Making this list this year was hard. Really hard. Not a lot of good Yuri anime was released this year, heck, not a lot of good anime was released this year. As a result, I am drawing on Fandom interests for a number of these…so don’t be surprised to see stuff on here where the Yuri primarily exists in Fans’ heads.
I’m combining Japanese and English titles once again, because this is me flailing to put together ten titles at all.
Honorable Mention) K-ON! (Japanese) – I almost wish this series actually had some Yuri in the anime other than fan obsession, because it was, honestly, one of the two best anime I watched all year and I cannot wait to get it in 2011. So, let it be known that if this had genuinely had Yuri, this would be my #2 choice for the year.
10) So Ra No Wo To/Strike Witches 2nd Season (Japanese/English) – Again, most of the Yuri in these series is in fans’ heads, with a teeny weeny little bit of “hint” here and there through the animes. Neither of these held any appeal to me, but the folks that liked them liked the *lots.* Fans are still popping out work based on these two series which combine military and moe fetishes for a successful campaign to gain fans’ discretionary income.
9) Shattered Angels (English) – Kaishaku’s a lame-ass, but Kaon and Himiko get the ending Chikane and Himeko don’t. QED. I still wish we had the extras, though.
8) Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne (English) – I loved this series, despite (or perhaps because of) the ridiculously intense levels of violence and ill-conceived plot. I just loved everything about it. From the BDSM motif, to the forays into the metaphysical and religious imagery and being able to watch Rin com back from death over and over again, I just loved it.
7) Hidamari Sketch 365 (English) – I still would have been happier if Hiro and Sae were presented as an actual couple, so poor Hiro didn’t have to suffer in silence at Sae’s cluelessness, but oh well. In every other way, this is another cute, moe series.
6) Ikkitousen Dragon Destiny/Shin Koihime Musou Otome Tairan (English) – Both these series do something idiotic – they turn the great heroes of the Chinese epic Romance of the Three Kingdoms into buxom women, then basically wallow in service with occasional nods to the original. In a lot of ways, I prefer Ikkitousen to Otome Tairan. Although Otome Tairan had more actual straightforward Yuri, Ikkitousen has more actual straightforward people beating the crap out of one another, which I prefer. But they both had some Yuri and both had busty Kanu Unchous, and so for that reason I’ve lumped them together.
5) Maria Watches Over Us, Season 4 (English) – Again, low on Yuri, except in Fan’s heads, but because I love Yumi and Yumi loves Touko, I love Touko. And I love Touko and Yumi as soeur. So, #5.
4) Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Movie the 1st (Japanese and English) – I haven’t even seen it yet, but Fate x Nanoha = win. Even if that ‘x’ stands for “colorful fights where they beat the crap out of each other.”
3) CANAAN (English) – Maria and Canaan love each other, but they aren’t going to live happily ever after in an action story like this. Nonetheless, totally worth any Yuri fan’s time, unless all you like is romance.
2) Blue Drop (English) – Oh, look, a series with actual Yuri on this list! Sentai Filmworks put this out in a season set just so we could get a single freaking kiss on this list, I swear. ^_^; This series of lesbian aliens and Japanese schoolgirls scratches a whole lotta itches, from CGI spaceship fetishes to us fanfic writers. It’s a great story in what was probably the last good series Yoshitomo Akihito will ever do.
How well do you know me? Do you know what I’m going to name the best Yuri Anime of 2010? Can you guess?
If you’ve talked to me any time in the last 40+ weeks, you’ll know the answer.
My vote for the best anime overall this year is….
1) Heartcatch PreCure (Japanese) – Yes, the Yuri is mostly in fans’ heads. I am one of those fans and in my head Tsubomi still has a crush on Itsuki and Tsukikage Yuri is seeing Erika’s sister Momoko during the day and had a torrid affair with Dark Cure as Cure Moonlight. And there is nothing you can say to make me think otherwise. :-) Aside from that, this delightful magical girl series has girls that punch and kick the bad guys and are not any less feminine for doing so. Yuri (the character) is cool and competent, the team has no one leader – they all have their strengths and weaknesses – and in general, this has been an amazingly fun series, with great characters, sticky music and all the things I look for in a magical girl series.
So there we are – once again, no matter how much the boys’ series load up on Yuri, it’s the series for girls’ that capture my heart. ^_^