Top Ten Yuri Countdown of 2007

December 24th, 2007

As I sit here and look over my top ten list for 2007, I have to laugh. I’m not sure I know what I was thinking when I wrote it. lol But that’s okay, I can’t imagine why anyone would care what I think, anyway. So here goes:

10) Cream Lemon Escalation Light Novel

Yes, this book is 20 years old. But I only managed to read it this year, so here it is. Not only is this Light Novel chock full o’Yuri hentai, it’s the ancestor of several other notable Yuri series. Like a pervy grandfather alongside our grandmothers Yoshiya Nobuko and Ikeda Riyoko, this story shaped what we know and love as “Yuri” today.

9) Cutie Honey/Cutey Honey

Speaking of pervy grandfathers. This year saw the release of the awesome Cutie Honey a-GoGo Perfect Volume *and* the new Cutie Honey the Live TV show. And once again, Yuri abounds in this heap of pandering, fetishes and pervtasticness. It’s almost a challenge at this point – how low and horrid can this series go and still be loads of fun? I don’t know – I guess we’ll find out, won’t we? :-)

8) Strawberry Panic Light Novels and Drama CDs

One more for the how low can you go file. These novels were full of tortured metaphors and ridiculous handwaves (can you say private helicopters? I knew you could) – and the occasional sexy and sometimes even lovely moment. I still await their English debut from Seven Seas with bated breath because they are so laughably awful and I await the response of fandom even more as they bend reality to justify how good they *must* be, since we can never admit to just liking something that’s junk. lol And the Drama CDs are even worse! This grandchild of Escalation makes this list for the combination of wtf-ness and Yuri.

7) Kashimashi Girl Meets Girl

This is the last time I mention this, seriously. Both anime and manga came out in English this year, marking Media Blasters’ entry into the Yuri market, and continuing Seven Seas foray into yuri-ish manga. I really don’t love this series half as much as it might seem from its presence on all of this year’s lists, but it was well-adapted in all cases and it’s just a fluke of timing, mostly. lol Although I still wished Tomari and Yasuna ended up together, Kashimashi makes this year’s top ten at 7th.

6) Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS

I’m going to allow my biases to show for one moment – this is on this list for being conglomeration of many things that I like, as much as because I saw it as Yuri. StrikerS had adult women, in military uniform, kicking ass in pretty colors, all of which made it one of the best shows I watched this year.

5) Blue Drop

And gee…Blue Drop has women in (admittedly ugly) military uniforms, etc, etc. I’m consistent. I like soup to have nice chunky pieces of meat and veggies and I like women in uniform. And spaceships and battles…and Yuri. Since the Yuri in Blue Drop is more overt that that in StrikerS, it makes it onto the list at fourth. I really wish this series was longer – I’d happily watch it for as long as they wanted to show it to me.

4) Simoun

The Megami magazine version didn’t do a thing for the mythos, but the Drama CD massively upped the “obvious” Yuri. And the anime, which I feared would not be adaptable and coherent, was extremely well handled by the folks at Media Blasters. And instead of downplaying the Yuri, they jumped right in and marketed it as Yuri, which makes them the first anime company to ever do that. Above all, the story remains brilliant, as does the art, the music and the characters. We can all look forward to more Simoun.

3) Maria-sama ga Miteru

The OAVs were fun, they were romantic, they were a very decent adaptation of the novels. The DJCDs and web radios massively pumped up the Yuri for fans’ enjoyment, and the novels…they are just full of love-love moments. I’m so far behind in reading them, that you’re going to have to hear about this series for a long time to come. :-) For Yumi and Sachiko, Rei and Yoshino, Tsutako and Shouko and Sei and everyone, lol, this series continues to make my top three for the year.

2) Yuri Hime and Yuri Hime S

Never before have so many artists, male and female, been gathered together to draw stories of girls (and women, sometimes) in love. Some of the best names in the industry, many who have been drawing Yuri/Girls Love/Onna x Onna manga for ages, are represented here. Yuri Hime, mostly by women who draw Yuri and Yuri Hime S, mostly men who draw Yuri, all drawing for us, the Yuri audience. Their collections are high quality and coming soon to western shores via Seven Seas, and I’m really looking forward to seeing them here. Because 8 times a year I get all excited to see what each new issue holds, Ichijinsha’s GL magazines are the second best Yuri of the year.

1) Iono-sama Fanatics

As I mentioned yesterday, I still find it incredible that Infinity is translating this. But even more so, how fantastic that second, final volume is, with its silly epilogue, fashionable clothing (Fujieda does brilliant costume design) and charming, appealing characters and all the Yuri a fan could want. Heck, for the cover of the second volume alone, this series could make number one. lol

The number one Yuri title of 2007 – Iono-sama Fanatics

***

Let me take this opportunity to thank all the folks who have sent me items to review and the companies that have provided review copies – I couldn’t do it without you.

Most importantly, I want to thank everyone who has read and commented here over the past year! I wish you all a happy, healthy New Year!

