Let’s get real here: Even religious people who complain about them, deep down, love lesbians just as much as everyone else.

This is also true of anime. Even people who claim to hate anything and everything having to do with Japanese animation secretly love it.

So what do you get when you put these two incredible things together? Pure bliss, of course.

Now, if only you could find some Yuri anime (i.e. anime with lesbians in it) that wasn’t mediocre and didn’t put you to sleep.

Well, fear not! I have sifted through the slush piles for you and produced this list of recommendations.

Best Yuri Animes

  1. Devil Lady
  2. Simoun
  3. Revolutionary Girl Utena
  4. Aoi Hana
  5. Maria-sama ga Miteru

1. Devil Lady

Incredibly dark, but very worth it.

Devil Lady is about a horrific (apparently genetic) disorder that causes humans to turn into hideous, mindlessly vicious beasts when provoked into transformation, usually by the scent of their own kind or by some sort of fight or flight reaction.

Though it is a horror anime, the main character is quite obviously (though it is never overtly said, as is common in anime) gay. Her romantic relationships and interactions are largely with other women, and the main, if tragic, romance is between her and a younger woman who looks up to her.

2. Simoun

Not only one of the most underrated and overlooked of the Yuri anime, but an underrated anime in general, period.

This show is about a society where every individual is born female (or, rather in an ungendered, female-like state), and chooses whether to be male or female when the age of 17 is reached. The culture and religion of this society closely surrounds these sacred flying machines called Simoun that can only be piloted by virgin (meaning, still genderless, in this case) priestesses. Though they are very powerful, the purpose of the machines and of the priestesses who fly them is normally strictly religious and ceremonial. However, war breaks out, and these young women (ranging in age from preteen to late teens) are thrust into the conflict as unwitting soldiers because they are the only ones who can pilot the country’s most powerful weapons–the Simoun themselves.

A deep and moving story about gender identity, the horrors of war, and the role of religion in society ensues.

Oddly, the Yuri part is up to perception, one could say, as most of the main characters in question are of ambiguous gender and are technically undifferentiated rather than female (though they look, speak, and refer to themselves as female), making their fraternizations not lesbian in the technical sense.

3. Revolutionary Girl Utena

What can I say about this classic that hasn’t already been said? It is possibly one of the greatest animated TV series ever made, Yuri or no. It is incredibly deep and touches on just about every important aspect of human life. It just needs to be experienced by anyone who is a serious anime fan (or, actually, anyone period).

Revolutionary Girl Utena is about a young woman who met a heroic prince in her childhood and has, since then, wanted nothing more than to be a prince herself. The story takes place at an academy she attends as a young teen, where she’s drawn into a series of duels in an effort to protect an apparent slave bride who is passed from champion to champion.

The Yuri in it is largely implied between the two main characters in the TV show (the title character Utena and her bride), though it is quite overt in the movie version. Both are worth watching, though the show is of course much richer and covers much more. The TV version should be watched first, as the movie draws from it.

4. Aoi Hana

If very slow-paced slice-of-life drama is your kind of thing, Aoi Hana would probably appeal to you.

The quality and subtle beauty of this anime is impressive in that quiet sort of way. It is not explosively melo-dramatic, does not feature anything robotic or anything that wields katana. It is simply a fairly realistic, plotless story about a teenaged girl and her relationships with several other young women–a childhood friend of hers in particular.

If a naturalistic story is what you’re looking for, one that could basically have been live action, then this one’s for you.

5. Maria-sama ga Miteru (Maria Watches Over Us)

Again, a classic.

This show is basically about a group of young women in a student council, a young recruit in particular, and how they grow through their work and relationships to each other. The yuri here is basically only implied, but it hardly matters, as the personal connections between the girls are no less heart-felt and romantic.

Maria-sama ga Miteru is one of those slow-paced dramas that is so laced with universal meaning that you feel uplifted when you’ve finished watching. There’s so much more to this anime than meets the eye at first, but I’ll leave that for you to discover.

Okay, so hopefully I’ve named a few you have not yet noticed or watched, and convinced you to pick them up.

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