Last week, I offered up a number of Yuri(ish) anime gift ideas for you, your best friend, your honey or someone in the family that just gives off those kind of vibes and you’re pretty sure that they are…an otaku.
This week, we take a look at some Yuri(ish) manga that will make great presents for the Yuri fan in your life and convenient links to assist you in purchasing them. ^_^
K-On! – Tops on this year’s list is a 4-koma that is light-hearted fun.If you really love that person, cough up the yen for the Houkago Tea Time II music collection, so they can bop along while reading.
Who this is for: Anyone who likes comic strips, gag comics, moe fans, young women in a band, people who need some motivation to do something with their lives and people who are feeling depressed.
Hayate x Blade Omnibus – I have been writing about this series obsessively since 2004. If you have not yet taken the plunge, holiday wishlists are made for exactly this kind of thing. If you already are a true believer, now’s a great time to convert a friend! There are two Omnibus volumes (V1 is on the left, here’s a link to the second omnibus, which is due out in 2011). Each omnibus contains three volumes of manga, so it’s like $4/volume value.
Who this is for: Action-comedy fans (y’know, like Jackie Chan or Stephen Chow fans,) fans of physical comedy, fans of women who kick ass and fans of smart writing.
Strawberry Panic Omnibus – All that stuff above (since 2004, obsessively, get it already…) I wrote about Hayate holds true for this omnibus too. This is silly in a totally different way and has some sort of romantic bits. It’s got all the bells and whistles one comes to expect from “schoolgirl” Yuri. This omnibus edition is the entire story as it was published in Japan, two volumes of manga and extra chapters that never got collected when the series was stopped.
Who this is for: Romantics, Guys who secretly want to know what it’s like in girls’ schools, but they only want to know the sexy, romantic bits. Perfect for the FanBoy in your life.
Jormungand – Hard-edged action and screwball dark humor. A perfect combination. If they made this manga into a live-action movie, Jean Reno would be in it. The stories don’t make sense, but anyone reading this series for the story has badly missed the point. It’s about people killing people with guns. And having a good time doing it.
Who this is for: Anyone you know who doesn’t ever turn off Spike TV and/or can sit and watch any of Steven Segal’s last three movies.
Silent Mobius – Old school sci-fi, for the win. Tough ladies with extraordinary powers, living in extraordinary times, doing extraordinary things…and blowing the bad guys away with a collective competence that’s sexy in its own right. This is old school manga in every way – art, story, setting – which means you get adult women, hardcore scifi and fantasy, adult relationships and an actual story.
Who this is for: Fans of old-school manga or scifi, people who are aggressively uninterested in moe. This series is a little longer than most – 12 volumes – so it’s good for someone who wants something meaty that won’t end after a volume or two.
Azumanga Daioh– This is pretty much the one that set the standard for 4-koma here in the west. It’s a school life comedy with a teeny little bit of drama allowed to seep into the cracks for stability. The idiot group has been the benchmark for many a slice-of-life story on these shores, but Osaka trumps them all with her non-sequitors of genius, Saki with her really cool coolness, Tomo with her out of control annoyingness, Chiyo with her adorable adorableness, etc. Look, it’s just the best one. Get it. There. The entire story complete in one volume.
Who this is for: People who read the Sunday comics but don’t “get” why you like manga, and anyone who likes to snort liquid out their nose.
Gunsmith Cats Burst – Guns, cars and women are the trifecta that make up all of the Gunsmith Cats properties. The stories are full of action and firearms, pretty women doing ugly things, good guys, bad guys and screaming car chases in and around Chicago. Drugs, bad woman, bad men, money laundering wrapped in the story of the life of a bad-ass bounty hunter, the youthful Rally Vincent. This 5-volume set won’t set you back a lot, but it packs a solid punch.
Who this is for: Anyone who likes action, action, action. Gun fanatics, car fanatics, Evil Psycho Lesbian fanatics and people who like movies like The French Connection.
Yotsuba – This series is ongoing, but any volume can be read pretty much as a stand alone. These are the daily life/adventures of a four-year old, her laid back Dad, her neighbors, her Dad’s coworkers, random strangers, animals and bugs. Every day brings something new, because Yotsuba’s just that kind of girl. Yuri is realllllllllly thin – just a lot of us think Asagi and Torako are a couple. So no worries giving this to a kid.
Who this is for: Just about anyone. As long as they like slice-of-life with a “wacky” flavoring, there’s just about no one who couldn’t read and enjoy this. Give it to your non-manga friends to test if they are broken or not. ^_^
Sunshine Sketch – Another slice-of-life, this time about girls who live at a dorm and attend a school for art. The Yuri’s a little thin here too – mostly by implication and a very little bit of one-sided crushiness.
The story tends to stick with school-year calendar moments, (you know, sports festival, school festival, end of semester, New Year, etc, etc…) and is formulaic, but fun. Don’t read this right on top of Azumanga Daioh or K-ON!, it’ll all start to feel the same. This is ongoing, but since there’s no real content, you can gift just about any volume and it’ll read just like any other. If they like it, there’s more gifts in their future!
Who this is for: Same audience as K-On! or Azumanga Daioh or people who want something light to read that won’t stress them out.
Bonus Japanese Titles:
Gunjo – What can I say about this series that I haven’t already? It’s dark, in a totally nothing-to-do-with-dystopia way. The love here is brutal, unhealthy, full of violence and rage. It’s Tough Love and it isn’t getting any easier. Moments of tenderness punctuate some of the most abusive manga I’ve ever enjoyed. This is emotion at its rawest.
Who this is for: I’m not sure – I guess anyone like me. Or folks who like or can handle a dark story, a violent story, knowing that it’s written and drawn by someone who is actively driving the story to an end. This could make an interesting gift for a True Crime fan in your life (as long as they read Japanese.)
Comic Yuri Hime – You read the scanlations, you buy the collected volumes – why not consider getting a subscription to the magazine itself?
There’s a number of options to get a subscription – if you place orders with Amazon.co.jp, BK1 or another vendor regularly, you might want to just go ahead and add this to your orders.
If you live near a biggish city, check to see if there is a Sanseido, Asahiya, Kinokuniya or other Japanese book chain near you. Most of these will either provide subscription services or place serials on special order for you. (I’ve also found that when they are ordering one for me, they also order another copy for the shelves, so you’re making it possible for someone else to get it!) And there’s always J-List’s subscription service (which still lists Yuri Hime as quarterly, but I’ve told Peter it’s gone bi-monthly. You might want to mention that if you plan on going through them.)
I have been considering opening up a subscription service on my own, but I fear it would be quite expensive for you. One way or another, you’d have to pay the cost of the magazine, the shipping from Japan, the shipping from me to you. I am not a wholesaler or bookstore, so it would be unlikely to be cheaper than existing options – and could very well run more. Maybe if I can figure out a way to get them shipped much cheaper. I’ll think about it. (Creative and constructive ideas are welcome.)
Who this is for: People who love Yuri and want to see it prosper!
Last, but not least, please remember that these are my opinions and therefore worth exactly what you paid for them. Daniella Orihuela-Gruber is collecting all of the Great Manga Gift Guide articles together on her blog, or you can follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #gmgg. (Feel free to send her your own Great Manga Gift Guides, too and be part of the fun!)
Thanks again to everyone who contributed to this list and to all of you for being Great Yuri Manga Fans!