So, I am not sure how many of you remembers dear Readers, but there was a time when I shared some news about a new yuri series titled ‘Lily Girl’ but as you can guess, I totally forgot about it! The reason I did had to do with the fact that I thought it would be a real series. A Web Series but a series none the less. Well, it is a series, by definition, in that it does have three different parts/episodes but also a series it is not. Well, not the type of series I was expecting. And so I waited and waited for the actual series to drop but it never did. I then came to the hurtful truth!
There would be no more than what we have on YouTube already. On the official channel there, there are some teaser videos and three longer parts about the three different ‘couples’. Those videos are not longer than 6 minutes. I have already watched them all a long time ago but I thought they were only teasers of what was to come – which I was waiting for. What I was waiting for never came and so this week while I was cleaning up my drives I came across those videos and it occurred to me that this was all we would be getting. It was all that was promised.
And so that is why I am now writing about this short, very short series. Three episodes in total, all 5 minutes more or less and now is the perfect time to write about them I think, because these little episodes are the epitome of a challenge. They are on that line of where most won’t know if it is yuri or simply friendship. In fact those who are not yuri fans will only see friendship while the ones with yuri on the brains will see nothing but yuri.
Actually speaking of which, I wish to take this opportunity to put the definition of YURI on this site. It has occurred to me that I have not even thought of doing that before. I kind of took it for granted that those who came to visit this site were already familiar with the terms ‘yuri’, ‘girls love’ or ‘shoujo-ai’. And so I am going to do it here.
What is ‘YURI’ exactly?
Same-Sex Relationships Between Women!
Content Depicting Love OR friendship close to love, Between Women.
These definitions are courtesy of the Japanese Wikipedia page which I came across when I googled – ‘yuri tte nani?’ I am not sure why I need to but I will point out the part at ‘ friendships close to love’! It has been like that since far back when I first got into yuri, and by far back I mean the ShoujoAi.com days. In those days Shoujo-Ai was all the rave because it was the term we most associated with ‘pure yuri’. The term ‘yuri’ back then was used to describe the extreme content where it was obvious that female homosexuality was happening. This of course included the likes of porn or hollow yuri in these so called Idol DVDs that were kind of a soft porn anyway.
These days we have forgotten all about ‘Shoujo-Ai’ even though Japan still use it with ‘Girls Love’. Now everything is called yuri which confuses most people who think that yuri is all but normal romantic relationships except between women only, which means that things like unrequited crushes or non END-GAME relationships are usually not considered yuri!
Why can’t there be different types of yuri? Just as there are different species of Lilies (Flowers), it is only natural that there should be different kinds of yuri. Different kinds of love, different kinds of connections and relations. It all makes common sense. Also you might notice that out of all the lily flowers, the one most used as the signature representation is the purest of them all – the white lily.
To me, and I think it should show my tastes in yuri, that flower choice is very telling. I prefer ‘pure’ yuri compared to the heavy and dense one served on the silver platter. There are of course some exceptions like Fingersmith/The Handmaiden but let’s be real here, that is the epitome of quantitative yuri. There is awesome plot, awesome characters and most of all, it has the thing I look forward to most in stories – from zero to hero (or in this case, from the two characters never having met or having zero feelings for one another to them turning into soul mates. Ahgassi has this in spades. Seriously, if there is one fandom I can always give as an example on how to write stories it is Fingersmith/Ahgassi!
Anyway that does it for the explanations. Let’s move on onto Lily Girl.
First up we have Haruhi and Mika! In this one, we see the type of love that is perhaps most catered for in yuri ships – the unrequited kind! Haruhi (The long haired one) so obviously has confusing feelings about Mika. She hides them though so Mika has no idea of them. It is kind of a one-sided love but what is so interesting about this are two things I find.
First being that you are not quite sure if Mika knows or doesn’t know of Haruhi’s crush on her. There are moments, especially that last scene, or where the camera lingers on Mika’s face, things like that that make you questions if she really is as oblivious to Haruhi’s feelings as she first appears to be. Yeah, I am really surprised that they managed to build that type of complexity in less than six minutes!
The other thing is that while it is usually the other way around, and by that I mean that usually the girly of the two is the one with a crush on the cooler of the two, it is a kind of knock back to the KanaMiko/StrawPanic days where the cool girl was the one who actually lusted after the cute innocent one. I found Haruhi being the one after Mika’s heart that much more satisfying.
In these six minutes we got to see Haruhi’s ‘hidden’ feelings for Mika in the second act and then find ourselves questioning Mika’s naivety to Haruhi’s affections in the third act when they pulled one on both us and Haruhi. The scene began with some moody music playing in the background and the camera panning and following Mika as she approached a non-suspecting Haruhi! All pointed to bad things happening and then Mika started raining down on Haruhi.
The scene played out as if Mika knew of Haruhi’s crush on her and she is not pleased about it telling Haruhi off by saying that she shouldn’t pretend to care about her when she knows nothing about her. She says that not Haruhi, or her sister or ‘Her’ (There is another her in there that we never meet which makes you raise eye-brows) none of them understand her. She basically tells Haruhi off which ends with Mika shedding a tear even.
As expected Haruhi is left flabbergasted and horribly shocked! She doesn’t say anything but just stare at Mika all crushed like. But then Mika smiles and it turns out that she was only practicing her lines for the play!
