I also recently received an e-mail from Austin, the person who's in charge of panels at Yasumicon (a medium-size anime convention that the Florida International University Anime Club hosts each summer in Miami). He e-mailed me to ask if I would like to do a yuri panel again at Yasumicon 2009. Definitely!! ^__^
Even though pickings have been slim this year as far as new yuri-themed anime, or at least anime with enough yuri included to be of interest to yuri fans, this year's panel will still have some new and improved aspects to it. For one, instead of making the manga portion of the panel "Top 5 Yuri Manga," it will be "Top 5 Yuri Mangaka," i.e. if you see this person's name on a yuri manga, you'll get an enjoyable, quality story. (Especially with all of the mangaka who put out a plethora of good yuri now like Shizuru Hayashiya, Morishima Akiko, Milk Morinaga, Miyabi Fujieda, Shimura Takako, Takashi Ikeda, etc.)
Plus, since I'm picky when choosing "quality" titles for my panel, I decided to turn that aspect of the panel on its head by creating a section titled, "Yuri to Show to People Who You Despise." This section won't include titles that I wouldn't consider quality but have (along with many other fans) found entertaining at some point or another, like Kannazuki no Miko and Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito. These will be the few, special titles that even the most desperate 4chan user would consider terrible. (I look forward to showing them! ^^) This section will be composed of two anime titles: the Iczer-One OVA and the ICE OVA (neither of which I finished, and probably never will).
Prior to the "Top 5 Yuri Mangaka" and "Yuri to Show to People Who You Despise" sections, there will be the same "What is Yuri?" and "History of Yuri" sections I had last year, along with "Yuri That You Can Call A Good Anime, Not Just A Good Yuri Anime," with an "Honorable Mention" section for Azumanga Daioh and Strawberry Panic.
I'm still waiting to see how Mouryou no Hako turns out, to see how much it should be included in the panel. For the first episode alone, I think it's at least worth mentioning, as long as it doesn't pull a Mnemosyne. (I started out loving Mnemosyne, but I stopped watching it after episode 3, when the story crossed the line from "edgy" to repugnantly exploitive. Two words: Poor Mimi.)
I remember how towards the end of my panel last year, Austin popped into the room where I was hosting it and asked me if I wanted him to show an episode of Candy Boy, and I freaked out and said "no." ^^;; (The poor guy; he was well-meaning, but if I wasn't going to show clips from Kashimashi and Kannazuki no Miko, why would I show Candy Boy? o_o;;) Unfortunately, the two highest profile new yuri titles this year have been Candy Boy and Shoujo Sect, neither of which I care to mention at the panel. (Even though I haven't seen Shoujo Sect, and don't plan to.) Arrgh! > < style="font-style: italic;">Simoun?! Or even the next Strawberry Panic?! Here's to placing my hopes on Mouryou no Hako, or for some other good surprise title to pop up, like Blue Drop did last year.
Mouryou no Hako: Absolutely worth watching regardless of the yuri.
Edit on 11/29/2009: Wow...this post is quite a trip down memory lane. ^^; It makes me realize how much has changed since I published it last year. There were certainly less yuri series to watch/anticipate watching than in 2009, and I was a little more