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Yuru Yuri (review)

Final impression – Refreshing, but not as funny as I’d hoped 7/10

Summer 2011

The unstoppable, capricious leader, Kyouko.  The level-headed sidekick who vainly attempts to keep her in line, Yui.  Their childhood friend and the girl everyone forgets about, Akari.  And a new addition to the group, the hot and cold, pink twin-tailed Chinatsu.  Together these four members of the Amusement Club have taken over the former Tea Club’s room and turned it into a gathering place where they can goof around and just have fun.  Opposing their happy days are two members of the student council.  The strict tsundere Ayano and her calm, yuri sidekick, Chitose.  But despite their attempts to crash the Amusement Club’s party, more often than not they just end up getting sucked into the high-tempo pull of Kyouko’s personality to be whisked off on another wild ride.

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting Yuru Yuri to be as clever as it turned out to be when I first started watching it.  With an all-female cast as is typical of moe anime, you’re not going to be seeing any romance from this series.  However, as type-cast as some of the characters are, they do occasionally get to show a few more facets of their personalities in delightfully comedic ways.  That being said, their depth is quite shallow when compared to the growth and development of the characters of A-Channel, another recent moe anime.  The music is delightfully cheerful, the tropes pleasingly nontypical and it adds up to an anime that entertains.

Yuru Yuri Ep 2

Impression – moe

Ayano, the hard-working student council vice-president, is upset with the fact that the lazy Kyoko has the best grades in the class.  When she goes to confront Kyoko, Kyoko reveals that she gets good grades because she can cram study the night before a big test.  Shaken, Ayano threatens to take away the clubroom from Kyoko if she can outscore Kyoko on the next test.  Kyoko accepts the challenge on the condition that if Ayano fails to outscore her, Ayano will have to join the club.  The next day, two student council clerks, Himawari and Sakurako, are assigned to sort papers in the student council room while Ayano goes off to look for Kyoko.  While sorting, Kyoko happens to stop by with the rest of the club and offers to help sort papers.  They finish and end up leaving before a frustrated Ayano returns to find she had received help from her enemy.

Yuru Yuri is cute, but somewhat spacey in its direction.  It can’t seem to focus on just one theme or goal and roll with it.  While this sort of arrangement is certainly a staple of success for many moe anime, for some reason Yuru Yuri feels like a long string of cliff hangers.  There are so many loose threads flying around unresolved that I wonder if they will ever get revisited.  Or maybe I’ll just completely forget about the unresolved plot elements and things will tumble along on their merry way.  I’m hesitant to say Yuru Yuri is bad, because it has some very lovely moments where it shines brightly.  That being said, I’m pretty sure this is something I’m going to be completing just for the sake of catching those few scenes of brilliance.

Yuru Yuri Ep 1

Initial impression – good

Akari, Yui, Kyoko and Chinatsu have decided they’ll start their own club by taking over the disbanded tea club’s room.  They call it the amusement club and it will become whatever they decide as their whims ebb and flow.  Activities range from indulging in the former tea club’s equipment, brainstorming ways to make themselves more popular, to just lazing around doing nothing.  Everything is great until the student council president bursts through the door and breaks up the good times.

Yuru Yuri is a feel-good anime about junior high girls talking about random thoughts and doing random activities.  For those who want a shorter description, it’s moe.  But the moe factor is dialed down when compared to other recent titles like A-Channel.  This can be a plus or a minus depending on how you handle moe; for me it’s a minus.  That being said, there’s really not much to complain about nor is there much to praise.  It feels like a pretty standard comedy made up of a cast of all girls.  If you’ve read this far into my review you probably already know if you’re going to like Yuru Yuri or not, so I’ll end it here.