After finishing Oniisamae… I thought to myself that, wow, if anything, that was a crazy one. This is the part two review guys.
Yuri is a strange “genre” because it is actually more of an element than a genre, one that is underrepresented within anime and manga, particularly in the United States. The market is definitely small when paired next to the amount of Yaoi that has been released. Regardless, Oniisamae is a good show, no matter the category.
Of course, I can’t say it’s a “great” show. The quality is not always up to a high standard. In many of the middle episodes, the animation turns down several notches, which I feel they have no excuse for because they already save so much money with the still frames that are used at least once every minute (sometimes more). The drama is always overboard, which is both a detriment, because you can’t take it too seriously even when it wants you too, but also a plus, because it makes watching this so much fun.
Still, some interesting themes come up between all the shouting and the gasping and the falling petals and the windblown hair. It takes a setting, an all-girls school, and instead of making it exclusively about being female (which it seems where this was going), it also tackles themes about human emotions in general. I mean this in the most literal way possible, because towards the end, this male free setting suddenly changes and begins to focus heavily on many different male characters. This is slightly unexpected, as in my experience with yuri, a lot of the time they use the all-girls school setting to rule out men walking into the scene completely.
There are some prevalent, disturbing themes as well that seem to stem out of these forty-nine episodes. At first it presents a picture that represents the way girls mistreat each other according to general societal expectations, but it then switches the focus to Mariko in the middle, where I feel like the writing is at its strongest (although it may try too hard). She screams at Misonoo saying that she can’t get involved with men because they are inherently self-serving and evil, but as the show proves, hate, resentment, and abuse are not shown in different ways by each gender, but within all genders. After that is looked at, the show then quickly turns into a very exciting walkthrough of overturning tyranny, FYI.
Symbolism is nicely used as well. The most prominent one is dolls, a reflection of what girls are told they are supposed to be on the outside, but sure as hell are not always the same as on the inside. Leading from that “reflection” of gender perception, there is also heavy use of mirrors as the characters fight with realizing they need look inside themselves instead of ruining lives and blaming others for their problems. Birds are utilized a lot too, with obvious relation to themes of emotional freedom.
Stating that this show deserves thirty-nine episodes is not something I would agree with. It starts to run out of ideas in the end using some lame romance elements, which is something that is understandable (but not excused) given the fact Dezaki directed a story that was originally only three volumes of manga (wtf?). The show wants to discuss many things that have often been left in the shadows, or more specifically as the show’s Wikipedia article establishes, "suicide, incest, lesbianism, drug addiction, violence, divorce, and disease”. The fact that we can get these intense themes in something that is both overwrought and entertaining is quite shocking, but welcome.
So I somehow ended up finding some drawings I did years ago and I might as well post them. The thing is, I don’t know if I should leave them in pencil or not, but I feel it’s appropriate because they were made way before I used photoshop for coloring. So yeah, you’ll be seeing some sketches soon.