This is a prequel to my upcoming “12 Anime Moments, 12 Days of Kurisumasu” posts. Today, like ghostlightning did, I’ll be looking at my favorite moments from the shows I watched out of my anime backlog.
This year, I spent a lot more time watching anime that actually aired this year than I ever have before. It was mostly a reaction to not having watched anything last year. However, that’s not to say that I ignored my backlog—this was the year of Finish or Fail, after all. Despairing over the overly crowded nature of my “On Hold” list, I sought to complete as many of the shows on there as I could, and I didn’t do terribly. Here are some of my favorite moments from series I finished.
This post is full of debilitating spoilers for most of the anime herein, so don’t read about shows you haven’t seen.
Kara no Kyoukai Mujun Rasen
After watching the first film in 2008, I decided to hold off on any more Kara no Kyoukai until the entire thing was over and completely subbed. While rewatching the first film, I started to think that the series had potential to be my alltime favorite anime. That potential was fulfilled in the fifth movie, Mujun Rasen, which remains my number one favorite anime, and I’d like to think will not lose that position to any currently existing anime. (In other words, it’s the best thing ever until someone tops it.) I could write a book on all the great moments in Kara no Kyoukai (that book would be called Kara no Kyoukai), and indeed there are enough in the fifth movie alone to erode this page, but I was able to pick out the single most amazing moment in the film quite definitively.
It is, of course, when Touko comes walking into the room where her heartless corpse is laying on the ground. The main villain had torn her heart out with his bear hands in the midst of combat and removed her head, which he handed over to his compatriot who had a dense hatred for her. Said compatriot had fun for the next few minutes playing around with the severed head, flaunting it in front of Kokuto to make him lose his shit and generally beating it up.
That’s when motherfucking Touko comes walking through the front door. First, let me say that I hate seeing characters die, especially characters that I like, and when a badass like Touko goes down, I’m always pretty skeptical. They had me going for a bit with the whole severed head thing, but man my whole body lit up when I saw Touko come walking through the door, followed by the crowning moment of awesome both for her and for the entirety of the series.
Touko, who’s a master at making human-like dolls, explains that some time ago, she created a doll that had all of her memories and the same body that she had, and set it to magically come to life in the event that she was killed. When asked if she’s the real Touko or not, she says something to the effect of “it doesn’t matter, because we’re the exact same.” I love this. The concept of one’s identity being defined by one’s memories has interested me ever since Eva and Lain, and is something I tackle in my own novel. To tie a concept I love so much into the greatest deus ex machina of all time (and I’m a huge fan of deus ex machina) was like the movie said to me, “congratulations, you’ve found your favorite anime.” And then, of course, she proceeds to feed her rival to her crazy familiar thing, to cap the whole thing off.
FullMetal Alchemist Brotherhood (1st Half)
As you can see, I’m quite anal about airdates lol. The last 25 eps of Brotherhood aired this year, and any moments from those episodes will be featured in the proper 12 days, but my favorite moment from the first half will come here.
Watching Brotherhood was an awesome experience, especially because it was like a 5-day marathon that I shared with my brother, whose relationship and age difference with me is just like that of Ed and Al (and he’s also taller/stronger than me, not unlike Al, lol.) We were both totally into it, and it easily penetrated his top 5, so there was a lot of passion there. The first half of the series featured possibly my favorite moment from the series, and certainly the one with the most lasting impact, which comes from episode 26, “Reunion”.
Ed, Lin, and Envy have been eaten by Gluttony and are trapped in the universe that is his stomach. For a lot of technical plot reasons I won’t get into, Ed figures out that if he performs a human transmutation using the dead souls in Envy’s body, the three of them can escape from Gluttony’s stomach-world. By performing a human transmutation, he will go through the Gate of Truth once again, which is where he’d lost his arm and leg and Al had lost his body when they entered that world at the start of their journey. At this point, I believe it had also been confirmed that Al’s body was waiting for his return inside the Gate.
When Ed passes through the gate, he encounters Al’s body, sitting naked in front of the gate. Ed wants desperately to take it back, but he can’t because it’s not his body. He struggles against the hands that pull him through the gate, but he’s pulled through the door. And then, with a burst of passion, Ed breaks the doors open again and points through the crack at Al’s body, and yells “You stay right there! I’m coming back for you!”
