My Top Ten Yuri of 2010 is always an odd list. I don’t hesitate to include people, series, companies and random things that look shiny. But there is a reason for this. Unlike the Top Ten Manga and the Top Ten Anime Lists, this list is a look back at the year as a whole. Not just the *whats* that stood out, but the *who* and where. So, here we go, here’s my List of Top Shiny Yuri Things of 2010!
10) The editors and publishers of Yuri Hime, Comic High, Tsubomi, Mangatime Kirara (and all of its derivative titles), Nakayoshi, Ciao, Ribon, IKKI, Rakuen Le Paradise, Afternoon, Feel Young, and all the many other magazines that dared run Yuri stories.
I know how unglamorous being an editor is. The artists get all the chicks, but the editors labor to make sure that that manuscript makes sense, looks good and gets in on time. And publishers…well no one cares about them, except for when it’s time to write a check. But. Look at the list – it’s long. It’s not one magazine, or a handful- there’s a line of editors and publishers who are giving decent creators a chance to tell decent stories. And I thank them from the bottom of my heart for that. With Bill 156 looming, the days ahead may be a bit darker for these magazines and these editors, so let’s show them that we noticed – and that they are appreciated.
9) Maria-sama ga Miteru Live-Action Movie
There’s always a risk in taking a beloved manga or anime story and bringing it to live action. Will real people hold up to the ideal in our heads? Well, even going into this with really high ideals, I totally think this movie held up. The characters were charming, and we really, really wanted Yumi and Sachiko to get together. I’ll be buying this as soon as it comes out on DVD to relive the squeaky floors and one boom mic production of a story I’ve come to love. The fact that I got to experience this in the theater in Japan with my dear friends Bruce and Komatsu-san, and that I got to hang with my Commanding Officer Ana, Rica and Takami (AND meet new friends) was by far and away the capping moment of my year. So, of course this movie makes my Top Ten list!
8) Shoujo Magazine Yuri
I’m still a bit gobsmacked about this. ALL three of the top-selling shoujo magazines. All of them running Yuri series, and in two cases, overtly Yuri. Ribon magazine went so far as to label the story Yuri on the obi, so you couldn’t get the wrong idea.
This is so remarkable a thing, it just had to make my Top Ten list for the Year….
I quite seriously thought about making this my top entry for the year. My time spent on Twitter has been indescribably awesome. I’m able to talk with people around the world – including folks in the manga and anime industries on both sides of the ocean. I’ve made great friends, have great conversations and it is mostly due to Twitter that the next entry is on this list. ^_^ Being able to follow Yuri Mangaka has taught me a lot about them, their work and their daily life. Being able to talk *with* them is priceless. There’s no doubt in my mind that my life in Yuri has been significantly improved by this particular networking platform.
6) Heartcatch PreCure
This series has recaptured all the qualities I want in magical girl anime – the color-coded clothing choices, the goofy personalities, the over-the-top bad guys, the twenty-minute attacks…and the Yuri we make up in our heads that is nonetheless “obvious.” ^_^ For Tsubomi’s crush on Itsuki and even more for Dark and Yuri’s sizzling across-the-field glare, and even *more* because watching the Yuri mangaka talk about this series on Twitter every weekend is hilarious, Heartcatch makes it easily onto this year’s list.
5) Doujinshi Artists Gone Pro
I’ve mentioned this about, oh a zillion times, but let me say it again – 2010 is the year that all of the doujinshi artists I liked best made the pros. There are two more doujinshi artists I’d really like to see get there, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed. From Jesus Drug, Raku-gun and Girlish to Circles UKOZ and Sakuraike, magazines and anthologies I get now include many of the artists I’ve followed and collected for years. Here’s looking to 2011 and seeing even more artists I think are doing work that pushes the boundaries of what “Yuri” is and what makes for great reading, going Pro.
4) Ame-iro Kouchakan Kandan
This story was a late addition to the list. Late as in, “I only read the most recent chapter from the new Yuri Hime volume last night.” ^_^ But what I read made up my mind for me. Sarasa and Seriho have been dancing around one another and until this moment we weren’t *really* sure what Seriho’s feeling were. Now we know. And now, this delightful story in which nothing happens, while we sit and sip our tea, makes it on to my number 4 spot for the year.
Take a deep breath….here we go for my Top 3 Yuri anythings of the year! If you’ve been paying attention, they probably won’t come as much of a surprise. (Are they ever?)
3) Nobara no Mori no Otome-tachi
I’ve talked about this series a lot in the last few months. It’s melodramatic and overwrought. Not sexual at all, but focusing strictly on the romantic, this story nonetheless makes it a little warm in the room. I’ve called it the child of Strawberry Panic! and Maria-sama ga Miteru, with Aunts Himitsu no Hanazono and Takarazuka, this series is pretty much the primer for “Yuri” for the next generation. I adore it, because it’s everything all at once, but played with delicacy. Where SP stole accessories from its older sisters’ closets and flagrantly paraded them around, this series asks nicely to borrow a piece or two to make her look a little more grown up. This series is something I follow monthly, which is a good indication that I consider it one of the best Yuri series of the year.
Another series I follow monthly, Gunjo is something that borrows nothing from anyone, but forges its own path, sometimes carving its way by hand, clawing and fighting. There is no room in this story for romance, but the desire to survive and yes, love, fills every page. This story is filled with darkness, made darker by the brief moments of light, but I consider each and every chapter to be a profound reading experience.
Expect to hear about this series for at least one more year. My number 2 series of the year is Gunjo.
As with Gunjo last year, the only reason this manga did not make it onto the Yuri Manga List is because it is not yet collected. Another go-to series for me, as soon as the magazine arrives at the store, this sweet tale of two women who consider themselves married, warms my heart every time. It’s silly, it’s sweet, it’s like a drop of hand-whipped cream on a delicious Yuri torte. For teaching lessons about lesbian couples to an audience that doesn’t much care, in the most charming of all possible ways, and for speaking for real women in a way that is 100% real, Minamoto Hisanari’s Fu~Fu is my #1 Yuri for 2010.
Before we finish up this list, I want to say thank you to all of you you. You, the readers of Okazu are, without a doubt the absolutely best audience anyone could ever ask for. I appreciate your corrections, your opinions, your absolutely hilarious contributions to my ridiculous contests, your praise, your criticism, your thoughts and your support over the years. And this year, particularly, your generosity has been…overwhelming.
*You* are truly my top Yuri anything of 2010.