This list was way easier to put together, let me tell you! Yuri Manga in 2005 had more variety and more energy than anime by far. Looking over the titles I’ve chosen, there ought to be at least *something* for everyone on this year’s top ten…
10. With a surprising amount of yuri considering the original manga series, we’ll start this list off with the ROD – Read or Dream manga. Yes, it had a severe lack of Nenene, but it’s jam packed with Anita x Hisami and not really in a yucky way, either. Ah, young love…. Anyway, as I went on and on during the year, this was an interesting fun and Yuri-filled spin on the ROD-verse.
9. The Maria-sama ga Miteru manga has not been as notable as I could have hoped, but it’s also coming out very slowly. At this point the individual issues are running once every other month in Margaret magazine. The manga adds in internal monolgue that is lost in the anime, and the additional dialogue and rewrites have not been painful. The art is different than that of the novels and, I think, better than the animation. The stories have been handled with care and most importantly, the incidental art strikes exactly the right note of goofy creativity. I only wish it was coming out faster.
8. Coming in at number eight is that old classic that I love so much, YajiKita Gakuen Douchuuki. The Yuri is, if anything, *more* pronounced than in the original 22 volumes. Not only does Kita-san have the usual gaggle of girls running after her, she now has Ruriko obsessively seeking to dress her up in a tux and make her her lover. I really can’t get enough of this series.
7. Ichigo Mashimaro. As I’ve said many times, I tried to loathe this, but just couldn’t. It’s just too funny. There are so many reason why I shouldn’t enjoy it, but Miu is too damn Yuri and funny to hate. That, and this series’ persistent life on all Yuri blogs, lists and sites brings it to number seven in my top ten.
6. It’s true that Transistor ni Venus is older than just this year, but I discovered it in 2005, so on this list it goes. This is more like the kind of thing I look for in yuri, especially when the main players are all adult women. The art is very pinup-y, the plots are bare wrapping around the many kissing scenes and frankly, the stories are stupid. But I really enjoy the heck out of this manga and I really wish there was more!
5. Bakuretsu Tenshi was, IMHO, a really bleah anime. What a surprise then, to find that the manga wasn’t half bad! The Jo x Meg thing that had completely been suppressed to the point of needing yuri goggles on high in the anime, was surfaced nicely in the manga. I only wish they had gone on with the story and rewrote the entire sequence of anime events, but you can’t have everything. ^_^ In any case, for Meg and Jo sharing soba and kisses, this makes number five for the year.
4. Shameless? Why *yes!* It may seem utterly absurd for me to say this, but I really do believe that Yuri Monogatari 3 is one of the best Yuri manga of the year. It’s got adult content, without it being icky, squicky or loli. There’s something for everyone in this year’s Yuri anthology – angst and violence and humor and even a sympathetic tentacle monster, lol. Every year our anthology gets stronger…I gotta tell you, YM4 is *already* on the way to being a really excellent book. Bigger and more chock-filled with excellent Yuri. And that’s what this list is all about, dammit! LOL If you haven’t gotten a copy of YM3, you’re missing, really.
3. Iono the Fanatics *had* to make this list. Original, funny, adorable, sexy, with one of the most charming eponymous protagonists I’ve come across in years, my copy of the first volume has already been re-read several times, and I eye the author’s site constantly waiting for the next volume. This manga makes my short list for “why can’t they make an anime of THIS????”
2. Who says money can’t buy you happiness? In fact, four times a year, it does, when the new issue of Yuri Hime comes out. This quarterly anthology has improved since Ichijinsha took it over. The stories and art are getting stronger with each volume and the number of popular yuri artists joining the collection grows every issue, as well. Soon we’ll be seeing collected volumes of stories from Yuri Hime, and we can buy copies and keep our fingers crossed that we’ll see more!
And finally, coming in at number one, my current raison d’etre and best Yuri manga of 2005…
1. Hayate Cross Blade
You can find my reviews of the collected volumes and Drama CDs of HxB in the category for the series.
No, this manga has no serious kisses, no sex, nothing of that kind. But it does have genuine emotional connection and conflict between women who love, love/hate and hate each other; it has Jun, an openly lesbian character; it has chicks with swords; and shinyuu; and it has partners who are in love, or in physical relationships with each other (yes, really…). Basically it has lots of girls, lots of fights, lots of comedy and a fair dollop of Yuri through all of the above.
Written and drawn by Hayashiya Shizuru, artist of so many other Yuri-riffic series, including the upcoming collected volume of Strawberry Shake Sweet, HxB wins hands down as my favorite Yuri manga of the year.