This was my favorite dramatic moment in the series, and it was made even better by the use of highly-detailed art. Unforgettable imagery.
Resident Evil 4
Obviously not an anime, but it was nonetheless posted about in my Finish or Fail series, and therefor, I think, valid for discussion. In spite of claims that I’d get back into video gaming this year, I’m pretty sure this was the only game I finished in 2010, which is probably some kind of all-time low for me. At the very least, it was one of the longer games I’ve actually finished, clocking in at 22 hours. I had a total blast with this game, and there was one particular part that stood out above the rest.
That would be the fight with Verdugo, AKA the Big Black Rapemonster that chases Leon through a sewer-like storage area (one of those places you only see in video games) and attacks him with a number of one-hit-kill fuck-my-ass attacks while also taking about 2-million hits to kill (unless you’re one of those bastards who had a rocket launcher or was better about upgrading their shotguns.) This was the most pulse-poundingly terrifying segment of the game, and one of the most memorable boss fights I’ve ever played.
Hidamari Sketch x365
I’ve been a diehard fan of Hidamari Sketch since early 2007 when it, along with Manabi Straight, was one of the first two anime I ever watched while they were airing. However, subs for the series all but haulted at the time that it was airing and hardly anyone had heard of the series (as was also the case with Manabi, which still managed to get subbed faster.) It’s hard enough for me to keep up with a series that is getting translated on time, much less one that takes 8 months, so I quickly fell behind on Hidamari Sketch, and took well over a year to finish the series. This became part of a trend where I could never finish a Shinbo anime within one year of starting it, which was finally broken by Bakemonogatari and Vampire Bund (both of which still took around 6 months).
This year, I finally resolved to plow all the way through x365, and a few days ago I even finished the specials, meaning that if I finish Hoshimittsu by the end of the year, I’ll be incredibly happy with myself lol. x365 was full of great moments and was all-around an improvement on the already excellent first series. The biggest improvement was in the animation department, with x365 actually having a budget—most of which was blown in the first episode, but there were excellent flourishes throughout the series.
One of those was in episode 5 where the girls visit a bathhouse and all start singing karaoke. In the bath. With turbo-charged energetic animation. Of all the words I use to describe my love for Hidamari Sketch, my favorite is “fun”, and this was one of the funnest scenes in the franchise.
Revolutionary Girl Utena Adolescence Apocalypse
Ghostlightning and I watched this spectacular film together shortly after he finished the series and both of us were blown away. We knew that we had to do a collaborative post project, which lead to me producing one of my favorite posts in the history of this blog, to which he wrote this response-post. The film had all kinds of mind-blowing moments, especially because of it’s intense visual splendor (the dance on the stars, OMG!), but my favorite scene from the film comes at the very end.
Utena and Anthy have escaped the academy. The Utena car has been reduced to a pair of wheels and a sheet of metal, on which Utena and Anthy lay as it speeds off into the distance. They’re both naked and just making out. Utena declares that she doesn’t know where the future will take them, but they’ve got all the roads in the world ahead. A beautiful scene, which I had a blast making my video out of.
I don’t even need to write about this one.
SAVE OUR PRECIOUS FAMILY!!!
That about does it for now. It’s not to say that there weren’t many other excellent moments in the shows I watched this year, but these ones are just on another level above them, and this post only needs to be so long. Thankfully, I’ve posted about most of what I watched this year, so you can easily read my posts on all the shows I watched.
(This list only includes shows I finished): Infinite Ryvius, Canaan, Bakemonogatari, Saki, Kuuchuu Buranko, Neo-Ranga, Resident Evil 4, K-On!, Kara no Kyoukai, To Aru Majutsu no Index, Utawarerumono, Mononoke, Kyouran Kazoku Nikki, Natsume Yuujinchou, Evangleion 1 and 2.0 (honestly has moments that deserve to be here, but I can’t recall them well enough and can’t find my file of the movie), FullMetal Alchemist Brotherhood, Hidamari Sketch x365, Revolutionary Girl Utena Adolescence Apocalypse, Shakugan no Shana the Movie, Summer Wars, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Gurren-hen and Lagann-hen, Gakuen Alice, and Mobile Suit Gundam 0080
Bonus: Would-be Summer Wars op set to the music from my favorite Brotherhood op :o