Archive for the Yuri Anime Category


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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Yuri Anime: Yurikuma Arashi The Complete Series, Disk 1 (English)

August 17th, 2017

In early 2015. Yuri fans were treated to a dream collaboration – Morishima Akiko and Kunihiko Ikuhara were working on a blatantly Yuri anime and manga series, Yuri Kuma Arashi. I reviewed the anime in Spring 2015, and the manga (Volume 1Volume 2 | Volume 3) between 2015-17.

As we were watching the anime I came to the conclusion that we were watching a “Cards for Humanity” Yuri edition. The word Yuri was repeated so often, with such little context, that it quickly ceased to have meaning. I quite like non-linear, multiple perspective stories. Ikuhara’s Mawaru Penguindrum kept me riveted right through the end.  But the service, the repeated footage of an uneeded naked transformation with use of both lily and phallic imagery, as well as the Court scenes that established little, made for tough going in this series. It was a relief, in fact, to be able to read the manga, in which a coherent story was built up, even if it did end symbolically. There was no such story here in Yurikuma Arashi: The Complete Series,Disk 1.

Which gives us time to ponder things, like why are bears considered so ferocious in Japanese folklore?

It’s not hard to grasp the place that, in every culture, the apex predators own in stories through the ages. Wolves, bears, lions, tigers. No one has to “explain” why Robin Riding Hood is threatened by the Big Bad Wolf or why Shere Khan ruled the Jungle.

It might be heard for someone looking at this to really think about the ferocity and power of a bear. 

We’re just forced to remember Colbert’s warning that bears are not our friends.

And we are reminded, repeatedly, that bears eat humans.

BUT. We’re also told that bears are only allowed to eat invisible girls – girls that have been “excluded.”

And maybe in that oft-repeated footage of the court that makes little sense, except to provide us with boy bears (there are no male humans in this world, only mothers and female teachers)…maybe…we can see a parable of bullying, of ostracization, of the kind of othering that homogeneous groups are prone to.

Or maybe it’s all a really sloppily-conceived series of fairytales that uses concepts like “bears,” “Yuri” and Stalingrad Fuyu Keshiki all mushed together.

Ratings:

Art – 8 Two great tastes that tasted deeply odd together
Story – 7 Once upon a time…oh fuck it.
Characters – 7 Bears all the way down
Yuri – 14 million
Service – 7

Overall – 7 

Ultimately the two things about this series worth seeing are Morishima-sensei’s art animated and the obviously Evil Psycho Lesbian bear (Spoilers. But surely it was the most obvious thing ever.) Yurika.

Many thanks to Okazu Superhero Dan P, for sponsoring today’s review and the fetching gift bag in which it arrived!

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Yuri Anime: Riddle Story of a Devil, Disk 2 (English)

June 21st, 2017

The second disk of Riddle Story of a Devil: Akuma no Riddle, brings the plot to it’s conclusion, adds in post hoc ergo prompter hoc exposition and a climax which is semi-satisfying. 

Tokaku and Haru dispatch the second half of Class Black without much ado. The school festival production of Romeo and Juliet gives us a chance to move quickly towards the series’ twelfth night. ^_^ (Come on, that one was acceptable. I’m done now.)

We’re given a chance to see that Chitaru and Kirigaya, despite themselves, are clearly in love and are allowed a happy end to their story.

And so it goes; a horrible assassin goes after Haru with no remorse, only to turn out to be not so terrible after all. Who could hate Isuke for instance, when it turns out that her gay parents rescued her from a life of neglect and abuse?  

Until we hit Hanabusa, the rich girl who has remained aloof from the beginning, where we get a pile of foreshadowing dropped on us as subtly as a ten-ton weight. We are also treated to multiple displays of Haru being resourceful and intelligent, something that pleased this viewer. Despite the story damseling her, and her optimistic personality, which could lead one to assume she’s helpless, the final fights shows clearly that Haru is not a hapless victim, waiting for death. She shows some quick thinking and a solid grasp of tactics.

Finally, we learn the real story behind Class Black…sort of. I’m left with a number of questions, primary among which is what is Kaiba in this series for, anyway? He really does nothing at all and could easily have been replaced to little effect. 

The end comes, poignant and touching, and we find that almost everyone has a happy ending, several of them leaving assassination for something more socially acceptable. 

The ending of the series does not include the epilogue of the manga, but it is nonetheless heartstring-tugging and we’re given to believe that Haru and Tokaku will live happily-ever-as-long-as-they-both-can-when-targeted-incessantly-by-assassins.

This is all followed by an additional episode OVA, which is a vehicle primarily to show breasts jiggling unrealistically as Class Black is intentionally stranded on a desert island and forced to tug at each other’s bathing suits for reasons.

