Top Ten Yuri Anime of 2013

December 28th, 2013

Taking a break from news this week, to start on my year-end lists. 2013 was not a strong Yuri anime season, and is basically a “oh look it’s out in English” year from last year. So, you could just go and read the 2012 version of this list over again. ^_^ But that’s not fair, I owe you a list and by gum, I’m going to find stuff to say, darn it!  It’s imperative you have the chance to be angry at me at this time of year for not noticing something you liked.  Go ahead and hit me with your Top Ten in the comments. For me, this year “Top” means, “I can squeeze it on this list, phew”. ^_^

Tied for 10  - Arpeggio of Blue Steel,  My Little Pony and Fate/Zero,  Kill la Kill, Attack on Titan, Freezing Vibration, Vividred Operation  and any other “Snatches of Yuri” we have missed here on Okazu.

A college professor of mine, in regards to the refinements made by classical Greek sculptors and architects, once remarked “If you know it’s there, you can say you see it.” In regards to Yuri in anime, I say to you, “If you see it…it’s there.”

Vividred and Fate/Zero especially, were selling the Yuri heavily through goods when I was in Japan.

6 - Bodacious Space Pirates (Part 1 and Part 2)

This was excellent and I’ve talked it to death, but if you are new to Okazu, let me reassure you that, as space opera goes, this series was everything we could have wanted it to be. This year it became available on DVD, Blu-Ray and is still available to watch legally, for free (with regional restrictions) on Crunchyroll. This series was so good that, not only am I looking forward to the movie, I’m toying with the idea of flying to Japan to see it when it comes out. It is *that* good. ^_^

5 – Serial Experiments Lain

This series was more interesting now that it’s old and out of date than when it was when it was new and talking about a yet-unknown future. I’m still on the fence about Alice and Lain, but I could see potential, given time and opportunity. Having a chance to rewatch this series really got me thinking about our  requirements for a Yuri couple these days. If there’s anything that has radically altered in the last decade, it is this – we expect our couples to be a couple, not a hint of a couple. That’s a pretty huge sea change, if you think about it.

4 - Psycho-Pass

Technically, this series is a “Snatches of Yuri” series, since the Yuri relationship was not much more than an aside. But in the middle of intense psychological drama, horror and violence – the lesbian couple live happily ever after. That counts for a lot in my book. The series is coming out on DVD and Blu-ray in English next year, and is still available to watch free, legally (with regional restrictions) on Funimation.

And now we roll up our sleeves….and talk about amazing, fabulous series that we can’t stop talking about.

swb3 - Aoi Hana

Aoi Hana/Sweet Blue Flowers was the epitome of the shoujo Yuri story. It starts off as a tale of an “S” relationship, but quickly segues into an honest – and therefore, sometimes painful – tale of growing up, falling in love and growing up some more.

In Fumi, we finally found the role model we’d always wanted when we were young and in Aoi Hana we, at last, have the perfect example of a genre romance Yuri anime, sans parody elements.  Aoi Hana is the Yuri anime we were all waiting for…so we could move past it to something even more amazing.

In 2013 everything old was new again, as RightStuf, Viki and AnimeSols all scrambled to bring us some of the finest classic shoujo anime that has ever been created.

2 - Rose of Versailles

Along with Princess Knight, Rose of Versailles is revered among Yuri fans, not for the small snigglings of Yuri within the story, but for the archetype of the Girl Prince, whom we have adored, desired and desired to be since she arrived.

We fully understand the adoration laid at Oscar’s feet by the ladies of the French court, although we ourselves are more like Rosalie, unable to express our interest. And who among us has not thought how different the ending of the series might have been if Oscar and Marie Antoinette had been lovers? ^_^

It’s still one of the very hardest things for me to watch, but compelling drama and a dashing Girl Prince make Rose of Versailles my #2 for the year.

