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Yuri Genre
aka: Girls Love
Since homosexual males are called "gay," homosexual females should be called "ecstatic".

Yuri is the Japanese word for "lily", and also refers to a sapphic romance genre in Japanese media. It can focus either on the sexual or emotional aspects of the relationship. Occasionally, some fans will use the term shoujo-ai ("girl's love") to distinguish the less explicit works that focus on romance and/or emotions between the characters. Note however that in Japan, shoujo-ai refers to liking little girls.

Yuri is a genre (or a collection of overlapping genres) distinguished by the use of a set of common tropes and stereotypes. The term "yuri" is sufficiently strongly associated with those tropes and stereotypes that some Japanese lesbian manga fans use a different term, like "bian" (short for lesbian), "Onna x Onna" ("women x women"), or "Onna-doushi" ("women together") for works which are actually by/for lesbian women.

In Japan, yuri is also known as "Girls' Love" (in English), or GL, a term created in common with the male version, "Boys' Love" or BL.

See the Shoujo Ai Archive and this short glossary of yuri terms, as well as Matt Thorn's "What Japanese Girls Do With Manga, and Why" essay and the Wikipedia's "Yuri Genre" page, for a bit more context.

There are a few different types of yuri, depending in part on the target audience:

  • Yuri for men, "seinen yuri", tends to emphasize sweetness, femininity, girlishness, innocence, purity, and Moe generally. It usually has a very romanticized view of what it's like to be a teenage girl. This is in contrast to the standard Girl on Girl Is Hot scenarios (lustful women making out with each other for the viewer's delectation, often mixed with heterosexual content in fanservice-driven shows) which are usually not considered yuri. Men's yuri typically fetishizes femininity and youthfulness and rarely focuses on long-standing relationships or adult characters, much less LGBTQnote  culture and social issues.
  • Yuri for girls, "shoujo yuri", may also be hyperfeminine and "pure" but can feature some degree of genderbending or crossdressing, with the bifauxnen in a more traditionally male role. In either case, it's usually focused on fantasies of female solidarity, idealized femininity and gender transgression, not with lesbian identity, culture or actual life in Japan. Here's an academic essay that discusses the history and looks at some modern stories (warning: one of the images near the end is NSFW)
  • Yuri for adult women, "josei yuri", is usually less stereotyped and fairly realistic, like most fiction aimed at adults. Yuri for lesbians is the most likely to be realistic, and to deal with LGBTQ culture and social issues, but is a very small portion of all yuri produced. As previously noted, some readers use a separate term for "yuri by/for lesbians" to distinguish it from the more common types.

In the past, a disproportionate amount of yuri stories have ended tragically or inconclusively, but this is changing as more fictional couples are allowed to have happy, committed, and canon endings.

In yuri, you'll most likely find relationships that play on Tomboy and Girly Girl or Sempai Kouhai dynamics. The first usually emulates a heterosexual couple, while the latter emphasises the difference in maturity between the girls. Teacher/Student Romance is also found, but less commonly than the other two.

This is the genre; couple-specific examples should only be listed below if they're the focus of the series. For yuri-style couples (and unrequited crushes) in other genres, see Token Yuri Girls. Note also that Romantic Two-Girl Friendship (that is, when the yuri relationship doesn't last and the girls involved end up with boys) is a completely different trope. Also see: Slash Fic, Everyone Is Gay, and Schoolgirl Lesbians.

The Spear Counterpart of this genre is the Boys Love Genre (targeted towards women) and the Bara Genre (targeted towards gay men).

See also our guide on how to Write a Yuri Manga.

(Sub-)Tropes frequently associated with the genre

This is a East Asian-only genre. Please limit examples to East Asian and Animesque media only.

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    Visual Novels 

  • The manga Claudine, written by Oniisama e...'s author Riyoko Ikeda, is often classified as Yuri Genre. However, this is a mistake. The main character, Claudine de Montesse, is actually Transsexual: he is female-bodied but identifies as a man, and searches for female love interests. (And is referred to as such by other characters: for instance his Unlucky Childhood Friend Rosemarie says that Claudine is "a true man, given a woman's body"). Therefore, it'd be technically incorrect to classify this particular manga as yuri; although homosexuality and transsexuality are both LGBTQ issues, they are very different ones and, whilst they can overlap, it's not always the case.
  • Stellar Ranger Dark Star has the main romance and love triangle in the story fall between three Magical Girls.

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alternative title(s): Girl Love; Yuri; Shoujo Ai; Girls Love
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