Yuru Yuri is a post-apocalyptic black comedy
Yuru Yuri is one of the best post-apocalyptic black comedies of recent memory. It’s startling how such a bleak and unforgiving situation is afforded fleeting levity by a group of school girls who seem content to ignore such a bad situation.
“aliens and androids have been spotted circling the dying planet that is now the Earth”
The nameless cataclysm obviously happened some years before the start of the first series and though never mentioned by any of the characters, its lasting effects are plain to see. The Earth we are shown is untainted by bombs or or environmental collapse but instead a complete annihilation of the male species has taken place. Without males the world did not fall immediately to ruin but began a slow decline that the series shows the formative years of.
With procreation now impossible, what children there are seem to be poorly constructed clones of existing characters – diversity is almost non-existent and it will likely be only a few generations of cloning before complete genetic prolapse. Sexism and sexual politics are non-existent with the decline of the mammal XY chromosome, somewhat of an irony that what could be the sapphic, pajama party paradise hinted by the series’ name and so lusted after by heterosexual men is in fact the very twilight of humankind. The young protagonists, still forming their opinions on love and relationships, show signs of strain in the new single gender world and beheaviour akin to stalking is common.
Oh certainly they enjoy themselves but are at the mercy of a ravaged world. Whatever misandrous plague befell the planet irrevocably altered hair colours and augmented their demeanours. Pink, red and even “natural” blues are common. Supernatural happenings meanwhile have begun to encroach on everday life with invisibility afflicting some unfortunate individuals and even time-loops have been outwardly observed, wreaking havoc on formative minds. The series sees peppy red-headed Akarin suffer the former, while the entire school is subject to the latter, despite artefacts remaining between loops. Meanwhile aliens and androids have been spotted, exhibiting aggressive tendancies – probably circling the dying planet that is now the Earth. Other less serious afflictions have been spotted including spontaneous nose bleeds, hypersalivation and even ultrasonic speech.
For some this menagerie of ill effects can prove too much with an unhealthy, borderline neurotic fixation on family members developing, observed most acutely in Akarin’s sister, but also present in Chinatsu’s sibling. Chinatsu herself has fleeting memories of the past, most often conveyed through her drawings, but at times even her hair seems all too aware of a dark history. On the flip side, some are all too aware of what is coming and are resigned to their eventual doom, Yui’s impassive and blasé attitude likely belies her deep fear of a quiet demise.
Much of the humour from Yuru Yuri comes from the absurdity of the protagonists attempting to live a normal life in the fact of impending tragedy. School trips, homework and club activities – even if that activity is sipping tea and shooting the breeze – are still indulged while in-jokes blossom. In any other show the dynamic between all of the group members would be hilarious, but its tinged by the knowledge that these girls are but a few short years away from a Beyond Thunderdome style slide into oblivion. You never know though, perhaps there is hope for the last man on earth.