Ratings:

Art – 7 
Story – 7 
Characters – 7 
Service – 6 
Yuri – 5 for Chitaru and Kirgaya  (3) + Haru and Tokaku (2)

Overall – 7 

I do not doubt that 10 years from now few people will remember this series, but for a thing to watch, with some Yuri, it’s not bad at all. Haru upping her game really made the final fights work.

Once again, my sincere thanks to Okaku Superhero Dan P for his sponsorship of today’s review!

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Yuri Anime: Riddle Story of a Devil, Disk 1 (English)

June 18th, 2017

Riddle Story of a Devil: Akuma no Riddle is the story of “Class Black” a super-secret class at absurdly elite Myoujo Academy. All of the members of Class Black are assassins with one exception – and that exception will be their target. (Apparently) normal girl Ichinose Haru is the target and the others will vie to kill her in order to gain their greatest desire. But, as one might expect, nothing is as it seems.

One of the assassins, Azuma Tokaku, defects to Haru’s side and pits herself against the class as Haru’s bodyguard.

The story, which has a fair amount of service, is definitely meant for an audience that likes that kind of thing, but the writing is slightly less exclusive. In the anime Haru is harmless, but not entirely helpless. And there is a kind of redemption in the assassin’s attempts and their outcomes.

Kadokawa is absolute genius at cranking out moderately entertaining, formulaic anime that can be marketed within an inch of it’s life. Every once in a they have a massive break-out hit, like the Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, that can pay for many dozens of other series for years. Those dozens of others are generally good, often involve some big names in conception or production, and are both profitable and entertaining enough to pay for themselves. Riddle Story of a Devil: Akuma no Riddle was one of these.

Based on the manga drawn by Kouga Yun, the story feels, from beginning to end, like something built by committee. As I rewatched it, I was constantly put in mind of Seraphim Call, a mediocre anime of the late 20th century that, upon rewatch, was better than I gave it credit for. Especially Volume 2. In the sense that every episode is effectively a character piece that only tangentially affects the main story, Riddle Story of a Devil reminded me of this earlier series of pastiches.

The animation is very much of this time and place, but for all that, not terrible. Characters are variable, as they are meant to be, but watching it, I was motivated yet again, to promise to not come up with convoluted plots to kill people, or explain anything. Or speak in some weird, annoying way. If I were to become an assassin, the rule would be get in, get out, move on. No talking. I’d also like the committee to explain why the character of Kaiba exists at all. Useless doesn’t come close to describing his role. If they cut everything of him out of the story it would affect exactly one scene.

The one thing I genuinely liked throughout the series was the music. The end-of-episode themes were all sung by the assassin who was the focus of that particular episode and both music and lyrics were suited nicely to their story. Those were really quite good.

The Yuri. Well….the Yuri is here more by reputation than anything. We can see that Kirigaya and Chitaru are together-ish and we can kind of see that Tokaku has no idea why she wants to help Haru (and, frankly, at first, neither can I. It’s not until Haru shows some spine, that I was convinced.) The opening credits kind of imply a thing between them but in Disk 1, it’s really not there.

Ratings:

Art – 7 Not bad, not zOMG good. Random bits of CGI
Story – 7 Not bad, not zOMG good. Random bits of plot
Characters – 7 Types, rather than people, with backstories to make them human
Service – 6 Nudity, lascivious gaze of the camera, and a sexually deviant serial killer
Yuri – 2 At halfway, barely there and only because we’re looking for it.

Overall – 7

So, yeah, this isn’t high art, it’s low entertainment, but for solid, slightly service-y, slightly violent entertainment, it was pretty good. I like the fight scenes well enough, and the gimmicky assassins are just silly.

My sincere thanks to Okazu Superhero Dan P for sponsoring this review! It’s right in your wheelhouse and mine.
Good weekend entertainment, with the lightest glaze of Yuri.

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Yuri Animation: Asagao to Kase-san Clip on Youtube

May 8th, 2017

Via YNN Special Correspondent Verso S., the animation clip being developed for Takashima Hiromi’s Asagao to Kase-san series has gone up on Youtube. Check out this “Kimi ni Hikari” starring Yamada-san and Kase-san, accompanied by, “Kimi no Egao” sung by Oku Hanako.

If you like the clip, please consider giving it a “like” and a comment on Youtube.

And then we all sit back and wonder, is this a teaser for something more? Is this testing the waters? Whiat, we have to wonder, is this clip for?

Well…

We didn’t have to wonder long, though because on Sunday the Asagao_Anime official twitter account sent out a post asking people what they thought of the clip…and asked for feed back….And commented that maybe full series might be in the works if they got enough response.

 

The official account has shown themselves fluent in English so, if you’re on Twitter, feel free to let them know what you think there, as well.

In all honesty, I thought this to be a genuinely beautiful animation of Takashima-sensei’s art. I’ll admit to grinning through the whole clip. ^_^

Here’s hoping that we’ll get a Kase-san anime!

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