1 – Mai Hime/Otome – I love these series I normally stay away from all girl anime’s but there are a few that slip through because they are brilliant so worth watching. The Mai series is one of these great exceptions to my rule. For a start the characters are really interesting it has a good mix of female characters that represent many different types of female attitudes and character types. It’s easy to relate to at least one female character and they are all strong in there different ways no silly bimbo types or wilting flowers. These are strong girls with morals, ambitions and strength of character so it’s quite nice to see such positive portrayals of femininity. But apart from the great characters this series is also brilliant for action scenes. The fights are great as each girl has unique and amazing powers. Not only do they have a power but an original weapon and a secret beast they can summon. This means battles are amazing and there is no lack of action going on. By Otome they also have the transformation sequences which are brilliant adding the extra awesomeness of amazing costume designs to the already grand mix of weapons and abilities. The plot for Mai Hime is about Mai Tokiha is an ordinary high-school girl who has recently transferred to the Fuka Academy with her younger brother, Takumi. However, a routine boat ride and a chance encounter with a mysterious young girl changes everything. Mai discovers that she and some of her classmates possess the powers of HiME and must battle against mysterious creatures called Orphans and an ominous organization called the Searrs Foundation. Along the way she must face her own demons and understand what it means to love.
My-Otome’s story takes place in the distant future on the planet Earl, colonized by immigrants from Earth centuries ago. “Old technology” has survived in the form of Nano machines that allow female virgins to take the role of Meister Otome’s – bodyguards, attendants and warriors that serve the royalty of various kingdoms. Arika Yumemiya has come to Wind bloom Kingdom in search of her mother, whom Arika knows was an Otome. On her arrival she meets the top Coral Otome student, Nina Wáng, and Windbloom’s heir to the throne, Mashiro Blan de Windbloom. The series follows Arika’s progress as a student at Garderobe Academy and the machinations of those desiring the destructive power of the old technology for themselves. Some of the characters have been reincarnated into the new universe and thus the series are linked by some shared themes and story arcs. Another great aspect of the show is the great score by Yuki kajiura most famous for the scoring of the Hack/Sign anime. A beautiful and haunting soundtrack a mix between operetta and fantasy infused dance music. These series also being predominantly female characters have a Yuri couple and some slashy undertones but the main couple have an interesting relationship and it’s nice to see the relationship progress.
It’s not so black and white and this relationship as with many have a lot of tragedy and difficulties to overcome, love isn’t so easily gained and being in love isn’t all roses for these girls giving birth to as much grief as it brings happiness. I love this series because of this mix of strong female characters, honest portrayals of love and heartbreak mixed with genuine drama, action and battle.
2 – Card Captor Sakura – Ah CCS Clamp’s little magical girl series that is so good. You all know I love Clamp though I prefer the dark stuff but CCS is brilliant. Cardcaptor Sakura begins when ten-year-old fourth grader Sakura Kinomoto accidentally releases a set of magical cards called Clow Cards from the Clow Book, created and named after half-English, half-Chinese sorcerer Clow Reed. Each card has its own personality and characteristics and can assume alternate forms when activated. The guardian Beast of the Seal Cerberus emerges from the book and tells her it is now her responsibility to retrieve the missing cards. As she finds each card, she battles its magical personification and defeats it to seal it away. Cerberus acts as her guide, while her best friend and cousin Tomoyo Daidouji films her exploits and provides her with battle costumes. Sakura’s older brother Touya Kinomoto watches over her, while pretending that he is unaware of what is going on.
The fact is I like Sakura and her clumsy giddy little self, she’s honest and sweet and good natured. She has surrounded herself with good friends and has a good family so everything seems so sweet and innocent. What makes me like little this magical girl series above all others (and it’s not a genre I normally go for) is that underneath its sweet exterior is a far more adult and intriguing world. CCS at its driving force is about love and how it concurs and prevails in all its forms which means that this series is full of relationships not normally represents. I mean there’s Sakura’s best friend with her lesbian crush on Sakura, one of Sakura’s school friend is secretly engaged to her teacher, there’s another age difference couple, reincarnated love and then there is Touya and Yuki.
