Before I even begin, let me just say that I am not a yuri expert, nor a professional reviewer or media analyst. I’m not trying to say that my words should be taken as law, or that you shouldn’t have your opinion. I’m simply a romantic with a particular obsession for yuri/GL media, Citrus being one of my favorite series (I’ve read every chapter to date and own every published volume.) My intention with this is merely to educate based on my knowledge of the Manga, and explain why the first episode is not what truly defines Citrus. I will do my best to show this with spoiler free (minus ep 1 of course) information. Thank you in advanced for your time.
Just in case you somehow haven’t heard of this series, allow me to give a general synopsis. Yuzu is a fashionable gal who must suddenly move to a new city after her mom remarried. She therefore must start at a new school, which as luck may have it, turns out to be an all girl’s school. It’s there that she meets the strict and cold student council president, Mei, and their first meeting is rather intense to say the least. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Yuzu returns home to find out that Mei is her new step sister and being forced to live so closely together makes their already tense relationship that much more confusing.
Let me also say now, if you have a problem with relationships between step sisters who haven’t even grown up together and have just met, then I would say this show might not be for you. If you can understand that this is not really incest and more so is fiction anyway, then please continue.
The first episode adapts the first manga chapter and bits of the second and quite well I might add. It was generally well received by fellow manga readers as well as some other yuri fans new to the series, which was nice to see. However, there have also been a fair share of viewers new to the series, that were kind of turned off or turned away due to either the psuedo-incest plot or more so, the aggressive behaviors by Mei against Yuzu in two scenes. Slight spoilers of episode 1 ahead.
In the first scene, Which is also Mei and Yuzu’s first meeting, Mei gropes Yuzu, in an effort to take her phone from her pocket. In the second scene, and arguably the more controversial one, Mei forcibly kisses Yuzu, ultimately stealing her first kiss.
Let me be clear, this is assault. I’m not denying it nor condoning it. This isn’t normally acceptable behavior and should be tolerated in most cases and despite how it seems now, Yuzu does not. She does push back in future incidents and makes it known she doesn’t like it. HOWEVER, with that said, I would never call it lesbian rape nor say Mei is abusive and that their relationship would be toxic. This just isn’t the case. I can say this confidently because I’ve seen the future (read the manga).
There are very specific reasons as to why Mei acts this aggressive, one of which will be revealed in the episode later today and was hinted at in the first if you paid close attention to a certain other moment of assault people seem to be ignoring in comparison. Also, all of these moments of assault are very isolated events and is not commonplace, especially as the story progresses. To put it simply, Mei and Yuzu’s budding relationship isn’t toxic and the story isn’t hentai as it may appear going off of this first episode alone. Rather, it’s complicated.
Mei has trauma. She’s damaged and has no idea what it means to have a relationship not driven by aggression. Yuzu however, is about to change her entire perspective and by the end of this season, you will hardly believe they are the same characters and that its the same story, especially on Mei’s part. If you go even further and catch up to the Manga, you might find yourself missing some of the moments some may be taking for granted now.
Ultimately, its your decision on whether to continue the series or not and I’m not asking you to watch if you hate it or its not your thing. What I am asking, especially to those who have already dropped it in pretense of it being ecchi fanservice or for romanticizing assault and toxic relationships, is to please give it a couple more episodes. The three episode rule is especially important in this series because quite a bit is explained over the next couple of episodes. Granted, the best explanation will come mid series, but still, give it the 3 episodes. If you find you’re still not feeling it after that, then you may leave it behind you. However, those brave enough to stick it out, I promise you, IT GETS BETTER! It’s good now, but it’s going to get so much better and so much sweeter, that you will come to see why it’s such a widely popular and beloved manga, especially in the realm of yuri. I know I probably can’t change the minds of the masses, but if I can at least be another voice vouching for the series I love, and sway even a few people, then I’ll be satisfied.
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