Archive for the Gift Guides Category


2017 Yuri Gift Guide, Part 2: Anime

December 10th, 2017

Part 1 of this year’s Gift Guide was all manga and comics, so it seems sensible that we take a few minutes to take a look at some anime that has come out this year in sets so you can populate your gimme lists with items that you can’t afford for yourself. ^_^

Title:  Sailor Moon S, Part 1 and Sailor Moon S, Part 2

What It’s About: Sailor-suited warriors for love and justice, the Pretty Guardians, take on invaders from Tau Ceti in order to save the world, but find themselves embroiled in a battle with another team of Senshi from the Outer Solar System as well. Junior racer Tenoh Haruka and and concert violinist Kaioh Michiru battle their fate.

Who Will Like It: Haruka x Michiru fans, fans of the original voice actresses, since they are all stellar here. Fans of Sailor Moon, because, let’s face it….

Beware: …it’s a 20-year old anime with  mediocre animation, repeated footage, Monsters of the Day and other cost-saving shortcuts.

 

Title:  Sailor Moon Crystal ,Season 3

What It’s About: Sailor-suited warriors for love and justice, the Pretty Guardians, take on invaders from Tau Ceti in order to save the world, but find themselves embroiled in a battle with another team of Senshi from the Outer Solar System as well.

Who Will Like It:  Fans of the Sailor Moon manga, new fans of the series.

Beware: Faster paced than the original anime, it loses important character development. But the animation has settled down and the new voice actresses do a great job. Haruka and Michiru get their manga moments as a couple which are different than the original anime, but satisfying.

 

Title:  Revolutionary Girl Utena: Complete Series

What It’s About: Having been saved as a child by a prince, Tenjou Utena wants to become a prince herself. Caught up in the Student Council duels, she finds that she is “engaged” to the Rose Bride and must, after all, become a prince. Where it all leads and how she gets there makes for a surreal and magnificent series.

Who Will Like It:  Fans of the surreal, fantasy fans, magical girl genre fans who don’t mind some darkness in their magic.

Beware: Sexual abuse, incest, violence and whole lotta unexplained symbolism.

 

Sets to look for in 2018:

Title:  Aria The Animation Collection

After a massively successful Kickstarter, all of the Aria series will be dubbed and released on Blu-ray.  Look for pre-orders announcements in 2018.

What It’s About: Akari trains to be a gondolier in New Venice. Lots of travelogue and scenery porn while she befriends people around town and learns their stories.

Who Will Like It: People who want to just calm the fuck down and look at pretty scenery, people who like pretty girls.

Beware: Nothing happens. Paddling around is the point. (And the end of the series is infuriating, IMHO.)

 

Title: Konohana Kitan

Not licensed yet, but I bet it will be.

What It’s About:  Fox girls working at an otherworld Inn help clients reach their destination, while boecming closer to one another.

Who Will Like It: Moe fans, animal-eared girls fans, fans of cute, sweet, schmaltzy stories. 

Beware: It’s got a pile of fanservice, including constant bathing, with occasional creepy sexual stuff.

 

Title: Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

 

Not licensed yet, either, but I expect it to be.

What It’s About: Boring career woman Kobayashi is befriended by a dragon who bring much-needed chaos into her life.

Who Will Like It: Fans of 4-koma comic strip-type humor and “wackiness ensues.”

Beware: Kobayashi is exceptionally dull.

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2017 Yuri Gift Guide, Part 1: Manga

December 5th, 2017

Holy cow, it’s already December and gift giving and getting time! It has never been easier to get good Yuri, so for once you can hand your relatives this list, smile, sit back and get yourself a pile of great Yuri.  Or pore over it looking for just the right gift for yourself, your Yuri-loving friends or relative. Some of these items are still to be released, but most will have links, so you can at least order them right now. There’s just *so* much (and this isn’t everything out in English, just some popular items) that I’m splitting the list into two. Today we’re just doing manga and comics. For all the manga available in English, check out English Yuri Manga on the Yuricon Store!

