Chances are that if you’re a fan of girls’ love in your anime and manga, you might just come across this little gem called Sakura Trick!. The anime adaptation will start airing in just a few days, too. But I’m not here to promote it in a traditional sense— I’ve done enough of that already even before I started this blog. Instead, I’ll talk about how important Sakura Trick! is to me and every other yuri fan out there, regardless of whether you like the manga or not.
Now first of all, the thing I admire most about this manga is how it dared to push its yuri to text instead of simply being subtext or overtones. Manga Time Kirara, the magazine line that Sakura Trick! is published under, has a wide collection of yuri-ish material (K-On!, Kiniro Mosaic and Yuyushiki) and some rather overt ones as well (Saigo no Seifuku), but I would have never thought that a relatively big publisher Houbunsha, would even allow the level of yuri presented in Sakura Trick! to hit the shelves, much more make an anime of it, especially considering the poor sales of Saigo no Seifuku. But now that Sakura Trick! is here, we finally have the first romantic yuri TV series in over three years.
As you may well know, romantic yuri hasn’t been too popular with Japan’s paying populace for many years now. Sasameki Koto, Aoi Hana, Candy Boy, and even the Sono Hanabira OVA were not exactly runaway successes, despite getting generally positive feedback. As people who don’t really take part statistically-wise on Japanese manga sales, we can only speculate and generalize as to why yuri is a lot less popular than its male counterpart.
So what makes Sakura Trick! so significant? To cut a long story short, it represents a willingness of the industry to take a risk; bet on a horse that’s showing signs of improvement in the race to turn a profit. Now that it’s safer to bet on yuri with the sizable success of shows like Madoka Magica, Yuru Yuri, Kiniro Mosaic and Non Non Biyori, publishers are looking into an untapped source of potential income.
This makes Sakura Trick! an important piece in the chessboard. The future of yuri weighs heavily on this one title. Success means more yuri anime, and failure may signal the beginning of another stagnation. Regardless of our individual opinions toward Sakura Trick!, every yuri fan should be happy that the industry is starting to notice us. Let us cross our fingers and hope for the best.