My Picks of Anime ‘07

Posted by Demian @ 2:31 pm, December 30th, 2007

Best ” OVA ” - ARIA the Arietta

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Ok, actually ARIA the Arietta was probably the only OVA from this year I saw, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. Like everything about ARIA, it was great; calming, funny, whimsical, and slightly melancholic. Fortunately the OVA did not signal the end of the great ARIA franchise, but as a detour on towards better things. I’m sure almost everyone will be checking out ORIGINATION in the coming weeks.

Best ” OVA that didn’t come out this year but I finally saw ” - Giant Robo

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Now tell me that’s not awesome?

Best ” Artsy Show ” - Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei

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It was a toss up between Sayonara Zetsubuo-sensei and ef ~ a tale of memories ~ for this category, but ultimately I enjoyed SZS’s stylistic flair more. From the orgasmically surreal OP (BURE BURE BURE BURE) to the several design quirks that characterize Akiyuki Shinbo’s work, it is impossible to say SZS didn’t have style. The style could either enhance a joke to something truly hilarious, make an incromphrensible joke even more cryptic, or stand alone in silent beauty. I’m looking forward to see what the second season will showcase in its artistic melting pot, but as in SZS tradition I have to ask: SUBS?!

Best ” I couldn’t believe it could turn out this bad show ” - Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS

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It’s amazing to see how StrikerS went from the darling anime of the year to being derided by almost everyone, even hardcore fans. I tried to put up with it, but there were just too many flaws and I dropped it shortly after Vivio was introduced. The endless training, introduction of too many characters, poor villians, shoddy animation, bad pacing, Vivio, disappearance of old characters we loved; all a perfect mixture of fail. The only good things to come out of StrikerS were Subaru and Teana; Subaru’s a great character all around who deserves a better show, and Teana just because I think her design is sexy. They do make one hell of a lesbian couple, another thing that couldn’t save StrikerS.

Best ” Show that’s halfway finished ” - Code Geass

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Great plot, great action, great characters, great pizza, great ass. I look forward to more in the spring.

Best ” Honi Honi ” - Potemayo

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I had to give Potemayo something. There is not a more sugary sweet, diabetes inducing moeblob in all of anime. The show never took itself seriously and had fun with its characters, creating a great comedy show all around. Also desperately in need of a second season.

Best ” Romance Show ” - Genshiken 2

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I’m not much of a romance guy. Too much romance in anime seems forced and unnatural to me, and often times it is, but Genshiken 2 got romance right. Genshiken had the benefit of being a slice-of-life/romance show, so it never had to rely on romantic intrigues to carry the story but could also insert gundam references. The natural love between Ohno and Tanaka and Sasahara and Ogiue grew throughout the series, and in the case of the later couple hasn’t even come to fruition yet. Hopefully we’ll get some OVA’s to finish up that story.

Best ” Other show made by SHAFT this year ” - Hidamari Sketch

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For that other awesome show made this year by SHAFT. Also can’t wait for the second season airing soon.

Best ” Show of the Year ” - Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann

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Could there be anything else but Gurren-Lagann for best show of the year? Everything about it is perfect. Stellar animation, manly GAR characters, and an epic plot that encompasses the entire universe. It had a couple problems in pacing halfway through, but nothing could stop this juggernaut from reaching the top. The spirit of this show - its characters, its emotions, and its many great monologues - will definitely stay with me in the coming year.

On a personal note, it’s been a pretty good year overall. The blog reached one year old. Readership increased dramatically, declined dramatically, and finally leveled of. My fanboyism of Type-moon reached new heights with the Fate/stay Night patch, but due to the lack of any new games has settled down to a kind of pessimistic cynicism. My fanboyism in touhou was similar, with much reading of doujinshi and playing of games at the beginning of the year leading to me not even thinking about touhou now. Too much too fast I guess. I discovered a love for mecha and tokusatsu which does continue now and have been watching as much as I can in those areas, which has definitely been reflected in the blog. And I got a cute girlfriend who I love, which was the best part of the year. And she has seen the blog and agrees: otaku make great boyfriends.

Finally, in mimicry of what one of my favorite bloggers does, let’s look at which post each month you readers most commented on and, I assume, liked.

January - Series Review: Black Lagoon Second Barrage - several people seemed to agree with me on how great this anime was. A third season is still sorely missed.

February - Saigar Update: Quarterfinals Match 3 aka. Good Night Sweet Prince - Archer’s lost in Saigar prompts a discussion on what the hell GAR is.

March - Greatest Haruhi Pic Evar - still rings true.

April - I have found it! - video of the first live action attempt at Lucky Star dance. Not to be viewed by the faint of heart.

May - Claymore Manga: Awesome, Claymore Anime: Meh - everyone agrees the girls of Claymore are moe.

June - Game Review: Fate/stay Night - FATE Route - still waiting for UBW patch.

