Awesome EDs, ~2011 Edition

A couple of years ago I posted my “top 10 unskippable EDs”—titled that way because I used to skip EDs a lot of the time. Now I don’t do that unless it’s really bad. Anyway, all the embedded videos are broken in the old post and I watched a *lot* of anime in the past two years, so here’s a new list of memorable EDs.

TO BE ON THIS LIST I had to like the ED as a whole, meaning song and video both. There are some ED songs that I liked where the video is unmemorable (think Mawaru Penguindrum’s “Dear Future”—amazing song, boring vid). Some also might be awesomely bad.

These videos are alphabetized by the shows they came from. And no, I have absolutely nothing better to do, and yes, I’m very tired right now.

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SaiMecha! Submit Your Nominations!

SaiMoe is an annual tournament-style competition to determine whom the most moe anime character of the year is. Some people have a lot of fun participating in it each year, while others make their own English-language versions or alternatives like “SaiGAR.” Currently, set-up is going on for SaiMecha, a tournament to determine the most… well, the mecha that can get the most votes, I guess. Find all your info here.

Anyone can contribute nominations while they’re still open, and each person can submit up to fifteen mechs via email to executiveotaku AT gmail DOT COM. This post is to show off my noms in the same vein as ghostlightning and Schneider. These nominations are in alphabetical order by the name of the mech.

There are three general categories of interest for me when it comes to mecha: first and most importantly, their appearance. Second and equally important, their presence in the series. And third but still important, how they move. The third criteria has nothing to do with the functionality of their movement, but more to do with how that movement is animated.

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(800) Days of Fuzakenna! And Eight Awesome Eighth Episodes of Anime

I tend to miss my blog’s benchmarks. I realized in June that my third anniversary had passed in April, and I’m not sure when I broke 300,000 hits, but I’m already halfway to 400,000. But most of all, I’ve missed my specially-numbered posts, or realized after the fact that I’ve made them. Well, today I was lucky and noticed that this will be my 800th published post! It’s a great mark to have, because 8 has always been a special number to me (I was born on August 8, weighing 8 pounds and 8 ounces) so to mark the occasion, I’ll be listing 8 of my favorite ‘episode 8s’.

8 tends to be an important episode number in anime. In a lot of 26-episode shows, the 8th episode marks the transition from plot set-up to actual movement of events, and will often feature a shocking twist or revelation that changes the way things will happen from there on out. This is a common enough practice that I could make a list of just transitional eighth episodes, but of course, being an important episode doesn’t necessarily qualify as being a memorable and awesome one, so this list will take eighth episodes from any series. The requirement for consideration on this list was that the eighth episode wasn’t just great, but was one of the most memorable or amazing episodes in the entire series. Oh, and you can count on there being spoilers for each episode.

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Finding the "Manly Men" In Anime (Not To Be Confused With The "Macho Men")

“…the point I want to make is that there’s a significant difference between being manly, an awesome masculine badass who we can respect and admire; and being macho, a muscular, insecure tosspot with no social skills.” – Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw

This post by video game journalist Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw on his Extra Punctuation feature caught my interest a few weeks ago. It’s about distinguishing characters who are ‘manly men’ from those who are ‘macho men’ – the gist of it being that a ‘manly man’ is a guy who’s completely badass while still being honest with his emotions and respectful of other people, while a ‘macho man’ is a guy who tries to constantly reassure you that he has a dick by acting like one. I realize that making this distinction will raise flags with some readers (especially my vocal feminist crowd, hehe), so if you’re wary about this distinction and want to discuss it, please read this disclaimer before leaving any argumentative comments. If you don’t care about all that, then proceed~

After giving thought to Yahtzee’s post, I realized that anime is sparse on ‘manly men’. Most anime characters tend to be young, and lack the clarity of thought and ability to take action that a ‘manly man’ has. Sure, characters will sometimes do manly things, but that’s not the same as embodying that manliness as a way of life. For instance, I could argue that Kyon from Haruhi has some manly moments of taking action, but outside of those moments he’s still a directionless, complacent teenager, regardless of how much wit and intellect he has to back him up. Nay, I’m on a search for characters who are truly ‘manly men’, and I’ve listed a few whom I think qualify below.

