Narutaki & Hisui VS. 2009

Narutaki & Hisui VS. 2009 is in part an award show, in part an exercise in humor and snark, in part a challenge, and in part a love letter to everything great this year. We picked several categories and each of us picked titles, characters, and people who we felt best summed up our feelings on the year. Take a peek into what we thought on the anime and manga of 2009 and the people who bring it to us. Feel free to suggest new categories and challenge our picks.

Would also love to hear other people’s picks for some of these categories as well! By the way, some of this stuff happens to have come out in years gone by but we first watched/read/whatnot this year so that’s why they’re here, I’ll hear no guff about it! I really enjoy this part of the year, all the posts seem to be more fun and this one is no exception.

Best Anime of 2009 or Show that Infuriates You to No End When Someone on MAL says “If you like this show you will love Dance in the Vampire Bund.”

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
The noitaminA is your go to animation slot when you are looking for something that is simultaneously different, mature, well produced, and smart. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is no exception to this rule. An exceptional look at ordinary people involved in an extraordinary but still extremely feasible situation. It is a superb mixture of intense character study and survival drama. I know some people feel the end is weak but I thought it did well in capping off this  powerful and thought provoking show.

Eden of the East
It is a little bit mystery, a little bit drama, and a little bit suspense wrapped around an intriguing concept. It’s a wonderful series to watch unfold and since Takizawa doesn’t remember what has happened there is a wonderful element of discovery that comes. Takizawa himself is a refreshing and mysterious guy but you always get the feeling, or I did, that he was a good guy even when things looked dubious. Also he loved dogs, can’t be bad. The game was able to engross and impress me from episode one and continued to do so throughout its broadcast.

Anime Man of the Year or You Must be Swift
as a Coursing River

Battler Ushiromiya
Have you ever wished Phoenix Wright could be the star of his own supernatural murder mystery anime? Well if so then someone heard your prayers. In Umineko no Naku Koro ni we have Battler Ushiromiya who is a clear homage to Phoenix Wright with dramatic finger pointing, manly crying, and split between having to do detective work and acting like a lawyer. He may have his flaws but no matter what he keeps marching forward despite numerous set backs and tragedies. Plus he is just plain cool whenever he is on the counterattack. His casual charm and iron clad will set the tone for the anime as much as they do the games it was based on.

Guin
After thinking this over way too much, I finally decided on Guin for a few reasons. First being that after more than 100 books about his quest on the bestseller list, Guin finally got an anime. Adding to that is that Guin may arguably be the most manly character animated in 2009. If you watch just the first episode, this will become obvious. I also read about Guin in novel formthe first time this year myself. And finally, and sadly, Guin’s creator Kaoru Kurimoto passed away in 2009, a woman who was still writing about her most popular creation.

Anime Woman of the Year or I am Woman Hear Me Roar

Canaan
Canaan is a competent kick arse girl with a gun. That is usually all that you need to sell me on a character. The fact that Canaan has her rather slick synesthesia ability which I thought was a very original superpower. She has a stoic and cool feel to her but it she still cares for the people she wishes to protect and gives her all to do so. I also think that her competence on the battlefield but her awkwardness in personal relationships gives her a good mixture of strength and weakness that make her a serious version of Sousuke Sagara. I also think makes her an interesting character to me.

Sawako
Picking a woman of the year became a lot easier the more I watched Kimi ni Todoke. Sawako has a special strength of character that uplifts you, just as she does to the many characters around her. She is humorous and endearing and you never doubt that she will succeed and grow in each new scenario she encounters. Sawako’s positive attitude, even after endearing so much isolation is a true testament to the human spirit and the ability to change.

Continue reading

Shin Christmas Carol Z!

Last time on Shin Christmas Carol Z, we saw <Main Character> leaving the meeting of his local anime club. While everyone had exchanged gifts, <Main Character> rejected the holiday spirit. There was no way that he would exchange presents with those young upstart anime fans who knew not of the glory of older anime. They were blissfully unaware of the dying of the anime industry and were corrupted by the vast and unyielding fujoshi and moe conspiracy. He had shown up once again to show the glory of superior 80s OAVs to the foolish members of the club but was rejected once again. And so left with no more than a “bah humbug.” <Main Character> returned to his apartment lamenting how corrupt fandom had become. But before he could rewatch Root Search a stranger suddenly appeared in the room. Who could it be? We shall find out in this episode of Shin Christmas Carol Z!

<Main Character> leaps to his feet in surprise but just before he can scream out, the armor-clad stranger steps out of the darkness. <Main Character> drops to his knees in equal parts shock and reverie as he stares into the face of none other than that Most Dangerous Soldier, Geist.

The legendary spokesmecha roared like a chained beast, “<Main Character> do you not see these copies of Wild Cardz chained to my armor? Look upon my curse and bear witness to the visage of true suffering. Know that these are chains I forged whilst I was still alive by the many sins I committed by closing off my heart and turning my back on humanity. And for coming back and making MD Geist 2 and 3.”

“MD Geist 3? Why have I never seen MD Geist 3, my lord?” <Main Character> questioned with hope in his heart.