July - Impressions: Sayonara Zetsubuo Sensei - the beginning of the madness.

August - One Year Anniversary Extravaganza - looking back, it wasn’t that big of an extravaganza.

September - Final Thoughts on Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann - the end of a legend.

October - Tomoya’s Dating a Retarded Person - more people really need to watch It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

November - Prelude to the Ultimate Battle of Manliness V.2 - it’s on in a couple of days.

December - I Hate Keyches - I love inventing new words.

Well, that’s it for 2007. Happy new year everyone and I’ll see you in 2008!

Thoughts on Gundam 00 - 12

Posted by Demian @ 8:41 pm, December 28th, 2007

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Something’s bothering me about the opening narration here. The narrator talks like there’s still oil in the middle east to export. Now, by most estimates I’ve seen the middle east is going to be bled dry probably by 2100, and even earlier episodes have said that fossil fuels have run out. So either I’m reading things wrong, which is possible, or the show’s internal logic doesn’t make much logical sense anymore, which is also possible knowing G00.

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Why the hell does Wang have a pink plane? The constant wardrobe changes I can stand, but the plane is just ridiculous. In the realistic setting G00 is trying to create, trying being the key word, a pink plane is just too silly. I still have no idea what her purpose is anyways. A mixture between spy, financier, and chauffeur.

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Why are Saji’s silly attempts to woo Louise’s mom still getting screen time after three episodes? Is there not more important stuff we could be focusing on, like a whole military coup d’etat in Azadistan? I’m starting to think these characters won’t ever become relevant to the main plot, unless HRL invades Japan and Saji has to fight to free his homeland. No, wait, I’m thinking of a different show now…

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Why is Graham so awesome, performing his own Char kick in his sexy Flag? The side characters in G00 are so much more interesting than the main gundam pilots right now, aside from Lockon. Maybe it’s because they don’t throw hissy fits every other episode. This is why you leave the piloting of mobile suits to real men and send the children, biological super-soldiers, and cyborgs home.

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Technically it’s impossible to become a giant robot. I know I’m being harsh on G00, but this show is seriously on a trainwreck right now. I have no idea where the writers are trying to take this show, aside from highlighting their own relevance by referencing every contemporary conflict under the sun. The characters I like don’t show up at all and most of the main characters just cry and freak out. The attempts at being realistic are just ridiculous. The mecha fights are good, but there’s not many of them. In the last couple of days I’ve watched both Gundam 0083 and G Gundam. Despite their differences they were both good, tightly scripted and well developed shows. I don’t know what G00 is trying to do, but I hope it gets its act together soon.

I Hate Keyches

Posted by Demian @ 10:46 pm, December 26th, 2007

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Keyches (n.) - Common plot devices found in Key games. For example: childhood friends that are forgotten, disembodied apparitions, weird psychic powers, moeblobs with the IQ of a three year old, sarcastic male protagonists, and heart-breaking tales about sad girls that will inevitably make you cry.

Twelve Anime Moments of the Year (For Me): Bartender

Posted by Demian @ 3:07 pm, December 25th, 2007

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me: twelve I CAN’T BELIEVE IT TASTES LIKE BLACK VELVET!’s, eleven HYPER CLOCK UP’s, ten EVERYTHING FOR BIG FIRE’s, nine SKULL MAN’s, eight SYNAPSE ATTACK’s, seven GARO’s, six OH GAWDS YUNO IS MOE!, five ZERO!, four VOLTEKKA!, three PRIMAL SCREAMS OF HOT BLOODED FURY!, two(million) RONs!, and one GIGA DRILL BREAKER!

This is the twelfth post in a series as I look at the twelve best anime moments of the year from shows I watched. Key there being watched, as a few of these moments are going to be from some pretty old stuff, but I think they’re damn good enough to talk about at any time. This is a joint ABC blogging project with other contributions from Roxas, CCYoshi, Orion, Owen S, Xerox, Nekoron, Martin, Michael Huang, usagijen, and Moogy. Yeah, there’s a lot of us.

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So here we are at the end of this little summary of my awesome moments of the year, and what better way to celebrate christmas than with the greatest anime christmas episode ever? Yes, I’m talking about the christmas episode of Bartender. It’s no secret around here how much I love this show, and my favorite episode is definitely the christmas one. It’s partly because I love christmas and partly because it’s a very well put together episode. It has everything: a hapless protagonist looking for love, unique direction, crazy bartending action, and even a christmas miracle. Like every Bartender episode it soothes my soul, while also imbuing me with a bit of christmas spirit, even if I’m watching it in the middle of summer. Of course the strength of Bartender has always been in that soothing feeling, no matter the season. There’s never a wrong time for a Glass of the Gods.

Merry Christmas everyone. Now I’m going to go watch the anime I got as gifts, namely Tekkaman Blade V.3, G Gundam V.2, Gundam 0083, and Big O V.1

Merry Christmas!

