I really enjoyed it.

The story follows Yuzu, a loud-mouth gyaru, and her new step-sister Mei, a reserved and goal-driven tsundere. The beginning is rough and the characters are so hot and cold, it takes a while for the romance to feel like it was actually developing. Though Yuzu and Mei’s parents marry, Mei’s father is barely in the picture from the onset, which really made me wonder about the convenient marriage to create a step-sibling scenario. Sibling romance in Japan feels overplayed, and the foundation was so weak in this one. Yuzu and Mei are cute in a way, but they were both so terribly inconsistent that their romance feels forced at times.

I enjoyed the fun female friendships in this series, but each character introduction was frustrating as every new female that Yuzu and Mei befriend happened to be lesbians, and all have some romantic interest in one of the two leads. Most of these brief romantic rivals have next to no good reason to be rivals; the stories that focus on these side stories are so overblown and absurd, it feels like reading a shallow harem manga at times.

The manga does seek to address issues regarding society’s views on homosexuality which I appreciated. The issue of acceptance and support from friends and family is as important as ever, as gay marriage is still not legal in Japan and many other countries around the world. I appreciated the conversation that this story brings to the table about the struggle for LGBTQ couples that have to hide who they are. However, I feel that the reality was not well represented in this series, it explores the issue, and the main characters dating in secret, but it also paints a rosy picture that is not possible for many.

In all, it is a decent series that is relatively tame in terms of sexual content. It isn’t a bad first yuri series for those that are looking into getting into the genre, especially for folks that enjoy colorful characters and plenty of drama without being too emotionally taxing.

“Unknowingly, I ended up running away from you because of my wavering feelings.”

Trigger Warning: Nudity, Blood

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Eromanga Sensei

Eromanga Sensei
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Original Run: April 9, 2017 – June 25, 2017
Genres: Comedy, Romance, Parody, Harem
Episodes: 12

The story centers around high school student Masamune Izumi who loves writing light novels. Having no artistic skill himself, Masamune always gets his novels illustrated by an anonymous partner using the pen name “Eromanga Sensei”, who is known for drawing questionably perverted images despite being extremely reliable. In addition to balancing his passion and school, Masamune is also stuck with taking care of his only family member—his younger step-sister Sagiri Izumi. A hikikomori by nature, Sagiri shut herself in her room for over a year and constantly bosses Masamune around despite his attempts to get her to leave her room. However, when Masamune inadvertently discovers that his anonymous partner has been Sagiri all along, their sibling relationship quickly leaps to new levels of excitement, especially when a beautiful, female, best-selling shōjo manga author enters the fray.

My Review:

I had been curious about this anime purely because Sagiri is the subject of a lot of gifs, and I went into this series knowing nothing about it other than that it was trending for a while. I watched this series to completion with my husband and honestly, I’m glad that it was a short one season, I couldn’t stand it by the end. It’s tragic really, because it actually started off alright, if questionable.

The story follows a pair of step-siblings, Masamune and Sagiri. Masamune is a high school student and burgeoning new light novel writer who dreams of someday getting an anime adaptation; Sagiri is a middle school student and popular online lewd artist named Eromanga sensei who also happens to be the illustrator for Masamune’s novels. The story parodies the light novel industry and it helped me to learn a little about it while also providing a few laughs. I also initially liked Sagiri, shy and quiet in person, but perverted and outrageous online despite not having any experience with sex; her online persona reminded me (embarrassingly) of myself when I was in middle and high school.

Unfortunately, this was about all that this series had going for it, everything else was a mess of ridiculous tropes and trivial nonsense. There is an incestuous romantic relationship between Masamune and Sagiri, which was troublesome because Sagiri is twelve years old. While the age gap between the two isn’t huge, there is a big difference in maturity between a twelve-year-old and a sixteen-year-old. Sagiri is highly sexualized, and the fact that there are people online who staunchly believe that age doesn’t matter is troubling.

There are also two other characters that are professional rivals, but it quickly devolves into an overplayed harem scenario. There was so much pandering and fan service in this series that there were entire episodes where the titular character played no role whatsoever in the episodes. The series ceased to be cute and charming, it was just drivel. It is honestly a shame, as a series about light novels has potential. Combined with an appealing art style and great animation, this series had potential that was honestly squashed by a lack of creativity.

“When I see a cute girl, I can’t help but want to see her panties!”

Trigger Warning: Sexually Explicit Content, Incest