 

Title:  Bloom Into You by Nio Nakatani

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3| Volume 4| Volume 5 | ongoing

What It’s About: This school life drama follows Yuu, a girl who does not have romantic feelings for anyone and Touko, the President of the Student Council, who says she feels the same. But, then Touko develops an romantic interest in Yuu. Yuu admires Touko but, beyond that, is not sure of her feelings. 

Who Will Like It: People a little tired of simple girl-meets-girl romance, or who want a little (or more than a little) nuance or difficulty in their schoolgirl Yuri. 

Beware: Yuu is presented as aromantic, but the premise is a romance. Expect Yuu to cave.

 

 

Title: Hana and Hina Afterschool by Milk Morinaga 

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3

What It’s About:  Hana meets Hina while working at a part time job after school. They become friends and start working together. They start to think of each other as more than just friends. ^_^

Who Will Like It: Milk Morinaga Fans, folks who like their Yuri cute, sweet, without serious crisis and/or with a tenuous connection to reality.

Beware: Don’t expect anything deep here. Morinaga’s specialty is the space between recognizing feelings and confessing them and this is firmly in that space.

 

 

Title: Kase-san Series by Hiromi Takashima

Kase-san and Morning Glories | Kase-san and Bento |Kase-san and Shortcake

What It’s About:  A breathtakingly sweet romance series between Yamada, an average girl who loves flowers and the star of the school track club, Kase.

Who Will Like It: People looking for something a little more realistic than Morinaga’s work. Yuri fans not completely jaded from years of schoolgirl romance.

Beware: Still schoolgirls in love. Does not shy away from fanservice, may not be visually appropriate for the young readers who could use it the most.

 

 

Title: My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness by Kabi Nagata

1 volume

What It’s About: This manga was serialized on Pixiv, as Nagata details her struggles with depression, an eating disorder and finding friends and companionship as a lesbian.

 My Solo Exchange Diary by Kabi Nagata

1 volume

What It’s About: Kabi Nagata is back with a sequel to her blockbuster, continuing the story of her trials and travails, as she pieces her life together.

Who Will Like It: People craving representation of life with depression and/or adult life issues.

Beware: Despite flashes of self-deprecating humor, this is not a light-hearted series. It is, however, a honest look at chronic, debilitating depression.

 

 

Title: Claudine! by Riyoko Ikeda

1 volume

What It’s About: Claudine is assigned female, but desires male privilege and to be able to love women freely. Claudine struggles with sexuality and gender in this emotional classic Yuri by the creator or Rose of Versailles.

Who Will Like It:  Fans of Rose of Versailles, Dear Brother and other Ikeda masterworks. This story can read as trans or butch lesbian (the lack of specificity can be attributed to the creator having written it 40 years ago.) Classic Yuri fans will definitely want to get it.

Beware: This is not going to end well.

 

 

Title: Citrus by Saburouta

Volume 1Volume 2Volume 3Volume 4 | Volume 5 | Volume 6 | Volume 7 | ongoing

What It’s About: Mei and Yuzu are sisters by marriage and despite the fact that both have deep, unresolved emotional issues, they are passionately attracted to one another. 

Who Will Like It: People who enjoy melodrama and soap operas, and watching train wreck stories full of damaged people.

Beware: It’s full of manipulative behavior, some violence and no one ever looks happy about anything.  Ever.

 

 

Title:  After Hours by Yuhta Nishio

Volume 1 | Volume 2 

What It’s About:  Emi and Kei meet at a nightclub, and spend the night together. Kei is a DJ and draws Emi into her production team, as she sets up as rave. An adult relationship story (although the art is a bit infantilizing.)

Who Will Like It: Adults looking for adult characters whose emotional lives are not stuck in high school…and audiophiles. People looking for a story where the physical relationship isn’t service-y or immature.

