Top Ten Yuri Anime of 2008

December 24th, 2008

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. :-)

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24 Responses

  1. BruceMcF says:

    I have not seen everything in this list, but I have to agree with almost every said about the things I have seen. Especially Blue Drop, Simoun and Maria-sama ga Miteru.

    The exception is this: “*two* utter abominations of anime loosely based upon the classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms

    Ikki-tousen is very loosely based on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Ikki-tousen DD began the process of abandoning the pretence, and by Ikki-Tousen GG, its just a source of character names.

    No dispute on the utterly abominable description … and the inexplicable setting of an alternative Universe Japan where the expense of the plastic surgery required for entry to High School means the students can only afford paper uniforms.

  2. michiru42 says:

    One great thing about coming to this page is that I always discover a lot of stuff I’ve never heard of, and it’s presented to me in an interesting way. Thanks for that, as usual.

    …and for putting Strawberry Panic on the list. :) You’re right about every fault the series has, and yet, I love it anyway. It deserves something for addiction value alone…

  3. @mgd – there is no question, my opinions change. Over time, because of the mood I’m in, what I had for dinner, the weather, the stars, etc. I am a human and therefore full of inconsistency. I’ve never pretended anything else. if you check back on my early SP reviews, you will now see that I added a note about my changing opinion. Just to warn people that I am a bundle of changeable and mutually exclusive opinions. lOL

  4. Out of the shows you mentioned that I saw, I’ve got to completely agree with your assessment, especially about Mnemosyne. Anybody who really is into the Yuri anime probably already saw this one, at least twice. I’ve read a lot of bad reviews, however, about Simoun, so I have wonder who exactly is correct about it’s actual quality….

  5. @abstract-alchemist – Everyone is right. People who like it are right and so are people who don’t. If you like the things that Simoun is, then you will like Simoun – if you do not, thenyou will not.

    And plenty of Yuri fans were disappointed with the end of Mnemosyne, because for some reason they thought it was a Yuri anime and were disppointed when Rin turned out to be in love with a guy she’d obviously been in love with. lol

  6. Thanks for you top 10 list! Always a great read! I only started getting hooked into Yuri in May or so this year and I’m proud to say that I’ve watched everything in your list – except for Ikkitousen GG and Koihime Musou! I’m glad Marimite made it to no. 1!! LOVED IT! Oh and on a side note, I found out that the manga Girl Friends has been released by a Taiwanese publisher! YAY! It’s on its way to me! ^_^

  7. Senbei says:

    It’s too bad your list is only 5 places long. I would have added more just to push Candy Boy farther down (or off). Perhaps they didn’t make as many ripples in Yuri fandom, but expanding the criteria beyond popularity: Aria the Origination, Kimi ga Aruji de, Mouryou no Hako, Mai Otome 0 Cipher and that one episode of Shigofumi (and probably Hidamari Sketch x365 if I’d taken the time to watch it) would beat out Candy Boy for me. Not only were the stories far more interesting and the character’s believable (ie. in a cellphone free universe, they could still exist), but they were longer than eight minutes and actually possessed something resembling animation.

  8. Sachiko says:

    Thanks for all your hard work Erica and Happy Holidays to you as well. :) The only thing I haven’t seen on the list is Mnemosyne. I’ve been told not to watch it because of the ending. After reading this and a comment concerning it. I guess it’s worth a watch. If you say it’s #1 it can’t be THAT bad :).

  9. JazzCat says:

    Wasn’t Blue Drop released in 2007?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Agree 100% on Mneosyne and Simoun!

    … Not quite anime, so it doesn’t fit on the list, but I’d like to give a shout out to CUTEY HONEY THE LIVE, whose second half added an actual Yuri subplot with Miki (blue honey) and Mayumi’s relationship

  11. Winterbraid says:

    Haha, I must say I didn`t like Simoun at all. ^-^; The story was a bit too melodramatic for my liking, it didn`t appeal to me; maybe because it was about children squads, which is something that happened for real in Poland. But that wasn`t all; I felt that everyone was behaving like an older person than their visible age, which is something that always squicks me. And in terms of sexuality, they were all genderless to me, so I`d have a hard time classifying this as Yuri, yaoi or whatever. I don`t know, this anime and I simply didn`t get along. Perhaps I was just too dumb to follow it. ^-^;

  12. Anonymous says:

    Lol, Ikkitousen, Mnemosyne and Koihime are Yuri anime… you’re as funny as ever XD

    And the only 2 true Yuri series (CB and SS) are shit and you’d have preferred to not even say a word about them, ROTFL.

    And this should be a Yuri blog, ridicolous XD
    It’s just sad that lots of people think this is a blog about Yuri… if those people knew something of Japanese they would see what *real* blogs about Yuri are.
    And even if you don’t know japanese there are english boards and forums where you can get actual Yuri info, since here you can find just what Erica likes, not all the Yuri.

