2010 Anime Review

God Tier

So Ra No Wo To

Some of the most gorgeous art this side of Yoshitoshi ABe; characters who’re instantly endearing and have a natural chemistry; an engaging central narrative that pushes it one step farther than shows of its like—Sora no Woto wasn’t only great, but surprising. I loved it from the first episode, but it constantly found new ways for me to love it—for the art and animation, the impressively developed characters, engrossing world, fantastic directing, and consistently interesting episodic plots—tied together by an even-more-interesting dramatic plot. What makes Sora no Woto my favorite anime of 2010 is that there are so many aspects which I adore, and which have kept me rewatching the episodes, finding new things to say or to think about them. It’s a show that nags at the back of my mind, asking me to watch it again and find the next gem of knowledge or interpretation that’ll make me love it even more. This is the kind of show I’ll still be blogging about years down the line, and I love that, because it’s so much fun to blog.

Posts I did on this anime: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Eps 4 and 5, Episode 6, On Talent

Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 1st

Never has the tale of a girl winning the friendship of her rival looked so god damn good! The Nanoha movie is special not just for being amazing, but for being amazing in replacement of a shitty series, and creating a magnificent springboard into the second season, which it rivals in brilliance (perhaps surpassing it by way of production quality). This film is wildly fun to watch and easily rewatchable, not to mention a perfect excuse to introduce my friends to the wonder of mahou shoujo anime. I love the genre, and Nanoha takes everything that makes it great and writes it for an adult audience without losing any of the magic. The final scene is one of the best emotional climaxes in anime, even if it was already done in the original show. What the original doesn’t have, however, is one of the best aerial dogfights I’ve seen.

Posts I did on this anime: Recommendation

K-On!!

The dialog and seiyuu performances in this series almost transcend anime as I know it. I can’t think of any pair of characters whose interactions are as entertaining as those that Satou Satomi and Toyosaki Aki create in Ritsu and Yui respectively. I single them out for their godliness, but that’s not to mistakenly forget that the other actors and their characters are all superb as well. Kyoto Animation continues to prove that they’re amongst the best production studios in TV anime. No other studio has the sheer attention to detail that they do, nor the general brilliance in directing. K-On is always entertaining, and at times even profoundly emotional. It has an unmistakable stage presence not unlike its own characters, which is no-doubt intentional. Add to that some excellent openings and endings, which are vitally important, because while a weak opening or ending can rarely hurt an anime, a strong one can make it all the more legendary. The only thing holding me at bay with K-On is that not every episode is equally brilliant. There are definitive god-tier episodes, great ones, a slew of average ones, and a couple of rather poor ones. The great outweighs the merely good, though, and rewatches should prove vital to the series’ strength.

Posts I did on this anime: Eps 1-6, Episode 7, Episode 20

Strike Witches 2

I couldn’t have prepared myself for how much awesomeness would come from season 2 of Strike Witches. I enjoyed the first series a lot, even if I never thought of it as something special, so I was expecting the same kind of laid-back enjoyment from this. Instead, I got a show that constantly kicked ass from start to finish and left me begging for more. The only thing that could’ve been better about Strike Witches 2 is that it could’ve been longer. Besides that, every episode had a crowning moment of awesome for one of its characters, and all of those characters etched their names into my heart. From a special attack that rivals the awesomeness of a super robot move to one of the most ingenious action scenes of the year, I was always impressed. Episodes flew by and made me look forward to watching them again, which I’ll be doing sooner rather than later with the uncensored blu-ray rips coming out. This is the best kind of popcorn entertainment, and something I want to show my friends.

Posts I did on this anime: Moments

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Trying To Make K-On!! Songs Easier To Sing

As I’m sure you know, I’m very passionate about karaoke (if you don’t know, please familiarize yourself with these videos~). Being as K-On!! was one of the best shows of the year and was a show about music with a number of really good opening and ending themes (even some great B-sides!), it seems like perfect karaoke material.

Or it would, were the songs not insanely difficult to sing. I pride myself on being exceptional at singing fast and complex songs—last Otakon, I did Shounen Heart, a rap song by Home Made Kazoku from Eueka Seven, almost without error (and those errors aren’t made all the time). But K-On’s music is a whole level above that.

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The Secret Santa Files: Mystery, Drama, and Baseball!

My family doesn’t celebrate Christmas. We did growing up, but none of us are Christians, so it didn’t make sense to keep it up once the kids were grown. Instead, we celebrated Festivus in 2008, The Feast of Winter’s Veil in 2009, and this year I invented my own winter holiday called Agarwood Day (details in future). Each time, I’ve made up a series of themed activities to participate in, and we have a lot of fun.

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Change of Plans For Twelve Days of Kurisumasu and Some Thoughts on Kami Nomi re: Manglobe

Oh hell, I’ll never end up doing this thing right. Change of plans for my last 3 Kurisumasu posts: they’ll come out later; mostly because I’ve run out of moments that I particularly want to talk about. I’m thinking there’s one moment I want to save for last, and then the other posts will be a bigger cumulation of moments, but since I didn’t plan for this ahead, I’ll just push the posts back. Plus, I’ve still got a couple more shows to finish before the year clocks out. So far, I’ve probably watched more anime in December than I did in, like, the entirety of 2009.