Beware: If you don’t like moe art, the character designs could be off-putting. It’s not really a romance, but you will learn a lot about sound equipment.

 

 

Revolutionary Girl Utena Manga Box SetTitle:  Revolutionary Girl Utena Manga Box Set by Chiho Saito and Be-papas

2 volume set

What It’s About:  Every year Utena receives a mysterious postcard. This year, the postcard leads her to Ohtori Academy to look for the prince who saved her as a child. Instead she’s put in the position becoming a prince to the Rose Bride. This is the high-quality treatment that this fantasy series deserves.

Who Will Like It: Fans of the surreal, fantasy fans and people who like mind fuckery.

Beware: There is serious sexual manipulation, incest, and sexual abuse.

 

 

Title: Sweet Blue Flowers by Takako Shimura

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3 | Volume 4

What It’s About:  Fumi hasn’t seen Akiko in years, but her friend is back in town and once again they are thick as thieves. When Fumi starts dating an upperclassman at her all-girl’s school, she tells her best friend and gains strength. Shimura  drew on classic Yuri tropes for this “S”-style school romance, but with a deft touch and compelling characters, drags the whole genre into the 21st century. 

Beware: The ending and beginning are trope-y, with loads of tiresome creepiness at the beginning. The middle is amazing and worth it.

 

 

Title: Kiss and White Lily for My Dearest Girl by Canno

Volume 1 | Volume 2| Volume 3| Volume 4 | Volume 5 | ongoing

What It’s About:  This ongoing school serial begins with two girls, Yurine Kurozawa and Ayaka Shiramine, who could not be more opposite if they tried, and the relationship that one of them wants desperately to deny.  Later volumes follow other couples at the same school as well as circling back to Ayaka and Yurine.

Who Will Like It: People who’ve been reading Yuri for a while and will enjoy new takes on the old tropes. People who are new to Yuri and aren’t burned out on the old tropes.

Beware: Every girl in this school is paired, seemingly. Makes you want to see the story of the one straight girl in school.

 

 

Title:  Murciélago by Yoshimura Kana

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3| Volume 4| Volume 5| ongoing

What It’s About:  This extremely adult, extremely gruesome, madcap “violence Yuri” story follows psychopathic killer Koumori Kuroko and her partner Hinako, as they track down and kill other killers for the police. There are no good guys here. Everyone is broken, the stories are gross, sometimes with side of extra creepy and the lesbian sex is weird. ^_^ 

Who Will Like It: People looking for something not cute or sweet. This series is violent, amoral and has ugly, unrealistic lesbian sex.

Beware: This series is violent, amoral and has ugly unrealistic lesbian sex.

 

 

Éclair: Ananta ni Hibiku Yuri Anthology

1 volume

What It’s About: An anthology of school-life Yuri, headlined by Bloom Into You creator Nio Nakatani and Kiss and White Lily For My Dearest Girl creator Canno.

Who Will Like It:  People who like the aforementioned series or those who really like stories about love experienced in school.

Beware: It’s a whole lotta schoolgirl stories and “Story A.”

 

 

 

Legend of Korra: Turf Wars

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3 by  Michael Dante DiMartino (Author),‎ Irene Koh (Illustrator),‎ Vivian Ng (Illustrator)

What It’s About: The Avatar, Korra, and her new love Asami enter the spirit world together. Upon their return to Republic City, they find their world in turmoil – a conflict that will involve the Spirit World, as well.

Who Will Like It: Kids, adults, fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra, action anime fans. Fans of color looking for representation that isn’t focused on suffering or overcoming obstacles.

Beware: Fast-paced and fragmented, this is definitely a western comic.

 

 

Title: Bingo Love by Tee Franklin (Author),‎ Jenn St. Onge (Artist),‎ Joy San (Artist),‎ Genevieve FT (Artist)

1 volume

What It’s About: When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray met at church bingo in 1963, it was love at first sight. Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both marry young men and have families. Decades later, now in their mid-’60s, Hazel and Mari reunite again at a church bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage.

