As 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.” ^_^;
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….
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. ^_^
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…
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. ^_^