I meant to write this sooo long ago. Like, while Citrus was actually airing- long ago. Bear with me it’s been a few months since I read the manga at this point.
Whether you like it or not, I think we can all relate to how easy Citrus can suck you in.
I’ve only watched eight episodes of the Citrus anime adaptation, however, I have recently caught up to date on the manga and I’ve gotta say that Citrus gets significantly better after Mei and Yuzu officially start dating. This makes me worry about the anime adaptation however since it’s run time is only 12 episodes and Mei and Yuzu don’t start officially start dating until chapter 18 in the manga (not to mention another worrisome thing to me being that the anime is categorized as a shoujo-ai while the manga is a yuri). And most of Citrus before that, while entertaining, was overall just kind of frustrating.
Okay, saying that all of Citrus before chapter 18 is bad wouldn’t be fair. Most of the really bad stuff is in volume one and two and even then it manages to be somewhat entertaining. It just…it just… it makes me sad knowing that the beginning could’ve been done better. Like, why did their relationship have to start through sexual assault? I don’t think it’s impossible to write a good, heartful incest romance. I’ve haven’t watched Koi Kaze, but from what I’ve heard it’s pretty well done and manages to feel realistic and…how do I word it…caring of the subject at hand?
For the majority of the beginning of Citrus, it felt like Yuzu and Mei being step-sisters was amped to just be something to make this yuri (shoujo ai if we’re talking about the anime) saucier.
It’s actually pretty strange how the relationship dynamic gets so much healthier once they start dating. The writing feels better, the characters feel more likable- everything just sort of improves after they start dating. It’s really shame the anime only showcased “the chase”.
There’s even some interesting commentary on what it’s probably like to be a lesbian in Japan. One part before Yuzu and Mei started dating that I really liked was when Yuzu met Sara (I totally did not just look her name up). Yuzu admired how open she was about being in love with another girl, leading Yuzu to confide in her about her own feelings towards another girl. It was a moment of bonding between two girls who had just met and yet served as a reason for neither of them to feel alone in their feelings. At the end of the conversation, Sara says something along the lines of “we need to stick out for each other” and they both smile at each other.
Another scene that really stood out to me was when Yuzu met up with friends from her old school and was about to tell them about Mei, the girl she was dating. Before she could do so, however, her friends noticed a lesbian couple across the street from them and start making really crude remarks about them. Yuzu responds really intensely to her friends’ remarks. This scene is probably the most serious I remember Yuzu ever being. Her old friends then laugh at her and the manga cuts to Mei opening the door to a crying Yuzu.
Then a little bit later she tells Mei what happened that night and Mei shows Yuzu what she had written in her date-plan notebook thing which said:
While the notebook only talks about them being step-sister I think this advice also takes in account that they’re two girls dating each other. This was a major turning point in how I felt about Citrus. It went from a story that gets better after a while to a story that ended up being amazing and made the beginning look like massive loss potential. It was no longer “huh, now that they’re dating the story isn’t as bad” but “this is actually really good, this is has gotten significantly better since the beginning”.
This isn’t without saying that the relationship between Yuzu and Mei isn’t flawed. The relationship can be very one sided at time, feeling as if Yuzu is doing all of the work. This is especially the case in the first 18 chapters, or better yet before they started dating. But the manga at least addresses this at one point, so it feels more like a flaw in the relationship the two are aware of rather than a flaw in the writing. I can’t say the same for the anime, sadly.
It’s too bad that the anime adapted the worst part of the manga, especially since it manages to get so good over time. That first chunk of Citrus is a serious blight for the rest of the story and it really frustrates me. With a better beginning and “chase” Citrus could’ve made for one of the best yuri out there.
originally posted here