×
  • remind me tomorrow
  • remind me next week
  • never remind me
ANNual Pumpkin Carving Contest 2020 w/ Ciarán Strange! • It's a match made in Halloween! Voice actor Ciaran Strange is joining our Spooktacular Pumpkin Carving Contest as a guest judge! Click to find out how YOU can win over US$1,000 in anime! read more

Forum - View topic
How Bloom Into You Defies and Reinforces Yuri Tropes


Goto page 1, 2  Next

Note: this is the discussion thread for this article

Anime News Network Forum Index -> Site-related -> Talkback
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
whiskeyii



Joined: 29 May 2013
Posts: 1837
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 1:15 pm Reply with quote
While I mostly enjoyed this article, I am a little perturbed by the insistent "Yuu is not asexual" vibe in the section that address Yuu's sexuality. To me, it feels like a weird version of "get off my lawn", as though the manga's conclusion--Yuu does feel attracted to Touko--somehow invalidates how asexual viewers and/or readers may have felt represented--however briefly--by Yuu's sexuality at the start of the series. It just reads like a weirdly aggressive sectiom when the rest of the essay is so uplifting of LGBTQ+ representation, as if the author felt there was too much asexual discourse around the series, and while I'm used to that "this wasn't made for you" feeling often enough when watching anime, it feels a little jarring to have that feeling coming from someone within the LGBTQ+ community, rather than without.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
meiam



Joined: 23 Jun 2013
Posts: 2778
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:37 pm Reply with quote
She was a pretty terrible representation of asexual, she didn't fall in love as a teenager, herego she's asexual? Vast, vast majority of people who would be in this situation are not asexual, it's not even an unusual situation to be in. Plus she show pretty clear sign of being interested early on, if she was supposed to be asexual those shouldn't have been in at all (and the story shouldn't be called "bloom into you" maybe more something like "Could you bloom into me?"). Honestly I wish that entire aspect of the story had been replaced by the much more natural question of whether or not she was a lesbian in the first place, which is weirdly absent, as if her only options were asexual or lesbian.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
jmckenna15



Joined: 23 Sep 2020
Posts: 1
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 3:13 pm Reply with quote
By the time the manga ended, I was able to see that Yuu wasn't ace anymore, but the anime definitely played it up, and the nature of the relationship in the early going was a bit rough. Like if it was a straight relationship, I thought it would have gotten a lot more critical flak because Touko had a real domineering presence about her and it was definitely uncomfortable at times.

It did recover though as we saw Touko's vulnerability and Yuu's growing maturity and her own sexual awakening, and the second-to-last chapter was a near-perfect climax for the whole story where I was genuinely interested and rooting for these two characters.

(and yes, I re-read the second-to-last chapter multiple times because...well...I am a Man of Culture).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
whiskeyii



Joined: 29 May 2013
Posts: 1837
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 5:05 pm Reply with quote
meiam wrote:
She was a pretty terrible representation of asexual, she didn't fall in love as a teenager, herego she's asexual? Vast, vast majority of people who would be in this situation are not asexual, it's not even an unusual situation to be in. Plus she show pretty clear sign of being interested early on, if she was supposed to be asexual those shouldn't have been in at all (and the story shouldn't be called "bloom into you" maybe more something like "Could you bloom into me?"). Honestly I wish that entire aspect of the story had been replaced by the much more natural question of whether or not she was a lesbian in the first place, which is weirdly absent, as if her only options were asexual or lesbian.


I would caution this with the fact that asexuality, like all sexualities, is a spectrum, not a be-all, end-all, black-and-white affair. Having said that, it definitely feels unusual that Yuu doesn't ever question *what* she's attracted to, only *if*.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
TsukasaElkKite



Joined: 22 Nov 2005
Posts: 3318
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 5:22 pm Reply with quote
This was an excellent article.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
YuriMother



Joined: 06 Dec 2019
Posts: 10
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 5:26 pm Reply with quote
Author of the article here

Thank you for taking the time to read my deep dive of Bloom Into You!!

