Rai: Have you ever gone outside and sat down with a good book to get a breath of fresh air? Or fresh… yuri? I’m sorry for the terrible pun. The Whole of Humanity Has Gone Yuri Except for Me was so good, my brain isn’t functioning properly. If I could write a three-word review in my jumbled state, it would simply say “I LOVED IT.” But I can’t, so I’ll force my brain to work and go into the depth about why it enthralled me!
As my corny joke implies, Humanity Has Gone Yuri was “fresh” – different, unique. In previous yuri reviews, I’ve explained that a sad consequence of yuri becoming more mainstream is that series start to blend together. With more content, there’s less originality because the concept isn’t novel anymore. So, what’s gives Humanity Has Gone Yuri an edge? The answer is the premise and story.
In the manga, Marika is a normal girl who wakes up in a world where there are no men. It’s only women, and they’re all lesbian (bonus points!). Although the idea of a women-only planet has been around for a long time, I’ve never really seen it put to action in an official yuri series. Yeah, there are settings with no men like an all-girl schools, but men still exist in the world. The only anime I can think of with a women-only world is Vandread, but that’s a heteronormative harem anime. Anyway, Marika is confused, distraught, and desperate to get back home. During her pursuit, she meets Lily, a smart, haughty girl who is interested in parallel worlds and universes. Together, they try to unravel this interdimensional puzzle, growing closer along the way. And since they’re in the Land of Lesbians, romantic tension starts to build.
What really struck me about this manga was the science and mystery elements. I honestly wasn’t expecting it. I imagined something more along the lines of a coming-of-age story about a straight girl trying to figure out her sexuality, while being surrounded by sapphics. I mean, it does have that element; it’s just not the main focus. Mostly, we get a sci-fi adventure with yuri mixed in! The mangaka put in a lot of thought when writing this. It’s not a simple story – there are twists and turns that are interconnected. Not everything works out perfectly (I’ll get to that later), but I still admire the effort. The plot kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat until the very end.
Besides the story, I liked the characters. At first, I couldn’t relate to Marika because she wanted to be “normal” and, well, I’m a weirdo. However, once her reasoning was revealed, I understood her. Marika is the cheery type who faces things head on, even when she’s nervous or discouraged. Lily, on the other hand, is a cross between a tsundere and a kamidere. She’s self-centered, rude, and isn’t much of a people person. But underneath? She has a sweet spot for Marika, and it’s cuuuuuute. Their dynamic is fun, and while it does have some common tropes, it’s unique enough that it doesn’t feel recycled. And it’s cute. Did I mention that already? To make things better, the progress of their relationship – or rather Lily’s developing crush – felt natural. It wasn’t forced or overly drawn out.
While my enjoyment level exceeded 1000%, Humanity Has Gone Yuri was not without its flaws. Certain aspects needed to be explored more deeply, such as the characters’ backstories. I must learn more about Lily… Plus, how were the women able to reproduce without men!? I need to know for science (literally). The ending was also rushed. Some points were never fully explained and loose ends were left untied, creating a little confusion. Even so, when I flipped to the final page and closed the manga, I felt satisfied. I loved this book so much, I’m willing to forgive its shortcomings.
Seriously, I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a Japanese book this much since Sexiled! The Whole of Humanity Has Gone Yuri Except for Me is a must-read for yuri fans that don’t want the same old same old. It’s a series that will stay on my shelves for a long time to come.
Rai’s rating: 5 out of 5
Helen: As Marika and her classmate Lily quickly work out, it’s not so much that “the whole of humanity has gone yuri, except for me!” (although it does appear that every woman is gay) as it is that Marika has somehow arrived from another Earth, seemingly body-surfing and swapping minds with the Marika of this world.
In this world, in the early 20th century live births of male infants declined until men went extinct and yet despite that, not only were scientists able to figure out how to reproduce with only women but the world appears to have continued near identically to Marika’s own (there’s no mention anywhere in the story of trans or nonbinary people, for anyone asking that obvious question). So similar in fact that Marika didn’t even notice a switch happened, until she spotted her two best (girl) friends kissing; essentially everyone she knew as a woman in her past life is here as well and while some men appear to have been “replaced” by entirely unrelated women, in other cases they appear to have simply been gender-swapped, like her younger sibling.
In some ways this is a small detail, and not vital to the overall story, but the fact that at some point between when Marika went to sleep on that school night and when she saw her friends kissing the next morning she crossed between worlds but didn’t realize until that point because everything (including possibly her bedroom, the buildings in her neighborhood, etc) were so identical just really bothered me.
In a small way this story reminded me of the parts I read of the (unlicensed) Qualia the Purple manga almost a decade ago. Both manga are stories that certainly involve yuri aspects (it’s clear you’re supposed to read the characters in Qualia as also deeply, if not outright romantically, interested in each other) but the main focus of the stories is on the science-fiction elements about jumping between realities. In that sense Otherside Picnic is also similar: a yuri story where the focus is initially not on romance but the pseudo-science phenomenon that the main couple find themselves wrapped up in. I will say that of those three, Whole of Humanity has by far the shakiest “scientific” explanation for how Marika has found herself in a parallel world, and honestly it may have worked better if Hiroki Haruse had simply thrown up their hands and said “it’s magic, okay? Just believe it.”
Overall I just felt really indifferent about this story. The pacing at the beginning of this omnibus felt fine but by the second half it felt as if Haruse had been told to wrap things up and the events in the story felt accelerated, as if there were barely enough pages to finish the story. Marika and Lily spend almost the entire story fake-dating (for “cover”) and while Marika struggles with her feelings, of how she’s always wanted to be “normal” but suddenly normal isn’t normal for her, it’s both a given that she’ll eventually “go yuri” as well and yet the story doesn’t really accomplish this in a graceful way. I’m not entirely sure if a longer runtime for this manga would’ve helped this issue entirely, since discovering and defining your attraction can be a rather complicated subject, but I do think it would’ve helped with the pacing for Marika and Lily’s investigations over how Marika’s body-self-surfing came to be.
I’m sure I’ll remember this story in a year, just like Qualia the premise is just strange enough to be memorable. But I don’t think I’ll feel strongly towards it. Despite being a complete story with an interesting premise and likable characters, ultimately there just wasn’t enough for me to care about.
Helen’s rating: 2.5 out of 5