Beware: LGBTQ comics about black women are rare – you may find yourselves weeping with joy at finding such a good one. 

 

 This manga is not Yuri, but is gay and you definitely want to add it to your orders!

Title:  My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh Tagame

Volume 1| Volume 2 

What It’s About:  This adult life drama follows Mike Flanagan, a gay man from Canada who visits his late brother’s home in Japan, in order to learn about his childhood. He meets he husband’s estranged brother, Yaichi, who now has to deal with things he never thought he’d have to deal with, like his brother Ryoji’s sexuality. 

Who Will Like It:  People looking for wholesome, non-sexual gay representation, or a good comic to recommend to a family member with passive homophobia or ignorance about being gay.

Beware: Like Bingo Love, you may be prone to weeping with relief.

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There’s a lot on the list and more on the Store, but we’re going to wrap it up here. Next time I’ll drop some anime titles and some of other fun stuff!

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Discovering New Yuri 2017 Presentation

August 21st, 2017

At Yurithon 2017 I did a presentation called Must-Read/Must-Watch Yuri.  At Flamecon 2017, the same presentation was presented as Discovering The Best New Yuri Anime and Manga.

I promised to put the entire presentation up here, so folks could draw on the links, rather than taking photos of the screen. Not that I didn’t want them to do that, but this is SO much easier, I hope! For reasons, the videos were making it impossible to upload as a Powerpoint (and not everyone has that, so I’ve taken out the videos and converted the presentation to PDF. The links should work for you. Only the Utena Blu-Ray and Citrus anime have no links, as they currently have no ETA. 

 

 

 

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2014 Okazu Gift Guide

December 14th, 2014

I know this is really kind of late this year. Chanukah, Solstice, Christmas and Kwanzaa are all piling up quickly. I’ve done my best to provide links to items on Amazon and RightStuf where I can, to make your online shopping easy! This is not a Top Ten List, so there’s no rhyme or reason or order, just some great gift ideas for yourself or the Yuri lover in your life.  So sorry again for the delay but here is the official 2002 Okazu Gift Guide! Haha, just kidding, but on this list everything old is new again, and we’re revisiting a lot of past faves. ^_^

Let’s start with Anime.

Can I express how much I like that we have moved to Box and Season sets? This kind of thing used to be impossible when we had to do this a 2 episodes at a time. How did we even manage to stay fans?

 

Rose of Versailles 

The entire series is now available on DVD! All 40 Episodes of this timeless historical drama, with one of the most exceptional Girl Prince leads ever created.

Who will like it: Fans of historical fiction, French Revolution, soap opera, Takarazuka fans and, of course, fans of the Girl Prince type heroine.

Part 1 Amazon/RightStuf |Part 2Amazon /RightStuf |  Complete Set on RightStuf

While you’re indulging in that oh-so-shoujo wallow of feels and melodrama, you might as well keep your finger on the Riyoko Ikeda button.

 

Dear Brother

If you haven’t had a chance to see this, you really should. It’s a surprising not-at-all easy thing to watch, but it’s really good. Everyone involved was at the top of their form for this dark, yet completely not paranormal YA school classic.

Who will like it: People who love to have feels when watching media, fans of the classic shoujo genre, fans of Dezaki Osamu’s animation.

DVD Set 1Amazon /RightStuf

 

smdvdbd1Sailor Moon

Making our way forward in time, we’re still looking backward at another foundational series for Yuri fans everywhere. The first half of the first season of Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon is now available from Viz Media, with the second half coming out in February. While we’re waiting for Sailor Moon Crystal to come out on DVD/BD, have fun watching the Monsters of the Day, the terrible moralizing and messy plots of the original.

Who will like it: More shoujo, more! Magical girl fans, 90s anime fans, die-hard Sailor Moon fans and anyone who you think would be happy shouting “Moon Healing Escalation!”

