Citrus yuri and ecchi peachs almanac

In ‘Defense’ of… Citrus and the Ecchi Genre

I’ll preface this discussion by saying I rarely watch Yuri. Not because I have an aversion to it – or feel anything inherently negative towards it. Only, Yuri is something that rarely ever comes to the surface in my anime watching habits; for whatever reason that may be. With this in mind, I have few preconceptions of what to expect. Of course, I knew in a roundabouts way… but not enough to form opinions of the genre as a whole. Before diving into Citrus, I had a general notion of its main ideas, and the themes it ‘explores’. What I’m going to say, and examine can surely be looked at from many different angles; mine being only one of them. Despite this, it won’t be baseless, it will be as informed as I can make it.

 

Citrus anime Yuzu and Mei facing off

Yuzu and Mei

 

A Brief Mention of First Episodes

When consuming media, I do my damnedest to reserve judgement until I know what it is I am watching, reading, or listening to.  It’s not my personal mantra to skip something because the first few moments don’t appeal to my demanding expectations. However – in the case of anime – I do believe first episodes to be especially vital (I wrote this) in establishing… everything.

 

Citrus anime Yuzu shocked

“No Three Episode Rule, whaaaat!?”

 

I don’t follow the Three Episode Rule.‘ If a show cannot capture the heart, the mind, or the attention and curiosity within the very first episode, then it has failed. As I regard it, the first episode is of utmost importance. If there is a lack of effort/quality riddled throughout it, why bother with those that proceed it? Cynical? Maybe…. Though who has time to waste on mediocrity when there is so much worthy of love out there? A theory that will henceforth be called:

‘One and Done Theory’

Of course, there are always exceptions to a rule, this one is no different. Despite this, I usually tend to stick with this outlook when watching anime – and shows in broader sense.

 

‘Lack of Tact’

Now, of course, I am only talking about the first two episodes of Citrus, which contain only brief moments of what might be considered typical of the Ecchi genre. With this in mind, it will certainly step up a notch in future episodes – something which is obvious without having read the manga. Citrus does not throw us in at the deep end, we are led into it slowly – a concept which too many shows fail to grasp. Here, I will be writing specifically in relation to Citrus’s themes (Ecchi and others, the ways in which they are conveyed, and the backlash against them; I will not touch too much on the show’s plot/characters, etc…

 

 

It is easy to come across discussion regarding Citrus’s lack of tact, amongst other things (Just bob over to Twitter, and have a merry stroll). However, I see this as being somewhat unfounded. Is it Ecchi? Sure it is. And yes, there is stigma around the label of ‘Ecchi’ not necessarily because of what it is as a theme, or a genre, but because of the shows that have been labelled under it. Ecchi, is fundamentally the use of eroticism in anime. Naturally, this comes with inherent stigma, especially from certain groups (and this may be applicable). Despite this, being against censorship (within reason), I firmly believe eroticism itself is not the problem – it is the context, and the nature of it wherein an issue may arise.

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It’s easy to view shows like Citrus as inconsiderate, irrelevant, even bordering on the lines of offensive in some areas. Furthermore, it’s easy to take the stance: “It’s not real, it’s just a piece of fictional media!” Nonetheless, I do not think this carries a great deal of weight either, especially not in the current climate of political correctness (rightly, or wrongly – that is another matter entirely). So what opinion can we take on it? And, if we enjoy media such as Citrus, does that make us any less of a morally sound person than we would be if we did not? Do this apply to all shows under the Ecchi tag?

 

Citrus anime Yuzu limo pink school

In your dreams…

 

All considering, is Citrus really inappropriate, as far as media goes? We can look at other live-action shows and make comparisons, Game of Thrones, Vikings, Orange is the New Black, Outlander… etc. All which contain what some may consider excessive amounts of sex, violence, and in some cases, eroticism. Of course, these are generally accepted amongst audiences in the West – shows which are far more real and visceral than their anime counterparts. So, what makes Citrus different?

