2016 had a lot to offer. Maybe not too many yuri anime, but definitely a lot of other yuri media, such as a ton of yuri visual novels and some really awesome new yuri manga.
So in old YuriReviews fashion, we would like to hand out some awards for who and what we think deserves these awards most this year:
Well, other than the Valkyrie Drive Specials we can’t really say 2016 offered any other pure yuri show, so I guess we have to work with what we got and make the best of it, right? So, since I didn’t want to go with “only” some specials from a show that aired last year, I decided to go with the show that came closest to what I think is really yuri, which is Izetta: The Last Witch. Despite the fact that she show doesn’t label itself as yuri, nor do the two main characters ever really declare their love, I still feel like it’s pretty obvious that they actually do love each other—romantically, that is. And if they are not yet in a relationship with each other, then I’m freaking sure they will be at some point, since their chemistry was simply over the top amazing, just like the show itself~
^^ Like Curly Fries just said, since there wasn’t really a pure yuri anime this year, we’re gonna have to settle for the next best thing, and for me, that was Amanchu!. It was actually a really tough choice between this and Flip Flappers, but as much as I liked Flip Flappers, I felt like Amanchu! was everything you could hope for in a yuri anime… minus the overt romance between the main characters. That’s not to say that Hikari and Futaba aren’t close, yet this anime stops just short of confirming what’s painfully obvious… that Pikari and Teko are gay for one another. But that’s okay, since their relationship is what takes an already memorable anime and makes it something special that yuri fans can get behind.
Sakura Trick, Valkyrie Drive, and shows like that are nice and all, but I really hope we see a pure yuri anime that takes what Amanchu! did very well (the heartfelt relationship between the two main characters), to the next level and beyond. Until then, I’ll be waiting for something like this to come around again~
Honorable Mention: Flip Flappers
We can argue the fact of whether this show actually had any yuri involved, but there was, in fact, A LOT of subtext going on. The fact that no male characters were involved also helps. Though, unlike shows like Shuumatsu no Izetta, which we just talked about, this one is more subtle. But enough explanations and justifications, this show was amazing from beginning to end. Fluffy, light, fun, and cute, this was something that was great to just relax to and have some fun with. As was watching the girls do their work and interacting, all while creating just the right kind of funny and cute situations. Yeah, this is definitely one of the shows I’d love to see a sequel happen to, at some point~
Honorable Mention: Boku no Hero Academia
It’s been almost a full calendar year since this anime first started airing, but there’s no way I could forget about how enjoyable this show was for me. Getting things started off right with a great first episode, the drama and tension involved with this series just seemed to eclipse nearly every other anime that I’ve ever seen. Okay, so the final episode or two weren’t quite as great as I had hoped for, but still, this was a thrill ride that I think is among the best that anime has to offer.
If you’re the type of person who’s into mystery and drama—and this doesn’t only apply to anime—yet you haven’t watched this already, I’d highly recommend doing so. I don’t think you’ll regret it~
Honorable Mention: Boku no Hero Academia
I can’t even count just how many people recommended this manga to me over the course of the last few months, but it was so many, and at some point, I just gave in. What an awesome decision~
Pulse just features what I need the most in romance manga (or manhwa, in this case), two main characters that simply click with each other, that make a great pair, and that in one way or another, help each other out. And I gotta tell you, their way of finding out that it’s exactly each other that they need was simply amazing, with the right amount of drama, fluff, and sexy stuff added at just the right times, too. I love it!
Honorable Mention: Beloved. by Jealiu
Speaking of Pulse, I can’t contain my eternal love for Mel. She’s such a badass doctor, such a high-level tease, such a seductress, and yet, such an adorable dork.
She combines quite a lot of characters traits that I like, and even the ones I usually don’t like somehow come off as nice in her character. It’s honestly so weird. Though, what I like best about this character is how she changes over the course of time. It’s not necessarily super noticeable, but her growing love for Lyn changes her in just the right way for me to enjoy this story to the max! I sure hope Lyn can teach her some more lessons in the future, but even as she is right now, I can’t help but love her~
Honorable Mention: Nanami Touko (Bloom Into You)
I think I have a thing for badass cuties, especially when they come with such an amazing voice and just this amazing kind of character design.