Season 1 Part 1 DVD/BD ComboAmazon  | Season Part 2 DVD/BD ComboAmazon  (I am limiting options here, but there are about 700000 editions, with varying levels of extras.)

 

Ikktouxx

Ikkitousen Xtreme Xecutor & Shugaku Toshi Keppu-roku OVA (Season 4)

Too shoujo-y, you say? Too many tears? I think I hear you asking for something with a little oomph. Well, amazingly, we got something for you. How about chicks with big boobs that beat the leaving crap out of each other?

This season 4 collection has all the exploding clothes, and upskirt shots you’ve never wanted, combined with a fairly not-suckass story and even slight hints of Yuri. Look, Ikkitousen is not for anyone who wants their anime to have dignity. But if you’re laying in the gutter anyway, you might as well have something to look at.

Who will like it: Me, Serge and a few other people who have given up on having a soul, as long as the girls can punch the lights out of their opponents.

Season 4 DVD Box Set – Amazon / RightStuf

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Let’s move on to some Manga suggestions. It wasn’t a terrible year for Yuri. ^_^

 

Whispered Words

ww1Volume 1, contains the first 3 volumes of Ikeda Takashi’s Yuri manga series Sasmekikoto. Volume 2, which hit shelves in October, has the next 3 volumes, which of course leaves us at the lowest point of the series. We all have to buy a lot of Volume 1 and 2, so we make sure we get Volume 3 in Spring 2015, which is awesome! ^_^

Here’s hoping this title is successful enough for OnePeace to consider licensing more Yuri.

Who will like it: Any long-time Yuri fans, especially those who can recognize the parody aspect of the many Yuri tropes in early chapters.

Volume 1Amazon / RightStufVolume 2Amazon / RightStuf | Volume 3 – Amazon

 

GP1Gakuen Polizi

Morinaga Milk is one of the best-selling Yuri authors in English, for a variety of factors. Coming off her incredibly successful Girfriends series, Gakuen Polizi is more focused on action, some real -life drama and comedy that her romances typically are. It’s a nice change of pace for her and for us.

This two-part series will make a terrific “now and later” gift for a Yuri loving friend, with Volume 1 available now and V2 coming out in April.

Who will like it: Morinaga Milk fans, people who are on the fence about all-romance Yuri, people who like school life drama-comedy and police drama fans.

Volume 1 –  Amazon/RightStufVolume 2 –  Amazon/RightStuf

 

citrusCitrus

Also coming soon from Seven Seas is Citrus, a popular Yuri manga currently running in Comic Yuri Hime magazine. The story follows two step-sisters who find themselves bound by a deep, yet uncomfortable, attraction to each other, in the middle of family drama, while trying to balance their lives at school and home.

Who will like it: People who like their forbidden love to be extra forbidden, this story is hot to fans of Yuri incest, and lukewarm to those who don’t find it as attractive.

Volume 1Amazon /RightStuf | Volume 2Amazon / RightStuf

 

Can’t decide what you want? Try one of these suggestions!

 

downloadCrunchyroll Subscription

Don’t know what get or what to ask for? This gift is good for anyone, any age, any interest in anime or manga. There’s bound to be something there for any fan. For as little as the cost of a sandwich per month, you and/or someone you love can access tons of anime, and watch as the selection of manga grows! There’s no real down-side to this gift. ^_^ Check out the slowly expanding Yuri anime selection and the new 2014 titles, like Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san and Sakura Trick, and Sailor Moon Crystal, as well as old favorites.

 

Right Stuff Gift Certificategiftcertificate

TRSI has piles of rock bottom deals and unique goods, as well as reasonably priced anime and English-language manga.

