I am typing today from the airport, where from time to time the PA erupts in loud screams and ominous music. I can’t help but wonder if someone thought that was a funny idea for Halloween. Call me crazy, but I think it’s in extremely bad taste.
Yuri anime this season is very thin. There are several series with touching that can be willfully misinterpreted (Minami-ke, Shion-no-Ou) and there’s conjecture in both English-language and Japanese forums that two of the women in Dragonaut are a couple. I haven’t watched that, so I have no impression either way.
Of all the anime that I am watching this season, only one can really be thought of as being “Yuri.” I reviewed the first volume of the Blue Drop manga a while back. I never reviewed the second volume because it was fairly unpleasant. Yes, it was Yuri, in the sense that most of the relationships were between females, but since most of the relationships were non-consensual underage sex, I declined to review it…or even to own it.
Blue Drop: Tenshi-tachi no Gikyoku takes place a thousand years before the events of the Blue Drop manga.
New transfer student Mari, is introduced to class president, honor student and classic Japanese beauty Hagino, and all hell begins to break loose. Hagino strokes Mari’s face tenderly, then tries to strangle the life out of the newcomer. Clearly, something is up.
In subsequent brief touches, both Mari and Hagino are blasted with confused memories and images…that is, these are confused and disordered to Mari, but Hagino, who is not what she appears, seems to know exactly what they mean.
Hagino, as it turns out, is an alien commander of a big assTM spaceship. She appears to be content to have her ship hidden in the bay outside the school, until a bigger boss in a bigger ship pretty much demands her to appear front and center. Hagino leaves school to take her place at the helm of her ship and the plot begins.
Yuri for this series is of the infatuation/obsession sort between Hagino and Mari, an a priori tragic love, and Micchi, who is clearly writing a Mari x Hagino slashfic in her spare time. :-)
Since the moment of their initial encounter, both Hagino and Mari are obsessed by one another. Mari is, understandably, confused (and a little turned on, if you ask some fans) by Hagino’s murderous response to her handshake. The fact that she can see Hagino talking to a girl who is glowing, translucent and alien (and who calls her commander,) and giant ships is not clarifying matters much. In fine tsundere fashion, Mari claims to loathe Hagino, while always watching her. Hagino, obviously, at least knows *of* Mari and has some clue to her lost past. But she is no less obsessed by Mari, even going so far to transfer so she can be roommates with the new girl. Is it Yuri? Let’s see, a relationship built on guilt and denial? Sounds like lesbians to me. ^_^
In other news, we meet Azanael on the Major Commander’s ship, a woman who flashes back to her lover saying goodbye some time ago, assumably before the “event” of some years previous. Azanael’s lover never returns, we have already gleaned from Hagino’s guilt-ridden imagination. So, when she sees Hagino, Azanael leaps into her expected role as Psycho Lesbian. I like that we’ve skipped the relationship part of this relationship right to one lesbian dead, one psycho. Saves time in the long run, since we know that’s where we’d go anyway.
Hagino has already defied orders to save Mari, and they have touched once more – this time without complication, so most Yuri fans see this one as a done deal. I’m a bit more skeptical, as TV anime does tend to live in the realm of plausible deniability. Even with some mostly obvious Yuri in the original manga, I’m not sure how much we’re likely to get in this series. (I tend to begin watching anime with some skepticism, so that I can be pleasantly surprised, rather that beginning with expectations and being disappointed.)
I have no doubt that Hagino will go above and beyond (and probably against) her duty to be Mari’s savior. And I have no doubt that in the ensuing events, the two of them will bond and grow close. Will there be something like love? Probably. Will there be something like a lover’s relationship? That remains to be seen.
Art – 7
Story – 7
Characters – 7, except for Micchi who is clearly us – 8
Yuri – 4
Service – a mercifully low 1
Overall – 7, with hope that it will get better.
Oh, and for special for me there’s Yanki girl Nakajima Akane, with classic banchou-style ever-present stick in her mouth. I so hope that that character type gets popular once more. ^_^