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Archive for December, 2014

2014! It’s been quite the year for me, pretty much entirely because I graduated university. I’m like, an adult or something now, it’s horrifying, but it hasn’t stopped me watched my foreign children’s cartoons!

And it’s not been a bad year for anime. Masaaki Yuasa and Shinichiro Watanabe directing TV series, the start of the most popular part of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Mushishi returning after 9 years without the slightest dip in quality, there’s been some pretty notable stuff going on. I can’t say there were any major surprises or new franchises that I feel are going to stand out as classics beyond Kill la Kill and Space Dandy, and the latter is chiefly because of how hard it was pushed on western audiences (not a knock on its quality, of course), but there were still a good clutch of series and films that I enjoyed greatly.

Before I indulge in a stunning display of originality and discuss my top 10 anime of the year, a quick reminder: a series counts as being from 2014 if it ended this year, even if it’s a long runner. Split cours – a single series that has seasonal gaps between chunks of the series – count as whatever year the last cours ended in (hence the exclusion of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, because it technically hasn’t finished yet). Neither of these are strict, but it’s a good enough guide. The edge cases don’t matter because they were never going to be on the list.

With that out of the way, here’s my top 10 anime of 2014!

Happy new year!

Happy new year!

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Working!! had a third season announced earlier this year! I absolutely adored the first two seasons, along with the adaptation of the mangaka’s similar work, Servant x Service. The combination of really tight character/workplace comedy and romance between eccentrics works remarkably well, as the two elements feed into each other – the ridiculous characters make for great comedy when stuck in professional settings, it’s likely to involve more than one character forcing them to get closer to each other, and the forced close proximity and cooperation between romantic interests leads to more dumb stuff happening on the job, and so forth – so it’s strange to me that it’s a relatively unexplored setup, especially considering the success of the aforementioned series.

Enter Denki-gai no Honya-san. The synopsis basically bills it as “Working!! in a doujin/manga/general otaku store”, which is mostly accurate. It’s undeniably what the series aims to be. Not that that is a problem – even if it only serves as a fun stopgap before the next season of Working!!, even if it only manages to scratch that itch a little, that would be more than enough. There need to be more series in this vein!

Working hard or hardly working?

Working hard or hardly working? Hyuk hyuk

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I graduated from university this year.

I actually did pretty well. 1st class MEng in Computer Science. I even have a job and everything!

Overall, I’m reasonably satisfied. I made friends, had fun, learned a lot about my chosen area of study and about myself, and generally changed for the better. I left with regrets too, of course. I wish I had joined the rock climbing society. I wish I made more of an effort to go out more. Romance passed me by.

But overall, I’m reasonably satisfied.

Obviously, I miss a lot of it. I miss all my friends there. I miss the city. I miss getting to learn weird esoteric stuff. I don’t miss the omnipresent pressure. I miss the campus.

But I can visit friends, or the city, or the campus. I can read Wikipedia anytime. I don’t feel guilty about not working all the time, which is nice.

What I won’t get to re-experience, though, is my time at the anime society.

01-00 (more…)

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I mentioned in yesterday’s post that Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren was almost everything that I wanted out of a KyoAni romance.

Tamako Love Story actually was.

02-00

It’s everything I wanted it to be. It’s everything Tamako Market should have been. It’s warm, it’s sincere, it’s tender – it’s a film about young love, made with love.

Tamako Love Story delivered on something I’ve been wanting for a long time. In a way, I needed it to come out, although I didn’t realise to what extent until after I watched it. And I’m very, very happy about it.

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It’s Anime Secret Santa time again! As with the last two years, I’m participating in Reverse Thieves’ project where we get to make three anonymous recommendations for another aniblogger, and receive 3 from someone else in turn. We then have to watch at least one and do a write-up about it. Last year, thanks to University coursework, I only had the time to watch one series, but having graduated I’ve been able to watch all three this time!

Those three? Roujin Z, Crest of the Stars, and Gankutsuou. My first impressions were that it was not a bad clutch of shows, and I had heard of all of them (even if only in passing). Amusingly enough, Gankutsuou was one of the series I got recommended last year but didn’t get around to watching – and even back then I already had it downloaded, fully intending to watch it! Very convenient!

Oh yeah, when I got my recommendations, my Santa also gave me a bonus, non-binding-because-of-length one: Revolutionary Girl Utena. Don’t worry Santa; I have it downloaded and WILL watch it at some point in the near future!

Me, writing this post

Me, writing this post

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It has been well established by now that I am a) a KyoAni fanboy and b) a sucker for cute anime romances.

Chuunbyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren was fucking catnip for me.

I loved the first season, and a second season where the focus is on Yuuta and Rikka developing as a couple? It was so damn close to being exactly what I wanted out of a KyoAni romance.

To wit, episode 6. Yuuta and Rikka’s class have gone on an overnight field trip, and at the end of the day ~shenanigans~ ensued and the two of them are messing about with some others after lights out and then they have to concoct a scheme to get Rikka back to her room without getting caught, and then:

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh

A kiss on the cheek.

Nothing more than a quick, innocent kiss on the cheek.

That’s it.

I sat there grinning, blushing, squealing and giggling like an idiot for about an hour, with aftershocks lasting the following day or so.

I’m almost embarrassed that it affected me so much, but not really because it made me so happy. That was the first time either of them had done something like that! They could barely hold hands only a few episodes ago! They’re becoming more comfortable expressing their love for each other and that’s just the most adorable thing and they’re such a cute couple and oh my goodness!!

There’s cute, and then there’s fucking lethal. Nothing has turned me into a gibbering mess like that before, but I’m so glad that it did.

I know I get super invested in qt anime couples, but this was almost silly.

I love it so much.

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The point when someone snaps – when years of struggling finally reach a breaking point – can, when executed well, be an unbelievably powerful moment in any work of fiction. It can immediately add a huge amount of depth to the character snapping, as we see a lot of emotions and feelings that have been bottled up for years all come to the surface in an explosive, cathartic release; it gives insight into not only how they’re feeling right now, but also what they’ve been feeling but keeping hidden for so very long, potentially dramatically changing the perception of that character and their relationships.

I saw one such moment this year, it was breathtaking, and I’m frankly shocked that it came out of Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de.

C'mon, the show's not THAT bad

C’mon, the show’s not THAT bad

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