I know that many people with have different feelings about the post, as it contains some "hot takes," but I hope that everyone at least had some fun reading it and learned something. Yuri media is my passion and sharing my thoughts and knowledge on it unique history, culture, and content is such an amazing joy and privilege.

I am always eager to hear anyone's thoughts on this article or Yuri in general on social media (holyyurimother) and my website so please do reach out. I would love to hear your opinions and critiques!

I want to extend my greatest thanks to the good people of ANN, especially Executive Editor Lynzee Loveridge, for the amazing opportunity to write this article.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
SunsetYesterday



Joined: 18 Oct 2019
Posts: 7
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 5:35 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Sadly, even side character Maki, who is asexual, is not a genuine representation. The series describes him as an observer of others' stories, unable to have his own because of his sexuality, or lack thereof. However, real ace/aro people can have meaningful lives and stories of their own that do not necessarily involve courtship.


This section is so strange. The series never implies at all that Mako is unhappy or unfulfilled because of his asexuality, and as a guy in a yuri manga I wouldn’t expect him to be getting his own subplot story.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
SciasSlash



Joined: 09 Jun 2015
Posts: 32
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 6:31 am Reply with quote
But... Yuu was never meant to be asexual representation. Plenty of teenage girls who are gay don't realize homosexuality exists, and thus think that romance is something locked off to them. Or they feel ashamed of their desires, so they push them to the back of their mind and think romance isn't for them. Why is that somehow a bad thing to explore?

Also, for someone who 'loves yuri'

'Very rarely are girls able to continue their romances beyond high school in yuri.'

This is such a blatantly false statement that it blows my mind. Pretty much every major yuri manga in the past few years either isn't set in high school or makes a point of the romance continuing past high school. Kase-san continues into college, Citrus has a timeskip to them getting married, Wanna Go Out is set in college to begin with. I'm struggling to think of one that doesn't contain at least some element of rejecting that idea.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
YuriMother



Joined: 06 Dec 2019
Posts: 10
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:08 am Reply with quote
SciasSlash wrote:

'Very rarely are girls able to continue their romances beyond high school in yuri.'

This is such a blatantly false statement that it blows my mind. Pretty much every major yuri manga in the past few years either isn't set in high school or makes a point of the romance continuing past high school. Kase-san continues into college, Citrus has a timeskip to them getting married, Wanna Go Out is set in college to begin with. I'm struggling to think of one that doesn't contain at least some element of rejecting that idea.


You make a really great point. We see multiple recent titles containing elements of the relationship between two women continuing after high school. GIrl Friends implies it, Kase-san has a sequel series, Citrus has the flashforward, Kiss and White Lily for My Dearest Girl has Senoo and Nikaidou...

However, these are some of the biggest titles in the Yuri genre, and do not paint an accurate picture of the bevy of works within it. Many, many school romances today do not look outward towards the future as these do.

Furthermore, all of the titles mentioned above, and many others that do the same thing, are from Yuri's current age. When I spoke on girls rarely being able to continue their relationship, I examined the genre's entire history (101 years as of 2020). In many older works, particularly those influenced by Class S literature, girls' relationships are viewed as almost practice. An activity girls would partake in during their adolesence in their adolescence of all-girls' schools before going off to the "real world" and marrying a man.

I am so thankful that many recent popular Yuri titles are giving their characters more agency over their sexuality and affirming that lesbian and queer identities are real and longlasting. However, they are still the minority, both currently and across the genre's history.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Alyfox



Joined: 24 Sep 2020
Posts: 1
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:56 am Reply with quote
Edit: I changed my posting name in the account section, but it wasn't reflected here. My name is Alyfox. Hopefully that will pop up sooner rather than later.
Alright, I only read part of the article (roughly half?), its late and also I was getting more and more irritated by it. I kinda question the authors ability to assess characters after reading what I did - probably an overly harsh sentiment given I don't know that (as far as I'm aware) but it is what it is.This post will hopefully be short-ish cause as I said its late (7:15am) and I really should have gone to bed an hour ago. (Edit: It did not end up being short). I also only very, very briefly skimmed a few of the other comments (one I quoted, below) so I may be repeating things that have already been said - for that I sort-of apologize (I would have written this even if they were repeats, but I'd quietly feel guilty about making people rehash them).

