As always, you are welcome to tell me what I missed in the comments!
10 – Shishunki Seimeitai Vega, (思春期生命体ベガ)
I’m imagining you quirking your head slightly and making a noise that sounds like, “Hurh?” right now. Shishunki Seimeitai Vega, you say, Erica? Whah?
I look at you, meeting your eyes, with a slightly crazed look. Yes, Shishunki Seimeitai Vega! It was the first Yuri manga we’ve had from Hayashiya Shizuru-sensei since Strawberry Shake Sweet. And it had giant monsters! Yes. /nod nod/
I have no idea why this is on the list, except that when it was time to write the list…it totally felt like the right thing to do. The art wasn’t all that, the story wasn’t terribly original and yet, I found it charming and fun. I’m going with my gut and putting this doujinshi-like story of a doujinshi artist on the list at #9.
8 – Strange Babies (ストレンジベイビーズ)
The story that began in Black Yagi to Gekiyaku Madeline (ブラックヤギーと劇薬まどれーぬ), just got weirder and less comfortable as it went on, but there is no doubt in my mind that I’m putting Ohsawa Yayoi’s series here because it starred a girl who wore a goat head. Full stop. You just can’t beat that.
Two completely different stories about women in solid, stable and still, strangely goofy, relationships. Good reading and warm fuzzies all around.
Now we’re getting to the hard part…
2013 was a huge year for English-reading Morinaga Milk fans as Seven Seas offered up not one, but two collections of her work from both Futabasha and Ichinjinsha. Her moe art and realistic stories of love make her work a hit with readers of all kinds. And Seven Seas has already promised more.
You should see me working on these lists, switching titles around, trying to for optimum presentation. Positions 4-2 were all so close in the running, they might as well have been tied. Even now, I’m waffling. So #4, #3 and #2 are all pretty much at the same level for me.
I unabashedly love Takemiya Jin-sensei’s work. One of my high points for 2013 was being able to interview her for Okazu. Her stories ring true, her characters have the kind of strength of self and honesty that I can’t get enough of, but it doesn’t mean they’re paladins. Snark runs high in her work. Satomi telling Ayuna to take her self-loathing and looking down on her and get lost was a highlight of my reading year. ^_^
Torino Shino’s series was unexpected. It never did what it seemed like it was going to do, from beginning to end. I’m always happiest to see Yuri in Josei stories, where it is less of a fetish and more like life. I never gave up hope that this story would leave me with a smile and sure enough, that’s what it did. It could have ended in a dozen ways, but the way it chose was a celebration of love, of family, no matter how unconventional, and the girl deserved the girl she got, which is why Ohana Holoholo makes it on to my Top Ten manga list for the year. ^_^
2 – Aoi Hana (青い花)
Aoi Hana took us on a long ride and when it ended, I wasn’t sure that ride was really over. The reason this manga makes it so high on the list is not just that Fumi is the character I had always wanted, or that it had the ending so many fans wanted. The reason I ultimately find this series to be so good were the inconsistencies, the unanswered questions…the potholes in the road. I don’t actually consider the ending a happy ending, I consider it a possible happy beginning. Who knows what time will bring Fumi and Akira? I sure don’t. There may not be happily ever after and that intrigues me – and that is why Shimura Takako’s Aoi Hana manga is on this list. ^_^
I’ve been waiting to write this list for many weeks for this moment. ^_^ I’m thrilled to say that my Number 1 Yuri Manga of 2013 is….
I love Amano Shuninta’s “lesbian drama” series. I love Ruki having basically no idea about love. I love Sachi for knowing too much. I love every character (except Fueko) and I want Asuna to find someone nice. I love Maasa’s personality, and I enjoy not particularly liking Remia and being annoyed at Meru. No one is unbelievable except in totally believable ways. You can imagine yourself, sitting at a bar, or a cafe and hearing these characters talking just near you.
This series has the rare honor of making it to a third volume, certainly the best Comic Yuri Hime series to have done so.
For great characters in realistic situations, and a refreshingly adult story, my Top Yuri Manga of 2013 is Amano Shuninta’s Watashi no Sekai o Kousei Suru Chiri no You na. ^_^
Next up, the wacky, devil-may-care Top Ten Yuri Anything list. ^_^