Bloom into You- Episode 6

I’ll be honest, I’ve had a difficult time understanding what Yuu’s internal struggle was. The first thing I jumped to was internalized homophobia, in which she subconsciously stopped herself from acknowledging her feelings for Nanami. However as I went through more episodes that didn’t seem to be what was going on, or better yet there were other things interfering with her internal struggle as well.

It was the end of episode six that a few more things started clicking for me. Even though a lot of it had been things we’ve heard Yuu think before.

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So while her internal struggle and/or thoughts on love were ones I found to be relatable, her decisions surrounding Nanami had always been strange to me. Allowing Nanami to kiss her and openly discuss her crush on her was a big factor into what made me think Yuu was struggling with some sort internalized homophobia in which she was afraid to let her feelings for Nanami to surface.

But this line really changes that for me. It’s not that she’s okay with Nanami’s feelings because she subconsciously reciprocates them, but because she wants to understand them.

This actually goes back to the first episode with Yuu sitting on her bed, listening to one of those cd novels (I think that’s what they are?), anyways, it was a romance one and she was trying to understand that feeling of being in love like the characters.

Time skip to the end of episode one and onward and now there’s a real-life person who is in love with her.

However:

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Once again, I’ll say how I originally thought this was her denying her feelings. It was throughout out other episodes, and episode six specifically, it became more clear that Yuu honestly didn’t understand how being in love felt. She’s trying to understand what true love even is. Of course she can’t reciprocate feelings she doesn’t she can’t grasp.

Earlier in the episode she says how she wants to fall in love in love with Nanami, but doesn’t think she can. Which is reinforced in this scene.

Then things get even more interesting.

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Nanami wants Yuu to stay by her side despite her not returning her feelings, and vice versa. So why is it? Why do both of them want the other by their side? Yuu, who thinks she can’t fall in love but wants to learn what it’s like from Nanami. And Nanami, who has only shown her real, vulnerable persona to Yuu.

While they both care for the other and are both benefiting from their relationship, their feelings for the other are different. They’re on different levels.

Am I making sense? I feel like this isn’t making sense.

It’s just their relationship is really complex. The characters, their feelings, what they decide to do with those feelings. It’s all very complex and delicate.

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Once again you see a conflict in their feelings. Nanami saying “don’t change” could go back to when she kissed Yuu in episode one after she said she didn’t see anyone as special (in other words, her). Nanami likes that Yuu can see her for her and not as the strong persona she has put on, she doesn’t want Yuu to see her as special.

Meanwhile, Yuu wants to fall in love with Nanami. She wants to be able to see someone as special. I think the two’s idea about special is different as well. Yuu’s is in the idea of true love, meaning she probably associates finding someone special the same as simply valuing them. Nanami’s thoughts of special seem to be more rooted in putting someone on a pedestal. It’s just another thing to show that the two are in very different places metaphorically speaking.

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They’re in different places and yet they have a common emotion and reason for why they want to be by each other’s side. They are both lonely. Yuu who is lonely because she can’t comprehend feeling in love and Nanami because she’s hidden her true self in order to be more like her deceased sister. One has chosen to lock a part of herself away, while the other is constantly looking for a key, questioning if she even has something to unlock.

Nanami and Yuu can be interpreted in a lot of ways. I think that’s what makes them so difficult for me to understand. I did something most reviewers would avoid doing, looking at other’s opinions and thoughts on the show before I wrote out my own and turns out that Yuu is interpreted in a lot of ways.

Some people interpret her as being asexual. Some think she’s already in love with Nanami but has yet to understand what those feelings are. Some think she has yet to fall in love with her. I haven’t actually seen too many others interpret her actions or feelings as internalized homophobia which is understandable considering she doesn’t avoid Nanami or dislikes that she has a crush on her.

 

There’s more I want to talk about. I haven’t even gotten to Maki and Saeki, but I think I’ll hold off on talking about them for when I talk about this series as a whole.

