Yuri Anime Review: Simoun

simoun yuri anime

Yet another series chosen by YR visitors, Simoun tells the tale of a tightly-woven group of priestesses who defend their homeland from intruders, all the while infighting threatens to bring down the empire their people have built for themselves. A war drama that takes a closer look at the individuals involved rather than on the bigger picture, Simoun mixes armed warfare with yuri, resulting in an interesting and unique combination.

Taking place on a planet where everyone is born female, Simoun largely centers on an ongoing war between three countries: The Holy Land of Simulacrum, The Argentum Archipelago, and The Plumbum Highlands. Shown from the Simulacrum viewpoint, the story delves into their worship of a deity known as Tempus Spatium. Young priestesses known as “sibyllae” use sacred aircraft called “Simoun” to offer prayers to Tempus Spatium in the form of “Ri Maajon”, patterns drawn in the sky that hold incredible power. Once these sibyllae turn 17, they are strongly encouraged to visit a mystical spring where they’ll choose their permanent gender. And once they visit said spring, they are no longer sibyllae and can no longer take to the skies in the Simoun.

The Simoun have proven pivotal to the war and have tipped the balance of power in favor of the Simulacrum Theocracy, which is a major reason these other nations want to learn the Simoun’s secrets and acquire the technology for their own benefit. The problem is, even among those who reside in the Holy Land of Simulacrum—the Simoun sibyllae included—the Simoun remain a mysterious technological marvel from the distant past, and their origins are unknown.

The major problem I had with Simoun was the slow pacing. For extended periods of time, it feels like the story is moving along at a snail’s pace, and there isn’t much happening. I’m all for character development, but it feels as though the narrative is stretched to fill the 26 episode quota, and I think it might’ve been better to condense the existing content into 13 episodes instead. Alternatively, a movie recap would’ve particularly been phenomenal. The fact that Simoun spends far more time on interpersonal conflict than it does on the conflict between the warring nations isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and it does eventually settle into a better flow and becomes more easily watchable, later on. The narrative’s conclusion is somewhat mixed. Nearly all loose ends are tied up, and pretty much everyone gets some closure to their individual storylines. Overall, the narrative is rather adequate and doesn’t do anything to hurt the series’ standing.

yuri anime simoun neviril aaeru yuri anime simoun rodoreamon yun mamiina yuri anime simoun dominura limone

The cast is large and diverse, and with so much emphasis placed on the characters, a majority of them grow and evolve throughout the course of the 26 episodes. Nearly everyone gets ample time to have their personal stories told and connect with viewers, with some characters’ stories being far more interesting than others. The various personalities of the characters span a wide range from easygoing (Aaeru), to serious (Yun), to bitchy (Mamiina), to mysterious (Dominura), to several others that I don’t really feel like listing. The main character in the series (Neviril) is borderline unlikable due to her attitude early on, but she eventually thaws and turns things around. The show’s creators put a lot of faith in the characters being able to carry the show, and they do an admirable job of doing just that. Long story short, it’s likely you’ll find someone within the expansive cast to root for and get behind.

It’s been quite a while since this series originally aired (2006), but from a visual standpoint, Simoun puts another yuri series from the same timeframe (Kashimashi) to shame. That’s probably not saying too much, but Simoun was a very respectable-looking show, and it still looks decent, nine years later. For the most part, the character designs are above-average and run the gamut from sexy vixen (Dominura) to adorable munchkin (Limone) to flamboyant ice queen (Neviril). All told, it was a good-looking series that does a pretty good job of standing the test of time.

For me, this was probably the best aspect of Simoun. The OP “Utsukushi Kereba Sore de Ii” and the ED “Inori no Uta” offer contrasting styles, but both achieve desirable results. The OP has a certain gracefulness about it that fits in well with the series, while the ED’s pumping beat complements the vocals nicely and produces a catchier theme, in my opinion. The themes are solid, but what’s even better is the background music. From grandiose orchestral pieces to an oft used—yet still great—tango-influenced track, the music absolutely shines. It’s epic, emotionally stirring, and adds a lot to the overall tone of the series. Who knew war could sound so beautiful?

yuri anime simoun floe alti yuri anime simoun paraietta neviril

Simoun sibyllae work in pairs, so you don’t go very long without seeing copious amounts of yuri. Kisses between pairs are essentially mandatory, and since the girls are cooped up in a warship for most of the time, several relationships emerge. Whether it’s the long feeling out process between Neviril x Aaeru, the childhood friends turned chivalrous platonic friendship of Neviril x Paraietta, the incestuous sibling love/hate between Alti x Kaimu, or any number of other pairings; there’s a little something for everyone to enjoy, from a yuri standpoint. Aside from the higher-ups within the Holy Land and aboard the Simulacrum Theocracy’s largest warship the Arcus Prima, the only male character that frequently interacts with the sibyllae is Wapourif (and he’s still fresh off becoming a male), so the show is free to become a giant yuri-fest. And that’s exactly what the show becomes.

