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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On the Fourth Day of Kurisumasu My Imouto Gave to Me: Shinboliciousness From Dance in the Vampire Bund Episode 7

Dance in the Vampire Bund was very much a mixed bag, and a confusing one at that. Episodes ranged from interesting to seemingly pointless, and the production quality was all over the place. And yet, that’s easily forgiven because the direction and animation of Shinbo/SHAFT gave it a unique and worthwhile quality that made it a memorable experience. No matter how “flawed” it was, it’s still a show I can see myself rewatching in the future since there’s nothing else quite like it. Plus, it had one of Yuuki Aoi’s best performances to date.

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On the Third Day of Kurisumasu My Imouto Gave to Me: A Truly Horrifying Murder From Shiki Episode 19

Warning: Major spoilers for Shiki!!

Looks just like my Petit Cossette poster.

This moment happened just a week ago, and I watched it just a few days ago, yet I’m sure it’s one of the moments that I’ll always carry with me.

It’s not often that anime leaves me depressed. Usually happy, sometimes bored, indifferent, and occasionally angry, but very rarely does it leave me in that strange, trance-like mood that I like to call being “fucked up.” Some people seem to be immune to getting fucked up by anime, and others get that way too easily. (There was a guy named Random Wanderer on the Megatokyo Forums who refused to watch anything slightly sad and read spoilers for everything because sad anime would leave him cripplingly depressed for days on end.) I’ve only been fucked up a few times, and all of those times are memorable.

The most prominent example was the Vampire Twins arc in Black Lagoon. Another was the ending of Texhnolyze. Probably the most I’ve been fucked up by anime was with Iriya no Sora, UFO no Natsu, which I’ve talked about extensively, and Nana, which I refuse to rewatch because the plot and characters aren’t interesting enough to make it worth all the depressing bullshit.

When I caught up with Shiki a few nights ago, I was in a great mood all the way through. After episode 17, it felt like the show was headed towards some kind of happy ending and I was excited. Then episode 18 decapitated that idea and 19 shat down its throat. I couldn’t bring myself to watch anything else after that and moped around for the next few hours. At this point, Shiki has the potential to either be really uplifting or wholly depressing in the end.

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