This is the reason I love this series it makes it very obvious that Sakura’s brother is in a relationship with his best Friend Yuki and as the series progresses so does how much these two people mean to each other. Their relationship is beautiful what Touya gives up not to lose Yuki is amazing and touching and it also has the extra bonus of the truth behind Yuki and sharing his soul with the beautiful Yue. Nothing like a cute bishie guy that transforms into a hot bishie angel to make me a happy fan girl.
Oh I could fan girl about this yaoi paring all day it was one of my first ever yaoi pairings and it was lovely but then CCS make relationships beautiful and touching. Sakura’s growing understanding of her own feelings and her relationship with Syaoran is a lovely journey to watch. It also helps that the series is also touching and fun, the Clow cards are interesting and while the first half concentrates on collecting them the second is on transforming them. Therefor some interesting episodes, battles and magically powers. Also with all magical girl shows there’s plenty of outfit changes and a great running joke about the costume changes and the magical staff spell casting ritual that all these shows need. Good thing Sakura twirls the baton at school.
3 – The Vision of Escaflowne – a beautiful fantasy series and a classic of the genre. The series focuses on the heroine, Hitomi Kanzaki, and her adventures after she is transported to the world of Gaea, a mysterious planet where she can see Earth and its moon in the sky. On Gaea, Earth is known as the Mystic Moon. Hitomi’s latent psychic powers are enhanced on Gaea and she quickly becomes embroiled in the conflicts between the Zaibach Empire and the several peaceful countries that surround it. The conflicts are brought about by the Zaibach Empire’s quest to revive the legendary power from the ancient city of Atlantis. As the series progresses, many of the characters’ pasts and motivations, as well as the history of Atlantis and the true nature of the planet Gaea, are revealed.
This is fantasy at its best an amazing world a strong heroin, beautiful bishonen, war and battles, fantasy creatures, conflicts and conspiracies between kingdoms and an epic journey of self-discovery. Of course being a shoujo this also has a great romance and a love triangle. It’s pretty obvious who Hitomi is going to end up with but it’s wonderful to see how this romance unfolds. Now as a slash fan there are very few hetro couples I like and they have to be convincing and also something more than the average romance, I like a little tragedy and hardship and coming to terms with the bigger picture while being tested by new feelings. As you guessed this series has all this mixed in with the battles and action of an epic fantasy series. Also this series has the beautiful bishonen Allen Shezar who is a fav for me.
When I first got into anime this was one of the first series I watched and Allen was one of the first anime crushes I ever had. Tall blue eyed, long blonde hair, a swordsman, honourable, chivalrous, strong and brilliant in battle he was perfect and boy did I love him, between him and Hotohori from Fushigi Yuugi I was in bishie heaven. Of course the worth of this series is not based on how hot one of the characters is but it helps. The worth is in Hitomi’s voyage of discovery both of self and the world and its battles. It has been many years since I’ve watched the show but it has stuck with me as one of the best and very few fantasies over the last 15 years have ever matched it.
4 – Fushigi Yuugi – the first ever fantasy bishonen harem based anime I ever watched and still one of the best. In all the years since I’ve watched this no other series has had the depth of character, beautiful bishonen and amazing story telling. I watched all 42 episodes in one go as I was so obsessed with this series. The plot centres on Middle-school student Miaka Yūki is under a lot of pressure to pass the entrance exam for the competitive Jonan Academy. Her friends do not believe she will get in, but she is determined to because her best friend, Yui Hongo, has applied for the same school and she wants them both to go to the school together. While at the library one day, Miaka and Yui encounter a strange book known as The Universe of the Four Gods. As a result of reading this book, they are then transported into the novel’s universe. However, Yui is transported back to the real world almost immediately. Inside the novel Miaka discovers that she is the Priestess of Suzaku and destined to gather the seven Celestial Warriors of the god Suzaku in order to summon Suzaku and obtain three wishes. She falls in love with the Celestial Warrior Tamahome, who eventually reciprocates and Miaka’s desire to use a wish to enter the high school of her choice begins to shift towards finding a way to be with Tamahome. Yui, who is also drawn into the book when she was trying to help Miaka to come back to the real world, becomes the Priestess of Seiryuu, working against Miaka out of jealousy over Tamahome and revenge for the humiliation and pain she had suffered when she first came to the book world. The series describes the various trials that teenagers Miaka and Yui face, both quest-driven and personal. Feeling betrayed, the two oppose one another as priestesses, bringing together their own respective warriors and vying for the chance to be granted three wishes by the gods whom they hope to summon.