“For MD Geist 3 was so horrible the cells imploded in on themselves before they could be animated. But enough of anime trivia! You are destined for the same fate as I unless you amend your ways. Tonight you will be visited by three spirits each of which will show you the true meaning of anime fandom. Heed their words of advice and change your ways lest it be too late. This may well be your last chance before you too suffer my fate.”

And with that the demonic shadows of Death Force machines dragged Geist back to the horrific underworld from which he came. Of course Geist was too manly to make any sound while it happened.

As <Main Character> stared at the murky darkness where the Most Dangerous Solider had been, he felt the utter stillness of the room permeate his very being.

“Bah humbug!” he shouted to the silence. “Surely what I saw was no more than a troubled vision brought on by a mixture of too much Pocky and Ramune before bed. I am sure that a good night’s rest will clear my head before the morning.” And so <Main Character> slipped into his Crystal Triangle pajamas and tried to drift off to sleep.

But as the clock struck midnight <Main Character> was startled to be staring up directly at the night sky for the roof of his apartment had been ripped off. Looking down upon him was a ghostly apparition piloting an equally ectoplasmic Tranzor Z. “I’m Tommy Davis, the spirit of a boy just like you! I’m going to rocket punch the true burning spirit of anime fandom into your heart!” And before <Main Character> could get in a word of protest, Tranzor Z picked up his bed and rocketed into the night sky.

When Tranzor Z finally stopped, he was hovering in front of an all too familiar scene. It was <Main Character>’s childhood home. Through the window he saw a younger version of himself watching Robotech on the TV as Rick Hunter mourned the death of Roy Fokker.

“Spirit, I have two questions for you. Why did you bring me here to this time? Also why does no one notice the deafening roar of several hundred tons of metal hovering in the air?”

“You are here to see what you were like before your heart froze towards your fellow anime fans!” Tommy screamed as if he could not speak in anything else but a dull roar. “Look at you running to the other room to draw some manly fan-art of Roy Fokker’s death! There was a time where all animation brought a smile to your face! The next day you would run to school as if being chased by Count Decapito himself to tell all your friends about this episode! What happened to that youthful enthusiasm? What happened to that camaraderie with your fellow fans? Think about that as I take you back! GRAB A HOLD OF YOUR LOVE OF FANDOM WITH YOUR OWN TWO HANDS!”

As soon as Tommy shouted those words, the heavens themselves shook and <Main Character> found himself back in his bed albeit with one less roof over his head. In a mixture of shock and horror he stared up at the night sky and promptly decided that this was nothing more than a horrible nightmare. He would bundle himself up, go back to sleep, and call his landlord in the morning.

As he turned to the clock, he saw not but the long, flowing hair of a lithe, tall man in a butler uniform standing over him. Without a sound this latest apparition lifted his swords high in the air and brought it down swiftly slicing <Main Character>’s SDF-1 Macross shaped bed in three pieces. <Main Character> leapt up only a moment before but found himself with large gashes in his PJs. The stranger smiled slyly…

Next time on Shin Christmas Carol Z, Who is this dangerous butler that has found his way into the room of <Main Character>?! What visions will he show him of modern anime fandom?! Will <Main Character> be able to keep his mouth shut and his limbs in tact?! Not to mention what will happen to all his memorabilia?! And who is this strange 10-year-old shinigami?! And why must she end all her sentences with the ominous phrase “nano desu”?! Find out next time on Shin Christmas Carol Z!?

Secret Santa Project Reveal

Let us all gather around the tree and see what gifts Santa has left us. For all those who do not know we sent out the word last month that we were doing a fun little cross blog collaboration called the Secret Santa Project. Everyone in the project would secretly pick three titles for someone else in the project that they hoped the other person would enjoy. Everyone would pick from the three shows they received and review one of them during the week of Christmas. On Christmas Eve we posted all the reviews so now everyone can see who their Secret Santa was. Hopefully everyone picked shows they liked and maybe a few people discovered a show they would have normally overlooked. You may notice that a few people got recommendations from us. Life hit some of the participants hard as it is want to do so they did not get their picks in on time. We gave them picks so everyone had enough time to get up their reviews. Just click the name of the show to see what each of our fine bloggers thought of the show they got. We will continue to update this list if people finish their reviews a little late so check back often.

hisuiconI’m really surprised by the turn out and overall positive reception for the Secret Santa Project. Most everyone picked innovative shows for the people they got. I was impressed by the shows most people selected for the project. They were almost all shows I enjoyed. I hope that people enjoyed the shows they watched and maybe will try something new again after their eyes have been opened by this project. I was only expecting to see half the reviews to be completed by the 25th but I have received all but 5 by the time this was initially posted. That fills my heart with goodness and hope. Also I’d love for someone to figure out a way to do this type of project with manga. I think it would go over well.  If they do you know you can count Narutaki and I in as participants. And finally, if nothing else the project got me interested in Vertical’s release of Twin Spica and made we want to go back and finish Bartender.

narutakiI was more than happy by the response we had for this fun little project. We could also do this project evil style in which everyone tries to pick a show the other person would completely hate just to fulfill any latent (or active) sadistic desires of people. But that is for another time. As for this project, I had a good time with it, even if we were less than thrilled with our show. It really seemed to get people chatting and I even had a few people lamenting that they didn’t find out about it in time. Don’t worry folks, this will certainly be brought back for 2010! Good thinkin’ Hisui!