Next entry, my adventures throwing money at the Japanese economy! See you there. ^_^

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12 Responses

  1. Rose says:

    no El Cazador de la Bruja?

  2. Senbei says:

    Yuri alone does not a worthwhile story make.

  3. Pam says:

    Funny I was just about to ask the same question…

  4. rose, Pam – obviously not. :-)

    sebei – erm, yeah. which is why the best of the year tend to have good stories, as well.

  5. pam says:

    First post and already a reply :)
    Fair enough for the Bee Train opus.

    And now the christmassy warm fuzzy fluffiness:
    I’d like to say thank you for the (I guess) silent majority that I use to belong to before today)
    I’d like to say that every year I’m awaiting your countdown. More, every week I’m awaiting for yet another review from your blog.
    So much it has sort of become a habit.
    Why?
    Because it’s fun. Your blog is probably not the most comprehensive, impartial or well structured one (albeit due to the now massive archive). But heck it is fun to read! It brings so much sunshine that content is (almost) secondary. (Please don’t get me wrong, content is great, just that your style of writing is stellar fun :) if I may say so…)
    And the LFB rating… trademark awesomeness!

    Dear Erica,
    I adore your blog. It feels like a chocolate rocher wraped in gold.
    And, while I’m at it, Merry Christmas. Hope to read more from you next year :)

  6. Anonymous says:

    I did not know that the second volume of iono-sama has been released in english

  7. anon – Iono-sama is not yet out in English. The second volume came out this fall in Japanese, as I mention.

  8. pam – thanks for the warm fuzziness, it makes me feel like I got a new, extra warm scarf for a present. :-)

  9. Anonymous says:

    Did you watch the last episode of Blue Drop? I was totally sold to it, until the last episode. I am waiting for the sub, giving it the benefit of the doubt. As it is I think I was taken for the biggest. ride of my life. I will still wait for the sub

  10. Anonymous says:

    I don’t really know if I will have stomach to watch the dub.
    When you said it had no fanservice, I said I am going to watch it. I was totally sold to it. Until before the last shot of ep. 12, it looked sound. Nothing like the manga. I had to wait until the last episode to see that they were offering the supreme fanservice: they kill the good lesbian and let the psycho one free to live.
    I didn’t want to hear 17 yo lesbians telling me, after the final episode: I feel empty. It is horrible. In episode 12, in the middle of the party, Micchi doesn’t eat her food. She is not rewarded. Meaning, we, the viewers, invested our emotions and engaged on a story that will leave us empty. With that scene, they clearly told this to us, this story won’t be rewarding in any way, shape or form. These writers made young women cry! This is violence against women.
    When I saw that play ruined, it dawned on me. In episode 7, the baby throws up all over whatever Micchi was writing. They told us, we will purposefully barf on this story. Then, on ep. 8 we are told it’s a different story, and that is followed by several episodes where we are lead to expect a play that *in reality* is already set up not to be performed. It’s a brilliant, booby-trapped narrative, that is purposefully set up to decieve, disappoint and hurt people. It’s intentionally aimed to be psychologically damaging, because it uses deep symbolic and psychologically true images and content to lie to us. I don’t want to hear that all the effort I put in changing myself will led me to suicide and darkness taking over, because it’s not true. It’s a tragedy that is played as a comedy and we only find this out in the very end. Before the climax of a tragedy, one is not supposed to say: It’s better to laugh. Are we supposed to laugh at Ekaril’s death and the emotional paralysis of Mari? It’s just creepy. The conflicts are not actually resolved. Hagino was depressed in the beginning. They show us Hagino resolving her depression and in the final episode she kills herself. There are, in real life, people who did spend five years in deep depression. It’s an insult to them. Mari didn’t want to grow up and she doesn’t act to stop Hagino, she calls her Jeanne, repeating the lines of a play that never happened. We don’t know, was she being true to herself by letting Hagino go or was she still lying to herself? It’s impossible to tell. They do not kill Ekaril. They make her worst fear come true, she is led to kill people. They taint her with Azanael’s revenge to destroy her and then toss her aside. Her death is never properly mourned.There’s no catharsis whatsoever to be seen. All the sadness and tragedy of her death is left for the viewer to feel, we don’t see Mari shedding a tear for her. And in the end it’s the shadow figure, the darkness of revenge and hatred, Azanael, who is free to live. Mari is left a puppet, again repeating the lines of a play, a tool for the Aliens. In the context of the manga, we know that things will actually get really bad from then on.This is by far more perverse than Tenshi no Bokura. It’s really not like the manga, it’s way way worse. Mari never loved Hagino, she died emotionally at the beginning of ep. 11. This is the materialization of our worst fears and LFB’s highest hopes.

  11. I actually thought that the last episode of Blue Drop was as good as we could have hoped. If you expected it to have a happy ending, you weren’t paying attention.

    The ending really wasn’t LFB at all. It was just sad – the exact same sad ending we *knew* was going to happen right from the very beginning.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Whooo! I have the scans for vol. 2! *does a happy dance around the room*

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