(Yes, the title is a terrible Kurau ~Phantom Memory~ reference.)
It’s become a blogosphere tradition to count down the twleve days of Kurisumasu with one’s twelve favorite anime moments of the year. I participated in 2007 (though I only did moments 2—10) and sorta half-assed it in 2008, passing it up in 2009 because I didn’t watch anything that year. Ghostlightning pressured me into participating again this year since I was watching everything that came out, so I caved and started collecting memories.
This list isn’t in any kind of order. In fact, I’m starting off with one of my favorites from this year. Oh, and you’ve gotta know that spoilers are ahead.
Sora no Woto Episode 6 – The Godmother
Probably my favorite episode of anime all year, Sora no Woto 6 took the Haibane Renmei-esque easy-paced fantasy-drama and fused it with classic gangster film storytelling techniques to create one of the most finely-directed pieces of work to ever grace my eyes. It’s subtleties in tone and pacing deserve a post of their own, but for now, we’ll stick to the most memorable moment of the episode.
Right from the start, it’s clear that the girls are all hiding something from Kanata involving a side-business which allows them to make actual money instead of military scrip.
They’re seen making some kind of deal with people from the town and moving crates around, and then arrive at a warehouse where the girls are dressed in classic gangster wear; Filicia dolled up as a cutthroat mistress.
If we’ve seen the episode already, the ensuing conversation is blatantly staged, what with the supposed ‘gang members’ sweating bullets all along and the whole thing having a dramatic flair far beyond reality.
If we haven’t seen the episode, then our draws drop as Felicia throws her rose into the air and jumps to the side while Kureha and Noel rain hellfire from two big-ass machine guns with looks of absolute sadism on their faces.
The purpose of this ruse is to scare off two mafia guys who look like they just walked straight out of Baccano so that they won’t get into the city’s business. Sure, the whole event being staged is easy to see coming, if just because Sora no Woto is that kind of show, but there’s still a surprise to come, because Sora no Woto is also that kind of show.
The girls are actually part of an operation within the city to make and transport moonshine liquor, which, as Noel points out, could have them all court marshaled and, at worst, charged with treason if they were caught. They really are in on some gangster shit, they just used their military supplies to ‘stage’ setting an example rather than actually doing so. Brilliant!
This moment and more make Sora no Woto my favorite anime of 2010 and one of my favorites of all time. Come back tomorrow to watch me unwrap my next gift!
Bonus: God I love hot bitches with machine guns. (Skip to 2:30)