This is one of those one girl surrounded by many hot guys and as the series goes on you wonder which she will get together with as they all fall in love with her. There is really only one couple and that is Miaka and Tamahome and god is their romance epic I mean these two go through more ups and down and personal tragedy and testing then I’ve ever seen. One thing about this series is that buy the end I had learnt my first Japanese and that was “doshite” which mean “why?” as Miaka seems to say it all the time, ever episode sometimes many times over going “doshite Tamahome, doshite?”. Ok so if you take out the epic roller-coaster ride of a relationship in this series you all have the epic journey of Miaka as she tries to find her guardians and help save this world. There are so many things to love about this series apart from the bishonen quota, it is tragic as hell OMG do these characters go through hardships and trials no one is safe from personal upset and horrific events. I mean this series isn’t afraid to go dark to expose the weaknesses in humanity, the pain of love and loss, the horrible things a person can go through and how hard life can be. It has issues ranging from rape to poverty and family tragedy. This is one series that needs to be watched with a box of tissues I cried so much as its not afraid to kill off characters and by the end I was a gibbering mess cause well the death toll was higher than anything I was used to. The series is based around the old Chinese mythology of the 4 gods, Miaka having the power of Suzaku the phoenix. Through the series the other 3 gods are discovered as well as all the priestess and there powers. It wouldn’t be a fantasy series without discovering magical powers and how to use them, also the abilities of each bishonen and their weapons. This means that there are also amazing fights utilizing these weapons and abilities. Now for what made me truly fall for this series, my first ever anime crush and one of my fav bishonen archetypes, Hotohori.
How I love this man, tall elegant, very feminine with long flowing hair and beautiful eyes, he is also an emperor with dignity, humanity, honest and honourable, kind and beautiful plus an expert swordsman with strength and passion. I never got why Miaka turned him down for Tamahome he is so much more everything but it did leave the door open for my first ever slash pairing as its revealed that one of the women in the series is in fact a man that entered the emperor’s harem because he is in love with Hotohori. This is an interesting relationship and is also a big draw for me as these are both very beautiful and strong men trying to find a way to deal with their feelings. This series is pretty epic and engaging and even after writing this review I think I may have to re watch it now!!!
5 –Magic Users Club – A comedy magical girl series that amuses and entertains. The plot starts as an enormous cylindrical alien spaceship named “the Bell” by humans descended upon Earth one day. Military forces attacked this entity but their attempts were in vain, as the Bell easily vaporized all human technology. The Bell sent out robotic probes to explore and analyse human civilization and, since the probes didn’t cause any harm, people soon adapted and went about their everyday lives. A group of high school students at Kitanohashi High School’s “Magic User’s Club” attempt to combat the alien menace using magic.
The MUC is made up of three lovely magical girls a very stupid an amusing male leader and the brilliant second in command bishonen. This series is simple fun it is a comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously and that makes it magic. It’s more of the mayhem and mischief kinda of series with magic through in to add to the crazy fun. It also has the romance angle and why anyone would fancy the main guy is beyond me especially his incredible hot male friend; this is one time when I reject the yaoi relationship as it’s just not sexy!!!!! Aburatsubo is extremely feminine, completely gay, flirtatious, long red hair and is also a nice guy. I do love a good bishie helps me when choosing a series but sometimes I like to watch something silly. This series is just a bit of fun magic, it makes you smile and entertains you don’t need to think too much just sit back and enjoy knowing that it’s not going to through tragedy and epicness at you. Even a fan like me needs a time out from the more in-depth and intense series and this is a great entertaining gem.
Check out the My Yaoi, Shonen ai, Boys love Slashable anime list!!
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