Yuri Genre

aka: Yuri
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. Yuri is often an idealized and unrealistic portrayal of lesbian relationships, and is not representative of actual LGBTQ+note  culture and people due to its Fluff content.

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 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 LGBTQ 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 are: Yaoi (the explicit version of BL) or Shounen-ai/Shonen-ai (the pg-13 version) both targeted towards women, and the Bara Genre, which is 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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    Prolific Creators 
  • Go Nagai. While not known mainly for it, has proven himself partial to yuri.
  • Natsuneko. Has only written one-shots so far (see full list on her page).
  • Kaoru Sudoo. Sadly, seems to have quietly slipped off the radar after OKG was cancelled.
  • Akihito Yoshitomi. Is well-known for his contributions to the genre, though he tends to take weird approaches:
    • Blue Drop, although the anime is much less explicit with its Girls' Love than the first and third manga of the series. The second manga Tenshi no Bokura moves away from Girls' Love, as the focus is on a heterosexual pair.
    • Sisterism is a GL manga about two childhood friends falling in love with each other's little sisters. Who are both 12.
    • Two and Two is a slightly different take on a similar setup, with two schoolgirl roommates discovering their attraction to each other only after they independently start dating older women. Both of whom are childhood friends, so it's complicated. Also, at least one pairing is into domination/submission play.

    Original Manga 
  • Maka Maka is a yuri hentai manga about two college aged girls.
  • Pieta: A josei manga that contains a dark psychologic yuri story.
  • Poor Poor Lips: A Gag Series Yon Koma with surprising depth about the lives of a rich, lesbian employer and her poor employee.
  • Plica is a slice-of-life four-panel comic about adult lesbians (so it's not really girls' love, but...)
  • Prism
  • Saki is a yuri subtext Mahjong anime that holds the record as the series with the most yuri themed blushing. One interesting note is that the anime plays its Girls' Love up more than the manga.
  • Sakura Trick Two girls try to keep their friendship unique and special.
  • Sasameki Koto happily marries relationship angst with school life comedy.
  • Satou Kashi no Dangan wa Uchinukenai, a shojo manga that follows the relationship between a schoolgirl who wishes to rely on no one but herself, and a self-proclaimed mermaid who must find true friendship in one month's time or she will fade away forever.
  • Shinozakisan Ki Wo Ota Shika Ni About a girl who is in the closet... about being an otaku. And sure, she may have some weird fantasies about her friend Kaede, but that's just because she's so cute it's a crime that she should be an otaku. So Akina must save Kaede from that terrible lifestyle... and maybe get a special thank you when they're alone.
  • Shiro

    Original Anime 

    Original Light Novels 

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • Solfege: Sweet Harmony
  • Sono Hanabira ni Kuchizuke wo (pictured above) is presently considered the definitive Girls' Love Eroge series and the series has had a hentai OVA based on it released.

  • 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.

Alternative Title(s):

Girl Love, Yuri, Shoujo Ai, Girls Love