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A genre in Japanese media that focuses on female/female romance and can focus either on the sex or on the emotional aspects of the relationship. In Japanese, "yuri" literally means "lily" but has also come to refer to works found within the genre.
In the past, a disproportionate amount of yuri stories have ended tragically or inconclusively. Some would move on to boy-girl relationships with the Romantic Two-Girl Friendship as only a steppingstone. Others were driven insane when the other girl enters a "real" relationship with a boy, and still others stepped back to let their love be happy with another. Luckily, this is changing as more and more couples are allowed to have happy, committed and Canon endings.
There are generally three couple types that can often be found within the genre. The three most popular couples are as follows:
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: The pairing of a very or relatively masculine girl (frequently Bifauxnen) with a decisively feminine girl. This pairing can emulate a lot of the dynamics of heterosexual couples, a la Seme and Uke, and often shows Takarazuka influences.
- Sempai-Kohai: A very common in Japanese GL works pairing of two students, one older and one younger. The older girl will generally be more elegant and the younger, more innocent. The former is often a Yamato Nadeshiko and referred to as "Onee-Sama" by the latter, who, in turn, may be a Tomboy (which is considered a childish trait in Japan) to emphasize her relative lack of maturity.
- Teacher-Student Romance: While not as popular as the other two couple type, teacher/student pairings can often be found within the genre.
In Japan, this genre is popular enough to have found its own mainstream publishing niche. The term "Yuri" was coined by Itou Bungaku, founder and editor of the magazine "Barazoku", a Japanese magazine for gay men, wherein he termed men the barazoku, or "rose tribe", and women the yurizoku, or "lily tribe". Occasionally, some fans use shoujo-ai ("girl's love") and "yuri" to indicate different degrees of explicitness. However, in Japan shoujo-ai refers to liking little girls. In Japan, yuri is also known as "Girls Love" (in English), or GL, a term created for paralellism to the male version, "Boys' Love" or BL.
This is the genre; couple-specific examples should only be listed below if they're the focus of the series. For yuri-style couples (and unrequited crushes) in other genres, see Token Yuri Girls. Also see: Slash Fic, Everyone Is Gay, Schoolgirl Lesbians, and Romantic Two-Girl Friendship.
See also our guide on how to Write a Yuri Manga.
(Sub-)Tropes frequently associated with the genre
- Bait and Switch Lesbians
- Bury Your Gays
- Butch Lesbian
- Cast Full of Gay
- Discount Lesbians
- Downer Ending
- Elaborate University High
- Even the Girls Want Her
- Everyone Is Bi
- Flower Motifs
- Hair Contrast Duo
- Has Two Mommies
- Hide Your Lesbians
- Homoerotic Dream
- If It's You It's Okay
- Improbably-Female Cast
- Intertwined Fingers
- Just Friends
- Les Yay
- Lipstick Lesbian
- Lovely Angels
- Master of the Mixed Message
- One Head Taller
- One-Gender Race
- One-Gender School
- Psycho Lesbian
- Romantic Two-Girl Friendship
- Schoolgirl Lesbians
- Secret Relationship
- Single-Target Sexuality
- Situational Sexuality
- Tall, Dark and Bishoujo
- Tomboy and Girly Girl
- Wholesome Crossdresser
This is a East Asian-only genre. Please limit examples to East Asian and Animesque media only.
- Shuninta Amano:
- The Structural Formula of First Love
- Sweet Guilty Love Bites
- Yukemuri Sanctuary
- Miyabi Fujieda:
- Shizuru Hayashiya:
- Shoko Iwami:
- Kanamemo is an Anime and a Yonkoma Manga where the majority of the all-female main cast are romantically inclined towards females.
- Flower Flower. A princess arrives in a foreign land to marry into their royal family, but rejects her betrothed as soon as he enters the room because he's dressed like a woman. She instead goes for the other alleged prince. Issues come up and Hilarity Ensues.
- Milk Morinaga:
- Girl Friends is a modern classic of the genre with loads of Gayngst and Will They or Won't They? for its central pairing.
