Yen Press Licenses Shakaijin Yuri Series 'Assorted Entanglements'
On Friday, Yen Press announced that it has licensed Mikanuji's opposites attract Shakaijin Yuri manga Assorted Entanglements (Fuzoroi no Renri). The manga was initially released on the author's Twitter and Pixiv before being picked up for publication.
Assorted Entanglements primarily follow Iori, a woman in her late twenties with a demanding job and troubled romantic history, and her romance with Minami, an 18-year-old delinquent who works at a local bar. Several other couples are introduced and featured heavily throughout the manga.
Yen Press describes the series:
Discover a variety of women’s love stories, starting with Iori who sets out to drown her love and job sorrows in booze. She's shocked when she wakes up next to Minami, a bar worker who doesn’t want to forget what they have!
The series is notable for featuring a romance story between adult women that balances both sweet and funny slice-of-life stories with light dramatic content. Also one of the characters, Minami, has multiple tattoos and piercings, an uncommon character design for romance manga.
Mikanuji began releasing the series online on her Pixiv and Twitter pages in 2017. Kadokawa picked the manga up for print publication, releasing six volumes since March 2019. The series moved serialization to Comic Newtype in November 2020.
Mikanuji is a Yuri mangaka known for her [email protected]
doujinshi and her contribution to the Syrup, Yuri Drill, and Whenever I Eyes Meet Yuri anthologies. Her one-shot office romance, Now Loading…!, is published in English by Seven Seas Entertainment.
Yen Press has not announced a release date for the English adaptation of Assorted Entanglements.
The Best Yuri of 2021
2021 continued to be another spectacular year for Yuri. The genre, which for so long was confined to small background elements or else the occasional schoolgirl romance has finally broken free in recent years. Now we have stories in every genre following all sorts of characters and stories both thrilling and tragic, sweet and sultry. While this year was a struggle for me personally, to say the least, as evidenced by the few reviews and articles I was able to publish, Yuri remained a constant respite. I knew I could always come to the stories I love across an ever-expanding variety of mediums.
This list is a celebration of the genre and the titles that gave me and others so much joy the past year. There are dozens more titles, both that I have had the pleasure of enjoying and that remain unknown to me that deserves a spot alongside this list, and I encourage everyone to share what Yuri series affect them most this year.
Here is the Best Yuri of 2021!
10. The Aquatope on White Sand (Shiroi Suna no Akuatoupu)
The Aquatope on White Sand is not Yuri in common sense, that is to say, it is not romance and does not feature any adoring kisses between girls, although there is plenty of subtext. However, this beautiful series about a passionate young woman and a failed idol trying to find herself and her future is one of the year’s most heartfelt projects. It managed to create a magical and expansive world inside the confined walls of the Gama Gama Aquarium. Viewers marvel at P.A. Works’s animation, which lends a serene and vivid quality to the nature and aquatic life of the aquarium, and resonates with its characters that struggle with broken dreams and an uncertain future.
The Aquatope on White Sand is streaming now on Crunchyroll.
Honorable Mention: Western Animation
Western cartoons have done so much for LGBTQ+ representation. Perhaps more than any other form of media they are clear and visible to all people, from a very young age. Whether they work to teach acceptance of oneself or others, depict dramatic romance, showcase exciting action, and just tell a cool story that happens to have queer people in them, I have enjoyed them all. There are some titles that are notable and enjoyable enough to earn their own spot on this list, more on those later, but other notable standouts this year include The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Castlevania, Q Force, Big Mouth, and High Guardian Spice.
9. Bloom Into You Anthology (Yagate Kimi ni Naru: Official Anthology)
The first Bloom Into you Anthology was technically released in Japan three years ago before the conclusion of the original series, however, the title was a surprise license announcement this year, as even some of the Yuri genre’s most popular series such as Citrus do not usually see their anthologies released abroad. But such is the power of Bloom Into You, which continues to live on and be beloved, is perhaps the most legendary Yuri series of recent memory.