    (btw, Blue Drop ended in 2007, so why is in the 2008 top ten? XD)

  13. My apologies – you are all right Blue Drop is a 2007 series, and somehow slipped onto my list for the year.

    @Anonymous – Mnemosyne, Ikkitousen and Koihime has at least as much Yuri as Candy Boy, which only has one Yuri character so far, and she is there to supply pervy thrills with her stalking of Kana. When one actually watches the anime, there is thus far almost nothing to suggest that the sisters are “in love” – except the series’ subtitle.

  14. Katherine says:

    Nice list! I love the titles on the English side… and hopefully next year’s Japanese offerings will be better! ^^ (Although I’m still waiting to see how Mouryou no Hako turns out. It beats Candy Boy any day! :) )

  15. Anonymous says:

    Here’s a vote for Simoun entering must-watch lists, and minus vote for Mnemosyne which I found mostly cheesy in the 1.5 episodes I bothered to watch.

    The other Anonymous should consider posting links to those far-superior Japanese Yuri blogs, because the apparently popular ones I’ve ran across have been just plain scary. The level of stalker-esque obsessed LFB fawning was just out of this world, one might say that they were case studies of why otaku aren’t very popular in Japan. Think of the greasiest, slimiest photography enthusiasts you see at cosplay events (either Japanese or non-) writing about their lesbian teengirl fantasies and you’ll be close to my impression (disclaimer: I’m a LFB myself).

    If those sorts of blog are the alternative, I prefer this allegedly un-Yuri one for my Yuri commentary.

  16. @Anon – I read several Yuri Japanese blogs, while they definitely prefer (or at least don’t mind) their girls moe/loli, not all of them are hideously slimy..in print at least. LOL

    Yurina Hibi is the one I currently read the most and occasionally even take recommendations from. His tolerance for service is greater than mine and his ability to see Yuri where there is none is also greater than mine. :-)

    You can find links to some Yuri Japanese blogs on Yuricon’s links page.

  17. michiru42 says:

    @ Erika:

    I’m going to assume “mgd” is supposed to be me.

    Anyway, I know opinions change. I was talking about my own opinion as well as yours; I think Strawberry Panic is a very flawed series. A lot of it is very silly. However, I love it anyway. :) That’s all I meant.

  18. @michiru42 – no, actually. lol mgd commented to the wrong post – her comments when to the Day of the Revolution post previously, and I was commenting on that. :-) I am aware that many people like SP – some because it is silly, some despite it, some because they don’t see that it is. :-D

  19. aereheart says:

    I agree with the Simoun choice, but should it really be near the top of the “Yuri” anime list? Simoun is an excellent anime in every respect, but if Yuri is the main focus it doesn’t score very high. Then again, the year has given us very little material to work with, so I suppose that is all that can be done. ^^;

  20. Jarlath says:

    My-Otome had a lot more Yuri ‘teasing’ than I’d say it had Yuri relationships, especially given Nina’s fixation on Sergei (and the way Arika’s apparent crush on him drove a wedge into the relationship between the two girls).

    Now, for 2009, may I suggest the Ichigo Mashimaro Encore OVA series? The OP has a somewhat tsundere Chika around the ever-irrepressible Miu. :D And it’s horribly cute in a saccharine way.

  21. @Jarlath – Yes, let’s base our 2009 “Best of” on a single OP sequence that is released in 2008! lol How ’bout we actually wait and see what 2009 brings?

  22. Jarlath says:

    I’m not saying that IchiMashi OVA will be the ‘best’ already – but it’s certainly more ‘Yuri’ than most of the spring season promises to be… unless you consider Maria+Holic’s premise to be Yuri.

    I think it’s more a ‘I don’t like men’ situation than ‘I like women’.

  23. JazzCat says:

    I first had high doubts about Candy Boy, but it has grown to be quite a cute, affectionate anime since they introduced the twin’s little sister Shizuku. It drifted quite a bit from Yuri-territory though, which in this case might be for the better. I do feel a bit sorry for Sakuya though, since she genuinely seems like a nice girl to me–aside from her stalking tendencies, that is.

    I can understand why you still included Blue Drop, since that anime was magnificent. I wish we would get more genuine Yuri in future, but the coming season also doesn’t look too good, aside from Maria-sama ga Miteru. Maybe I’ll switch to yaoi. Just kidding!

  24. So, I’m really happy that this blog exists. It helped me find some good Yuri anime. I was beginning to lose hope, haha. Anyway, I have much love for Mnemosyne thanks to you. That’s a great show, even with the obvious parts where Rin isn’t really gay and the whole “I received his *white blood*” thing. That made me lol.
    But now I’m rambling.
    Keep up with the blogging! I appreciate it (:
    -Hannah

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