It’s Erev Christmas, and most people are thinking about presents and whatnot, so I thought it would be a good time to present you with my thoughts on the Top Ten Yuri Anime of 2008.
As always, this my opinion. Nothing more, nothing less. You will probably disagree with at least some of my choices, and certainly with some of the reasoning behind my choices. You are welcome to express your opinions in the comments field, of course, but please remember that your opinions are probably not going to change my opinions. lol
As we’ve done for the last few years, I’m going to split this into a Top Five list for both Japanese and English Anime. So, away we go!
Top Five Japanese Yuri Anime of 2008
5) Candy Boy and Shoujo Sect – These two are tied at 5th for the year. They both made a big splash in Yuri Fandom. Both were described as “beautiful” and “lovely” and “romantic” and lots of other really positive adjectives by people who were not me. On someone else’s Yuri Top Ten, they’d likely be the top 1 and 2 and spots. ^_^ So, depsite my feelings about how dreadfully dull both these shows were, they definitely deserve to make the list for having had a tremendous impact on Yuri fandom at large this year.
3) Ikkitousen GG and Koihime Musou – What are the chances of not one, but *two* utter abominations of anime loosely based upon the classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms coming out at the same time? Infintesimal? And yet, in 2008, we had two such craptastic anime to watch! One in which the revered warriors of ancient China were turned into buxom high school girls, complete with exploding clothes and no plot, and one in which they were turned into moe girls, with breasts bouncing and loli aplenty. Both had an abundance of unresolved Yuri, so take yer pick, we got something for everyone here…except those who want to see the Romance portrayed with some historical accuracy and dignity. ^_^
1) Mnemosyne – I know you folks aren’t going to agree with me on this one, but I thought Mnemosyne was brilliant. It wasn’t ever a Yuri story, it just happened to have high-octane Yuri-service injected engines. But for a creepy, gore-filled, ultra-violent freak show about women who can’t die and the men who try to rip their throats out, I thought this was simply spectacular. It is my sincere wish to see this picked up for a 2-DVD set release, because I just loved every lesbian-threesome with expository voiceover and every single second watching Rin die over and over and over and over. Plus, if you stop whining about the ridiculous ending, you’ll notice that the epilogue leaves us with Rin in the middle of an alternative 3-female family raising a small child together. That’s *got* to count for something. For me, the whole package was my Top Japanese Yuri anime release in 2008.
Top Five English Yuri Anime of 2008
5) Red Garden – It’s true that there is so little Yuri in this series that it’s almost not really a “Yuri” anime however, the little Yuri that there is – by which I mean Paula – is so significant that it must receive a mention. Paula is lovely, elegant and her feelings for Kate are genuine. And in the end, the lesbian does not die, is not repudiated, does not become psychotic. She simply is thanked for her feelings and all her help and loved for who she is. That’s unheard of – and puts it at number 5.
4) My Otome – How can we count the ways, I said when I reviewed this originally. There’s so much Yuri-service here that it’s almost easier to count the straight relationships…all three of them. ^_^ This series was totally gay and we loved it the first time around, then loved it again all over on DVD and I’ll love it again when I rewatch it in a brain-numbing marathon. Long Live Garderobe!
3) Strawberry Panic – The first half is still soppy and slow, nothing happens in the most annoyingly coquettish way, but the second half totally makes up for it all by being funny, clever at times, melodramatic, and parodying everything on the planet that isn’t nailed down. For Volume 3 of the English version alone, this series would make the list. For Shizuma and Kaori having sex outside in what is one of the worst decisions *ever* in anime, and for Hikari and Amane actually going all the way, (which is quite mind-boggling if you take a moment to think about it) Strawberry Panic makes number three for the year.
2) Simoun – I will go to my death saying that this was one of the best anime I have ever watched – ever. The Yuri is not the point, although we liked it plenty, thanks. There was an actual story, with actual characters that actually developed sensibly. There were just so very many things to like about the series, and I’ve talked about them over and over. The DVD release left me breathless all over again. Absolutely this was one of the top five releases this year. And it probably would have made number one, except….
1) Maria Watches Over Us – Sei’s raw and beautiful lesbian affair that cracked her stone facade and warmed her up; the circumstances that made it possible for her to be the Rosa Gigantea that Yumi grows to rely on. Sachiko, the arrogant, distant rich girl who, without realizing it, makes the most important decision of her young life when she decides to take Yumi as her soeur. Yoshino, who shakes the school to its very foundation when she demands to have her feelings be understood. Youko’s meddling, Eriko’s flakiness, Rei’s solid dependability, Shimako’s frail perfection. I still can’t believe it was released in English. No question. The top English Yuri anime release for 2008 is Maria Watches Over Us.
Whether you celebrate Mithras slaying the bull or light Kwanzaa candles, whether your holiday was three days ago, or tonight is the 3rd night of your holiday, the night before your holiday, or you still have 12 days to go, or if you don’t celebrate anything particularly, whether you spend the night with your lover or your family, in a snow-covered house or out in the summer sun – a very happy holiday season to everyone.
And let me remind you, too, that the English anime listed here and much, much more are available on the largest Yuri-related online shop in the world – the Yuricon Shop. When you purchase anything through the Yuricon Shop, you show your support for Yuri and for Yuricon. :-)