Question: I recently came across an old article on AE about yuri anime and manga, and found it very interesting. Are there any new developments in yuri anime/manga you can tell us about?
— Jen, Sydney, Australia
Answer: The article I think you’re referencing is "Erica Friedman’s Guide to Yuri" (July 2007), and Yuricon founder Friedman’s blog, Okazu, is an excellent, frequently-updated resource for information on the topic.
While Friedman is a far better resource on the subject than I will ever be, I can tell you that we recently received a tip from a reader (Thanks, Katherine!) about two anime series starring lesbian characters that have recently been green lit for production in Japan.
Aoi Hana is a slice-of-life romantic drama based on a manga by Shimura Takako. The story is about a girl named Fumi beginning her freshman year at an all-girls’ high school, who reconnects with her childhood friend Akira (who is attending a different girls’ school) who she lost touch with ten years ago. As they rekindle their friendship, Fumi begins a relationship with another student at her school, while other characters are enmeshed in their own romantic subplots.
Aoi Hana will premiere in July 2009 on Fuji TV (and other Japanese stations), and there’s a "trailer" (animation-free) for Aoi Hana at the official website.
The second anime series, Sasameki Koto, is adapted from the manga of the same name by Takashi Ikeda.
Katherine tells us:
Sasameki Koto is about two best friends named Sumika and Ushio who attend a co-ed high school together. Sumi, the protagonist, is secretly in love with Ushio, but the oblivious Ushio is only interested in super-girly cute girls. Unfortunately for Sumi, she isn’t cute at all. She’s tall, cool, excellent at sports (especially karate), and steadfastly reliable.
The manga follows the two best friends, as well a plethora of other colorful supporting characters, as Ushio begins to fall for Sumi, although so far in the manga, they have yet to realize that their feelings are mutual. A premiere date has not been set, although Sasameki Koto will likely air this year.
Animenewsnetwork.com reports, "This ‘school drama manga depicting a fresh look at bittersweet adolescence’ has been running in Media Factory’s Monthly Comic Alive magazine since 2007," and the fourth volume shipped on March 23.