DIsclosure: I'm a pretty big YagaKimi fan. No point in hiding that.

Yep, the story does contain tropes, it would be pretty idiotic to try and deny that. Pretty much every story does these days, and actual *original* ideas are becoming fewer and fewer as the years pass, given the sheer volume of literature in human history. Of course YagaKimi is going to borrow concepts from other series, cause in general they work.

What's more important is how things are handled, the *character* of the characters, conflicts that arise, how they are handled, how things are tied up or end. In that area, YagaKimi is superior to any other yuri manga I've read (no, I have not read every yuri manga) and every other yuri anime (no, I have not watched every yuri anime), because the characters themselves have more depth and realism than the bulk of the others, the way they deal with what is going on in their lives is shockingly realistic.

Im... old... but I still remember a lot of what I went through as a teen, struggling with identity, emotions (including anxiety and depression) and stressful situations and I grew up in Canada, which is far less stressful than growing up in Japan.

Things aren't portrayed perfectly, but they are portrayed well and fairly.

I also *heavily* take issue with characterizing Touko as a 'predatory lesbian'. she's 16, she's struggling with impossible standards, is suddenly confronted with sexual and romantic feelings. One brief kiss of dubious consent, a kiss that was neither creepy nor aggressive merely startling/surprising, does not a predator make. There were some aggressive moments in a particular scene (the shed, if you've read the manga or watched the anime you'll know what I mean) but for one thing Yuu put her foot down, and for another at that age, struggling to deal with emotions you're not used to, can lead people to do some less than ideal things. (Note: If it had strayed into criminal territory, my thoughts WOULD be otherwise - an over-eager kiss is not the same as sexual assault). The french kiss later *surprised* Yuu, but moments later she went right back to it consensually. The first time you were french-kissed, were you startled by it? I'm sure most (I won't say all, that's unreasonable) would probably say yes. I know I was, and I was not burdened with the same identity difficulties that Yuu was (by which I mean, the other girl involved was someone I had strong feelings for). None of these make Touko a Predator Lesbian; she did not 'turn Yuu gay'. This is something I could probably write another half-page on, sometime later. If not more.

To quote another message posted earlier,
SciasSlash wrote:
But... Yuu was never meant to be asexual representation. Plenty of teenage girls who are gay don't realize homosexuality exists, and thus think that romance is something locked off to them. Or they feel ashamed of their desires, so they push them to the back of their mind and think romance isn't for them. Why is that somehow a bad thing to explore?


Exactly this. Now, I don't know a single thing about the author of the article, but if they've read the entire manga and have any concept of things like 'love language' and non-standard sexuality, its incredibly clear that Yuu is not nor ever was Ace. I can't read Nakatani-sensei's mind, but I'm pretty sure Yuu is being portrayed as either demisexual, or demiromantic lesbian. This ties back into what I said earlier, 'I could probably write another half page' comment, but since I don't have the time or energy to elaborate on this point further, I'll leave it for now.

YuriMother, I realize my comments will probably seem harsh, I'm not seeking to offend, but I do feel like I need to say at least *part* of my piece on this. Some of it is motivated by my being a huge fan of the series, but as much of it as being motivated by my own life experiences (which, given my age, would take a long time to explain and not something I would do in a public forum anyways. Minimally, translesbian who has had experiences from multiple situational angles that closely mirror some of the story), as well as being a writer myself (this last part mainly with regards to managing tropes, characterization and such, if it matters any). There is a reason that it is one of the most popular yuri stories so far this century.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
YuriMother



Joined: 06 Dec 2019
Posts: 10
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 9:46 am Reply with quote
Alyfox wrote:
YuriMother, I realize my comments will probably seem harsh, I'm not seeking to offend, but I do feel like I need to say at least *part* of my piece on this. Some of it is motivated by my being a huge fan of the series, but as much of it as being motivated by my own life experiences (which, given my age, would take a long time to explain and not something I would do in a public forum anyways. Minimally, translesbian who has had experiences from multiple situational angles that closely mirror some of the story), as well as being a writer myself (this last part mainly with regards to managing tropes, characterization and such, if it matters any). There is a reason that it is one of the most popular yuri stories so far this century.