Anyways, Bloom into You has a unique way of portraying unrequited love. With both parties being mutually happy to be at the other’s side even knowing their feelings aren’t the same. It’s not something you see too often.


~Consider this a Christmas gift before my end of the year post lol. I kind of wrote this on a whim so it might be a little sloppy. Sorry.~

My Thoughts on Chapter 39 of Citrus (and also a lot of 23 and 24)

It truly amazes me how far Citrus has come since chapter 1. Somehow Citrus has managed to go from a yuri romance with a slightly larger amount of smut and angst than usual that had about every yuri trope, to an actually endearing and heartfelt love story of two girls. I reread the first volume and then reread chapter 39 again just to make sure the vast difference wasn’t all in my head and it isn’t. The tone of Citrus has been gradually shifting since the moment back somewhere in volume two when Yuzu realizes Mei needs a family more than she needs a romantic partner. Granted, they still end up dating not too much later, but the relationship dynamic changes after Yuzu has this realization. And the change is to something much healthier. But that’s not what I really wanted to talk about in this post. I wanted to specifically talk about chapter 39 (as the title would suggest).

Chapter 39 is tightly connected to chapters 23 and 24, which are my two favorite chapters of Citrus. If you want to have a vague idea on why then I’d suggest reading this post of mine, which could also probably help you have a better understanding of what I think about chapter 39 as well.

In chapter 23, Yuzu runs into friends from her old high school who she hasn’t talked to in a while. She gets ready to show her friends a picture of Mei, expecting them to be happy for her on her relationship.

And it’s fair to say that that didn’t exactly happen.

Yuzu is typically carefree and has an attitude of doing what makes her happy before anything else. It’s why she didn’t follow the school’s dress code, it was her biggest contrast to Mei at the beginning of the series. She did what she wanted (i.e. what made her happy) without caring about the consequences- because to her, the consequences were worth it in the end. This interaction with her friends almost broke that part of her.

I mean after she tells Mei about the incident with her old friends. She says:

So we know Yuzu went into this relatively carefree- or at least carefree from outside factors in their relationship. She never expected a negative reaction like the one she dealt with. She was just about to show them a picture of Mei before they started being homophobic towards the lesbian couple across the street. This experience has messed with Yuzu on a fundamental level. She’s feeling pain and sadness because she’s chosen to do what makes her happy (date Mei). And…Uhg I just loved these two chapters in the manga because in this time when Yuzu was feeling upset and confused Mei showed Yuzu her own notebook.

And the advice is very...Yuzu. And then Mei says to her-

and we see how the two of them have gone full circle.

Now I’m finally going to talk about chapter 39. Chapter 39 pretty much reinforces how Yuzu’s encounter with her old friends affected her, plus more good advice from her mom.

Chapter 39 is basically Yuzu coming out to her family and friends. But we see how nervous she gets before telling all of them in contrast to how excited she was to tell her old friends in chapter 23.

In the page with her mom you see how she isn’t sure how she’ll react and from her facial expression, you can tell that Yuzu is stressed by that. In the page where she’s ready to tell her best friend, Harumin, about her feelings for Mei you see that while her expression is partly goofy, her eyebrows are furrowed from worry. Her previous interaction with her old friends affected how she tackled telling others about Mei. I also want to mention the sense of urgency from Yuzu in the page with Harumin. Yuzu is determined to tell those close to her about her feelings and relationship with Mei in order to fix their relationship. This chapter kind of helped me realize where Yuzu’s carelessness stops, and that’s with people she loves. When it came to Mei and even her friends, she was always caring and sensitive. Even careful at times.

Of course. You need to take into account that Yuzu and Mei are also stepsisters, so them both being girls isn’t the only reason she’s worried about how others will react to her relationship with her. However, even without that factor, I think the emotions shown by Yuzu are relatable. The worry of not knowing how someone will react to your relationship. Or with Harumin, who she had no reason to think she wouldn’t accept her relationship, but was nervous regardless because of past experiences.

