After so many years, ten volumes, numerous specials, and even an anime adaptation, Citrus has come to an end, and I can finally, finally review one of my all-time favorite manga.
But first things first, despite the fact that most of you probably know about Citrus already, let’s start with a short summary for those who have yet to enjoy it.
After her mothers remarriage, Yuzu is forced to move into a new home and enroll into a new school. As prepared and determined as she might be, the new school and especially the student council Mei she butts heads with on the first day, give her a hard time adjusting to this new environment. When she then finds out that said student council is her new step sister, things make an even worse turn. Now add the fact that Yuzu can’t help but be attracted to her new step sister and everything is a mess…
Oh, what joy this series brought me and many, many more of you. It’s undoubtedly the biggest and most popular yuri manga out there right now, and I can definitely see where all the love and even where some of the hate is coming from.
Citrus made its debut years ago, using the so-called incest between the two step-sisters as something along the lines of shock value to get people interested. While it might as well be love between sisters, it’s not quite the kind of genre I think a lot of people would stay away from, since it’s “only” step-sisters and the term rather transformed into “pseudo incest”, which I can work with, to be quite honest.
Though, despite this featured love between two sisters, this trope kind of became secondary, and honestly, not that big of a deal anymore after a while. What this series focused on the most—and what I adore this series for the most—is the oh-so-slowly forming bond between two people that honestly couldn’t be any more different.
Yuzu, who is this super girly girl who seemingly just did anything she wanted without second thought or any fear of the consequences, and Mei, a girl so deeply conflicted by her past and all of her responsibilities that she hardly knows how to do anything other than the work that she’s been doing all her life. Seriously, a lot of people complained about Yuzu being too childish and carefree and Mei being too stoic and not at all like a real human being. But seeing their back stories with Yuzu’s dad having passed away and she and her mom living by themselves and Mei already having her whole life planned out by others and seeing her dad, the person she always idolized, leaving her to take a different path in life without her… it’s tough. Yeah, I guess that doesn’t mean Mei has to always take advantage of Yuzu, which she probably did because she simply didn’t know any better, seeing that her first fiancée did the same to her. But despite that being the case in a lot of chapters in the first few volumes, things change, and that’s one of the aspects I love about the series the most. Things change, and we see development taking place – very slowly, yeah… 😛
Be it seeing Mei finally demanding something she wants, having her show affection towards Yuzu that is not forced, or seeing Yuzu actually putting some thought into things and planning before just charging in unprepared, it’s all part of what made the ride so enjoyable. All the frustration that this manga gave us aside, being able to witness someone like Mei, who had been denying and refusing all her needs and desires, finally opening up and showing exactly what she wants—that’s just huge! I know that a lot of these scenes were then ruined by a totally overwhelmed Yuzu that had such a hard time understanding a Mei that was finally showing affection, but isn’t that just precious and endearing?
Speaking of which, in a series running this long, it’s not always the big developments but rather the small things that make the difference between a good and a great story, and dear God did Saburouta do a great job with this. Be it a Yuzu magically enchanted by a sleeping Mei that gets angry in her dreams, or a Yuzu who enters hentai-mode just from finding her lover’s clothes laying around, it’s all so endearing and helps getting through parts of the story that you might as well not like. For me, that would have been the election arc, for example.
Furthermore, Citrus might be perceived as this kind of ecchi and fanservice-y series, and while I did indeed enjoy their kisses and make-out scenes a lot, the story had a lot more to offer. The scene you see up there with Mei consoling a confused and frightened Yuzu was probably one of the best moments of the whole series. Not only did the roles switch for once, but without giving Yuzu false hope about their surroundings, Mei’s words were honest, encouraging, and exactly what Yuzu needed at that moment. There are a lot of moments like this spread throughout the whole manga, and I can’t help but enjoy these parts a lot more than any hot make-out scene Saburouta might throw at us.
Speaking of which, did they end up having sex? Nope… The story teased us about this happening in quite a few parts, and to be quite honest, I was hoping for it to happen A LOT. But in old Citrus fashion, we were only teased, and nothing happened in this department. What a letdown! And while we’re already talking about all the things we didn’t like, I will continue with how poor best girl Harumin was treated! For the love of God, I was conflicted! Seeing what a great friend she is and how she might have feelings for Yuzu as well, part of me actually hoped for them getting together, too. Of course, there’s no way of that happening. but I was at least hoping that she would end up with someone (who’s not freaking Matsuri).
Now seeing that by October we’ll get more Citrus goodness in form of spin-offs, I have my hopes high to see Harumin happy with someone. I actually hope for Sara, to be honest, even though they hardly interacted with each other at all. They both need to be happy, though!
Since the ending chapters with the “forced” marriage (and especially the events after Yuzu managed to get Mei out of it) felt quite rushed, what I’m hoping for the most is also some lovey dovey chapters with Mei and Yuzu simply going on dates, making out a lot, and enjoying life together as a free couple that is out to their parents and friends. Oh yeah, and then a sex chapter please. Or maybe numerous chapters…