As the crown princess of Eylstadt, she holds just the right kind of character traits—such as being kind, noble, fearless, and always being worried about her people. The only downside to this character, in my eyes, might be that she’s underage, and thus, I can’t, or more like don’t want to, ship her with myself. Though, good thing this is usually impossible for me anyway, since she already has a perfect partner, that being her little girlfriend, Izetta~
Obviously, my choice is very different than L’s, but Miyano is just so damn cute that I couldn’t resist. She’s absolutely adorable, and once you take into account how crazy she is about Echizen, she’s absolutely worthy of my vote for Best Yuri Anime Character. Finding the perfect balance between annoying and sweet is tough, but Miyano seems to have found it. There were actually quite a few good characters in Tanaka-kun, but the one that left the biggest impression on me was definitely her. And let’s not forget how great Miyano’s love confession was. At the end of the day, they may not have had the great moments together that Izetta and Finé had, but there’s just something about this little lump of enthusiasm that made me smile whenever she appeared on-screen.
Honorable Mention: Finé (Shuumatsu no Izetta)
I wonder just how many people will disagree with me on this one… .
This is seriously the Nico of Love Live! Sunshine!!, meaning that you either hate or love her, as she is without a doubt one of the most annoying, yet adorable, characters in the whole show. Personally, I found her super annoying in the beginning of the show, but she grew on me, and I started liking her alter ego, Yohane, even more than I liked her.
Her shows entertained me without end, especially when she managed to get the whole group to dress up as her “little demons”. So yeah, you either enjoy this cute and crazy character or you hate her. I don’t think there’s much room in-between.
Honorable Mention: Kou Yagami (New Game!)
My pick has absolutely nothing to do with yuri, but what more is left to be said about Sakamoto? This guy is just the SmoothMaster, and it was always entertaining to watch him outwit and outsmart his detractors. The story in Sakamoto desu ga? may have been nearly nonexistent, but that makes it all the more amazing that this guy was able to use his suave moves and ingenuity to overcome that and win over legions of anime fans, myself included.
Not all heroes wear capes, and for every guy (or girl) aspiring to become a cooler, smoother, more awesome version of themselves, Sakamoto is a shining beacon of what we could one day become. Way to go, SmoothMaster. Way to go.
Honorable Mention: Asuka (Hibike! Euphonium 2)
I already wrote two huge posts about this specific visual novel, basically praising it to no end, and I just can’t stop, even after a few months have passed. This visual novel just tops everything I have played so far, be it in 2016 or any other year. It just combines so, so many things I want to see in not just visual novels, but any kind of yuri media, actually. And even if a pairing is not to your liking, there are several more to chose from, so it doesn’t even matter~
Well, if I may add the following: If we’d ever get a game like this again, please make the characters university students this time. Maybe we will not experience their first love in this case, but it would surely tickle the interest of us “older” yuri fans, too. Just to make sure, I’m simply referring to the yuri fans that are older than let’s say 18.
Honorable Mention: Starlight Vega and FLOWERS
Now, similar to how I’m not an avid reader, I’m also not really a visual novel aficionado. That said, I did manage to finish two this year (the other one being Starlight Vega), so take my opinion with a grain of salt, but I also have to give it to Kindred Spirits on the Roof. The slow-burning romances were great and felt pretty relatable, which is kind of weird, considering there are ghosts involved. Nevertheless, with six couples, there’s something for nearly everyone, and it took me nearly 70 hours to reach 100% completion, so that’s countless scenes and some solid bang for the buck, if you ask me.
As good as I think this was, it wasn’t perfect. It would have been great if this had been fully-voiced, and rewatching the same conversations from another character’s perspective felt a bit tedious to me, but this was a very nice jumping-off point that made a good first impression and may very well lead to me checking out more in the future~
Honorable Mention: Starlight Vega
How can a character be this cute?! I’ve asked myself this same question so many times while playing Kindred Spirits, and I never reached a plausible solution to this question. A little mathematics geek with a huge crush on her little literature teacher. Basically, a lolicon in love with an older women who simply looks really young. This sounds bad, though, the real twist is that Kiri isn’t even bothered by the fact that her beloved teacher will not always look this young and cute, so it’s not just a fetish, but true love~
If you’re not convinced yet, do I have to remind you of that awesome “toilet scene” in which Kiri ponders about her sexuality on one of the schools toilets?! Yeah, that was simply the best~
Honorable Mention: Ano (Kindred Spirits on The Roof)
As cute as Kiri may be, Ano was the one who stole my heart and made me love Kindred Spirits even more. She doesn’t actually become romantically involved with anyone, which is a shame (and it also prevents her and Yuna from winning the Best Yuri Canon Pairing award), but even despite that, I loved absolutely everything about this yuri fangirl. She was like that neighbor in a TV show that everyone loves, but that doesn’t visit very often. Even after her special scenes, I was left wanting much, much more, which leads me to my next thought.