I also like the way Harumin and Yuzu’s mom reacted to Yuzu’s confession compared to her old friends.  Harumin and Yuzu’s mom where two characters that were always framed in a positive light, while Yuzu’s old friends were typically presented as shallow. I thought it was nice how the manga basically said it was shallow to not see same-sex couples as equally genuine to straight couples.

Okay, these two pages actually get me really emotional. Like, I’m tearing up as I write this right now. The look of worry on Yuzu’s face when her mom interrupts her in the middle of her outing herself about dating Mei and her expression when Harumin not only supports her feelings for Mei but offers to help her get back together with Mei is just…a lot. They’re not facial expressions we’re used to seeing on Yuzu. And I don’t know, there’s something about seeing all of Yuzu’s worry being responded to with nothing but positivity from her mom and best friend that felt really good. Especially considering that Yuzu had reason to think they wouldn’t. Hell, we’ve been around these characters for 39 chapters now and we had reason to think they wouldn’t respond well too. And there was Yuzu’s mom, who went on to say some really touching stuff.

Oh god I’m tearing up again. How did Citrus turn into so much? I really like how Yuzu’s mom compared her relationship to Yuzu’s dad to Yuzu and Mei. It shows how she sees no difference between the two relationships. She also talks about how choosing what makes you happy can also cause pain, which we’ve seen Yuzu realize and experience. And she’ll probably have to experience it a numerous amount of times in the future- her mom tells her this as well. But she also says the reason she’s telling Yuzu all of this is because she sees that she’s already made the decision to be with Mei. This is…actually…a pretty good message for a yuri. Not even for a yuri but for a romance. Relationships aren’t meant to be treated with a happy go lucky attitude. Sometimes relationships are difficult not because there’s anything wrong with the two people but because of outside forces like time, work, money, sickness, people, outside forces are especially hard in lgbt+ relationships. Citrus emphasizes how much it really means to care enough about someone to be willing to go through all of that.

Citrus came a long way, and I’m proud of it. This is honestly probably one of my favorite Yuri’s. It’s been revealed that the next chapter will be the last and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sad about that. (I think it’s chapter 41 that will actually be the last whoops) But hey, how things are heading, it looks like we’re gonna be getting a happy ending! Yay!

Anyways I ended writing this way later than I intended to. I’ll probably end up writing about the last chapter of Citrus as well, knowing me. And I think the new chapter come out relatively soon if it’s not already out. Like I said, I wrote this really late.

NOTE: So last night I saw on twitter that chapter 40 is out in english now. And…I was joking when I said it might be out already. I really didn’t think I was that late like it really took me a month to come up with this post im

 

you can find my original post of this here on tumblr.

Me Talking About Citrus Again

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.

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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

Citrus Anime Adaptation?WAH!?

This is the trailer of the anime adaptation posted on Crunchyroll.

Now I’m sorry…

but what the fuck is up with that classical music vsbkdjbvkf

I’m actually surprised by how mature the character designs look. I imagined the anime adaptation would go with cuter designs since most yuri’s I know of look really moe-ish.

So far I’ve only read two volumes of Citrus and it’s so packed-filled with lesbian/yuri tropes that I always assumed it was intentional and meant to take the piss out of others in the genre. Question: am I the only one that found this manga humorous in scenes where nothing was indicated that it was meant to be funny? It’s been a while, but I remember laughing at basically everything while reading the manga. This leads me to wonder if Citrus is either a uncreative story that recycles old yuri archetypes and tropes, or is it actually using these tropes ironically to illicate some humor while still keeping us entertained in the same way a normal yuri would?

Even if the manga did everything ironically, I can’t help but hope that the animated version treats the relationship between Mei and Yuzu with more care and respect than the manga. It’d be nice to see a Yuri anime that feels like a real romance and not just a…well, fanservicey yuri. Like I said, the character design looks pretty mature, so maybe theres some hope for a yuri done with some maturity.

 

original post here