They do tons of sales and have an Anime Club to increase savings.  There’s a fair bet that you or the person who receives this gift will be able to scratch some anime or manga or other itch thoroughly. ^_^

 

 

 transparent-pixel._V192551059_ a_generic_white_10_us_noto_email_us-mainAmazon Gift Certificate

I’m pretty sure this is self-explanatory. ^_^ Choose from a e-certificate or a physical one and customize it with your own images.  They go over pretty well.

 

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2014 Okazu Guide to Buying Anime and Manga from Japan

January 5th, 2014

glsign-aniA number of folks are asking about buying from Japan, or buying Yuri in Japan. I’ve written about this a number of times but sites close down and stores go out of business, so I’m going to do an updated guide. This is not meant to be comprehensive – any attempt at comprehensive in a rapidly changing world is doomed to fail. ^_^

I want to clearly note that this is not a definitive Guide to Shopping for Yuri. It is a guide to shopping for Japanese items; manga, anime, etc. There re no all-Yuri on one place stores in Japan, The lack of all-something-everywhere is true for any genre. There is no store in Japan that sells every BL comic, or Seinen comic ever published, either. Manga stores in Japan give store space to the new and the best sellers, just like American bookstores. (The new Yuricon store is getting closer to being just that all-Yuri-in-one-place store online! We have all the English-language Yuri anime and Yuri manga and a lot of the Japanese Yuri manga , digital manga, literature, Drama CDs, and even light novels…and we’re adding new items every day. Check out the Yuricon Store and see for yourself!)

I’ll be using Manga as the default example, so unless otherwise noted, the item in question is a book. And in Japanese. ^_^ It might be a Drama CD or an artbook or a Japanese DVD set, but it’s all the same for our purposes.

Also, this is not a guide to buying Yuri anime or manga you can get from western companies. RightStuf, Funimation, Sentai Filmworks and Seven Seas, are all available on the Yuricon Store. I trust you to be able to look those up for yourselves on the site search, or use links provided here on Okazu. You should also be able to place manga orders with your local comic book stores or chain stores, and there are any number of  respectable online websites like Anime Castle and Robert’s Anime Corner that stock all sorts of toys, anime and manga.

Before I get to the meat of this post, let me remind you of two things:

1) This is an Okazu Guide. It comes imbued with common sense and a dose of harsh reality. ^_^ Manga, Anime, Figurines and Games are Luxury Items. You do not need them. You want them. The presumption of all market forces is if you want a thing, you have to be able to afford it.

2) You can get things you want but one way or another you will pay for them. When I buy Japanese manga, one of us, the manga or I, has to travel 6500 miles to get it. Either way, it costs money. ^_^

That having been said, here we go!

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Part 0. Know What You Are Buying

Before you start shopping, I strongly recommend you learn at least a few things:

1. The actual Title of the Manga in Japanese.

It’s all well and fine to say you like “Chatting at the Amber Teahouse” but there is no manga with that name. There is only an illicit scan. No bookstore, no website can help you find that. The title of Fujieda-sensei’s manga about two women and a tea shop is 飴色紅茶館歓談. That is what you will need to have with you when you search.

2. The Author’s name in Japanese. Wikipedia, AnimeNewsNetwork and other encyclopedias are a huge help to identify this sort of thing. Put an author’s name in a search engine and you will find that Fujieda Miyabi is written 藤枝雅. For Part 2, Shopping in Japan below, you might want to print out the title, publisher and author’s names for yourself. For Part 1, Shopping Online, cut and paste will do.

3. When you plan on shopping in person, it also very much helps to know what demographic audience the book is for. This is indicated by the Publisher and Imprint. We’ll get more deeply into that in Part 2.

 

Part 1. Shopping Online

2015 Update:  We’ve made amazing progress on the new Yuricon Store. Check out the listings there first.

Untitled-1

We have links to major retailers (Amazon, Amazon JP and RightStuf), descriptions, links to reviews, and you can search in English or Japanese, for author, title, or publishing company. And series have been tagged by subject, so you can look at title that are about adult life or magical girl with ease.

