Finding good-quality yuri anime can be rather hard, and it's even more difficult to find ones that successfully combine other elements such as action in the story. Below, we share some of the best yuri anime with action elements.
Yuri anime focus on lesbian relationships, and, while the term "yuri" (as opposed to Girls' Love) was often used to indicate explicitly sexual works, it's now becoming interchangeable with Girls' Love, and it doesn't necessarily mean completely NSFW works.
Please note that due to the limited number of anime that depict healthy same-sex relationships, the relationships in some of these anime aren't made fully explicit.
As the demand for LGBTQ anime increases, there might be more quality yuri anime in the future.
In the meantime, here are a few that combine sapphic elements with action:
Daughters of Mnemosyne
Daughters of Mnemosyne is a Girls' Love anime that also includes action, horror, and supernatural elements.
Rin Asougi, the main character, is an immortal private investigator who has dodged countless attempts at her life.
Daughters of Mnemosyne is a very short anime, having only six episodes. With the main character being immortal, the timeline changes significantly in each episode.
Rin has a close relationship with her assistant Mimi, who is also immortal, and there are a few romantic moments between them, including a kiss scene.
Assault Lily draws some of its concepts from sci-fi anime works such as Neon Genesis Evangelion.
In the not-so-far future, monsters called "Huge" threaten the world, and humanity's only hope is teenage girls.
As the only people on Earth with a predilection for using the only effective weapon against Huge, the girls, known as "Lily" are revered due to their potential to save humanity.
The main ship is even called YuRi due to the main characters' names -- Riri and Yuyu -- and things only get gayer from there.
Unfortunately, the fan service in the anime isn't great. Though critics have noted that the show could be refreshing for those fans who are tired of sapphic relationships being lost in the subtext.
Princess Principal is one of the more subtle anime on this list.
Some fans call it yuri-bait, while others think that, while a more explicit approach would be great, the information fans need is there.
This action anime unfolds in an alternate 20th century England where advanced military technology has created an unimaginable conflict.
The main characters are students in an all-girls school -- a beloved queer setting -- where the students second as spies for the Commonwealth.
While the romance elements aren't as clear as fans would've liked, some of the female characters form really close bonds with each other.
So, while subtext alone isn't enough, it can't be dismissed entirely either.
Riddle Story of Devil
In another private girls' boarding school, 12 students have been tasked with assassinating a classmate.
Each one only has one attempt. If she wins, she'll be granted any wish, but if she fails, she'll face expulsion.
But one of the students, Tokaku, thinks otherwise.
As time goes by, Tokaku finds herself increasingly attracted to the girl she's supposed to kill, and she resolves to protect Haru no matter the cost.
Once again, some viewers believe that the anime didn't fully live up to its yuri potential, but it's still quite an interesting watch for yuri fans, and the romantic elements can't be denied.
Revolutionary Girl Utena: Adolescence of Utena
Revolutionary Girl Utena and the film that came after it called Adolescence of Utena are one of their kind.
While it isn't a sexually-explicit anime, it's undeniably queer coded with the movie even being officially considered a Girls' Love anime.
Its story follows Utena, a female duelist who dreams of becoming a prince.
Eventually, Utena becomes one of many who duel for the hand of the Rose Bride, Anthy.
In the movie and anime series, Utena and Anthy are more or less considered married, since Utena has won a duel for Anthy's hand.
The feature-length film is rather complicated but very rewarding to watch.
Related: Best Magical Girl Anime of All Time
Are you into female-led anime with assassins? Then Noir might be the one for you!
Mireille Bouquet, a contract killer, receives an email from Japanese student Kirika Yuumura inviting her to a "pilgrimage to the past".
Despite Mireille initially dismissing it, this isn't as nonsense as it seems, as when the two women meet, they're instantly ambushed.
Kirika suffers from amnesia, and she has a very unique set of skills. Hers and Mireille's pasts are somehow connected, and the two soon decide to team up as an assassin-for-hire duo known as "Noir".
Unfortunately, the yuri elements are once again not super explicit. But shippers are given enough material to set their ship sailing, so, while a spelled-out romance is always more welcome, Noir is still a good option for fans of Girls' Love anime.
Otherside Picnic is an eerie anime you're likely to enjoy if you loved anime like Wonder Egg Priority.
Based on a yuri novel series, the anime follows Sorawo Kamikoshi, a student who finds herself in the "Otherside" where creepypasta and urban legends are real.
There, she meets Toriko, another girl looking for a lost friend.
Sorawo and Toriko find themselves increasingly affected by each other, and the survival horror elements of the anime go a long way in helping them bond.
As the anime is explicitly marketed as Girls' Love, you don't have to worry about another yuri-bait here, but the source material is considered superior.
Mai-HiME follows a group of 13 girls each with different goals and personalities. They all have the ability to materialize "Elements" and summon metallic guardians called "Childs".
For that power, they're brought to an elite academy to fight against mysterious creatures known as "Orphans".
Not a lot of yuri in that? Well, sapphic romance isn't a part of the main plot, but it's a canonical aspect of some of the characters' arcs.
So, while rather short, it's more than just a subject and helps flesh out the characters in question.
Simoun unfolds in a theocratic fantasy world where everyone is born with female bodies, and later, at the age of 17 and in a special ceremony, decides if they wish to remain so.
This world's ancient airships can only be piloted by pairs of maiden priestesses who forgo the ceremony for as long as they wish to keep piloting.
Aer is recruited to be a Simoun pilot, but she needs to work as a pair with Neviril, whose heart still belongs to her previous partner, who got lost in battle.
The war drama is interestingly combined with yuri elements, making for a surprisingly thought-provoking result.
Symphogear is more explicit in its action than in its yuri elements. But it does seem interesting to Girls' Love fans to the point that some of its characters are in Yuripedia.
Symphogear is essentially a magical girl anime in which Tsubasa Kazanari and Kanade Amou, a duo of idols known as Zwei Wing, use their songs to power ancient weapons known as "symphogears" to combat a deadly alien race called the "Noise".
During an attack, Kanade sacrifices herself to save a young girl named Hibiki, who then inherits her powers.
Two years later, Hibiki finds herself pulled into another attack. As Kanade's powers manifest in her, a still-grieving Tsubasa realizes that the two of them will have to work together.
The yuri elements here are mostly present as undertones, though things get slightly more canon in the specials.