Viewing Guide for the “Yuusha de Aru (Yuki Yuna is a Hero)” Series

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“A group a middle schoolers become magical girls via a smartphone app with special powers granted by their god, Shinju, to defeat large weird-looking monsters trying to destroy said god.”

That would be an extremely simplified version of the more complex reality of Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru (Yuki Yuna is a Hero or YuYuYu), an original anime series released in Fall 2014 by Studio Gokumi and directed by Seiji Kishi (Angel Beats, Assassination Classroom).

When the anime first came out, it didn’t particularly grasp the attention of many Westerns until the last couple of episodes, but in Japan, the series was very big and very popular, very fast. In fact, it was the fifteenth-best selling animation in Japan in 2015’s first half, having sold 58,961 BR/DVD copies by June 7 of that year [1], outselling the likes of Your Lie in April, Aldnoah.Zero and Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works.

Since then, time has passed, and in under three years, this once single-entry magical girl series has become such a large multimedia phenomenon that it has expanded into other mediums such as manga, light novels, visual novels, and video games. With a new TV series releasing this coming Fall 2017, it might be a good idea to be informed on all the different entries to this franchise, which has now become it’s own universe.

Let’s punch our way through into the Yuusha de Aru series: the Yuushaverse! (Spoiler-Free)

(The presentation of the entries will be shown in release order. A watch order and a chronological order will be featured at the end.)

 

1) Washio Sumi wa Yuusha de Aru [WaSuYu] / Light Novel – April 30 to November 29, 2014

(The Stealthy Kick-off)

Availability: Available online via fan-translation

This might be surprising, but the Yuushaverse didn’t actually start with Yuuki Yuuna, but with Washio Sumi, a prequel to Yuuki Yuuna, written by Takahiro (Akame ga Kill). WaSuYu takes place in Year 298 of the Era of Gods following three girls – Sumi Washio, Sonoko Nogi and Gin Minowa – taking the roles of Heroes and fighting off an invading threat to their world called Vertex, huge monsters that plan on killing the Shinju (Divine Tree), the guardian deity which protects and blesses humanity. It has the same characteristics of YuYuYu in its split between lighthearted slice of life that allows the characters to bond both with each other and with the audience, and epic fight scenes for survival of humanity. WaSuYu is however a bit more violent and tragic than YuYuYu.

Few people were even aware that WaSuYu was a thing until the TV series of Yuuki Yuuna came out and revealed the Light Novel to the public eye. The events of WaSuYu and YuYuYu are tied but, despite WaSuYu coming out before YuYuyu, it is highly recommended not to start with WaSuYu, because the girls are already familiar with all of the world’s aspects, unlike YuYuYu’s girls where three of them start off clueless.

A manga adaptation was published in June 30th 2014.

A spin-off chibi comedy manga adaptation, called “Washio Sumi wa Yuusha de Aru Gaiden: Hero Marching”, was published between August 30, 2016 and March 31, 2017.

 

2) Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru [YuYuYu] / TV Series – October 17 to December 26, 2014

(The Starting Point)

Availability: Crunchyroll

Next down the line is what everyone knows the best and how they got into the franchise; YuYuYu. Taking place in Year 300 of the Era of Gods, it follows five girls – Yuuna Yuuki, Mimori Tougou, Fuu Inubouzaki, Itsuki Inubouzaki and Karin Miyoshi – who become Heroes to continue the job left by the three predecessors they are unaware of. Unlike WaSuYu, only two of the five girls have prior knowledge of the Hero System and the Vertexes. Since the other three girls start off clueless about the world, it tremendously helps the audience to discover its aspects and secrets. The show has a strong mix of lively slice of life and greatly-choreographed action, accompanied by vibrant colors and a very solid music track and voice acting.

YuYuYu is the go-to starting point of the Yuushaverse, as it builds the foundations of the world, such as the Hero System, the Shinju, and the Vertexes; which are absolutely necessary to progress through the franchise since the other entries don’t necessarily repeat this information.

A manga adaptation was published in November 26th 2014.

A spin-off chibi comedy manga adaptation, called “Yuuki Yuuna is a Hero Club Member”, was published between July 30, 2014 and June 30, 2016. Said spin-off got partially adapted into short anime episodes between March 18 and July 8, 2017.