Anyway I would’ve felt bad if I didn’t announce that, but I’ve sworn against doing any posts that don’t directly deal with anime in some way, so here’s some brief thoughts on the show that just ended/I just finished, Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai.

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On the Ninth Day of Kurisumasu My Imouto Gave to Me: “…Yes.” From Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin Episode 11

(Lol late again, but I have an excuse. I was in the middle of writing when Funeral found out that Black Swan was finally playing in our city, so we immediately rushed out and saw it. I highly recommend you do the same if you can.)

Images courtesy of otou-chan's now-defunct tumblr. Go see him on his newly re-active Shameful Otaku Secret! http://www.shamefulotakusecret.com/

Occult Academy was easily the most disappointing TV anime that I finished in 2010. I got a bit excited for it because the A-1 Pictures “Anime no Chikara” project had turned out the amazing Sora no Woto earlier this year (I didn’t see Senkou no Nigth Raid until later, but it was still better than Occult Academy), and because the character design and animation directing were being handled by Chiba Takahiro, who was also responsible for Kamichu and worked on Read or Die. (The team from those 2 shows seems to work together a lot, and I’m a big fan).

Much in the vein of Futakoi Alternative or Angel Beats, Occult Academy sought to blend together utter silliness and bouts of seriousness together at random to create an unpredictable experience. Whereas those other two series did this to great success, Occult Academy utterly fucking failed, and wound up as terribly boring trite for most of the show.

The series’ only saving graces were the occasional hilariously over-the-top episode and one of my favorite Hanazawa Kana performances. I was actually considering dropping it 10 episodes in, but I thought I may as well finish.

I’m glad I did, because the last three episodes were so brick-shitting amazing that they made up for the rest of the show sucking dick.

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On the Eighth Day of Kurisumasu My Imouto Gave to Me: NONSTOP AWESOME From Strike Witches 2

Strike Witches 2 is a perfect sequel. It takes what the first season did and improves on it from front to back, with better writing, more emphasis on the characters being awesome (as opposed to just sort of being there as they were sometimes in S1), and a whole lot more memorable events. I can’t remember much about the first season—I enjoyed the characters (mostly for their designs) and the general premise, but there hadn’t been anything in the show that really stuck with me, which is why even though I felt myself being instinctively defensive of it, I could never say that much good about it.

2 cures that entirely. Almost every single episode is memorable for one reason or another, and the series is riddled with moments of ultimate badassery. Being as “moments of ultimate badassery” are always my favorite part of anime, this meant a lot to love for me. Besides that, it got rid of other things I didn’t like about the first series, like all the in-fighting that came from Perrine (this time, she’s as much of a lovable character as the rest), and general lack of presence from others (everyone gets their moment in S2, and none of those moments are throw-away.)

There’s definitely more than one moment of awesome worth highlighting here, so I’ll just pull all the biggest ones.

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On the Seventh Day of Kurisumasu My Imouto Gave to Me: Beyond the Inferno in Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Episode 54

Used the episode title because this post contains massive spoilers for FMA Brotherhood.

I must apologize ahead of time. This post is a couple of hours late because I slept all day in-between doctor appointments, and it’ll also be short because I don’t know what happened to my FMAB files and can’t remember the episode in detail. But I’ll try.

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On the Sixth Day of Kurisumasu My Imouto Gave to Me: A Bloody Swath Cut Through Bakemonogatari Episode 15

As mentioned in yesterday’s moment, my relationship with Bakemonogatari over the course of 2010 was similar to my relationship with K-On. Having gone from almost dismissing the show in 2009 to finishing it and enjoying it with a wishy-washy sort of ‘almost love,’ my feelings for the series then slowly shifted.

In the wake of watching Bakemonogatari and To Aru Majutsu no Index, my love for them became superbly interconnected. To me, Bake and Index were two sides of the same coin, and I experienced fandom for both series very similarly in terms of the way I loved the characters and the way I loved certain aspects of the shows so deeply that they made me forget about the parts I didn’t care for; as well as in the way I went on obsessive doujin hunts for both. These were, I would say, the first two anime that came to be unmistakably favorites of mine for reasons that extended far beyond watching the actual anime.

My feelings toward Index became more mixed as the year progressed, mostly because of the disappointment of Railgun and being reminded of all the worst parts of the franchise in the first episodes of Index II. Meanwhile, Bakemonogatari finished its three extra episodes and they were so utterly amazing that all my wishy-washiness towards the series was blown out the window.

Having rewatched it for the sake of this post, I really think that episode 15 qualifies both as one of the best episodes of 2010 and as one of my favorite episodes of anime in general.

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On the Fifth Day of Kurisumasu My Imouto Gave to Me: LYCOPENE in K-On!! Episode 20

Besides being the best anime of 2010, K-On!! is the most well-written and acted anime of all time, and is littered with countless moments of dialog that outclass almost anything else on TV. </hyperbole>

Such a strange relationship I had with this show over the course of 2010. Back when it came out (S1), I quickly found that I didn’t care for it as much as I expected to, and because I don’t like to watch shows with too much hype around them, I put off the series. I finished the first season in May and still felt strangely held at arm’s length by it. Our relationship was a lot like the one I had with Bakemonogatari, where feeling my expectations were betrayed left me disenchanted with the series, yet I liked it more as I continued, and eventually came to adore it.

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