I've watched quite a bit of anime in the last month. I've made up for lost time for sure! Anyway, a common theme I seem to be seeing is how horrible it is to manipulate people or allow yourself to be manipulated by others. From Utena noticing how many people will act sincere, yet it's just a sham to manipulate you, to L.A. or Limelda in the Bee Train dramas who were manipulated essentially their whole lives. To me, it seems to be a theme I see in almost every blinking anime I've watched so far.
Now for the irony.... To me, the yuri themes in the anime I've watched seem to be purely manipulation of the audience by the writers. They seem throw in contradictory elements to try to appease *every* audience demographic at the same time. ...make it school girls, get the panty shots, make sure to have the yuri appear like it could be a phase, keep it vague, make someone out of the blue act out of character and become interested in a guy (the school girl story lines are a handy method to accomplish this since "kids" are likely to "try on" different ways of living to see what works for them), make it an alternate reality, a dream, have a guy masquerade as a girl. IOW, anything to make the yuri appear to be temporary or not real.
Do BL stories tend to stay so vague? (I've read that BL stories are usually read/watched primarily by women.) I don't need to actually "see" anything on screen, but it sure would be nice to know for sure that two people really were a couple. Is the male demographic in Japan *really* that unable to cope with the fact that a some women in anime (and real life) really are lesbian? Are the younger men different than the older generation? Could they cope with an unequivocal yuri story better than older men?
Perhaps I have a set of male friends who are very different from the societal mainstream perspective. They aren't threatened one bit by two women loving each other instead of searching for a man. I guess that's why the on again, off again presentation in anime is driving me crazy.
Ah well, there's little that I can do about it. But I do find myself hoping though that future shows will move past the blatant pandering to *all* audience types at the same time. It just makes me feel emotionally yanked around. I'm able to watch completely non-yuri shows and read non-yuri manga. I've spent my whole life reading books and watching TV and movies that are completely straight fiction. Until very recently, no one considered my preferences at all. So I'm finding it mystifying that the industry seems unable to expect straight audiences to occasionally deal with a character that can't be a part of their personal fantasy romance. Ugh....