This is the first time I've actually managed to put together a recs post for Yuletide, the annual small fandom fanfic gift exchange, and I haven't managed to read nearly as many fics as I'd like to yet, but here are some of the fanfics I've most enjoyed so far this year -- most of them are in anime and manga, with a sprinkling of book fandoms and western animation.
First of all, the two fics I received as gifts, which I absolutely loved to pieces.
"A City Wide, Blue" (Vampire Hunter D)
D seeks shelter for himself and a young girl in the city of half-breed monsters to which he brought destruction many years ago. A heartbreaking look into the heart of someone who, over the lonely centuries, has tried and failed to turn that heart to stone. Saying much more than that will give too much away. If you've seen either of the Vampire Hunter D anime films, this is a must read, and I count it as one of the very best fics in the fandom.
It seems like hardly anyone's seen the anime Noein despite it having aired on the Sci-fi Channel at some point, but now that it's available on Netflix streaming, I hope more people will watch it... and that subsequently they'll go and read this fic, because it's incredibly poignant. It focuses on Isami and Yuu's friendship, and on how they become the quantum warriors Fukurou and Karasu after they lose the women they love. First slash in the (minuscule) English-language side of the fandom, I believe, and it's touching both in and of itself and because the story makes a point of not sidelining the women in their lives. Really great stuff.
And now for a few more:
"Deserving" (Pet Shop of Horrors)
While looking for Count D, Leon breaks up a puppy mill and finds himself responsible for a bajillion labrador retrievers. Adorable, funny, and snappily written, and so true to both the canon characters and dog behavior.
"Ten Things that Happened Because of the Rain" (Samurai Champloo)
A lovely series of vignettes about Jin and Shino, my favorite couple from Samurai Champloo in what may be my favorite episode.
"in the beginning" (Higashi no Eden/Eden of the East)
This is how I wish the series had ended. Perfectly captures Takizawa's charm and restless energy, and Saki's hope and faith, and both of their desires to make the world a better place.
"An Unexpected Present" (War for the Oaks by Emma Bull)
Eddi and the Phouka trim the tree. Sweet, romantic, and magical even without any overt magic, with dialogue that could have come from the novel itself.
"The Definition of a Path" (Sunshine by Robin McKinley)
Sunshine and Constantine enjoy a night out on the town that solidifies the nature of their relationship. Captures Sunshine's voice very well, and I *heart* these two together.
"Tales of the Bathhouse" (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi/Spirited Away)
Tales of bathhouse inhabitants we have come to know, plus a couple of new additions. Very true to the spirit of the film, and to the spirit of fairy tales.
"Shades of Bittersweet" (Disney's Beauty and the Beast)
What if Belle had married Gaston to set her father free? Haunting and beatifully written, but keep your tissues handy, and maybe a copy of the movie to cheer yourself up afterward.
"Hang" (Witch Hunter Robin)
A lovely coda to the series that really gets into Amon and Robin's relationship, and all the contradictions and complications in his feelings for her.
"Lance Blanc in Vampire Lust IV: Eternal Bone" (Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher)
Set during the time period when Thomas was crashing on Harry's couch, Harry finds out about Thomas's contributions to the family business. I laughed so hard at this I thought I'd die.
"Soldiering On" (Fringe)
Peter's meditations on the show's recent events. It really feels like him.