For instance, you can search for Aoi Hana or 青い花, both of which will bring up all the English and Japanese listings – anime, digital manga, and Japanese manga. If you search Sweet Blue Flowers, you’ll only pull up the English-language anime and the English-language digital manga.

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Amazon Japan is my default for purchasing Japanese items. I choose them because 1) their selection is very good (often better than shopping in stores in Japan); 2) I am an affiliate, so every time you buy through a Yuricon Shop or Okazu link, I get a few yen to support my own habit and;  3) It is very easy to use.

Let’s say you click through an Okazu link for Aoi Hana, Volume 8. Here’s what you see:

AJP1

 

Everything is in Japanese, except one thing. Notice the red arrow on the right? It points to a sentence that reads “Would you like to see this page in English? Click here.”  If you click the link, the page looks like this:

AJP2

Things like this book is “In Stock” and the “Add to Shopping Cart” button turn into English. The title, the author, the publishing company do not. They don’t, because the title of the book is still 「青い花」 and the author’s name is still 志村貴子.

What that English link does do is make checking out much faster. ^_^ If you’ve ever used Amazon, you probably don’t even need to bother turning the page to English, the checkout is the same, all the buttons shapes and sizes are the same. But if you want to lessen the friction, just click that English button and it’s all words you know.

Shipping: Amazon only ships by air. You can choose that you want the items grouped or separate, but no other shipping options exist. My advice is to order about 20 items at a time, grouped into one order. That brings the shipping cost-per-item down to $4, which is totally palatable. Exchange rates will make a difference too. Shipping that might cost $100 when the exchange rate is good could be a lot more when it’s poor. If you choose “group them together” and something hasn’t been released yet, sometimes Amazon JP send it separately when it gets in stock and sometimes they hold the whole order and I have not been able to figure out what the triggers are. It’s often haphazard.

There is no Yuri category on Amazon JP. Yuri books are listed under the BL category. Book>. Comic/Light Novels/BL> Comic:  本 コミック・ラノベ・BL コミック You need to know your title, or your author’s name in Japanese.

Amazon JP often will not ship figurines, but to be honest, I do better in cost these days buying figurines on Amazon.com. Last year, I would have paid $45 or so for a Saber figurine in Japan, then would have had to get it home on my own. I found the same figurine for $36 with free Prime shipping on Amazon.com.

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YesAsia is a popular choice for buying Asian goods. I have not used them in probably a decade, so I have no idea how good their service is. They do offer shipping discounts for orders over a certain amount.  If you want Japanese manga, but do not know any Japanese at all, they seem like a decent choice.

yesa

 

The site is in English, the dollar amounts are in USD and it looks like they still offer various shipping options, like standard mail and express. Their stock is not bad, you can search for authors and titles in romaji (English characters used for Japanese words, like “ameiro kouchkan kandan”).  The cost of the books is higher than on Amazon JP because YesAsia includes the cost of shipping to them in the cost of the item. Some books, especially newer books, might more expensive as a result. Thanks to Greg for the testimonial on them and  Laura for letting us know that YesAsia ships worldwide.

There is no Yuri category on YesAsia. You need to know your title and/or author’s name transliterated name in English.

Rinkya is a buying and bidding service. They’ve been around more than a decade. I have never used them (for entirely personal reasons that are irrelevant here.) If you are bidding on an item on Yahoo JP auctions and want a buyer to bid for you, arrange the shipping and payment (since most Japanese auctions won’t ship internationally) they can do that. Sometimes they sell stock that people never claimed from their warehouse. They do offer slow boat options for shipping. Yahoo JP auctions are like the Mandarake of online shopping. People get rid of collections, old toys, rare items. It might not be cheap, but back in the day when I shopped the auctions, I got some amazing stuff.

BK1 used to be a popular book selling alternative, but they have become honto. AudioErotica has graciously jumped in to tell us that they still do ship internationally and yes, they have slower/cheaper shipping methods available.