- Kisses Sighs and Cherry Blossom Pink is a collection of stories about the romantic entanglements of the students at a One-Gender School.
- The Secret Recipe is of a more comedic bent.
- Akiko Morishima:
- Go Nagai. While not known mainly for it, has proven himself partial to yuri.
- Natsuneko. Has only written one-shots so far (see full list on her page).
- Kaoru Sudoo. Sadly, seems to have quietly slipped off the radar after OKG was cancelled.
- Akihito Yoshitomi. Is well-known for his contributions to the genre, though he tends to take weird approaches:
- Blue Drop, although the anime is much less explicit with its Girls' Love than the first and third manga of the series. The second manga Tenshi no Bokura moves away from Girls' Love, as the focus is on a heterosexual pair.
- Sisterism is a GL manga about two childhood friends falling in love with each other's little sisters. Who are both 12.
- Two and Two is a slightly different take on a similar setup, with two schoolgirl roommates discovering their attraction to each other only after they independently start dating older women. Both of whom are childhood friends, so it's complicated. Also, at least one pairing is into domination/submission play.
- Aoi Hana is a Girls' Love series that combines Slice of Life and a Love Dodecahedron.
- Bloomer Blue Maniacs, a oneshot comedy yuri work.
- Chirality is a Seinen Girls' Love manga with a Post Apocalyptic soft-Science Fiction setting.
- Creo the Crimson Crises, a supernatural shoujoesque Girls' Love manga with a slight cynical edge.
- Ebisu-san and Hotei-san, a Will They or Won't They? story about two office ladies, one of whom is a Workaholic perfectionist and the other being a jealous Tsundere.
- First Love Sisters, a Shojo GL manga fairly typical to the genre but still a quality work in its own right.
- Girl X Girl X Boy, a Manga dealing with a type 2 Love Triangle between two girls and a boy.
- Gokujou Drops is for people who don't think Girls' Love uses Seme/Uke enough. Mixed with Unwanted Harem.
- Gunjo is a dark and twisted take on the genre.
- Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu was the only yuri venture by a circle that specializes in Boys Love. As a result, a lot of yaoi tropes are mixed in with the yuri conventions here.
- Hen: Sort of. It has a lot more heterosexual sex scenes than your average yuri manga.
- Honey Crush is a comedic take on the genre mixed with the supernatural.
- Hoshikawa Ginza District 4, is a Teacher-Student Romance yuri work.
- Husky and Medley chronicles the budding romance between the eponymous pair of high school students who attend an all girls school, and is supposedly Based on a True Story.
- Junsui Adolescence, a Manga that deals mainly with a relationship between a student and her school nurse.
- Kannazuki no Miko intertwines a Girls' Love romance with a Humongous Mecha + Magical Girl plot. After demoting Chikane and Himeko to extras in Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora, Kaishaku once again have given them the main role in Zettai Shoujo Seiiki Amnesian, throwing an Ancient Conspiracy into the pot.
- Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl has a Love Triangle involving three Schoolgirl Lesbians with the added complication that the main character used to be a boy.
- Kimochi no Katachi, a Manga that mixes self-discovery, young love, and Gayngst with much attention paid to realism.
- Kurogane Pukapuka Tai is a love comedy set on a World War Two-era Imperial Japanese warship.
- The Last Uniform
- Love My Life is a gentle Slice of Life story that delves into the gay culture of Japan as it follows the life of a young lesbian who had just come out of the closet.
- Maka Maka is a yuri Hentai Manga about two college aged girls.
- Manga no Tsukurikata.
- Mayas Funeral Procession is another one from the same era.
- Miyuki Chan in Wonderland, basically a Les Yay Fan Service fest.
- Octave, a fairly realistic and mature Girls' Love manga.
- Oniisama E is one of the oldest and most influential yuri mangas.
- Oniyuri-san and Himeyuri-san is about a Student Council President and her treasurer (who both happen to be school idols) in a secret romantic relationship. The title says it all.
- Pieta: A Josei Manga that contains a dark psychologic yuri story.