It may not be the most excitement-filled series ever, but if you can survive the sometimes-sluggish pace, you’re rewarded with an excellent character-driven drama that has more than enough yuri to keep fans interested.

yuri anime simoun review

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14 thoughts on “Yuri Anime Review: Simoun

  1. No comment yet? Surprising
    This was a great anime I watched it way back and enjoyed every part of it. I also found the pacing nice.
    I agree with your total enjoyment. A 8 is fair.

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  2. It's my version of the Sekirei review. Takes forever for a comment. 😀

    It aired at the same time as Strawberry Panic, but it gets a fraction of the love that that show gets. It's a shame.

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  3. Well, the plot make sense, in reality all of us are female in the first 5-6 weeks of embryonic development.
    But I think would be a little odd if everyone was able to change their gender after born.
    And yes this anime is good, I hope some day I see a action yuri anime with a strong protagonist that know what she wants, that is “girls”, with a good comedy like shounen,
    I really have difficult to find yuri animes like shounens, that is really a shame.
    You know what, When I play Mass Effect for second time I played as female character and was cool if had a yuri anime with the plot of Mass Effect with the strong personality of Shepard would be amazing, other game I think would be good if had a yuri anime of them would be Dragon Age 2, Hawke with the Humorous/Charming choices was very enjoyable, and yes in Mass Effect and Dragon Age 2 I chose romance with females 😀

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  4. There aren't enough shows that have a really good plot to begin with, so getting a yuri-focused one is probably asking a lot. Someday, there'll be many to choose from~

    There needs to be a group that focuses on yuri mods for PC games. That would help make a lot of games more accessible to players that might not want to play those games otherwise. Given how some people seem to go crazy for stuff like SonoHana, I wonder what they'd think of legit AAA games that would be given the yuri treatment. That'd be fun.

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  5. I really like Simoun. I already watched it twice and was wondering when you guys would decide to pst something about it. I agree its a but slow and that there are some shady stuff going on, but its still a pretty cool anime full of yuri.
    I watched Strawberry Panic too and although i do agree that its a very good yuri anime, i dont think it was good enough to cast a shadow over Simoun. Besides, i think that the relationship between Aeru and Neviril developed a little bit faster than Shizuma and Nagisa`s relationship……
    So its a shame that Simoun didnt get as much attention as SP…

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  6. The military theme might've also put some people off. It seems like more straightforward yuri shows (MariMite, SP, Sakura Trick, Candy Boy, any slice of life, etc.) get more love than more complex shows like this or Blue Drop or something not schoolgirl-related.

    There's some good yuri to be found in the latter variety, so people are definitely missing out.

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  7. And sometimes those are the best…
    I agree that the more straightforward yuri shows are great and a bit more appealing beacause of how funny and easygoing things are, but ones like Simoun that involve some drama and more complicated circumstances are better. They have less yuri scenes though….
    Anyway, yuri is yuri, whether its in a battlefield or inside a classroom doesnt matter, as long as it happens. I just want them to keep making the shows. If they do that i wont say a word of complaint…

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  8. Simoun is probably one of my favorites and the funny thing is the first time I watched it I hated it and quit after the 1st episode. The first ep is very confusing though and they don't start explaining things until the 2nd. I gave it another go and I was intrigued. I watched it because it was yuri, but I stayed because of the great story. It's amazing that the anime is one big time loop. Blew my mind when I found out Dominura started it all and who she ends up becoming. Amazing music and great themes. It's just one of my absolute favorites.

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  9. I know what you mean. It took a little while for me to get in the flow of things, but it was worth the wait. It's a really good anime.

    That was a nice plot twist. I didn't see that coming at all. Anime needs more time traveling. It's just too awesome for it not to be more widespread~

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  10. And finally, here we are…With this series I remembered my love for anime and turned yuri fan forever. There is no anime that can compete with this odde to the yuri. Not for me. It’s a different story, with complex characters, original plot, and a soundtrack that transport me to another place.
    And yet, it’s too difficult to watch it again…i really hope that some one will dare to give it a second season. It worth it!.
    This is my baby, my treasure, my # 1 4ever.

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