 

3) Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru [YuYuVN] / Visual Novel – December 17, 2014 and May 20, 2015

(Side-story Galore)

Availability: Available and downloadable via fan-translation

The next entries are two short visual novels that are about three hours long each. They aren’t essential to the main story and instead provide extra slice of life scenes between the girls, whether it’s Hero Club activity, the girls solidifying the relationship between them, or them having girls’ talk. Basically, each of the two games include 10 episodes of the Hero Club’s daily life. The VNs can be played at any time after watching the YuYuYu TV series, as they are more of a bonus. The 1st VN (called YuYuYu, like the TV series) takes places between episodes 3 and 4 of the anime (after Karin joins the team), while the 2nd VN (called YuYuYu S) takes place after the events of the anime, and features a sixth girl: Sonoko Nogi, one of the main characters from WaSuYu.

Speaking of her…

 

4) Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru: Sonogo no Sonoko [YuSoSo] / Light Novel – January 30, 2015

(The Crossroad)

Availability: Available online via fan-translation

YuSoSo (Sonoko After) is a single short LN chapter released soon after the TV series of YuYuYu ended. It serves as a sort-of after story to YuYuYu. Sonoko Nogi is back from WaSuYu and is now a major character, as much as the existing five girls. A second chapter called “Second Hero Diary” follows it, in which both future and past events are foreshadowed, and it introduces a new series: Nogi Wakaba wa Yuusha de Aru (see 6).

Note: The 2nd VN of YuYuYu and YuSoSo don’t share events, despite both happening soon after the ending of the TV series. While the VNs are side-stories, YuSoSo is much shorter and ties directly to the main story.

 

5) Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru: Jukai no Kioku [YuJukai] / Video Game – February 26, 2015

(Hero Action Time!)

Availability: Unavailable and untranslated, but has a full playthrough on YouTube

YuJukai (Memory of the Forest) is an action game developed by FuRyu for the PlayStation Vita, featuring an original story supervised by Takahiro and Studio Gokumi. It has two game components: an Event mode telling the main story of the game in a visual novel-esque format with 99 different episodes, and a 3D Action mode featuring the members of the Hero Club in battle with various enemies inside the Forest.

 

6) Nogi Wakaba wa Yuusha de Aru [NoWaYu] / Light Novel – July 30, 2015 to January 30, 2017

(The Land of Beginnings)

Availability: Available online via fan-translation

What is truly the Hero System? When and how was it conceived? What is the origin of the Era of Gods? What really is the Shinju, Taisha, and Vertexes? NoWaYu explains the origins of the world and how the Hero System was formed to fight off Vertex. Chronologically, the events in NoWaYu predates all the other entries by about 300 years. Taking place in Year 0 of the Era of Gods, it follows 6 girls (names not mentioned as one of them is a spoiler) who become Heroes and form the first-ever Hero Team to fight off a new menace the world had never seen before: Vertex.

A manga adaptation was published in May 30 2016.

A spin-off chibi comedy manga adaptation was also published (dates unknown).

 

7) Shiratori Utano wa Yuusha de Aru [ShiUYu] / Light Novel – April 2016

(The First Hero)

Availability: Available online via fan-translation

While NoWaYu features the first Hero Team, ShiUYu features the first ever singular Hero, Utano Shiratori, alongside her shrine maiden friend, Mito Fujimori. ShiUYu is a single chapter at the end of NoWaYu’s first of two volumes.

Trivia: To showcase the amount of planning and detail put into the Yuushaverse, here’s something interesting: in ShiUYu, Utano and Mito are shown talking about wanting to start up a company named <Shiratori Plantation & Fujimori Shipping> when they grow up, and Mito is wearing a hat with a raccoon drawing on it, as it’s her favourite animal. In an episode of YuYuYu, there is a shipping truck with a raccoon as its logo in the background. It seems very unlikely that these details are a coincidence, which shows the incredible level of dedication to detail from the creators of the franchise (Takahiro for WaSuYu, Seiji Kishi for YuYuYu and Aoi Akashiro for NoWaYu). And remember that YuYuYu came out a year and a half before ShiUYu, which means that ShiUYu was already planned since at least back then.

