To say Yuru Yuri should be taken seriously, is like telling a vegetarian to eat at McDonald's. Yuru Yuri is not just over-the-top, it's completely mad with a side order of bonkers. What I'm getting at, is that Yuru Yuri is insane, and that's exactly what it needs to be in order to stand out.
Yuru Yuri is about four girls who take over the tea club room at an all-girls school because nobody uses it anymore and hi-jinks ensue. Before you write this off a moe Haruhi rip-off, I will remind you that Yuru Yuri doesn't have a story so messy that it makes what a tornado does look like the work of a Cleaning-Nazi, or much of a story at all. The description I gave you is the extent of the plot, and is really more of a set up to the events that happen throughout. The story really works, because it fucks around at any and all given opportunities. The title is the first sign, because anything that has "Yuri" in the title, aside it being straight-up hentai, is not going to have any serious cards in its deck. If that doesn't do it for you, then allow me to tell you, the second joke in the series is a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment. Now, when you pull one of those that early in the series, that says you're not fucking around when it comes to fucking around.
This series is all for fucking around, and that's exactly why it's worth watching. It's a series that's trying to make you laugh, and each attempt is so over-the-top, and well-executed, that you can't help but laugh. The best part of it, is most of the jokes are self-aware and self-parody, and it's all so insanely cartoon-ish that you just know to not think about this in a serious light, because it certainly isn't. It also uses irony to its advantage, the biggest example I'll get to later, and it's not smug about it, rather it's just as loopy as the rest of the humor. The jokes are so unpredictable and immersive that, even though you think it can't get any funnier, it somehow manages to do so, so basically Yuru Yuri is to fucking around what Serial Experiments Lain is to fucking your brain.
The thing about the story is, it's not afraid to evolve itself either. In the midst of its humorous crusade, it looks at itself and decides to mix up the formula a bit. It takes its humor to new heights, even including some dark humor near the end, so the characters aren't the only ones experimenting in this anime, the anime itself experiments with itself as well, which means that you are allowed into the science lab when you're residing in the loony bin, despite not getting access to any of the sharp tools. The best example of this is in the second-to-last episode, where one of the characters is out of character because they hit their head and doesn't sexually harass a character she usually does, and the other character gets upset about it. "Wow" I thought. "Not only is this some seriously funny shit, this is some good characterization."
The characters themselves are just as crazy as the story, more-so perhaps. They're each a style parody of characters of the genre, and are willing to take whatever joke they have to its new extreme. You could say a lot of the humor comes from character interactions and implications that are blown out of proportion. As established already, there is yuri in the show, if the title didn't tip you off, but it's not perverted, as much as it is both adorable and fucking hilarious. The humor keeps moving to more levels of funny, but it never loses its charm, and that's why it works. However, sexual orientation jokes are not the only ones the characters partake in. There are a lot of jokes about the character's main traits that are funny in more ways than one. Now, the biggest irony in the show deals with the main character, Akari. She is the butt-monkey of the series because the rest of the cast always point out she is not a very memorable character, making her one of the more memorable characters in the show, making each joke all the more funnier. The entire cast is very well-developed, and well-characterized and are willing to make jokes that characterize the series.
So far, I have been saying good things about this show, but what about the bad? Well, for starters, the music and art are seemingly generic. The art especially has this problem, because it has just decent backgrounds and decent character designs. Now, I have said mundane artwork works with series before, but that's not the case here. They worked, because it reflects the nature of the show's normality, and there's nothing normal about Yuru Yuri. It just feels like it could have tried harder in the art department. As for the music, it mostly feels unimportant. Yes, it's very good, but it doesn't feel like it wants to be noticed. That is, aside from the catchiest opening theme this side of Working!!, thanks in part by the studio that made it Dogakobo, who only other previous work I've seen (Myself;Yourself) also had a very catchy opening. The ending is also quite good, though not as catchy as the opening.
The story also has some problems. You see, while it's not afraid to experiment with what it has and reaching new heights with it, it is afraid of expanding to new territory. It feels like it only wants to parody the specific genre it's in and hardly anything else, and I feel an opportunity was missed to gain more jokes out the whole experience by limiting the material it parodies to what it knows. Though, I suppose if the nice people who help you at the asylum won't let you near the pointy objects, asking for a bulldozer to expand your territory is really pointless. Another thing about the story I don't like is the habit of bringing up plot points and then never mentioning them again, or in layman's terms, having too many Big-Lipped Alligator moments. Don't get me wrong, I love a good Big-Lipped Alligator moment, but this series abuses how many one can have before it starts to get irritating. Still, this doesn't have a very big effect on the rest of the story, and you can still enjoy it all, but it is quite bothersome at some points.
Overall: Yuru Yuri is fun and enjoyable. The amount of self-parody is uncanny and in good proportion. If you're looking for something mindless and funny, than this is it. Yuru Yuri really knows what it is, and what it is, is totally, mouth-breathingly, paste-eatingly, chasing the girls around the playground with a piece of pooingly stupid. And I wouldn't have it any other way. 8.3/10
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