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Mei Aihara is the co-protagonist of the yuri manga Citrus and its 2018 anime adaptation.


When she first met Yuzu, Mei was initially cold towards Yuzu for a variety of reasons namely because of her rebel nature when it comes to the rules, or that she could be too rash with her decisions. After her father had remarried, Mei was unwilling to have anything to do with Yuzu, going as far as to refuse to refer to her as her older sister unless in public. This often culminates in Mei deliberately manipulating Yuzu's feelings when it comes to her, which only further muddies the water between the two. However, this character interaction would gradually disappear over the duration of the manga and anime series.

Mei's father returns after traveling the world, Mei becomes disheartened to learn that he had no intentions of returning to the academy. She nearly considers letting him leave again while she sulks, but Yuzu convinces her to see her father off, and the two take Harumi's bike to the airport. With her daddy issues being resolved, this culminates in the first genuine kiss between her and Yuzu. As her feelings towards her older sister started to develop, Mei initially tries to bottle those romantic feelings for her sister by convincing her that what they were doing wasn't "sister-like" behavior. this comes to its head when Yuzu reunites with an old childhood friend of hers named Matsuri Mizusawa. Mei becomes jealous towards Matsuri openly showing her affections towards Yuzu and as such, Mei caresses Yuzu only to stop when Yuzu told her that she was holding plates. Later on, Matsuri calls for her to meet her in an isolated place. After Matsuri tells her to keep her palms off of Yuzu, Mei responds by kissing Matsuri, proclaiming that she had taken back the kiss that she had stolen from Yuzu. After Matsuri's plan to severe the bond between the two stepsisters failed, Mei tells her that she wasn't too different from Matsuri in that they had both closed their hearts to love and became bitter as a result, and how it took a "bothersome" person to breakdown that mask of security. Yuzu and Mei officially become a couple in chapter 16 whilst attending a field trip.

Sometime later, Yuzu works a part-time job to buy a pair of matching rings for her and Mei. When she earned enough for the rings, Yuzu reunites with her friends from her hometown who are anxious to hear about her boyfriend. Realizing that her friends were homophobic and thus wouldn't accept her, Yuzu becomes saddened by this and apologizes profusely to Mei. Thankfully for Yuzu, Mei convinces her that there is no right or wrong when it comes to their relationship, and that they would face it together. However, the truth of the matter is that it is revealed that Mei's grandfather is pushing for another arranged marriage attempt despite the fact that she clearly did not want to take part in it. While her final action in Chapter 36 is heavily controversial, it makes it a point that regardless, Mei is deeply grateful for everything Yuzu had done for her.

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