 

8) Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru: Washio Sumi no Shou [WaSuShou] / Movies – March 18 to July 8, 2017

(The Kick-off in the Spotlight)

Availability: Aired but legally unobtainable (for now)

These three 45 minute long movies directly adapt the WaSuYu light novel with some very slight differences in the third movie. The movies adds brilliant visuals, music and sound to heighten the original experience of reading the LN. While not necessarily needed, it is still recommended to check out both: the Light Novel (at least the last 3 chapters) for some of the interesting details that were omitted from the movies; and the movies as it properly presents the events visually and adds some nice original details.

 

9) Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru: Hanayui no Kirameki [YuYuYui] / App Game – June 8 2017

(Ultimate Crossover)

Availability: Unobtainable, but available on YouTube via fan-translation

With the popularity of the Yuushaverse is Japan, it was destined to happen: a smartphone game! Like in the veins of Fate/Grand Order where servants from various timelines are gathered, YuYuYui (A Sparkling Flower) is part of the franchise’s canon where Heroes from all timelines (YuYuYu, WaSuYu, NoWaYu and ShiUYu) are gathered together. The gameplay is divided between VN-style interactions and simple tactical battles à la Fire Emblem: Heroes, featuring an original story as well as a retelling of the YuYuYu anime and the WaSuYu and NoWaYu LNs in VN format.

 

10) Kusunoki Mebuki wa Yuusha de Aru [KuMeYu] / Light Novel – June 30 2017

(The Parallel Story)

Availability: Available online via ongoing fan-translation

The story of KuMeYu takes place between the end of YuYuYu and the start of Yuusha no Shou (see 11.2). It follows Mebuki Kusunoki, who competed against Karin Miyoshi for a Hero’s position and lost. Instead, due to her high compatibility for becoming a Hero despite failing to become one, she and three other failed Heroes are appointed as sentinels, soldiers whose job is to stand by, keep watch and serve as the last line of defense against the invading creatures.

Note: Five chapters have been translated as of February 2018.

 

11.1) Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru: Washio Sumi no Shou [WaSuShou] / TV Series – October 6 to November 10, 2017

(Return of Year 298)

Availability: Amazon Prime

In Fall 2017, the Yuushaverse came back as a TV series in a peculiar way: split in two. The first 6 episodes re-adapted the WaSuYu LN, in the same way as the movie trilogy with some very minor differences, thus making the 1st half a prequel.

 

11.2) Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru: Yuusha no Shou [YuShou] / TV Series – November 17 to December 22, 2017

(The Climax)

Availability: Amazon Prime

The next 6 episodes—so the 2nd half—featured events after the ending of YuYuYu, all original. This makes YuShou the chronologically furthest entry of the franchise to date. YuShou is a solid conclusion to the story of the Heroes of Year 300, arguably featuring both the best slice of life and most emotional moments of the franchise, leading to a climax that tightly wrapped everything up. It also answers any questions the audience may have had from the first season and its ending. YuShou may actually be final entry of the franchise, as the Year 300 Heroes’ story isn’t the only thing to be concluded, but the entire premise itself.

 

As promised, here is a diagram of the recommended watch order of the franchise (YuShou would be at the end):

July 2017 Diagram from Imgur

 

Finally, time to showcase the chronological order, where the entries which are part of the main story are in bold. The others aren’t essential or needed to follow the story, but note that they are all canon:

ShiUYu (7) / NoWaYu (6) → WaSuYu (1) and/or WaSuShou (8/11.1) → YuYuYu episodes 1-3 (2.1) → YuYuVN1 (3.1) → YuYuYu episodes 4-12 (2.2) → YuSoSo (4) / YuYuVN2 (3.2) → KuMeYu (10) / YuYuYui (9) → YuShou (11.2)

YuJukai (5) takes place somewhere between episodes 5 and 8 of YuYuYu.

 

And there you have it! All the current entries and sub-entries of the ever-growing Yuushaverse. In just three years, the franchise has expanded expodentially in many directions, making it a large but tightly constructed world.

Hoping this comprehensive listing has helped and cleared things out for those already familiar with the franchise and intrigued newcomers:

Enter the world of the Yuushaverse and become a Hero yourself!

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