No offense taken, I really enjoyed reading your thoughts and experiance with the manga! I stand by my opinions and critique of the manga, as I think they are informed and reasonable, but I also understand your viewpoints. You come at it from a different lense then I, with your own experiance and emotions, and possibly a greater ability to relate to these characters than I. I can only comment on what I know from my own (humbely extensive) knoweldge of Yuri and its tropes.

Additionally, conforming to tropes is not bad by any means. Some of my favorite Yuri works of all time are littlemore than tropefilled overdone parodies of the genre. I wanted to comment on how Bloom Into You's use of tropes was, from my persepective, often ignroed, and shine a light on some of the really great things it does aside (many of which were not related to Yuri tropes).

As for your passion and dedication to the series, I can only quote the end of my article:
Quote:
I can stand on my soapbox all day and explain how it widely uses genre standard characters and plots, but that does not negate that Bloom Into You helped someone get through a hard time, or exposed them to new ideas, or led to someone exploring and accepting their identity. In fact, I adore this series, for no reason less than that it attracted new fans and attention to the messy and complicated yuri genre that I so deeply love.


In short, your emotional experiance trumps mine for you and that is great.

.... Although, I will note that one of the reasons the series is one of the most popular in the genre may, in part, be due to Dengeki Daioh's powerful marketing machine.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Yuvelir



Joined: 06 Jan 2015
Posts: 721
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:13 am Reply with quote
IMO the retreading of familiar tropes and arcs in YagaKimi isn't so much originality as it is a conscious will to take them and subvert them. "You remember all these things from class S works? You know how it begins, develops and ends? Well, screw that notion because these girls are going all the way".
Although none of that is as cathartic as Sayaka's entire character and subplot.

As for Nanami being predatory... she isn't? Her aura is strong, sure, and Yuu is kind of a wimp, but Nanami isn't taking advantage of that difference in "power" instead opting to just ask most of the time, ask more than she needs to even since her insecurities and her intense fear of getting hated are a central part of her character arc.

whiskeyii wrote:
While I mostly enjoyed this article, I am a little perturbed by the insistent "Yuu is not asexual" vibe in the section that address Yuu's sexuality. To me, it feels like a weird version of "get off my lawn", as though the manga's conclusion--Yuu does feel attracted to Touko--somehow invalidates how asexual viewers and/or readers may have felt represented--however briefly--by Yuu's sexuality at the start of the series. It just reads like a weirdly aggressive sectiom when the rest of the essay is so uplifting of LGBTQ+ representation, as if the author felt there was too much asexual discourse around the series, and while I'm used to that "this wasn't made for you" feeling often enough when watching anime, it feels a little jarring to have that feeling coming from someone within the LGBTQ+ community, rather than without.

The problem with the asexuality take is that an ideal of a "standard" asexual person is often projected onto Yuu ignoring any hints to the contrary and then people get angry because, as it turns out, she isn't asexual. The discourse gets muddled by people taking issue with Yuu no longer being the person she never was.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
YuriMother



Joined: 06 Dec 2019
Posts: 10
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:19 am Reply with quote
Yuvelir wrote:
As for Nanami being predatory... she isn't? Her aura is strong, sure, and Yuu is kind of a wimp, but Nanami isn't taking advantage of that difference in "power" instead opting to just ask most of the time, ask more than she needs to even since her insecurities and her intense fear of getting hated are a central part of her character arc.