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Part 2. Shopping in Japan

In November 2012, I wrote a guide to Shopping for Yuri in Japan. By October 2013, some of the store-specific information was already obsolete.

But this is where the info I mentioned in Part 0 really comes in handy. I have said this with every single buying guide I’ve written:

To effectively shop for manga in Japan, you need to know three things. Books are not generally shelved by genre, but by imprint. So first you need to know what age/gender demographic you’re looking at, then publisher/imprint, then author. And once you have found one publisher’s Yuri manga, don’t think you’ve found it all. The sign above might say “Yuri”, but there could be more under a different publisher’s imprint elsewhere.

Know if the book you’re looking for is for girls (少女), boys (少年),for women (女性), for men (男子) – these  are not necessarily listed as sections in the bookstore, you just need to know who the title you’re looking for is targeted to. Then look for the publisher, (Hobunsha 芳文社, Ichijinsha 一迅社, Futabasha 双葉社) then look for the imprint (YH Comics, Tsubomi Comics, Mangatime KR Comics) then look for the author. If you are new to this, and don’t read Japanese, take a printout of the cover you’re looking for. And take a look at the spine of the books you do have and memorize the characters. The publisher is listed at the bottom of the spine, the imprint along the top. Get to know your books!

The main areas of Tokyo for manga shopping are:

Akihabara for guy-focused stuff (which includes Yuri)

Ikebukuro for girl-focused stuff (which includes BL, but you can find some Yuri)

Nakano Sun Mall for older stuff, like classic Yuri.

Shibuya for another Animate and Mandarake.

Stores change their location, stock, layout and focus all the time, so check out other resources for what is open and what isn’t. Every large city in Japan has its own geeky area. Check current travel guides or look for Animate store locations as a orienteering hint.

There are, as of October 2013 no Yuri-only stores anywhere in the world. You’re going to have to shop the old fashioned way.

**New as of October 2014**Toranoana in Akihabara has a multipublisher Yuri section. So does Comic Zin in Akihabara, although it’s fairly small. This is a major, massive change. Never before has there been a section that was really “Yuri”. It was amazing to see different publishers side by side.

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Part 3. Shopping at Conventions and Bookstores

If you live near or within travel distance of a large city, you probably have two possible old-fashioned fan choices to shop in, that you’re not using.

Anime Conventions used to be the ONLY place a fan could go to get toys, anime and manga. Because it is so much easier to shop online, a lot of fans forget that cons are still a good place to go to find stuff. But they are. ^_^ What cons aren’t any more is…rare. So the old wheeze that if you shop on Sunday as people are packing up, they’ll give you a good deal doesn’t apply much. What the dealer doesn’t sell this weekend goes with them to the next con and the next, and the next. If you have a local con and you haven’t been in a while, drop by…you never know what you’ll find. But…fashion and media still go hand in hand. If you’re looking for old school items, don’t be surprised when all the vendors are carrying the new, the hot, the hip. They want to sell stuff. Carrying that girl-type Ranma 1/2 figure around for a decade until you decide you’re ready to buy it isn’t really cost efficient, when they can sell 1500 Attack on Titan things instead. ^_^

Japanese bookstores. Kinokuniya and Sanseido are two large Japanese bookstore chains that have US locations. They will order books and magazines for you, but you still need to know the publisher and title. (Bring along a print copy of, say,  コミック百合姫、一迅社, to let them know you want Comic Yuri Hime put out by Ichijinsha.) If you’re in a location near or within travel distance of either store, it’s worth a visit, so you can see how the manga are arranged by demographic/publisher/imprint/title. (English manga is arranged alphabetically by title, and who can blame them?)

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Conclusion

Shopping for Yuri is still challenging, but do not despair! The hunt is part of the fun.  Take this opportunity to learn a bit of Japanese, and you’ll find that you’ll be able to understand more of what you’re buying, as well.  ^_^

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