Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010!

Yay, it's 2010! ^^ Whether you kicked off the new year with a jump-start on one of your resolutions (if you made resolutions), a hangover, a hatsumode, or all three, I hope everybody's having a good start to the new year/decade.

Here's a list of my top 10 yuri anime of 2009, followed by a list of my top 10 yuri anime of the past decade.

My Top 10 of 2009:

10) A tie between Ikki Tousen (Funi's re-release of the first season and Media Blasters' release of Dragon Destiny) and Nanoha (Funi's release): Once I gave Ikki Tousen a shot, it turned out to be stupid fun (with yuri!). Nanoha season 1 (that's all that I've watched up to this point) deserves mention for how much it improved by the end, with some cute subtext to boot.

9) Saki (streaming on Crunchyroll)- What began as a dull high school comedy/drama quickly developed into a fun tournament-style title with a likeable, yuri-riffic cast of characters. My top couples are still Momo x Yumi, Nodoka x Saki, and Hisa x...uhh, Mako or Mihoko (whichever ^^;;).

8) Maria-sama ga Miteru Season 3 (RightStuf's release): I absolutely love Marimite. And RightStuf, for licensing it. :-)

7) Blue Drop- A very good, low-key sci-fi romantic drama that I didn't expect to see released in English on DVD. Go, go Sentai!

6) CANAAN: I know, I know. Besides Liang, the only yuri in this series is subtext/wishful thinking. But what delicious subtext it is. ^___^ Plus, yay for having another really good seinen action series revolving around a non-school-aged, primarily female cast that doesn't moe-fy or Queen's Blade-out its characters (while still including some yuri).

5) Maria-sama ga Miteru Season 4- The fourth, possibly (imo, probably) final season for one of my all-time favorite shows. More wonderful subtext (and friendships) between wonderful characters in a wonderful story.

4) To Aru Kagaku no Railgun: For simply being a fun sci-fi action title with a canon yuri lead. (Although Saten's skirt-flipping ways and Uiharu's fascination with Tokiwadai have both pinged my gaydar as well.)

3) El Cazador de la Bruja (Funi's English DVD release): The final, most yuriful series in Bee Train's "girls-with-guns" trilogy, finally available in English! XD Yay, Nadie x Ellis!

2) Sasameki Koto (streaming on Crunchyroll): It didn't have the budget or, frankly, the same level of direction as Aoi Hana's adaptation, but it was a joy to see Sumi, Ushio, and the rest of the Joshibu finally animated, and it was simply a fun show. Plus, it was cool to not only see this series stream on AE, but also get picked up by other lesbian media sites.

1) Aoi Hana (streaming on Crunchyroll): Surprise. ^^; From the opening episode, I loved this series. The characters, the story, the art, the music, everything, pulled together by Kenichi Kasai's brilliant direction, with Ikuhara Kunihiko's beautiful OP as the cherry on top. I couldn't have been happier with this adaptation- aside from the fact that it needs a second season (like so many other shows on this list). Plus, it was very cool to see a yuri anime streamed on Afterellen for the first time.

Honorable mention goes to Shin Koihime Musou (for the sheer number of yuri characters) and Kanamemo (for Yume and Yuuki, even if Haruka...well, everybody who reads this blog already knows how I feel about Haruka).

My Top 10 of the Past Decade:

10) Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito: This is a crappy title with a crappy, tear-your-heart-out-and-stomp-on-it ending (although I've heard that the manga and game both have yuri-friendly endings). But it was the earliest yuri-centric title to air during the past decade. For helping to get the yuri ball rolling, Yamibou deserves a spot here. (Plus, I like Hazuki. She deserves a better series.)

9) Magical Girl Lyrical  Nanoha- I've only seen the first season, but since I know that StrikerS features Nanoha and Fate living together as adults, sharing a bed (when they could easily sleep in separate beds), and raising a kid who calls them both "mama", I'm listing it.

8) Mai-Hime- For being a popular action title that gave rise to a popular yuri couple, among numerous other potential pairs. It spawned even more yuri in its spin-off, Mai-Otome, and in the two OVAs that branched from Mai-Otome. Not to mention Mai-Hime Destiny, Mao-Hime (I think that's what it's called...I haven't really bothered with reading it), and the upcoming Mai-Hime EXA. (I'm trying to forget the first Mai-Hime manga.)

7) Strawberry Panic- For further cementing Marimite's influence and the pervasive "all-girls' school" trope in yuri, for better or for worse. Plus, it's a fun show.

6) Simoun: An absolutely excellent fantasy title from beginning to end that any anime fan would do well to try. Plus, the plot is wrapped up very satisfyingly (but not too neatly or happily) within its 26(!) episode span.

5) Noir: Aside from Chloe, subtext only, but worth listing for its influence on the subtext-rich "girl-with-guns" subgenre, including Madlax, El Cazador, and (likely) CANAAN, among other titles.

4) Sasameki Koto- Just an enjoyable yuri-centric title that gently pokes fun at (and at times, subverts) yuri tropes and stars a likeable cast. Mega-points for not taking place at an all-girls' school (and for pointing out that Ushio tried her darndest to get into one), and continuing the trend of featuring characters who aren't simply "in love with this particular, exceptional person who happens to be a girl."

3) Kannazuki no Miko- First anime title centered around a canon yuri couple with a happy ending. (At least, I see it as a happy ending.) I'll admit my bias- even though I'm not fond of the angsty moping that makes up a sizeable chunk of this series anymore, this was the first title that I recognized as "yuri", and I was head-over-heels in love with it for quite a while. Plus, thanks to the enduring popularity of Chimeko (and Kaishaku's perennial fondness for them), we can likely expect a new yuri action anime- an adaptation of Kaishaku's Zettai Shoujo Seiiki Amnesian- within the next few years. :-)

2) Aoi Hana- Simultaneously the best and most realistic title centered around a canon yuri protagonist in the past decade.

1) Maria-sama ga Miteru: Because no other yuri title that aired from 2000 through 2009 has been as influential or as heavily-referenced as Marimite.

And that's it. ^^ Whatever you agree or disagree with, hopefully you got something (entertainment? befuddlement? irritation?) out of it. I took into account: A) what I liked, B) what was good (which is still subjective), C) what was influential, and D) what marked noteworthy shifts/trends in yuri anime. (The latter two factors aren't immune to subjectivity either, of course.)


shijima said...

Happy New Year to you too!
I've had enough of crowds for a while so no hatsumode for me. :p

Yay! A Saki fan!
I must admit, that series does generate a lot of potential couples. :D

Shaolin said...

Only subtext in Noir???
What is with Chloe?
(Her feelings for Kirika are definitely not subtext...)

Katherine said...

@ shijima- Thanks! ^^

Yes, Saki is chock full of (potential) yuri goodness. :D

@ Shaolin- You're right. I haven't watched Noir in its entirety in a long while, but Chloe's feelings for Kirika do cross over into canon (most noteably in ep 25). Thanks; I've corrected it.

Duskren said...

Bad news...they're not going to be a second season of Aoi Hana because of bad DVD sales....Aww crap!

Katherine said...

@Duskren- It is too bad, but at least we can look forward to more awesomeness from the manga series.

Sheldor said...

Oh! I was just about to stuff some angry fangirl hate mail in your mailbox due to Revolutionary Girl Utena's mysterious absence from this list. Then I realised it was in the last ten years only. Crisis averted, as you were.

Katherine said...

@Sheldor- lol