Well said. I do not think that overall, she is a predatory character, but I notice many...cautionary moments where she steps over the line. Her character is certainly more nuanced than that, and she is often considerate of Yuu, but I noticed the trend otherwise frequently enough to worth noting, particularly in the early volumes.

Yuvelir wrote:
The problem with the asexuality take is that an ideal of a "standard" asexual person is often projected onto Yuu ignoring any hints to the contrary and then people get angry because, as it turns out, she isn't asexual. The discourse gets muddled by people taking issue with Yuu no longer being the person she never was.


The asexuality discussion is complex and, clearly, one people are passionate about. I maintain that this series what never meant to portray asexuality, which the arguable exception of Maki, and was always billed as Yuri from the start. Yuu was always going to fall in love and that was clear from the very first chapter.

Of course, I see the merits in other arguments, but I yearn for some better asexual and aromantic representation in manga. We see it so infrequently and I totally understand why people are looking for more, I just think if one goes into this series hoping for that, they will be dissapointed.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
yurigasaki



Joined: 06 Apr 2015
Posts: 155
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:15 pm Reply with quote
I don't really have the time to go fully into it right now, but I will admit, the insistence on doubling down on "Yuu's not ace!!!! This was advertised as yuri!!!!! This character isn't ace!!!! Stop talking about asexuality in relation to this manga!!!!" made me wildly uncomfortable.

I'm an asexual bi woman. My best friend is an ace lesbian. Asexuality can very easily exist alongside other spectrums of romantic attraction, so this being a yuri manga does not in any way dismiss the reading of Yuu as an asexual girl. Similarly, many people who identify as asexual have and enjoy sex with their partners – just as some people on the opposite end of the spectrum are outright repulsed by the very idea.

Both myself and a lot of other ace sapphics found a lot of comfort and relatability in Bloom Into You, whether it was the author's intent or not, and it makes me feel a little Yikes to see such insistent pushback against it in this article.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
kotomikun



Joined: 06 May 2013
Posts: 913
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 6:28 pm Reply with quote
I haven't actually read the article because my copy of the last volume of this series is still lost in the Shipping Shadow Realm, and I'm trying to pretend there's actually anything to spoil about how it ends... so take this with that grain of salt. But with all this Controversy over asexuality, I feel like I should add my take on it.

yurigasaki wrote:
Asexuality can very easily exist alongside other spectrums of romantic attraction, so this being a yuri manga does not in any way dismiss the reading of Yuu as an asexual girl.

Although, the above mostly sums it up, honestly. The fact that Yuu does (I assume) ultimately end up in a relationship doesn't mean she isn't asexual. I know that may sound paradoxical, but like anything in romance or life in general, asexuality isn't a totally black-and-white concept. It's, well, a spectrum.

One way I could describe the experience (based on my own, anyway) is "wanting a relationship in theory, but not in practice." That certainly seems to fit Yuu as well. She does end up going out with someone, and eventually even has feelings for her, but it's an unorthodox process, to say the least--meeting someone who's crazy about her but claims to not want love in return, which sort of gives her enough space to figure things out. Which takes quite a while, and not because she's in denial about being gay, as we're initially led to believe; Touko being a girl never seems to bother Yuu, but the former's behavior seems inexplicable to her for most of the story. And (at least by the end of volume 7) it's not entirely clear if Yuu has developed an interest in romance in general, or if she's decided to make an exception for Touko.

Notably, other characters aren't like this. Touko fixates on Yuu pretty quickly, and Sayaka admits to basically having love-at-first-sight for Touko. She's not 100% uninterested in love, but it'd be pretty hard to build a romance story around a character like that, so that's not going to surprise anyone. She definitely has some ace-like characteristics. Whether this was intentional, it's hard to say--she and Touko were clearly designed as counterparts, one who's reluctant to feel love, the other reluctant to receive love. But people like her do exist, and they likely influenced the author's writing, knowingly or otherwise.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Anime News Network Forum Index -> Site-related -> Talkback All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group