Top Ten Yuri of 2013

December 31st, 2013

ILYjpgsmAs the clock ticks down on 2013 (a year that was, for me, both excellent and terrible), we find ourselves looking back at the people, companies and random things of note that made up our Yuri Year. Here’s my Top Ten Yuri …People, Companies and Random Things… of 2013

10 – Okazu Readers

Traditionally, I start each year’s final list thanking you, Okazu readers and Yuri fans everywhere. This is not affectation, I really mean it! Without you reading, I’d be writing this to an empty room. Without your passion for buying, watching, reading Yuri, we’d have little to say. Without your news tips, your opinions, your corrections, your guest reviews, your support, Okazu would not be what it is – the oldest and most comprehensive Yuri blog in the world.

Once again, from the bottom of my heart, I say You deserve to be on the Top Ten List for 2013.

9 – Crunchyroll

I don’t give much love to Crunchyroll, which isn’t fair. It had a few years of being of generally low quality, but with higher profile, more investment and better project management, it has improved considerably since the early days. (The first one of you who mentions how it used to be something else, loses all commenting privileges for 2014. Move on already. That was years ago, sheesh.)

But you know, they have shown themselves to be very open to acquiring Yuri and LGBTQ-friendly anime and they are now moving forward with manga. I’m hoping that our shared ideal of the “manga library” we all want, to be able to click into and read lots of manga from lots of publishers, may one day be a reality. For giving it a try, CR makes #9.

8 – Funimation

Way back in the day, ADV was my go-to company for anime that had lesbian characters. Then Geneon picked up the baton. Now as I look back at my reviews for the past year, an awful lot of the anime have links back to Funimation.com. Thanks to Funimation, we have free, legal (with regional restrictions) anime for not-children that rather often includes lesbians. I’ll take it!

7 – One Peace Books

I know I am not alone in saying that I cannot wait for One Peace to bring out Sasamekikoto as Whispered Words. Woot. Double woot even. How cool to have a new publisher on the scene willing to invest in Yuri. More importantly, a publisher looking for decent stuff that might actually sell, instead of obscure junky titles no one wants, so they can say, “Look, we tried and you didn’t buy it” and we’d reply, “No, you didn’t. No one wanted Tori Koro. No one except Erica has ever heard of it. Try for real.” ^_^;

Tied for 5 – Ichijinsha, Shinsokan, Hobunsha and Futabasha

You may not really know these names, but you should For one thing, you need to know them to be able to shop for Yuri in Japan. These publishers have continued to publish Yuri manga that we want to read, by artists we want to support. Comic Yuri Hime and Pure Yuri Anthology Hirari are still with us and with their continued presence, Yuri the genre gets actual space on the manga store bookshelves.

4 – Seven Seas

The folks at Seven Seas continue to invest in Yuri, we continue to invest right back. It’s a win-win on all sides. They’ve got a lock on the Morinaga Milk pipeline and with luck we’ll see them expand on Yuri in the future. For putting out two Milk manga collections this year, they absolutely deserve a spot on the list!

♪ People. People who need Yuri need People. ♪  The people who create stuff we want to read and watch and obsess about….

hshiz3 – Hayashiya Shizuru

Hayate x Blade is over, long live Hayate x Blade Nyan! All hail Vegako!

Look, it’s just simple, Hayashiya-sensei draws stuff I want to read. You could totally read Hayate x Blade and never see Yuri in it. I can’t. ^_^ And with Shishunki Seimeitai Vega, we got her back in the 100% Yuri story for a bit. Any year I can put Hayashiya-sensei on this list is a good year. I declare 2013 to have been a good year, dammit. ^_^

 

931500c2347986448a0b2b0b2d666ca12 – Shimura Takako

Aoi Hana completed a fabulous 8-volume run after a spectacular tie-in event last year and and release of the anime in English this year. Hourou Musukou is winding down, but the manga is being translated into English. It was a terrific year for lovers of Shimura-sensei’s work and for that I award her the #2 spot on this list.

 

This year, my top honor for mover and shaker in Yuri goes to…

arton114281 – Riyoko Ikeda

The Goddess of Manga, whose skills and influence in Shoujo and Josei rivals that of Tezuka and whose influence in Yuri surpasses his. This year, her masterwork Rose of Versailles received a lovely release and amazingly we also were able to participate in the release of her classic Oniisama E, Dear Brother.