The anthology featured incredible stories and artwork from some of the Yuri genre’s greatest creators including Fly, Canno, tMnR, Moke, Tachi, and more. This wonderful celebration of the series and its characters let loose for pure fun and fan service and it feels like the perfect send-off for this incredible series. Hmm? What’s that? Kadokawa is re-releasing the entire series as a webcomic? OH NEVER MIND!
Check out the Bloom Into You Anthology in English digitally and in paperback: https://amzn.to/353wl49
8. Young Ladies Don’t Play Fighting Games (Tai Ari Deshita. ~Ojо̄-sama wa Kakutо̄ Gēmu Nante Shinai~)
Speaking of surprises, Eri Ejima’s Young Ladies Don’t Play Fighting Games was a delightful one. An incredibly unique and hilarious series about two strange girls going all out in fighting games is made all the better for its awareness of genre tropes. Setting the story in an elite all-girls school, contrasting flowery imagery of lilies with panels that look like something out of a horror manga, and plenty of squeal-worthy moments make this series an absolute must-read for Yurijin. With the world in the state its in, it might not feel like there is a lot to look forward to in 2022, but the upcoming anime adaptation of this unconventional Yuri series is a definite highlight on my list.
Check out Young Ladies Don't Play Fighting Games in English today: https://amzn.to/34Zxc5S
7. Otherside Picnic (Urasekai Picnic)
This excellent hard science fiction series garnered an honorable mention on my list last year, but since then it has only gotten better! Author Iori Miyazawa is nothing short of genius and continues to build on his horrific and mysterious world while finally capitalizing on the relationship developed between Sorawo and Toriko, both of whom continue to tear away their outer layers to reveal their own secrets and stunning revelations. This series also received an anime adaptation that gave us a more lighthearted edition of the story and Mizuno Eita’s incredible manga that translated Miyazawa’s depth of character and terror into enchanting images.
Otherside Picnic is streaming with English subs and dubs on Funimation.
Check out the Otherside Picnic manga adaptation and the original light novels in English: https://amzn.to/3nGtxk8
Honorable Mention: Ride or Die
Ride or Die is an engrossing adaptation of Nakamura Ching’s Gunjou. This bloody and morally gray film follows Rei, a lesbian in love with her long-time friend Nanae. To show her love for Nanae, Rei accepts the responsibility of saving her from her abusive relationship by killing her husband. It brings an emotional tenderness mixed with a manic energy that creates a film unlike any other, a mix of tragedy and brutality, that treats its heavy subject matter carefully without feeling preachy or pedantic.
Arcane is easily the best television shows to come out this year, and I would wager the best series Netflix has done since Bojack Horseman. Riot Games and Fortiche bring the world of League of Legends to life with a stunning mix of 2D and 3D animation and incredible storytelling that is inviting to newcomers and fans of the game alike. The series is an exciting clash between opposing forces and viewpoints, the upper and undercities, the use of technology for humanitarian and warmongering, and idealism vs realism. At the center of its amazing plot are two sisters, Vi and Jinx, wonderfully voiced by Hailee Steinfeld and Ella Purnell respectively. As many of my TikTok followers will know, I spent a great deal of time examining the show’s developing queer relationship, and I cannot wait to see what happens when season 2 releases.
Arcane is streaming now on Netflix.
5. Kiss it Goodbye
The only webcomic to make this list this year, Ticcytx’s Kiss It Goodbye is a short and sweet coming of age story about two girls as they fall in love. Framed as the adult couple telling their friends how they got together over drinks, this webtoon plays in your mind like the perfect teen romance. It is full of heart, hilarity, and some excellent illustrations. What I perhaps enjoyed most, however, was seeing the way Ticcytx showcased an asexual main character in a romance series and that was never an issue or problem that had to be solved for Yukimi and Aruka to have a happy, fulfilling relationship.
Read Kiss it Goodbye on Webtoon and Tapas.
