Yuri I like: Hana to Uso to Makoto and the Appeal of Loving Zombies


Something weird I've noticed in yuri is there really aren't that many werewolves. Sure there's a few here and there, but few enough that that one website dedicated to yuri doesn't even have a tag for it. There's plenty of vampires, but a very scarce amount of werewolves.

Something could be said here about beasthood and femininity, the aversion to making girls muscly and hairy and butch. Werewolves being a very masculine coded monster and the way animals are defaulted as male, etc etc. But that's for someone with more brain space than me.

Really I just bring it up to point out how strange it is then that there's enough zombie yuri to get a tag on the yuri site. Most of it is zombie fighting yeah, but about half are about loving zombies, and even the zombie fighting ones often involve loving a girl as she turns.

I've always felt a draw to those kinds of stories, more than the usual sexy monsters like the previously mentioned werewolves and vampires. There's just something missing in a lot of monster stories. Sure monsters traditionally symbolize the other and using them at all is easily taken as a shorthand for things like disability, queerness, etc.

But they're too normal now.

Werewolves, vampires, mermaids, and all their kind have become more fantasy race than monster over the years. There's always exceptions but for the most part vampires are all edward cullen and werewolves are all hot a/b/o furries, it just doesn't hit right when everyone and their dad knows they're hot now. If they aren't pulling from Twilight they're pulling from some rpg where being a vampire or a werewolf is all about different stats and saving throws and other ttrpg mumbo jumbo.

But zombies are still solidly monstrous. Try telling your normal aunt you're watching a zombie romance later. That reaction is a lot different than if it were a werewolf or vampire romance because zombies are still ugly. They're gross. Vampires drink from a blood bag or a couple pinholes on a host, werewolves eat raw steak and freshly killed prey, zombies eat rotting corpses and cheap scraps from the butcher.

Being a sexy monster is a power fantasy. Wax poetic about the woes of immortality or the loss of humanity all you want, regeneration, super strength, and infinite time for hobbies is sick as hell. But nobody wants to be a zombie.

Offering yourself to a werewolf or vampire is sexy, your life will change forever but it's exciting. You're marked and the pack smells it on you and know she owns you. You're bit and her blood runs in your veins and changes the basis of your being into something less finite. A zombie bite is a mark of shame, a ticking time bomb. You get nothing offering yourself to a zombie but the relief of not killing them.

Depictions in zombie romance vary, and the jiang-shi romance I've seen tend to fall closer to sexy monster territory just with a couple rotting corpse antics. But for the most part zombies are zombies. They aren't sexy. They stink, their bodies fall apart, they're stupid, have aggressive outbursts, are contagious and scarred and barely remember themselves. But they're still loved.

My first real encounter with zombie romance was back in middle school when I found the manga this video is about. Hana to uso to makoto, or Flowers, Lies, and Makoto in english. I felt drawn to it in a way i couldn't really grasp. Anytime i was in an angsty mood and felt the need for some catharsis this manga was always top of the list. But I'm a bit better equipped for that kind of analysis now, and it's pretty easy to see what drew me in. Even if I only had like half the mental illnesses I have now.

Essentially, they're just like me for real. But also, they're metaphorically suffering similar illnesses.

Makoto is a people-pleaser and is really good at it, while Hana is a sad loner who only Makoto ever cared enough to reach out for. But being a pleaser is exhausting, and going too far will destroy you from the inside out. Which is made literal here when Makoto gets vicarious syndrome from helping someone. Does she isolate in a research facility to keep from infecting those close to her or pretend she's fine? The disease doesn't seem to actually do anything until you're already dead, so it's not like the plague rats of today's time. Loneliness for her or safety for her friends, quite a dilemma.

Of course she chooses loneliness. Accidents are accidents, but Makoto's living issues are what caused so much pain and confusion after her death. She didn't let herself rely on anyone in order not to burden them, but when she dies this means the girl closest to her is left with nothing of the girl she cared so deeply about. Not even knowing why she was so hurt before her death.

Makoto destroyed herself, and Hana is left with a literal rotting corpse to care for in the vague hope that she'll hear what Makoto wanted to say. All while Hana is herself living on autopilot, lonelier than ever and going through the motions of life in the vague hope it'll spark something in Makoto.

In a literal sense, zombies are certainly much closer to reflecting diseases like dementia, Alzheimer's, or rabies than my particular brew. But i don't know enough to speak on those, at least not personal experience beyond a couple feral dogs. But many aspects of zombiehood are relatable to people beyond the most direct comparison possible in a similar way as vampires or werewolves are.

With autism and adhd it feels like I've always been a zombie. In the beginning you're a very well kept zombie, you minimize your smell, speak coherently, act predictably. But everyone knows something is off, you don't smell right or talk right. Not like an intriguing loner, but like a stinking idiot no matter how well you play the game.

And eventually, whether or not you could hide it, you decay. The harder you try the faster it sets in. Showers are exhausting, talking when prompted is exhausting, you aren't supposed to stim it out but you do anyway, you get angry and people think there was no warning when there really was, they just can't see it or don't care to.

When it gets bad enough you really can experience bloodlust, it's kinda wild. But I'm a dissociater. I'm lucky i never get outwardly violent because you know who gets treated worse than mild-mannered zombies?

Ferals. Nobody cares to kill ferals. I can't speak for folks whose autism made even pretending impossible, but with how shitty people act when you can barely pretend I am certain it's a lot worse when pretending isn't an option at all. Even if you're so small and weak as to not be a real threat to anyone your 'intentions' are scary so you can't exist like that. Sorry kid, society is too loving if you can't handle it we'll kick ya out.

Makoto eventually lost her ability to play the game entirely, but Hana? She's in much the same position, even if she can fake it better. As a kid not even her parents could pretend to be there, and when her comfort object breaks she's too broken to even react right. Until she meets Makoto, who meets her at her level and forges a special bond with this weirdo who can't fit in half as well as her but is still more comfortable than anyone.

When Makoto breaks too it's just the cruel irony of the universe. Only similarly hurt people will notice enough to help, but when you're both hurt there's so little energy left to help each other it can become a death spiral. But what else is there to do?

Another loose kind of video, my brain doesn't work well enough for too many real connecting the dots type essays at once. Which works for stuff like this. There's a lot of yuri that's been important to me that i wanna talk about but is either too complex for me or straightforward enough not to warrant a major analysis where something more loose like this works. It's nice to ramble sometimes.