Yesterday I threw out the idea of mentioning a few completely non-Yuri anime that feature adult females here, for people who want to watch anime that do not revolve around fetuses in frilly dresses. I was specifically thinking of a few series I am watching or have watched recently that star women who are closer to adult than to kiddies, but there’s at least two anime that star kids that are worth noting as well. Since so many of you jumped in on the comments yesterday, I thought I’d write this one up right away for you. (And *thanks* for the great comments, too!)
So first off, I agree with everyone that Nijuu Mensou no Musume, aka Daughter of Twenty Faces is a terrific series. Chiko is 13, so no, she’s not an adult, but this mixture of classic early-twentieth century adventure, action, scifi and mystery never fails to appeal to me. The writers never lose sight of the fact that for all Chiko is athletic, strong and well-trained, she’s still a little girl. She’s not walking around throwing men 6 times her size or anything.
I actually mentioned this series a while back in the Yuri News Report, but as a series of novels that I had begun to read. Just as I began the second Telepathy Shoujo Ran novel, an anime was announced for the series. I recommend it. Like Chiko, Ran is 13. About there all similarities end. ^_^ Ran is a typical middle-schooler, except that she’s not typical at all – she’s telepathic. And when transfer student Midori shows up, weird things begin to happen. I’m going to spoil the series a bit – in the novel, Midori and Ran become friends almost immediately after one uncomfortable encounter and, along with the creepy teacher, there’s some surprisingly Yuri-service moments in that first novel. In fact, as the teacher tries to kill Ran, it was a, erm…sexy moment. I was reading it thinking it was a little warm in the room, when Midori says something like, “Well, that was pretty hot, wasn’t it?” ^_^ And Ran and Midori have some sincerely intense feelings for one another. However, let me be very clear – this is not a Yuri story. Ran has a great boyfriend, Rui, who I like very much as a character, and Midori is attracted to Ran’s older brother Rin. (Who doesn’t look like much, but he’s smart, athletic and can cook! Good taste in men, Midori.) This series is a supernatural thriller. Again, not forgetting that Ran and Midori are children, the series is notheless about two girls with special powers who do not *need* the men in their lives, they *love* the men in their lives. A big difference.
Now onto the grown ups!
This anime seems to have flown under the radar completely. Run, don’t walk, out and watch, Yakushiji Ryōko no Kaiki Jikenbo, The Case File of Yakushiji Ryouko. This series is utterly absurd in every possible way. Oryo, as she’s called, is a police detective, and the daughter of the conglomerate that runs most of the security for Japan, JACES. She’s beautiful, wealthy, arrogant, hyper-competent, favors miniskirt suits, sexually harrasses her subordinate because she actually likes him, all while knowing everything, being better than everyone and fighting off giant monsters, mutating creatures and plants that take over people’s brains. The first 3 seconds of the opening lets you know what you’re in for here – the sex appeal is high, the adventures are crazy and if they made 1000 more episodes of this I’d watch them. *This* is quality.
We talked about Mouryou no Hako yesterday so I won’t beat it to death again. Despite the attention paid to the two school girls, there is also an adult woman who is part of the cast along with the four bishies. Just as a reminder.
A few people have brought Michiko to Hatchin to our attention. I’ve only watched the first episode and had to skip a lot, because unending scenes of child abuse really do not appeal to me. But, that’s not the point of the series. The *point* is that Hatchin is saved from her miserable life by Michiko who claims to be her mother (according to the website, Hana is actually the daughter of the guy Michiko admires.) Michiko is an escaped convict and a really bad role model, so of course I like her. :-)
Another series that is flying under the radar is Ultraviolet: Code 044. Based on the movie of the same name, which was so bad that even Milla Jovovich couldn’t save it, this anime is a bundle of contradictions. The art is very classic, almost Oniisama E style, with the long faces and the dramatic stop-action paintings, but full of violence and scifi noir dystopian settings. The character of 044, we are told, is 19, but it’s moot – her death will be any day now, because of the chemical enhancements she was given. Voiced by Paku Romi, 044 is a miserable pile of nihilism and angst. The anime isn’t as bad as the movie, but it’s not going to win any awards either. ^_^;
I don’t want to forget to mention two anime that have recently been released here in the west.
Black Lagoon has not one, but *two* completely psychotic, violent and competent adult women. Revy’s okay, but I’m totally for Balalaika, myself. The anime has no point, it’s not *about* anything. It’s a fantasy no-holds-barred action-adventure – like Clive Cussler novels, y’know, Harlequin romances for boys. There’s Nazis and Mafia and Yakuza and turf wars and psychotic Goth-Loli child assassins and lots and lots of blood. Have I mentioned Balalaika? This ex-Russian army, now Russian mob leader makes this anime work for me.
I saved the best for last. I haven’t had much occasion to discuss this last title, since I don’t talk about the non-Yuri stuff I watch too often on Okazu. But. I briefly mentioned this series last year as the best anime I had ever watched. Moribito – Guardian of the Sacred Spirit is, hands down, the best anime *ever.* There is nothing about this anime that is not massively impressive. Characters, animation, music, story…everything. I mean it. There’s a scene about 2/3 of the way through the series, long after any other series would have cut back on the animation budget, where Balsa is looking at her spear tip. Not only is it marked up with use, it’s marked up with different kinds of use. There’s some notches, a few scrapes and a cut or two. That’s from three different kinds of attacks. As a person who genuinely and deeply loves edged weapons, this kind of thing is really important to me. But, what makes Moribito is Balsa. Her character is never compromised. And, good god, she’s 30! That’s like old age in anime! If you haven’t had a chance to see this, I hope you will take a look at it. Other people might like Studio Ghibli for the animation and epic quality of the stories, but for my money, Moribito blows every other animated work I’ve ever seen right out of the water.
Okay, so there’s my suggestions. Let’s hear yours!