Unless you’re a brand new reader, I don’t think anything on this list will surprise you. Here’s my choices for Top Ten Yuri Manga of 2008:
5) Strawberry Panic – The manga was stoopid and silly and the light novels were *hysterical.* The manga series was killed in Japan, and the light novels died an equally ignominious death here in the US, but they gave us all something to talk about – and were the start of my Yuri military force. lol For using more than one private helicopter in a single volume, and putting a helipad on the top of the tower in St. Spica *high school*, I graciously give the number five position to the literary portion of the Strawberry Panic franchise.
4) S.S. Astro – It was yet another 4-koma with yet another Yuri-fetishist character. But it was not about school kids and their names were not cleverly thematic and the Yuri character was a suit- and glasses-wearing adult woman. Score. All of that *and* we get to welcome a new publisher to the list! Thanks Yen Press – give us more S.S. Astro!
3) Kashimashi ~ Girl Meets Girl – As a story, it was flawed in any number of ways. As an adaptation, it was nearly perfect. For not turning Hazumu back into a guy and actually having a resolution, the final volumes of Seven Seas’ translation of Kashimashi makes the top five of the year handily.
2) Hayate x Blade – I want to apologize, because this series has made one of my top ten lists I think for every year since I started doing them. But this year is different! Hayate x Blade is making the English language portion of the list, so how about that? I love this series and you’re all just gonna have to deal with me telling you over and over and over how good it is, so there. Seven Seas comes in with their third book on the list at number 2 for 2008.
1) Maka-Maka – Maybe this does surprise you. In a way, it surprises me. The story is totally “PWP.” The characters are surprisingly real and therefore, kind of annoying. lol But Media Blasters did such a spectacular job of reproducing the book that after reading both volumes I still think I like the English editions slightly more than the originals. My number one English-language Yuri manga of 2008 is Maka-Maka.
5) Girl Friends and Rakuen Jouken – While these two manga are written for completely different audiences, they have quite a lot in common. Both of them deal with “coming out”s of a sort; Girl Friends in a high school setting, Rakuen no Jouken in adult life. In every case, the story is driven by a woman coming to understand her feelings for another woman. In every case, the emotions feel totally honest to this reader. Because of this, they both make my number five.
4) Clover – I know that no one is paying any attention to Otsu Hiyori’s work. And I know that my words will not suddenly catapult this book to superstar status, but by god, if you want to read Yuri that does not suck AND has a happy ending, buy this damn book!
3) Octave – Unlike Clover, Octave is getting a lot of press (probably because it’s at least partially scanlated already.) Another example of a story that is not about schoolgirls, it touches on some very reasonable issues about sexuality and sex, it’s surprisingly adult and extremely well written. It’s a genuine pleasure to add Octave to the top five this year and here’s hoping that I’ll be able to do the same next year.
2) Sasamekikoto – Yeah, it’s back to schoolgirls again, but you know, it’s funny. Laugh Out Loud funny. And sweet, in a really annoying way. And touching in a really touching way. Above all, Sasamekikoto is a conglomeration of just about every possible Yuri trope all at once and it works. Waiting for Ushio and Sumi to get it together and get together is such pleasant agony. It’s a clear shot at the number two slot for this series.
1) – No surprises here. I told you right from my very first glimpse that this would be my number one Yuri manga series of the year. And nothing I saw convinced me otherwise. The writing is stellar, the art is captivating, the story is compelling, raw, horrible and beautiful. I have never read anything like it and probably never will again. Absolutely, positively the numer one Yuri Manga of 2008 in any language is Nakamura Ching’s Gunjou.
As always, you can find all the English manga listed here and many other titles available on the Yuricon Shop, where your support nabs you great Yuri. ;-)
Check back in a few days for my Top Ten Yuri of the year!