The 2012 manga of Citrus is one of the most loved of its genre and it was exciting to receive an anime adaptation this Winter 2018 season. Since my disappointment in watching Netsuzou Trap, Citrus looked more promising, but the alarming premise of a romance between two step-sisters was not sure what I was in for.
Yuzu Ahiara moves to a new town due to her mother’s remarriage. New school, new place, a fresh start. An all-girls school and no boys sounded great. On Yuzu’s first school day, she already gets herself into trouble because her fashionable dress sense doesn’t meet with the school’s conservative code and continually butts heads with school council president Mei. To Yuzu’s surprise, Mei is her new stepsister. As the two learn more about one another, Yuzu begins to fall for her new stepsister, when she’s never been in love herself.
It was nothing new to me from previous other yuri series I’ve seen. There were two girls falling in love and much drama. Citrus, though, proved itself to not be all soap opera. This is not to say there wasn’t any and Yuzu and Mei’s childhood friends, were really annoying. Himeko Mei’s childhood friend was a prissy thing. All in awe of ‘Notice Me Senpai’ in front of Mei. Towards the end of the series, Himeko was tolerable.
Don’t get me started on Yuzu’s childhood friend, Matsuri. Within minutes of her introduction, I did not like her. Matsuri’s scheming to have Yuzu for her own proved childish and futile. I was sitting there thinking to myself, ‘why is even a character like Matsuri in this?’ She’s was an eyesore. Her Japanese voice in the subversion was god awful. Matsuri sounded like a broken record player.
I could see the intervention of childhood friends coming from miles away and it got boring after a while. But the worst hurdle that came was right at the end: The twins Nina and Sara. They were pointless to have and disrupted the relationship of Yuzu and Mei. I admit the twins gave Mei and Yuzu the push they needed… alas in the end. Sara falling in love with Mei at first sight…Mei dating her briefly. It was ridiculous. Out of all the hurdles that tried to break apart Mei and Yuzu’s growing relationship, the twins take home the prize for the worst attempt. As a whole, Himeko, Matsuri, Nina, and Sara were characters for whom in the end I didn’t give a flying monkey’s about.
The main focus of the series was Yuzu and Mei’s growing relationship that kept on despite all the hurdles. Particularly on Mei’s part. You quickly learn that the series was not just about two girls falling in love. There was much conflict. Mei was a psychological mess inside; she felt a longing to feel needed and loved. The girl had trust issues, hence her cold, harsh way towards others. It was all due to Mei’s strict upbringing and driving goal to succeed her father when he abandoned his chairman position and toddled off to see the world. Mei lost sight of herself and felt lonely. She had to succeed where her father didn’t.
Yuzu brought warmth to Mei. But Mei never made it easy for Yuzu and was very protective of herself.. Yuzu was an adorable, loving girl, but her indecisiveness would be my only nikpik about her character. I thought she was very likable and same goes for her friend Harumi. Hands down Harumi was actually my favourite character because of her outgoing, fun personality. It was hilarious at times and was hard to not love her character.
Citrus started off good but then things turned sour for me towards the end. Among all the soap opera, still Citrus kept me engaged, despite some dislike of certain characters. Mei and Yuzu’s relationship was interesting to see how it would play out. It’s easy to feel a relatable connection for Mei and Yuzu when it comes to love. It is hard to express your feelings. At points I forget… they’re supposed to be stepsisters. I pretended to forget, not wanting to admit I was suckered into the series.
Art And Music
I have become a fan of Studio Passione’s animation style. Everything from the character designs to backgrounds were visually bright and beautifully toned. Everything looked glossy all the time. I fell in love with the opening theme to Citrus as soon as I heard the female vocals. I knew it was the band nano RIPE who also did the opening for Hanasuka Iroha. The leader vocals had a funny twank style when she sings and it was very interesting.
Themes And Trivia
Showing affection In Japan: In Japan, it is not common to show affection in public. Holding hands is no problem. But as it goes for things such as kissing, you’ll be seen as being too open. Japanese people have a sense of privacy and believe in certain affections being kept private.
Fall For: Citrus main theme was that you can’t help who you fall for. Yuzu is a character with whom many will feel connected to. Doesn’t matter if it’s a girl or boy you fall for, love is love.
Citrus at the start had me hooked but then I got tired waiting for Mei and Yuzu to just get together. Ugh, the wait for that was too much. At least Citrus was better than Netsuzou Trap because that series was not a great representation for the yuri genre. Citrus on the other hand was more tame. There were scenes between Mei and Yuzu where Mei would forcibly kiss Yuzu as in the scene during the first episode where Mei tied to confiscate Yuzu phones. It appears as assault.
Scenes like this didn’t phase me by thinking was a bad representation. If you have watched Netsuzou Trap, that representation was worse. Yuzu’s genuine feelings for Mei and the complexity of how Mei is made for a whole more interesting watch. It was cute Yuzu’s watching her affect on Mei unfold. The series showed a genuine connection when it came to love.
One thing I must highlight is the half-satisfying ending. The name suits the show as it was, in the end, bittersweet since what I had been waiting to happen felt half-assed done. Why couldn’t it have been Mei running after Yuzu? Not the other way round. That would have been way more dramatic, not this ending of, ‘Oh okay… guess we can date now.’ The indecisiveness of Yuzu didn’t help any of this. At the end of the day, I need to remember they were step-sisters…..*cough*
It Was BitterSweet After All
- Animation beautiful to look at
- Japanese voices are perfect for most characters accept Matsuri
- Good growth on Mei and Yuzu’s relationship
- Decent representation for the yuri genre
- Half satisfying ending
- Love rival characters lack personality and were annoying
- Mei’s cold manner gets old at points
- Too much soap opera drama
- Forcible kissing scenes might turn off people
Yuri fans will like Citrus. If there had been less soap opera, it wouldn’t have saturated my enjoyment factor. I like that Citrus featured a deep complexity in the protagonist pair’s relationship and covered relatable issues that viewers on trust and love in general. It’s still definitely worth the watch, considering how rare it is for a yuri adaptation to come about.
Winter 2018 | Anime Info | Simulcast