- Poor Poor Lips: A Gag Series Yonkoma with surprising depth about the lives of a rich, lesbian employer and her poor employee.
- Plica is a slice-of-life four-panel comic about adult lesbians (so it's not really girls' love, but...)
- Saki is a yuri Subtext Mahjong anime that holds the record as the series with the most yuri themed blushing. One interesting note is that the anime plays its Girls' Love up more than the manga.
- Sakura Namiki, while not officially a girls' love manga, did codify several of the tropes associated with it as early as in 1954.
- Sasameki Koto happily marries relationship angst with school life comedy.
- Satou Kashi no Dangan wa Uchinukenai, a shojo manga that follows the relationship between a schoolgirl who wishes to rely on no one but herself, and a self-proclaimed mermaid who must find true friendship in one month's time or she will fade away forever.
- Shiroi Heya no Futari is possibly the first girls' love manga.
- Shoujo Sect is a famous Porn with Plot example.
- Stray Little Devil
- Tetragrammaton Labyrinth
- Tokimeki Mononoke Jogakkou: A highly Ecchi series.
- Wife and Wife is the Slice of Life story of a young lesbian couple who have recently moved in together, serialized in Yuri Hime S.
- Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou: A main plot element falls into this.
- Yuri Monogatari is not a single manga but an annual anthology of indie yuri works. Also notable for containing yuri manga-style comics produced all over the world (so it's not "manga" in the strictest sense of the word).
- Battle Athletes, with the manga being more upfront with its Girls Love than the two anime series.
- Candy Boy is a Slice of Life series revolving around the relationship between fraternal twin sisters.
- ICE depicts a Dystopia in which all men have become extinct.
- Koihime Musou. Although it started off as a VN with few yuri elements, the anime adaptation turned them Up to Eleven and became famous for it.
- Revolutionary Girl Utena is possibly the most famous Girls' Love series, even though the series itself never goes beyond hints; The Movie is less ambiguous...well, at least about its Girls' Love.
- Simoun is set In a World where everyone younger than 17 is female.
- Steel Angel Kurumi 2, a Harem Anime with a female harem lead and a small entirely female harem.
- Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito. Originally a Visual Novel, but it was the anime that brought the yuri subplot to the forefront. The VN has since suffered Adaptation Displacement.
Original Light Novels
- Mariasama ga Miteru is about Romantic Two Girl Friendships between students in an all-girls high school. Though none of the relationships go past Subtext (with one exception in the backstory), it is nevertheless iconic of the yuri genre.
- Strawberry Panic is set at a cluster of three girls' schools populated
largelyentirely by Schoolgirl Lesbians.
- Akai Ito is a Girls' Love Visual Novel with a heavy fetish for vampirism and also goes very deep into Japanese mythology.
- Aoi Shiro: The semi-sequel to Akai Ito which takes place in the same universe.
- Limit Panic
- Maiden Panic
- Safizumu no Gensou, one of the first Girls' Love Eroges.
- Shojokyuu ~Kurige no Shiofuki Shoujotachi~, a multi-path yuri H-game taking place in a conservative catholic all girls' middle school.
- Solfege: Sweet Harmony
- Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke wo (pictured above) is presently considered the definitive Girls' Love Eroge series and the series has had a Hentai OVA based on it released.
- Spirited Heart now has an all-Girls Love version.
- Sugar's Delight, an English freeware VN.
- Claudine, written by Oniisama e...'s author Riyoko Ikeda, is often classified as Yuri Genre. However, this is a mistake. The main character, Claudine de Montesse, is actually Transsexual: he searches for female love interests, yet is a male despite his female body. (And is referred as such by other characters: i.e, his Unlucky Childhood Friend Rosemarie says that Claudine is "a true man, given a woman's body", plus his doctor concludes after Claudine's suicide that he was right into referring himself as a man). Therefore, it'd be incorrect to classify this particular manga as yuri; homosexuality and transsexuality are both LGBQT issues, but are very different and don't necessarily overlap. (And in this case, they don't.)