Like, talk about getting us good!
It ends with the both of them having a laugh and continuing to rehearse. Such a lovely opener. Short but oh so sweet! This right here is the lever of yuri I like! It leaves your soul wanting and your brain working trying to figure them out. Does Mika actually know that Haruhi has feelings for her? Will Haruhi ever let them known and stop doing things while Mika is un-aware? Like that second act where she was caressing Mika’s cheek while she slept?
May we find answers in our dreams (and fan fiction sometimes).
In the Second Installment we meet Rinne (The Idol) and Arisa (The Model). I am not 100% sure what their actual relationship is, whether they are under the same company, adopted sisters or what but one thing is for sure, this is my favorite of the three.
It not only goes ahead of the first episode by having one of the girls harbor feelings for the clueless one only to actually do something about it, nay, she actually confessed! But there is a kiss too!!! A kiss to the cheek but at this age, that is the only kiss they know and really, way more romantic too.
This is actually shorter than the first episode too but it is really heavy! Seriously, I want to say a big ‘Thank You’ to whoever wrote these awesome short series! How can so much emotion be put into such a small amount of time?! I can’t comprehend it!
Anyway we meet Rinne and Arisa on a day out. They seem to be making a vlog for their fans (Rinne with the camera and Arisa as the model). Intelligently, at first I was kind of let down thinking that they messed up because it was very hard to see Arisa’s feelings for Rinne before the confession then everything made sense but the writer was on point!
You see, what it was is that since they were filming for the public audience, it made sense for Arisa to not be blatant, or you know, try real hard to hide her feelings to the point of us not seeing it. But then once they finished filming and said goodbye to their fans and thus went into private mode, Arisa’s started to crack. Actually there was a moment in the first while they were still filming, where Arisa let something slip but it was hidden so well I couldn’t place it until much later.
After taking Rinne’s hand (YES! HANDS! No doubt about it, this is my favorite episode!) she says auspiciously that Rinne is special. I missed the context within which she meant that, maybe it had to do with them calling each other cute before but I couldn’t make sense of it.
But the real deal came after their water fight where Rinne thought that it was her fault that Arisa was depressed but it turns out it was something entirely different. Arisa turns towards a curious Rinne. She clears the bangs out of her face and behind Rinne’s ear. Arisa leans in and places a lingering kiss to Rinne’s exposed cheek! Everything that comes after is telling! No one says a thing. Rinne doesn’t make a snarky comment and neither does Arisa laugh it off as a joke. It is seriously business, so to speak.
But Arisa is not done. She reaches into her phone and pulls out a photo of a red lily (See! Different lilies for different types of yuri!). She takes Rinne’s phone and slides the picture in its case. She then goes back to her phone and pulls out yet another picture – the exact copy, the same picture as the one she has just given to Rinne!
Like, how Gay is this?!! I even think it is better than exchange of rings! I mean really, exchanging lilies!!
But of course if things ended there it wouldn’t have done! This series was supposed to be ‘on the line’ and so Arisa dropped a sentence that is sure to bring out the trolls. She says that Rinne is her precious Imouto. Yeah, like we are going to fall for that with how emotional you have been Arisa! But then again, if it turns out that they are actually in related scenario, in that they are actually sisters, this makes things even more delicious!
But of course Rinne’s reaction to Arisa saying that last line puts even more icing to the already delicious cake. She doesn’t seem to be too happy about Arisa calling her her sister. Ah but we will never know because this is where this episode ends! Talk about skill for soul feeding! Giving you plenty to chew on but leaving your soul still hungry for more!
And finally we have Kokoro and Mai! This time we tackle the jealousy side of things. These two are almost romance story character prototypes! We have the head-strong and lone-wolf Mai who is pure tsun-dere and prefers to be by herself because she apparently can’t stand anyone else. Unless you are Mai of Kokoro of course. She would even let you sit close to her, take off her blouse and play for you a nice tune on her guitar!
She is of course the one with the crush as we see her stalking Kokoro, watching her with telling eyes as she talks to other people (especially that make teacher). It all seems pointless and fruitless with such a seemingly straight Kokoro and a stubborn Mai!
But just like the saying goes of nothing happening until you take the first step, when Mai ventures and leaves THE lily on Kokoro’s piano, when she confronts Kokoro, who is holding onto said flower like something very precious, walking with it in hand in the streets and all that, turns out that Kokoro isn’t as straight as we feared!
Really, it all makes sense, the way she put up with the stubbornness of Mai’s. She had to have had feelings for the boyish girl. The last line, question that Mai asks Kokoro – Do you know what ‘S’ stands for?’ totally sums up their relationship! Can’t really tell who is the Sadist and who is the masochist though. Probably Mai is the ‘M’ and she might have been implying that Kokoro is a Sadist because it seemed like she was hurting her on purpose!
We got something we did not get in the other two episodes, which is a hug, and one from behind at that! In other words, we got another winner on our hands!
Seriously, such a short and lovely series that I only still wish we got full length episodes out of them! Why do all great things have to come in small packages?! Don’t think I have forgotten about you ‘Lily Fever’!! I am still waiting for my second season, or an actual TV programme, which I am sure is the reason why you are taking so long to come back!
Anyway, that is that. The three episodes are still on the Official YouTube Channel so go watch/get them while you still can.