Okay, his outfit is a bit ridiculous. Art by denchi http://gelbooru.com/index.php?page=post&s=list&tags=denchi

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14 Shows With Kickass Character Designs

In a visual storytelling medium such as animation, character design is incredibly important, especially in this modern era where character goods make up a huge part of the anime market. Viewers have to be able to connect with a character design on some level in order to be able to connect with the character on some level. Many people let characters design largely factor into their willingness to watch a series, and I can’t say that I’m different – only that I’m very open to a wide variety of designs that will not limit my viewing too much. That said, even I have things that I find hard to watch when the designs repulse me enough (mostly graphically violent 80s and 90s OVAs), and of course, if I adore the designs in a show, it can do a lot to enhance my viewing experience. This post is about the shows that do this for me.

It is not, however, a post about individual character designs that I like. Indeed, there are a lot of shows that produce a single object of my adoration, or perhaps even a handful, but who do not extend this visual pleasure to the rest of the cast. One thing about the anime being produced today in the name of selling character goods is that most shows try and appeal to a broad range of people. For instance, while I love the designs of Lynette, Sanya, and Hartmann from Strike Witches, I am not as much a fan of the other designs, as they don’t hit into my ‘strike [witches] zone’. Even in a case like Bakemonogatari where I love most of the designs, I am still turned off by enough characters that I cannot truly say that I ‘love the character designs in Bakemonogatari.’ Therefor, I present this as a list of my favorite shows wherein I loved the designs of the entire cast.

Shana is one of my favorite designs, but I don't care for most of the other characters in the series.

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Could This Be the Coolest Gay Man in an Anime For Straight Guys?

His name is Oboro, and he is gay.

Gay guys have it rough in anime, just as they do in every other entertainment medium. Sure, gay girls have it rough as well, but at least they generally are portrayed as sexually attractive, get to do lots of cool things, and are occasionally sane. Gay men have not been so lucky; Just look at poor Leeron in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.

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AW SHIT! GAINAX Key Animator Battle! Hiroyuki "FAST ACTION" Imaishi vs. Akira "HARD LOOK" Amemiya!

‘Ay yo, check this out! Tonight we got two crazy motha fuckas straight outta GAINAX ready to show us what they can do. First up we got the veteran Fast Action Man, the legendary director and key animator of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, my nigga Imaishi Hiroyuki! Then after that, we got one of the newer heads on the block, the master of the Hard Looking Mothafuckas, give it up for Amemiya Akira! This shit’s gunna be sick, so I’mma step offstage while DJ Digiboy lays down a beat and Imaishi takes it away. LET’S GO!

Here’s what’chu gotta do – for each animator, start by watching the video that shows you what their style is all about, then listen to the audio clip where they break it down!

Hiroyuki Imaishi

Hiroyuki Imaishi (AUDIO)

Yo, my flow is never static
‘Cause my style is erratic
And fanatics get ecstatic
When they see what i got cookin’ in the attick
‘Cause my mind is systematic
In creating my visual acrobatics

Your style seems dramatic
Like you think it’s cinematic
But the truth is that your flow chokes like a fuckin’ asthmatic
I’ve had it
Bust your style with my semi-automatic

That’s right I like guns
And makin’ characters run
And you know when I’m in charge
You’ll be seein’ something fun

GAINAX wouldn’t be the same without me
They never leave me out because I know they never doubt me
My fans and followers keep track of my series devoutly
So you should think twice ‘fo’ you fuckin’ try to out me
Bitch.

Akira Amemiya

Akira Amemiya (AUDIO)

Akira Amemiya in tha house
I like my robots lookin’ like they gunna take you out
So many tone layers even Otaking is proud
Take your single-color shit and GET THE FUCK OUT!

When I draw Gurren Lagann you know that nigga go hard
‘Cause he’s ready to attack with his crazy drill arm
And when I’m handlin’ the scene you’re gunna know what’s goin’ on
‘Cause I keep my shit fluid n’ let you see what I’ve drawn

Imaishi skips frames like he’s playin’ hop-scotch
Like he’s trying to draw after a few bottles of scotch
And it ain’t no surprise when the shit is a mess
Then he tries to play it off as if we should be impressed
Well fuck that

I may be new but I got style in spades
My scenes have kept my fans rewatching for days
It’s just a matter of time before I start to get paid
An’ take ova’ the role GAINAX won’t even want you to play

You heard it here folks – Hiroyuki Imaishi and Akira Amemiya just laid it all out for you, so now it’s your turn to decide – who’s style do you like best? The intense and spastic fast action of Imaishi, or the firm and furious hard looks of Amemiya? Leave your thoughts in the comments thread! This is MC DB signing off!