Citrus – Anime Preview
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Synopsis: Yuzu, a high school gyaru who hasn’t experienced her first love yet, transfers to an all-girls school after her mother remarries. She’s beyond upset that she can’t land a boyfriend at her new school. Then, on her first day, she meets the beautiful black-haired student council president Mei in the worst way possible. What’s more, she later finds out that Mei is her new step-sister, and they’ll be living under the same roof! And so the love affair between two polar opposite high school girls who find themselves drawn to one another begins! (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Citrus starts off very tame and even enjoyable for a Yuri show, a genre that’s well known for throwing in explicit and aggressive sexual content from the get go (although it does eventually deviate into the same old schlock). There’s even a tinge of realism in the story as for once, our heroine, Yuzu gets immediately chastised and disciplined for showing up to school in full make up even if it all happens solely for plot reasons.
Tom: Yuzu is a gal, the common term for a girl in Japan who paints herself up with make up, accessories, and the like. Typically they’re seen as promiscuous, with plenty of sexual experience under their belts. Like My First Girlfriend is a Gal’s lead woman, it’s all a front for Yuzu. She’s as much a virgin as the rest of the girls. Much of her character centers around the idea of her image, and how that clashes with the new school she’s just transferred to. This causes her to butt heads with Mei, the dark and cold student council president, who won’t put up with any of Yuzu’s BS. It’s all fine drama, but it’s not really the point of the series. Instead it’s mere dressing for the actual conflict: Yuzu’s sexuality.
Linny: Before we talk about the sexuality, let’s first address how the longer Citrus goes on, the more it loses its sanity and any sense of credibility. First off, Yuzu’s entire reason for transferring schools is her mother’s remarriage, a marriage that’s unbelievable even by anime standards. We find our that not only is Yuzu’s new step dad already away on some world trip that has no known return date but Yuzu’s mother seems to have absolutely zero knowledge about Student Council President Mei, who turns out to be the daughter of said new husband. Also, Yuzu has apparently never met her new stepdad or his daughter, Mei. Mei herself hasn’t seen him in 5 years for whatever reason, and someone deems it then necessary that she come move in with his new wife and stepdaughter even though he himself seems least bothered about actually being around? Now some of you should be able to dismiss this utterly ridiculous situation as simply ‘anime being anime’ but it’s still mind boggling how contrived the set up is.
Tom: As the show exposes its contrived set up, so too does it let loose its skeevy sexual content. While the drama starts centered around Yuzu’s school troubles, it isn’t long until we’ve got sexually charged situations taking center stage. The show hints at this early on as Mei gropes Yuzu while searching her for a cellphone she’s not supposed to have at school. But once it decides to go full in, we’re ‘treated’ to Mei sexually assaulting Yuzu in their bedroom. The story then clearly becomes Yuzu’s burgeoning sexuality and sexual attraction towards Mei, who seems to remain aloof to the whole thing. If this sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because you’ve heard of NTR Netsuzou Trap from this past summer, or really any Yuri over the past few years. Disturbingly, most of these Yuri focused anime descend into characters forcing themselves upon one another until their victim starts to enjoy it.
Linny: This is definitely a major issue for me when it comes to Yuri or Yaoi in anime where a LOT of them always have the ‘relationship’ begin with one person sexually assaulting the other. It would be nice to have more wholesome same sex relationship depictions in anime instead of making them feel like something that has to be started by force. In the case of Citrus, this aggressive assault seems to hint to some darkness lurking in Mei’s past and present life but even then, it’s not an all forgiving excuse for throwing, what is clearly sexual assault, into the mix.
Tom: Anime has a real problem with same sex relationships. While series focusing on them is great, the portrayal remains the same: Characters forcing themselves upon others until they somehow realize they enjoy it and ‘turn lesbian’ or what have you. It’s these elements that speak to either a backwards understanding of LGBTQ sexuality or simply a twisted sexual appeal for viewers to enjoy. If you’re looking for some risque titillation as girls kiss and fondle each other without consent ,it looks like Citrus is fully prepared to head down that avenue, otherwise if you wanted a proper same sex romance, you’re still going to have to look elsewhere.
Linny: Lazy/ridiculous family situation set ups and the quick descent into sexual assault territory make it pretty clear that Citrus wants nothing more than to provide titillation material for most likely a male centric audience, at least based on its first episode. If that’s what you were hoping for then dive right in. For anyone else seeking a mature or sincere depiction of a Yuri romance, it’s best to leave Citrus off your watch list.