Yes, it’s that time of year…when everyone runs out of new things to say and has to recap stuff from the year that was, in lieu of talking about what is.
I decided to do the last three days of this year as “Top 10” countdowns, mostly because there was SO much decent stuff this year (and so very, very much that wasn’t) that I wanted to share my personal best of the best with you.
The criteria for the following choices are:
1) I liked it.
So, feel free to disagree, but you won’t change my opinion. :-)
That having been said, here is the first of three Top 10 countdowns…
The Okazu Top 10 Yuri Anime (and Anime-related) Series of 2004
It’s trash, I know. But I can’t help but like it when it has so many of the things that I enjoy – really violent women, women in eyepatches, women who have sex with one another…and an utterly cool, complex, semi-mythological, semi-historical backstory that is mostly ignored and occasionally alluded to. With credentials like this, it has to make my top ten…but just barely.
9) Live Action Cutie Honey Movie
Grinned through the whole thing. It was delightful. The world needs more of this.
8) Kaleido Star
Alternately irritating as hell and really wonderful, I never really fell in love with the story, but the heat between Layla and Sora made it work. If you have a niece who is questionably a baby-dyke, this makes the PERFECT gift – and her parents will never suspect a thing. Added bonuses of Anna and Mia being a couple, and great, if rare, fanart.
7) Kannazuki no Miko
It made no sense, it was silly, it was plain stupid in many places. But the girl got the girl and it had decent music, so there you go, it makes the top ten. The official art is lovely, too – no need for a “Newtype Effect” here – the girls are perfectly willing to get sexy with one another for real.
This story was the best of Bee Train. It made sense and was actually *resolved* in a way that was, while full of hand waves and assumptions, at least complete and internally consistent. One of the girls got one of the girls, and the potential for fanfiction in all the many cracks is enormous. Excellent characters, ridiculous action sequences, a fighting maid, Hisakawa Aya as Rimelda and a bad guy with the worst name EVER. I really enjoyed the hell out of Madlax and look forward to adding it to my collection of DVDs.
5) Live Action SailorMoon
What a wonderful opportunity to fall in love all over again. It was cheesy, it was for little kids, the ending was rushed and pat and we cried rivers. The music was great, the girls were perfect for their roles, Minako was breathtakingly gorgeous and the yuri subtext was everything a Sailor Moon fan could ever hope for. Now, if only they would do it again – this time with the Outers, too!
4) Air Master
By now you should know what I like, so this will come as no surprise. Here’s a story with women who kick serious ass. Maki’s got Park Romi’s sexy voice, Sakiyama Kaori is my number one favorite psychotic *ever*, Mina’s obsession/devotion is really quite cute and I still get all excited every time a new manga volume is out. This tale of an ex-gymnastics queen turned street fighter may not be for everyone, but writing for a series like this would be a dream job for me. I will be first on line to get Air Master when it comes out on DVD spring 2005.
3) Re Cutie Honey
The older Cutey Honey anime series had a little service and the “Flash” series had some yuri-ness, but this series rocked. I really hope we see more of Na-chan and Honey together. RCH is only a short OVA, but it packed a big yuri punch. Go Nagai is a god.
2) ROD The TV
One of the most talked about series this year on the Yuricon Mailing List, ROD The TV was, and is, brilliant. Writing, music, characters, yuri subtext (and overt text) action sequences, even individual flashes of stunning art – this series is amazing all over again as I watch it on DVD. The entire ROD franchise has really managed to capture some of the best qualities of shounen yuri, and this particular series has the best writing of the year. The pencil boards are a bit yucky, though. LOL
And now, for the number one anime series of 2004…..
1) Maria-sama ga Miteru and Maria-sama ga Miteru ~ Haru
No surprise here, I’m sure. At the beginning of the year I wasn’t sure this would be all that, but I’m hooked. Completely, totally gaga over these girls. Now that the anime is over, I’m happily reading the manga and listening to Drama CDs and even reading the novels, because anytime spent in the company of these wonderful characters is time well-spent.
My hat is off to Konna Oyuki for creating such a vibrant world at Lillian, characters that seems incredibly three-dimensional and plots that actually make sense, are well-written and never take themselves too seriously. Melodramatic and overwrought without being cloying, and with a potential for many years of fan art and fan fiction, may the francise never cease.
Maria-sama ga Miteru – 2004’s hands-down winner of Okazu’s Best Yuri Anime Series of 2004
Tomorrow…Best Yuri Manga Series Top Ten Countdown!