New Anime Season Autumn 2008: Mouryou no Hako

October 21st, 2008

There’s a lot of Yuri-service this year in anime. A girl and a female-shaped death god randomly kissing in Jigoku Shoujo, or two girls rolling on bedding together in Kannagi. Most of Yuri fandom is satisfied with that. They don’t really care if a series is about two girls in love with one another – they only care if someone gets groped, or there’s a kiss. zOMG! Yuri!

I’m not that easily satisfied. I’m looking for stories about two female-shaped characters that *love* one another. Who might, if they are left alone to do it, kiss, hug, make love and even move in too soon after barely dating so that after 6 months when the passion is gone they live in a bittersweet platonic marriage. ^_^

For me, there is very little Yuri this season.

Mouryou no Hako is the best we have right now. The story starts off with Yoriko firmly telling us that she loves Kanako. Yoriko, a rather plain, timid girl is taken by elegant Kanako’s beauty.

But since this series begins with a girl’s head in a box, we really ought not to expect too too much happiness for this series. 6-6; Mouryou no Hako is a dark, psychological thriller based on a novel of the same name. (There’s a live-action series of the story as well, should you be interested.)

However, despite the fact that this series is dark and we can expect some weird unpleasantness to come, I have been assured by a Japanese member of the Yuricon Mailing List that Yoriko and Kanako’s feeling continue on after this series of events…which for them places it firmly in the world of “Yuri.”

For myself, I’m witholding judgement until the series develops. Yoriko’s feelings I can absolutely stand behind as Yuri. Her akogare and desire are palpable. Kanako’s feelings right now, on the other hand, read far more like narcisssism to me than love. But I look forward to seeing how it plays out.

The art is rich, with more photo-realism in the backgrounds and less stylized character designs by CLAMP than usual. The story will, eventually, revolve around four pretty men, but for the moment, I’m enjoying the focus on these two girls. Here’s hoping for a happy ending for them.


Art – 8
Story – 7
Characters – 6
Yuri – 4
Service – 2, with a forecast of severe bishies

Overall – 7, with potential

While there hasn’t been much in the way of Yuri, there’s actually quite a bit of anime with adult women acting like adults, recently. So outside Yuri, there’s a load of stuff for fans of women (as opposed to girls) to watch. I might just do a quick write up of some of these, just to give you all a run down.

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12 Responses

  1. It would be GREAT if you could note down some of the animes with strong female characters! Love to see what’s out there!

  2. darkchibi07 says:

    Chiko from Daughter of Twenty Faces is pretty badass preteen girl in a very competent way. One of my favorite underrated series.

    And one of these days, some Japanese company will announce that Strawberry Shake Sweet will get animated!

    Or maybe Akai Ito since it is based on a Yuri bishoujo visual novel for the PS2 which I heard it’s popular enough to warrant a sequel of sorts, Aoi Shiro.

    I just want a Yuri series that will later end up in the top 10 Oricon DVD ratings for anime like how that yaoi series Junjou Romantica is kicking ass.

  3. Amanda says:

    “I’m not that easily satisfied. I’m looking for stories about two female-shaped characters that *loveone another.”

    that’s my case, it’s so sad that we have so many yaoi anime and manga and so little Yuri =(

  4. Anonymous says:

    I must’ve completely missed most of these recent anime with adult women acting like adults, so yeah, a write up of some sort would be very much appreciated.

  5. Anonymous says:

    While there hasn’t been much in the way of Yuri, there’s actually quite a bit of anime with adult women acting like adults, recently. So outsode Yuri, there’s a load of stuff for fans of women (as opposed to girls) to watch.

    Yes! I’ve noticed it too. While there’s still a lot of moe around (although it seems to be being played less straight than it used to at least), I’ve definitely noticed an upsurge in the more realistic depictions of women recently, and it’s excellent!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I believe that only the character designs were done by CLAMP. I seem to recall Mouryou no Hako being the creation of someone else.

  7. Anonymouse says:

    I’m fairly sure that CLAMP only did the character designs for this one and had nothing else to do with anything, like they did for Code Geass. I don’t think there’s any danger of gratuitous bishounen lurking on the horizon^^

  8. Anonymouse – the designs may be CLAMP, but definitely not the same sort of stylization they’ve been going for recently. So that opinion stands. If you think there will be no bishounen, you might want to watch the opening credits again – the story is about four bishounen. :-)

  9. Anonymous says:

    Just for the record, I find the “with a forecast of severe bishies” quip to be teh funny.

  10. grace says:

    i would so love and appreciate a write-up on some non-Yuri anime featuring strong female women!

    oh, i must agree with darkchibi07 re: Chiko from Daughter of Twenty Faces. such an excellent series and Chiko is so likable. i must admit that i have a quite a crush on Chiko’s maid, Tome-san. Wow.

    thanks for this review – look forward to reading more of your thoughts as the series progresses.

  11. neohrtgdv says:

    Nijuu mensou no musume is one anime I wanted to watch but only got to see a few episodes, I really like Chiko and the feeling of the series is very retro and intriguing (from what I saw).

    I don’t think I’ll watch much of Moryu no Hako or Jigoku Shoujo, only as far as the Yuri-ness or Yuri-service goes :/

    On the other hand, Hyakko seems so funny I’ll be keeping and eye on it, as I’ll do for Michiko to Hatchin, which looks decent and as someone who lives in latin america I can’t stop giggling at some scenes where I think “do the japanese really see us like that?” like I did with “El Cazador” and btw, MichiHatchi is in Brazil and has some portuguese words, not spanish in case you’d want to know.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Typical how we Yuri fans are always neglected and left to fend for ourselves with doujins and the scraps of yesteryear.

    Oh well. With any luck, we’ll be pleasantly surprised by something this season. This show could be a nice avenue for Yuri. It has the potential for it anyway….

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