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.
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
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.
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
Bad things happen when a manga author doesn’t like the adaption of their work. Kare Kano, GAINAX’s promising shoujo romcom adaption, was hamstrung when Tsuda Masami complained that it focused too much on comedy instead of romance and refused to allow another season, which lead to Anno Hideaki‘s departure from the studio. The project was left in shambles, culminating in one of anime’s most disappointing endings. Toriyama Akira said of Dragonball Evolution that he wasn’t sure what it had to do with his original manga at all. These disapprovals by original authors can range from hazardous to depressing, which is why it’s refreshing to see a manga author give their thumbs up to an anime adaption.
Dance in the Vampire Bund is a showcase of Shinbo’s maturing as a director. His career has followed a strange and interesting path up until now, and hit a sort of new stride in 2009’s Bakemonogatari before leveling out into Bund.
While reading up on Karasuma Wataru‘s Deus x Machina, I noticed people were comparing Machina to Mina Tepes from Tamaki Nozomu‘s Dance in the Vampire Bund – some even claimed that Machina’s design bordered on plagiarism (Bund=2007, Deus=2008). It’d been too long since I’d read any of Bund to comment on that, so I checked it out to see how they compare.
I wouldn’t consider Deus x Machina plagiarism at all. The obvious similarities between Machina and Mina Tepes are that both are lolis, often portrayed in sexually suggestive poses which involve twisting their bodies a lot; both have a sort of commanding presence (Machina especially); and most notably, they both wear long hair in twintails.