Thursday, January 01, 2009
Happy New Year! / Looking Back on 2008
Happy New Year to everyone out there in the Internets, hopefully those of you in college aren't fighting too bad of a hangover this morning. I spent midnight holding a bottle, but it was a bottle of infant formula, so no hangover for me, just a little sleep deprived as usual lately...
I should start by saying thank you to all those of you who've stopped by this blog and/or commented over the past year, and all of you who have your own anime blogs, which are always a great source of information, viewpoints, and entertainment for me.
Looking back at 2008, it may not have been the greatest year for anime I've ever seen, but there were quite a few series that I really enjoyed watching--here are a few of the series I liked:
Minami-ke Okawari: Most people hated Okawari after the original Minami-ke, and while I agree that the original was better, I love the cast enough that I was thrilled to get a second season regardless. Okawari had some episodes that were better than others, but remembering Fujioka's facial expression when he got a good view of Kana in the onsen in the first episode always cracks me up. Here's hoping Minami-ke Okaeri, which will start in a few days, will be even better.
True Tears: I fell in love with this series early on, but to be honest I never finished it--somehow, when the drama kicked in I just lost interest. This is something I really should go back and finish watching this year....
Clannad: I'm avoiding After Story because I read enough spoilers to know it's a little more drama than I want to watch, but the first Clannad series that ended at the end of winter definitely had its moments. Tomoyo and Kyou stole the series for me, Kyou in the gym shed and Tomoyo landing an insane number of kicks on Sunohara were both great scenes, and although Fuuko and Kotomi's arcs fell kind of flat for me, there were still enough entertaining moments throughout to make up for that.
Tower of Druaga: Not the greatest series ever, and the ending on a cliffhanger thing really pisses me off--but this did have an awesome first episode, sending up the whole RPG genre. Hocchan getting attacked by the roper was one of the funniest anime scenes of the year for me. Unfortunately, after a strong first episode this series started following some of the cliches it was making fun of at first, and that made it a lot less fun to watch.
D.C. II S.S.: I love the Da Capo franchise and was hoping for DC II SS to make up for the first DC II series, a.k.a The Koko and Minatsu show. While D.C. II S.S. did have its moments, and finally delivered the Asakura sisters' storyline that I'd been waiting to see animated for years, somehow it wasn't able to top the original Da Capo for me. I blame Yoshiyuki for the most part--he just seemed indifferent for most of the series, and it didn't help that the series ended with no clear choice between Yume and Otome. If this had a more conclusive ending and a stronger lead, I think it really could have been awesome, but instead I was left with the feeling it could have been much better. I guess I can always hope Kyoani remakes it someday...
Kamen no Maid Guy: Insane comedy is usually my sweet spot, and this did deliver the crazy--the character designs and animation were just OK, the fanservice a little in your face, but I still want a Maid Guy Badge someday :)
Strike Witches: The no pant thing was a little over the top...but this series still had a great cast of characters, and managed to pull off comedy, action, and drama pretty well, in an interesting setting. Best of all, this followed Druaga's model where you could pay for a DRM-free copy, subtitled, the same date it aired in Japan--this is my dream for how I wish all anime gets distributed someday, so I was more than happy to cough up $3 an episode to BOST.
Zero no Tsukaima (third season): Louise is so tsun-tsun she's almost a parody of tsunderes in general now, but I'm still a sucker for this show. Not as good as the original season for me because the endless Louise beatdowns of Saitou are wearing thin, but still glad to see the cast again. Tifa's a great addition to the series, it's too bad after the first half of the season he didn't get a lot of screentime.
Toradora: I love this series--I've talked about it before, but this may end up being my favorite of the year. It just has a really compelling, unique cast of characters, and the relationship chart is complex enough to be true-to-life.
Kannagi: Already did a short review of this, but solid animation and Nagi's antics are enough to make this a series I was looking forward to every week.
Hyakko: Not every episode is funny, there's been a lot better school slice-of-life out there, and sometimes the animation is eye-rendingly bad, but I do like Torako and the rest of the cast, so it's been a fun series to watch.
Last but not least, I should mention Gintama--I didn't watch an episode of this until a couple months ago, but I've marathoned through the most recent subs, and it's pretty addictive. Mediocre animation and character designs, but when it's funny it's really, really funny, and it can do action/drama well too when it has multi-episode arcs. Zura rapping has to be one of the funniest things I've seen in anime this year.
Overall, it's been a great year for anime--here's hoping we'll have a lot more great series to watch in 2009.
Posted by Brian at 3:29 PM