Posted by Demian @ 4:39 pm, December 24th, 2007

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Just want to wish everyone a very merry Christmas from me. Whether you’re with friends, family, or that special body pillow, I hope you have fun this holiday.

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Twelve Anime Moments of the Year (For Me): Kamen Rider Kabuto

Posted by Demian @ 10:35 am, December 24th, 2007

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me: eleven HYPER CLOCK UP’s, ten EVERYTHING FOR BIG FIRE’s, nine SKULL MAN’s, eight SYNAPSE ATTACK’s, seven GARO’s, six OH GAWDS YUNO IS MOE!, five ZERO!, four VOLTEKKA!, three PRIMAL SCREAMS OF HOT BLOODED FURY!, two(million) RONs!, and one GIGA DRILL BREAKER!

This is the eleventh post in a series as I look at the twelve best anime moments of the year from shows I watched. Key there being watched, as a few of these moments are going to be from some pretty old stuff, but I think they’re damn good enough to talk about at any time. This is a joint ABC blogging project with other contributions from Roxas, CCYoshi, Orion, Owen S, Xerox, Nekoron, Martin, Michael Huang, usagijen, and Moogy. Yeah, there’s a lot of us. And if you haven’t seen Kamen Rider Kabuto then go watch it now, as this post contains some ending spoilers.

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Tsurugi is one of the few characters in Kabuto that actually grows as the series progresses. Sure, most of his growth is masked by his many crazy and surreal antics, but there is growth. He goes from an arrogant aristocrat to a hard-working guy that respects the rights of others. His relationship with Misaki really shows this, because at first he just treats her as an object worthy of him owning, but later on he treats her as a women to be met on her own terms. Even though he’s mainly the comedy relief of the show, he’s probably the most human of all the Kabuto characters. And as with any Kamen Rider show, the good character is happy he has to die.

Tsurugi’s death isn’t the greatest or saddest ever, but there is a poignancy to it. Tsurugi is just about to have his first date with Misaki when his Worm form takes over and begins wreaking havoc. Discovering his true Worm form Tsurugi decides to become the top of the Worms, even defeating the powerful Reiji Nogi. Tendou is forced to kill Tsurugi, but not because Tsurugi is trying to kill him but because he must keep his promise with Tsurugi: defeat all Worms. Tsurugi tragically ensures the defeat of the Worm in his own death, lamenting the fact he never got that first date with Misaki. The final shot of Tsurugi, passing away with his loyal butler Jiiya by his side, is definitely worth remembering.

Twelve Anime Moments of the Year (For Me): Giant Robo

Posted by Demian @ 10:10 pm, December 23rd, 2007

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me: ten EVERYTHING FOR BIG FIRE’s, nine SKULL MAN’s,eight SYNAPSE ATTACK’s,seven GARO’s, six OH GAWDS YUNO IS MOE!, five ZERO!, four VOLTEKKA!, three PRIMAL SCREAMS OF HOT BLOODED FURY!, two(million) RONs!, and one GIGA DRILL BREAKER!

This is the tenth post in a series as I look at the twelve best anime moments of the year from shows I watched. Key there being watched, as a few of these moments are going to be from some pretty old stuff, but I think they’re damn good enough to talk about at any time. This is a joint ABC blogging project with other contributions from Roxas, CCYoshi, Orion, Owen S, Xerox, Nekoron, Martin, Michael Huang, usagijen, and Moogy. Yeah, there’s a lot of us. And if you haven’t seen Giant Robo then go watch it now, as this post contains some ending spoilers.

You have to watch both clips to really get the full impact of the moment. Sadly I can’t find any with subtitles, though.

I’ve said before how I consider Giant Robo to be an anime classic that needs to be seen by every person who calls themselves a true fan, whether they like mecha or not. Its themes of growing up, noble sacrifice, responsibility, and the power of legacy are universal and well worth seeing in action. There are literally a dozen great moments in Giant Robo, but my favorite comes in the final episode. Genya is about to strike the crushing blow to the battered fighters of the IPO, and Daisaku is paralyzed in his inability to rescue Ginrei. However, Daisaku does not wallow for long. He still does not have the answer to whether happiness can be obtained without sacrifice, but he will fight to protect the world right now.

It’s a great emotional moment as everyone rallies around Daisaku to protect him so he can get to Giant Robo and fight as one with him. The moment where Daisaku stands up as one with Giant Robo and everyone shouting behind him to fight Genya is really the climax of the series. It’s also the climax of Masamichi Amano’s music, with the score here perfectly intensifying the raw emotions. I can’t describe enough how perfect Amano’s music is; his work on Giant Robo is probably the best anime soundtrack ever made. the moment may be a bit melodramatic and slightly cheesy, but is awesome to the end, everything that I love about Giant Robo.