Friday, March 13, 2009

Yuri Fangirls in Anime and Manga, and Con Season

Tralala... con season is rolling around again. Pocky galore, ridiculous-looking doujinshi to snicker at with a friend (Kyon x Itsuki was rather popular at the last con I attended; just putting that out there), tables of anime merchandise to drool over, and the sheer energy to be found in milling around a room full of Haruhi Suzumiyas and Vash the Stampedes. Good times. Plus, like at last summer's Yasumicon, I've got another yuri panel coming up at Conbust, Smith College's annual fantasy/sci-fi/anime/gaming con which distinguishes itself by focusing on "the female members of the participating community. While the various realms of geekdom remain stereotypically male-dominated, ConBust is held to celebrate the work of women amongst these genres." (As quoted from the ConBust website.) Granted, at anime cons, based on the few I've attended, the demographics seem to be split pretty evenly, with perhaps slightly more female attendees. But sci-fi/fantasy/gaming fandoms seem to be more predominantly male. It'll be interesting to see what the audience for my yuri panel at ConBust will be like, though. ^^ At Yasumicon, it was mostly guys (who were all nice, pleasant-to-socialize-with guys aside from one kinda creepy old guy), with a small yet healthy enough proportion of girls also. So I wonder how Conbust might be different. It's a general geek hobbies con, unlike Yasumicon (which was anime-only), so there might be some curious people at the panel who barely know what anime is, let alone yuri.

On that note, for fun, I decided to make a little list of yuri fangirl anime and manga characters, simply because such characters delight me. (Just as yaoi fangirls enjoy seeing members of their ranks depicted in anime and manga, a la Renge from Ouran.) So, here goes:

A mountain of thanks to Takashi Ikeda-sensei for writing/drawing Sasamekikoto. ^^ Aoi's on the right, next to the awesome Sumi-chan.
1. Aoi from Sasamekikoto by Takashi Ikeda (manga; hopefully an anime, if the rumors are true):
Currently the best example. She not only demonstrates the fun and excitement of enjoying her nerdariffic hobbies (like writing fanfic and talking about titles with friends), she also exhibits the ridiculous, sometimes awkward aspects of being a fan (like getting carried away gushing about a title one likes -_-;; *guilty*), without being unlikeable or slipping into being a caricature.

2. Hiyori from Lucky Star by Kagami Yoshimizu (anime; not sure about the manga):
A doujinshi artist, like Aoi, who has some funny moments, but lacks Aoi's three-dimensional characterization or Marimite-esque light novel obsession. XD Still a funny character.

3. Arguably, nearly every student at St. Lobelia Girl's Academy in Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori (anime and manga):
St. Lobelia is an obvious, hilarious parody of Lillian from Maria-sama ga Miteru, with the Zuka Club (from "Takarazuka") as a parody of the Yamayurikai. And virtually every single student goes nuts fangirling for them. XD The ladies of Lobelia only show up in two episodes of the anime (9 and 19; I'm not really sure about how much they appear in the manga), but both episodes are a fabulously funny send up of yuri and the fans that love it (especially Marimite XD ). I have to stop making Marimite references, but it'll be really hard with the next one.

4. Kanako from Maria Holic by Minari Endou (anime and manga):
After deluding herself into transferring to a Catholic all-girl's school in the hopes of living in yuri paradise, Kanako has a few fun fangirl moments (with one involving...a certain light novel series), unfortunately tempered by some of the more odious aspects of the plot, as well as some seriously pervtastic behavior on her part. She often seems like a stand-in for the drooling otaku who primarily watch this show. Or, I guess one could see her as the yuri equivalent of the stereotypical hellishly annoying, squealing, "bishonen"-harassing yaoi fangirls one sees zipping around at cons.

That's all that I can think of so far. ^^ Hopefully the list will grow, with more delightful yuri fan characters to provide an extra wink-wink, nudge-nudge point of identification for fans. Along with Sasamekikoto's wonderful eventual-couple Sumi and Ushio, I'm looking forward to seeing what becomes of Aoi, in all her fangeek glory. Viva la fandom!


Anonymous said...

I love the fact that the bouquets being handed out in Lobelia are lilies.

And Kanako proves she's more than just a yuri fangirl--she's an extension of all otaku, as seen with her cosplay song where she sings about loli, angels, and tsundere.

Katherine said...

@ Anonymous- Yes, no private yuri girls' academy would be complete without lilies. ^^

And Kanako's ode to cosplay was one of the few times I found her "ZOMG!" otakuism amusing. ^^;