Probably not for the first time, we honor Riyoko Ikeda with a 1-2 combination this year. Okazu’s #1 Yuri Anime of 2013 is:

dbthumbDear Brother, by Riyoko Ikeda. (Set 1 and Set 2)

This year Anime Sols not only gave us the chance to watch this cracktastic shoujo drama  for free, legally (with region restrictions), but they gave us a chance to get it out on DVD…and more than 200 of us heeded the call, so that Sets 1 and 2 will be available  - for ourselves…and to those people who want it later. Set 2 was especially amazing as, in conjunction with Anime Sols double-up weekend, it was fully funded in less than 72 hours.  As a sign that the western anime audience is ready, willing and able to support decent anime with Yuri themes, I name Dear Brother this year’s top Yuri anime. (Japanese anime industry, we are *so* ready for you to swing back away from moe. Really ready. Any day now.)

2014 is already primed with Sailor Moon and Sakura Trick coming in this winter. Here’s hoping for a great 2014 for Yuri!

3 Responses

  1. Greg Carter says:

    Excellent list!

    On my list, I would have to put Aoi Hana as #1. The historical significance of Dear Brother and Rose of Versailles is outweighed by the fact the historical-ness shows. If you know what I mean.

    Also would have to add Non Non Biyori in there because of Hotarun and Koma-chan. Hotaru-chan gets sparkles and/or flat out hearts in her eyes every time she sees Koma-chan. It’s just a fifth-grader’s senpai-worship but it is so darned cute. And who knows when they grow up… But I just love this series.

    And I’d have to put Madoka: Rebellion in there somewhere, if not the series. SxK is a thing in this movie. (And recent merchandise apparently proves it’s canon.) Even though Madoka and Homura spend a lot of naked time together in the series credits and finale, they are not presented as couple-y as Sayaka and Kyouko in the third movie. It’s brief but significant. At least through my yuri-goggles. Even if it’s pandering to the fans to sell merchandise, I’m one of those fans so go ahead… pander to me. ^_^

  2. Arekusu says:

    Licensing of anime on this side of the pond is good, but without more coming out it is a bit…. But, 2014 looks awesome already. In addition to the two that you mentioned, Saki second season looks promising in terms of yuri, and in Spring we will have Akuma no Riddle.
    Just wondering how many years we will have to wait after these series.

  3. MicroBry says:

    I agree with Greg on those additions. For my list I’d have to add at least two more (I may be forgetting others, I’d need to go through my list again):

    Kin-Iro Mosaic: this one’s really worth checking at least the first episode out, an anime-original prologue that sets things up for the rest of the series. In a different era, this would have been total shoujo manga material (the art style feels very “Nakayoshi” to me at times, somehow), and there’s nothing remotely crass or particularly fan-servicey about this sweet little series. I think it has very broad appeal, even if the core of the series is more typical 4-koma high school stuff with no real progression of any plot, with a bit of the story’s little pokes at both anglophiles–refreshingly the gaijin characters are all British in this series, even if it doesn’t come really across in their spoken English–and Japanophiles (usually accurate, though sometimes it falls into the trap itself–but not as much as I’d expected). There are two very obvious pairings in this series, although one of the two is more one-sided, the main couple, Alice and Shinobu, are quite head over heels for each other. The finale is something to see, too, if you get to it, a full-on musical and parody of Disney films and fairy tales.

    Yuyushiki: this was based on a manga by a former Lucky Star doujinshi artist, and predictably the main butch-ish character/harem lead Yui is very Kagami-like, for better or worse. While most of the other main characters are quite overtly interested in her, she clearly, at least at this point in her life, only sees them as friends, and doesn’t really appreciate when she is pushed too far outside her comfort zone, though she generally laughs it off. The relationship between her and Yukari is mostly rather sweet (there’s a clear bit of favoritism toward her from Yui there, and Yuzuko’s own relationship with the two is never really fully explained, other than she appears to have joined them in junior high), while Yuzuko is the boke to Yui’s tsukkomi. Yuzuko is generally the one that pushes too far, kind of like Mio in Ichigo Marshmallow or Tomo in Azumanga Daiou, though Yukari is more of a stealth trouble-maker. Overall the series is pretty goofy fun, with a sort of improvisational feel at times, though the “two gay kids almost constantly teasing a (probably) straight friend” theme may be a bit overbearing at times.

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