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Why, oh, why can't I hate you?
(I'm only nine episodes in; full review later.)

Yuri. AKA, anime with lesbians. I've always been opposed to labeling anything as LGBT (you wouldn't create a genre for TV shows with black people, would you?), so I'm always nervous going into anything that roots itself so deeply in the label. The only reason I tried this was that it had a transsexual character. That, and aliens.

And actually? It wasn't bad. It features virtually every Yuri cliche there is, but somehow, they all work.

I think it's because all the characters were strong. Hazumu could be a Mary Sue at times, but the writers have pulled off a miracle by still making her sympathetic and well-developed. Tomari is equally well-rendered and amusing. Not to mention Yasuna. God, I think I feel a little sad every time I look at her. And it's stupid, because I know the writers are using every single cheap trick in the book to make her a sad Woobie, and I don't even care because something about it works so well.

The dialogue and storyline really worked for me as well. The writers are amazingly talented at writing emotional scenes that feel honest and genuine without even trying. Of particularly notable honesty were the flashbacks to Hazumu's childhood, which made me cry virtually every time, largely because I went through something similar. (Minus the part where I got transformed into a girl by aliens. Still waiting on that one.)

That being said, the storyline started to slow down at about the halfway point, which is why I'm still only nine episodes in. The writers are very clearly dragging things out in order to create anticipation for the conclusion, but they clearly have nothing more to say until then, so why don't they just get there already?

The side elements were also really stupid, and part of what I didn't like about the more recent episodes is that the side characters started to take more of a center stage. In particular, Hazumu's Pervert Dad quite frankly creeped me out at times, and the girls' teacher was entirely unnecessary and not at all funny. The aliens also felt very tacked on - the mix of genres between yuri and aliens was a bit bizarre, and their jokes fell flat for me.

But it's still really touching and well-written, for the most part. The animation is also lush and colorful, perfectly capturing the spirit of the show. I recommend.
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