4. Doughnuts Under a Crescent Moon (Kaketa Tsuki to Donuts)
Shio Usui’s Shaikaijin Yuri story finally hit English markets this year and I could not be happier. Despite framing itself as a typical office romance, Doughnuts Under a Crescent Moon is a rather dark and yet very uplifting story about a young woman so frustrated and distraught with her failure to live up to society’s and her own romantic expectation. Thankfully, she is saved by the kind gesture of friendship from a coworker. Thus begins both women’s journeys towards finding love for each other and for themselves. It is a powerful piece that handles its heavy themes with grace and beauty. Doughnuts Under a Cresent Moon is a rather dark and yet very uplifting story about a young woman so frustrated and distraught with her failure to live up to society’s and her own romantic expectation. Thankfully, she is saved by the kind gesture of friendship from a coworker. Thus begins both women’s journeys towards finding love for each other and for themselves. It is a powerful piece that handles its heavy themes with grace and beauty.
Check out Young Ladies Don't Play Fighting Games in English today: https://amzn.to/32jmoib
Honorable mention: LoveStruck
The final honorable mention of this list is a sad one. Towards the end of 2021, we found out that Voltage Inc. was shutting down its US branch and thus their feature title, Lovestruck, would be delisted and ending service in early 2022. This otome game platform has an incredible history of featuring LGBTQ+ protagonists, side characters, romances options, and villains. It had some of the first series I saw featuring non-binary romances and was the only one that featured its lesbian characters starting families with children together. And all of it surrounded by fantastic writing and gorgeous CG artwork. I named the platform one of my best Yuri of the past 100 years in a guest post on Okazu celebrating the genre’s centennial, and I am devastated to see it die.
3. The Owl House
I mean, everyone knew this had to be on here. What is there to say about Dana Terrace’s The Owl House? Other than perhaps cursing Disney for the umpteenth time for not giving the cartoon a full third season. The Owl House is charming, fun, and dare I say magical! But, as you have probably surmised, the series greatest element is its central romance of protagonist Luz and her rival, turned friend, turned “girlfriend” (and yes, they use that term in the show!) Amity. The Lumity romance was building since midway through season one, and seeing the affection for these two characters build was so exciting. When the series finally capitalized on it and they got together I think every animation-loving sapphic screamed! What's more, we still have half a season and three specials to go! Unlike Korra or She-Ra we get to see more of these two as a couple in the main series before its conclusion, and it looks like we will not have to wait much longer.
The Owl House is streaming now on Disney+ and airing new episodes on The Disney Challel this year.
2. Whisper Me a Love Song (Sasayaku You ni Koi o Utau)
School Yuri romances are boring at this point. All Yurijin have seen them, read them, and know their trappings. A cool and controlled upperclassman. A younger, more energetic, and naive kohai. They both struggle with their feelings, there is a dose of melodrama, they fail to ever communicate, and they end up together the end. So why is Eku Takeshima’s Whisper Me a Love Song topping popularity polls? If you ask me, it is just how much these characters like each other. Himari and Yori’s relationship is so passionate and exciting. They find every chance they can to talk, spend time together, and just enjoy each other so much. It is downright infection and exceptionally charming. This manga has me smiling the entire way through.
Check Out Whisper Me a Love Song: https://amzn.to/3tMk52w
And the top Yuri of 2021...
1. I’m in Love with the Villainess (Watashi no Oshi wa Akuyaku Reijou)
I usually save the top slot on this annual list for a movement or feature of Yuri rather than an individual title. However, as I drafted the article it became clear that I’m in Love with the Villainess and everything it does and stands for is that movement. Inori’s incredible series is one that could only be constructed by a queer person, and the result is a thrilling and romantic adventure, with a wonderfully fleshed-out world, exciting twists, and phenomenal characters. However, this series best aspects are when Inori leans on her experiences, detailing real-life social issues and incorporating them into the story, not the least of which is the depiction of LGBTQ+ people, including women getting married and adopting children, transgender people coming to terms with their identity, and the reactions of friends, the public, and institutions to said identities. This series is the future of Yuri, a Yuri work that lives up to the genre’s roots and fully embraces everything it means to be gay. And for that, it deserves every honor and can give it and more.
Read the amazing light novel series in English digitally and in paperback: https://amzn.to/33PVdfc