What’s the show? It’s episode 10 of ‘Citrus’ (2018).
Single episode review, huh? We haven’t covered the other 9 episodes though, so how about a quick run down? Yuzu’s mother has married a new man in a new city, and so Yuzu’s now attending a prim and proper private school, which doesn’t jell with her individualistic persona. She’s also got a new step-sister, Mei, the ‘by the books’ student council president! But when Miss prim and proper plants a kiss on Yuzu to get her to shut up, all sorts of strange feelings begin to stir inside Yuzu, not the least because that was her first kiss!
So we’re doubling down on the forbidden romance, huh? Well if you want to put it like that…
What do you mean? Calling lesbianism ‘forbidden romance’ is part of the problem that so many young girls have to fight against, especially in Japan, where there’s not nearly enough representation of same-sex couples in the media outside of content produced for men (i.e. fetishising it).
But isn’t this for a male audience? I don’t think so, I mean, I wouldn’t put in the same category as something like Sakura Trick, (which is a subject for another day). The fan-service is turned all the way down, it’s just kissing and the occasional grope, but it’s always presented as a big deal, for either one or both of them when it happens. Besides, I doubt there are many people sitting through 20+ minutes of talking and plot and character development per episode just to get a single kiss.
I think you underestimate perverts. I speak for the perverts!
Was that a fucking Lorax reference? I don’t know, but I’ve got wood.
*facepalm* And here I thought we were getting somewhere serious with this. We are, I just felt like making a dumb joke.
Right, so why now are we talking about Citrus, and not after any of the other episodes? Because Episode 10 of Citrus just played it’s strongest card yet, also it introduced two characters who are just all kinds of great, but let’s start with the moment that made me punch the sky in jubilation.
Go on. So, some serious stuff went down between Yuzu and Mei at the start of the episode, which ends in the two not talking to each other for some months. Yuzu wakes up late on the day of their year levels excursion to Kyoto and has to hurry there, meanwhile at the train station we meet two white haired twin-sisters, the older (but shorter) one, Sara gushes about a beautiful and kind person she just met. Some stuff happens, and Sara runs into Yuzu at the station gift shop, they’ve both missed their train to Kyoto, so they decide to go together. They get talking on the train and Sara begins telling her about this ‘wonderful encounter’ she had. Yuzu’s surprised to discover the person she is smitten for is a girl when Sara comes out with this simple, but obvious to everyone with a sense of empathy, statement. “If I decide I like someone, it doesn’t matter if they’re a boy or a girl.”
True. It might seem obvious, but this whole season Yuzu, despite being a kind and caring individual has constantly been throwing up the whole, ‘I can’t love Mei, she’s a girl and I’m a girl, that doesn’t work’ shtick. But in one simple sentence, everything the audience has (hopefully) been screaming at the screen is put so succinctly to Yuzu, Loving someone the same sex as you shouldn’t be a taboo, love is love.
Even if she is her stepsister? Listen, I admit, the whole stepsister thing is probably the most unnecessarily ‘drama for the sake of drama’ thing about this show, it would have been pretty much the same show if they weren’t ‘suddenly siblings’. But they’d been stepsister’s for literally less than a day before something happened between them, it’s not like they grew up together, it’s only taboo on paper… and to sell more books.
So what happens with the rest of the episode? Yuzu and Sara have a heart to heart discussion on a park bench in Kyoto on their way to find their respective school groups. We learn the nitty gritty about what caused the recent fight between Yuzu and Mei, even though Mei was willing to take the next step forward in their relationship, Yuzu wasn’t ready and pulled away, which hurt Mei.
Fair enough, and then? And then they make it back to the hotel their classmates are staying at; Sara reunites with her younger (much taller) sister Nina and later Yuzu tries to reconnect with Mei, only things aren’t going to be that simple.
Oh, how so? Well aside from the fact that Mei’s obviously been hurt by someone she confided and relied upon so deeply, a challenger appears.
A challenger for Mei’s affections? Perhaps, see it turns out the girl that Sara was smitten with at the train station, the one she’s fallen head over hells for, is actually Mei!
*gasp!* Yeah I admit I saw it coming a mile away but it does add some more drama to the show, which is fun!
So I take it since you decided to review it this is your favourite episode so far? Yeah of course! It showed a kind of maturity that the tone often alluded to, but the dialogue failed to back up throughout.
And does that mean you’d recommend it to people who dropped or doubted the show’s intentions. I mean, it’s hard, this kind of subject matter is sensitive to a lot of people, and those who might thought it was pandering or fetishist at the start are welcome to that opinion but I think it’s deeper than that. It’s no work of art by any means but I think it has some important things to say about same sex relations and how they’re perceived, especially in Japan, although the fact it’s taken ten whole episodes to get to a quote worth quoting in favour of the show’s portrayal of same-sex relationships is a little damning. I don’t think this will change many people’s minds but it’s worth bringing up at least.
Oh and why’s it called ‘citrus’? I don’t know, because Yuzu is also a type of Japanese citrus fruit? Because love is sweet and sour? Who cares, it’s a good, short, evocative name, it suits the show well.