Yuri!!! On ICE might’ve been one of the best things about 2016. I know that’s is a low bar, but roll with me. It engaged viewers inside and outside anime fandom alike, it offered one of the most positive portrayals of a queer relationship I’ve ever seen in anime, and – most importantly – it’s offered me a chance to talk about Sayo Yamamoto, a director whose works have until now struggled to gain attention despite their high quality.
Numbers 20 to 16
In honor of the one year anniversary, this month’ll be blocked out for a conversation on Awesome Stuff. This time around, I’ve divided out my top 20 favorite anime. By its nature the list is always in flux, particularly those at the high end of the countdown (I haven’t managed yet to touch Spice & Wolf or Mawaru Penguindrum, for example). But! Whether or not they move off of the formal list in the future, these are all series that captured my imagination, that showed me something new, creative, or different in idea or execution, and that I fully stand behind recommending.
Let us continue!
Of the many things that are shaping up to be intriguing about nascent auteur Sayo Yamamoto’s work, foremost among them is her portrayal of women. That is to say, her works are populated with female characters from a Technicolor spectrum of personality and purpose, varied and deftly shaded and as real as any male character would be expected to be. Take Michiko & Hatchin, her first outing as a series director – it might start as one-woman-army Michiko’s journey to reunite with the man who left her, dragging that man’s child (Hana/Hatchin) along for the ride, but that’s nowhere near the point. In fact Hiroshi, the missing man in question, is so far removed from the story that he eventually starts to seem more myth than being. By the end, he’s less the happy ending that our main characters thought they wanted and more an unattainable dream that they’d convinced themselves would solve everything. Yup, Hiroshi is Sayo Yamamoto’s Prince Charming.
Michiko might be faking that disgusted look, but I’m not