It’s the end of the year and since I has so much fun doing this last year, I thought I’d see about doing this once again. So today we’re doing the Top Ten Yuri Anime of 2005. And let me tell you how *hard* this was, since 2005 has been a particularly weak year for anime.
10. Coming in a number ten is the anime that, as my wife pointed out to me the other day, made “fluting” a verb, Kannazuki no Miko. I reviewed this anime in The Girl Got The Girl, But….. My opinion hasn’t changed, really. It was loud, it was silly. It made no sense. But a bazillion young’uns thought it was the most amazing Yuri they’d ever seen, so it makes the list.
9. At number nine is the reason I stuck in that late review earlier this week.- Loveless. It was one Yuri arc among many yaoi, but it was a good arc. It was happy. It was not loli and it had kisses and hugs and a pair of black furry ears. Yamato and Kouya are an angsty pair with a hopeful story – one good enough to make my top ten for the year.
Now it gets harder. Do we go with pointless obsession, lolicon, or service…to quote the brilliant choreographer Pina Bouche, “There are so *many*!
8. At number eight I’m calling on my ability to ignore that this series has actually been out for several years in favor of it only just having been released here in the US. So we’re going with Madlax, for number eight. I’ve reviewed the individual DVDs, so you’ll have to look around for them, rather than me listing every review, but suffice to say that I find the story compelling, the characters cracked and interesting, the holes in the plot full of possibility and ditto the Yuri. Eleanor x Margaret, Eleanor x Vanessa, Vanessa x Madlax, Madlax x Rimelda, whatever your flavor, there’s a couple that’s right for you! Bee Train’s finest work to date and a worthy purchase for your collection.
7. Mai Hime makes the list and really, despite everything bad about the series, belongs here. If you ignore Tate, Shiho and the craptastic ending, it was a truly excellent anime, and gave the world Shizuru and Natsuki, Haruka and Yukino, AND, through the determined efforts of Yuricon member Ashley, Aoi and Chie. :-) Shizuru was definitely the coolest psychotic lesbian of 2005, and I’m always partial to a woman with a polearm. Remember these faces and names, too, because they’ll be back…
6. Gokujou Seitokai is one of those series in which the Yuri is mostly Yuri-goggledom, with the occasional bit of service to remind us not to forget that this *is* an all-girl school, wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Nonetheless, it is worth watching and it has introduced a whole new onomatopoeia for snuggling – “paya paya.” Introducing a new word into two languages has got to be worth a space on this list. :-)
5. Number five is another funny series, Ichigo Mashimaro. Loli as it is, there’s just too much Yuri-ness to ignore. The good thing about Ichigo Mashimaro is that it’s snortingly funny, which makes it totally worth watching. The whole thing is really just adorable. Kills me, it does.
4. This anime is so new, I haven’t really had a chance to review it yet, but this year’s top four has absolutely got to include Kaleido Star: Legend of Phoenix (Layla Hamilton Monogatari). At *last* we have the Sora x Layla episode we’ve all been waiting for! This OVA is the Kaleido Star I personally had hoped to see from the very beginning. It’s all Layla realizing what Sora means to her – oddly, as she bicycles down Route 17 in New York State…a place I have fond and surreal memories of myself. :-) This OVA hasn’t been subbed yet, but it doesn’t matter. It’s totally worth watching in any form.
3. Mai Otome wasted no time in re-establishing Shizuru as lesbian supreme, and it upped Chie’s playgirl cool considerably. Shizuru and Natsuki are a not particularly ambiguous couple, Haruka and Yukino now have state authority to be a couple and there’s more than enough Yuri service for the average fan and some of the not-so-average ones.
Honorable Mention. For a series with no visible *Yuri*, but lots of akogare, and some invisible, but you have got to know it’s there Yuri-goggle type Yuri, Aria wins an honorable mention. If you can watch this anime and not see that Akira and Alicia are lovers, you are clearly not a true Yuri-goggle wearin’ Yuri fan.
And tied for first place for 2005:
1. Gakuen Alice and Stellvia.
Gakuen Alice is the best unreleased, partially unsubbed Yuri of 2005. Mikan’s love (and desire) appears to be mostly one-sided until the big romantic dance. Then Hotaru rules the Yuri world by taking Mikan as her “we’ll be in love forever” last dance partner. If you haven’t seen this series, you’ve actually missed a damn fine story.
Decent story, wonderful characters, fantastic dialogue and a really yummy Yuri storyline. One of the best releases of 2005, hands down.
As I said, 2005 was generally a mediocre year for Yuri anime, but we have some fun things to look forward to in 2006: Kashimasi Girl Meets Girl; Eikyuu Alice; Jyoshi Kousei and of course the third season of Maria-sama ga Miteru. Whether 2006 is as strong as 2003-4 for Yuri…we’ll all be waiting to find out, with bated breath.
Tune in tomorrow for the Top Ten Manga of 2005!