 

Potential Issues

There are a few things: Age of the characters, tone of the show, themes, and the inherent differences of the anime medium. Firstly, the concern of age. The majority of characters in Citrus are around fifteen/sixteen. If I remember back to my own life during that period, it was hardly all roses – not in the least – no person is completely ignorant to the world and its workings at that age. Still, there is real discourse regarding age in anime, and rightfully so. Lolicon being a huge problem in both in, and outside of Japan. After all, how can the attraction to what are ‘meant’ to be children be an objective matter at all? Citrus may just escape that label, but like many other shows, it drifts close enough for us to feel its ruminations.

 

Citrus anime Yuzu breasts Mei

It makes you uncomfortable… is that its only job?

 

In all concerns, this is an issue of society, rather than anime per se. Of course, anime permits and enables it. But this comes down to the question of money – as it always does. Studios will produce what people want; therefore what makes profit. Lolicon, and shows like Citrus are exactly that. Supply and demand; as all things are. Only the consumer has the power to change this construction.

 

Citrus anime Harumin phone cleavage

I’ll let you decide…?

 

Where things differentiate is the stance shows take on such themes. There is a fundamental difference in cashing in on Ecchi – shows which are only that, and never more. And, shows which explore adult themes – like Welcome to the N.H.K, Koi Kaze, and dare I say… School Days. Ecchi doesn’t need to be hollow. It can be smart, it can be thematically, and morally sound. However, this isn’t what people desire to watch; possibly for obvious reasons.

 

Where Does Citrus Stand in all This?

This is a subjective matter; because I do not believe Citrus falls into the realm of objectivity, not quite. So, with this in mind, I do not think Citrus is a bad show in any regards, including those that portray it in wholly negative light – for the reasons above. The characters do not seem entirely one-dimensional, the OP is well done, and the art/animation are nothing to complain about, if average (although, compositions of the occasional shot are pleasing to the eye). However, it is clearly nothing special, nothing remarkable in any sense. I never thought for a second it was expected to be; from its foundations, it just isn’t that type of show.

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Citrus isn’t without its ‘built-in’ issues: What appears to be Mei forcing herself on Yuzu, and the aforementioned question of age, and the morality surrounding this. Both these factors wouldn’t be a problem if Citrus tackled them in a manner that was respectful, non-sleazy, and with a generally intelligent and aware attitude. Will Citrus do that? Maybe not, no… If not, then this is a problem, because it could. It could deal with the issues of sexuality, and the problems and anxieties this might cause for such young people. Not to mention the clear controversial immorality of a student/teacher relationship, and also the relationship between daughter/father in a household like Mei’s.

Will it? Who knows… (Well, you manga readers sure might!)

 

Citrus anime Yuzu and Mei holding each other love

What is love?

 

What’s certain is, Ecchi is not the problem, neither is Yuri, nor anime that specifically contains the content of Citrus. The problem lay within how said content is presented, and with what tone it is conveyed; also in what kind of reaction and attention it is desiring from its viewers. Ultimately, all types of media have their issues, anime does not exist in a vacuum. But because of the nature in how anime itself is presented, and how it must be accessed, these issues appear to be a lot more visible than their hidden-behind-locked-door counterparts.

So, I will cross my fingers on Citrus. I hope it proves me wrong. And, if it doesn’t? Well… it will be just another example of how anime (and anime watchers) must push for content that can take an outside perspective of the talked about issues, and tackle them with the maturity they deserve.

 

Thanks for reading, as always! What are your views on Citrus?

-Chris (Follow me on Twitter, and consider supporting Peach’s Almanac on Patreon!)

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2 thoughts on “In ‘Defense’ of… Citrus and the Ecchi Genre

  1. kimchisama says:

    I think people were hoping for a sweeter romance and I’m not sure if the manga delivers this either. I tried to read it and it was boring and so far the anime is following the manga. I get tired of plots that have small problems but are made out to be super dramatic. Also that could be judgemental of me thinking that “That isn’t a real problem” but in stories they also need to sell it to me. The conflict needs to be made realistic and the stakes believable.

    • Chris says:

      I think you’re right. It certainly isn’t sweet; though, personally, I never expected it to be. And, a plot, and the characters situations certainly need to be sold, otherwise how can we relate? I can’t exactly relate to Citrus – but I hope that the characters come to be constructed well enough, that I can sympathise!

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