Lena came up with the brilliant idea of having Ano star in a potential sequel that’s set in college, and I’m in favor of this 110%. If this idea ever showed up as a Kickstarter campaign headed by Liar-soft, I might have to sell one of my kidneys to make sure it happened, but that’s a small price to pay for more of this princess with big boobs. ❤
Honorable Mention: Kiri (Kindred Spirits on the Roof)
I don’t even need to tell you why I love this one so much, May’n is just amazing and this song simply made Shuumatsu no Izetta a million times better, if this is even possible.
Honorable Mention: ninelie by EGOIST (Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress)
There were some good OPs and EDs this year, but for me, none of them could hold a candle to “Million Clouds” from Amanchu!. It was one of those songs that I immediately fell in love with and that I found myself playing over and over again. Never did I find myself skipping it, and had I done these awards for either of the past 2 years, this song would’ve stood a real chance of being my favorite from then as well. I think it’s just a beautiful song that’s a perfect fit for Amanchu! and is very easy to love~
Honorable Mention: Pipo Password by TeddyLoid ft. Bonjour Suzuki (Uchuu Patrol Luluco)
Are you surprised? Me, too, actually. I could have gone with any of the Kindred Spirits or even FLOWERS couples, but I decided that the one who made me happiest while playing was definitely a different one, from a different game, actually.
Well, in Starlight Vega, you have the choice between basically three pairings, all involving Aria. What I’ve decided for, and this was really easy to me, was Lyria, the relentless flirt with her heart in the right place. Well, she has a kind of forward and pushy personality, though, it’s exactly what is needed to guide Aria the right way. Well, that’s what I think anyway.
This couple managed to make me squeal many times, be it when Lyria snuck her way into Aria’s bed and kept her safe from nightmares, Lyria taking Aria on sometimes romantic and sometimes quite steamy, dates, and even Lyria being protective, and also jealous, over her love interest. Exactly what I would want to read about~
Honorable Mention: Kiri x Tsukuyo (Kindred Spirits on the Roof)
I had thought about also choosing Aria x Lyria, but in the end, I couldn’t not give Maki x Miki their due. It was sweet watching the lengths Maki would go to in order to spend more time with Miki (like joining the beautification committee), so through all their ups and downs, I was rooting hard for Maki’s dream of being with her senpai to finally come true.
Probably my favorite moment in all of Kindred Spirits was Maki’s “knight moment” when she lost it after another girl commented about how they could take it easy, since Miki will do anything you ask of her. Her love for Miki was so strong that not even that ill-fated kiss could sway my opinion of these two. This has all been about Maki so far, but Miki’s compassion to help anyone and everyone is a great complement to Maki’s determined attitude.
And then, of course, there’s the sex scene. That was obviously a nice culmination of their feelings for one another, but everything that led to that—Miki’s admittance of her innermost thoughts and her confession that she loves Maki as well—made it even more special. So for all of that, I can’t help but choose them as my Best Yuri Canon Pairing of 2016.
Honorable Mention: Aria x Lyria (Starlight Vega)
I initially wanted to go with Reina and Kumiko from Hibike! Euphonium, just like last year, though, I was reminded of something different at the last second – that something being Overwatch, my favorite game of 2016.
Overwatch already has a lot of characters that get shipped with characters of the same gender, though, only a few of these ships work that nicely in-game as well. Pharah and Mercy simply make a great combination, “keeping the skies clear” and enabling some great pushes. Some of their lines together are also pretty amazing, not to mention what I of course always make them say to each other, am I right Hardy? 😛
Well, during the few months this game has been available, I’ve developed a love towards this pairing that is, at least right now, unparalleled. And as it seems, I’m not the only one, as new fan art keeps popping up, and as I manage to get more and more of my friends to appreciate this couple as well. Now, let’s just hope that Blizzard will at some point make them an official pairing. After the revelation of Tracer being gay, it doesn’t seem so farfetched anymore~
Honorable Mention: Kumiko and Reina (Hibike! Euphonium)
^^ How could you almost forget about them?! 😛
Just because I’m not that great playing as either one of them doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate these two. In fact, I remember teasing Lena just a few short months ago about shipping Mercy x Soldier: 76, but I eventually discovered the yuri magic of Pharmercy, and now, the Pharmercy Dance of Passion is always a highlight for me whenever I play Overwatch. Thanks, sensei~~~
Granted, I’m still nowhere near as hardcore a fan of these two as L is, but I’m proud of the progress I’ve made in a short period of time. If you’re into Overwatch, you can’t deny that Pharah and Mercy are great together, and after Tracer’s emergence from the closet, it would be nice if these two would soon follow~
Honorable Mention: Hikari x Futaba (Amanchu!)
Feel free to tell us about your picks as well~