For Lady Oscar Francois De Jarjeyes, Saint-Juste and Claudine, (whom I hope one day you will all get to meet) Riyoko Ikeda-sensei is this years #1 on my Top Ten Yuri List.

I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous 2014. Happy New Yuri Year!

P.S. – Yes, I know there’s no #6. Futabasha and Hobunsha would be 6 and Ichijinsha and Shinshokan would be 5, if I split them up. But I didn’t. ^_^

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15 Responses

  1. liz says:

    I pre ordered Whispered Words for Christmas. Thank you so much for bring so many great Yuri series to light. This list is perfect! So, I just wanted to thank you for a great year and I look forward to all the awesome reviews 2014 will bring.

  2. re: #5 I found http://www.ichijinsha.co.jp/, and http://houbunsha.co.jp/, but I’m having a hard time finding the others. Anyway, informative as always!

    orz

  3. God I love Ichijinsha, not for their Yuri (I read surprisingly little Yuri actually) but I really do love the fantasy and shojo they put out, especially in Zero Sum. Lots of it is just fluff but dammit it’s fun fluff, rather sad that they don’t seem to have an especially strong relationship with any US publisher the way some companies do but I’m going to hope more of their stuff gets licensed next year!

    (and looking at the comments, oh god yes are Japanese manga websites hard to navigate, I’ve tried to look through them a few times to find out publishing dates and had to give up, I was going in just too many circles to make it worth my time)

    • I usually just check the book or magazine on Amazon JP, where the pub date is listed plainly.

      • handy! Do you have a “buying Yuri 101 FAQ” somewhere?

        • I’ve written about it a number of times, but I don’t keep a specific guide, since bookstores and websites change. Here’s the most recent writeup about shopping for Yuri in Tokyo, but things actually changed from 2012 to 2013. And that is typical. Stores change stuff around all the time.

          If you mean online, the main choices are Amazon JP, BK1 (now honto), YesAsia. Shopping on Amazon JP has the advantage of a button that turns the checkout to English. Obviously I link to things on Amazon JP to make it easy to find them. ^_^

          Advice for shopping in Japan is something I talk about every time I go there, since stuff changes. In short, you need to know publisher, imprint, author, title. Either photocopies or write them down. Like going to Comiket to shop in Japan, it helps to have some basic Japanese.

        • I’ll think about writing up a new 101, but expect it to be obsolete by the time it’s done. ^_^

  4. Surrender Artist says:

    It has been a pretty terrific year for Yuri. “Rose of Versailles” was awesome and I was thrilled beyond belief to get a chance at “Dear Brother…” and Seven Seas has been crushing it with the Morinaga Milk releases. I was surprised and delighted when One Peace announced “Whispered Words”; I enjoyed the anime, but had considered the manga too much of a long shot. I’m starting to believe that there really is enough of an audience, small, but loyal, to sustain a modest schedule of Yuri releases annually.

    My enthusiasm for that is a little remarkable given that I didn’t even know what it was until I chanced upon Okazu two and a half years ago. (Heck; I didn’t even pick up on the ‘undertones’ in “Noir” until I read the Okazu review. What a dolt!) So it’s been a big Yuri year for me personally.

  5. Mary says:

    Hey Erica,

    Great list (I respect that Shimura is not your no. 1 for a reason, but she’s no. 1 forever and ever in my heart).

    I do know that this is YOUR Top 10 list which would exclude media which you don’t consume yourself, however, I was wondering what you’d think of a video game called “Gone Home”. It has been hitting several “Best of 2013” lists, and it’s considered a remarkably important addition to the video game medium both because of its contributions to narrative technique, but also because of its content.

    Without giving too much away, there is a queer female character in the game who I think is the type of kid you’d have over for lunch. If video games aren’t your thing (it’s more like an interactive point-and-click), then perhaps you can see if any one of your guest writers would be interested in doing a review for it?

    I’d love to hear an Okazu POV on this title!

    • I’ve hard good things about Gone Home, but as you say…it’s not media I consume. I’m hoping someone will step forward to write a review of it, since I don’t play games of any kind.

      • Jackie says:

        I’d heard interesting things about the game as well, and kind of on a whim just bought it… I haven’t played it yet, and I’ve never written a review, but I’d be willing to try.

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