Saburouta’s Citrus manga began serialisation in 2012, and so it’s taken over five years for her work to get an anime adaptation. To be fair, it does update pretty slowly, but it’s a yuri story which you shouldn’t sleep on. Manga publisher Seven Seas releases Citrus in the West, and they’ve recently released the sixth volume in the series.
Citrus follows the story of two step-sisters, Yuzu and Mei, who are both high-school students. Yuzu is a rebellious student who has no regard for the prestigious Aihara Academy’s rules, whilst Mei is the Student Council President — she’s the granddaughter of the chairman, so of course she has a lot of responsibilities to keep up the academy’s high standards.
Despite being so wildly different, the step-sisters quickly develop feelings for one another even though they understand that their relationship would be frowned upon by their family, the academy and Japan.
Understandably, some of you might be turned off of Citrus as it has incestual themes. I’ve always been cool when it comes to step-sibling stories, especially when they meet in their teens/young adult lives, but full-blown incest doesn’t sit too well with me. That said, I like visual novel Love Ribbon so… oops? It’s all in the writing and presentation really, isn’t it? Anyway, Citrus acknowledges that this isn’t right, but it also isn’t illegal. It’s this acknowledgement that helps Citrus to stand out and gives it deeper meaning — it isn’t used for shock value, to disgust or even as an odd fetish, but it does explore unfortunate situations and ways to tackle them.
Citrus is driven by characters, emotion and reason, and how the latter doesn’t always come into play. There’s a sense of maturity and consequence here, and part of this may be in thanks to the author being female — as is standard for yuri there’s barely a male character in sight, but Saburouta does a fantastic job in bringing the various female characters to life. Citrus is far from smut, but it isn’t fluff either. It might not feature nudity or a whole lot of saliva, but it’s not all holding hands and giggling either. There’s a lot of drama, and a fair few laughs, so it never feels as if it’s being too heavy-handed, despite the tone of the narrative.
The anime is being worked on by studio Passione (Rail Wars!, Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers), and dubbed into English via Funimation, and is set to be their most popular work yet thanks to Citrus‘ ever-growing popularity in both the East and West – it was one of Seven Seas’ first yuri licenses, after all! It’s not everyday you get a yuri anime, and even rarer is one that actually receives attention outside of a niche fanbase.
The animation looks lovely, and you’ll be able to watch the first episode from tomorrow on Crunchyroll, where it will air every Saturday for presumably 12 or so episodes — its length hasn’t been confirmed yet, but I’d be surprised if it was two cour. I wouldn’t complain if it was though, in fact, I’d love it!
So, seeing two step-sisters pursuing a relationship might not be your thing, but a good narrative that’ll pull you in each week is, right? Citrus will be like anything else this season and if it’s anything like the manga it’s based on, then it’ll be well worth your time. Give it a go when it begins airing tomorrow, and I’ll be sure to share my thoughts on it soon!
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