Making the Midnight Run

With the news that Toonami would be rising from the dead, the internet had a lot of opinions about it. Since this has come back as the more mature late-night offerings on Adult Swim, what it will accomplish as far as new watchers is a bit different than the original Toonami. Still everyone’s got suggestions for the shows to add to the anime block and we are no exception.

I already said a few thoughts about the new Toonami block over at the Organization Anti-Social Geniuses. That said it is always fun to play fantasy programming director. You get to pick shows without having to deal with the real world hassles of corporate politics and licensing nightmares. I am sure if I was actually in charge of the new Toonami block I might not be able to get some (if not all) of these shows for various serious and/or silly reasons. But that is not the point of this exercise. The point it to have fun and pick some shows that just might work if they could only get a TV shot in the U.S.

Tiger & Bunny

Tiger & Bunny seems like a no-brainer to me. It was one of those shows last year that many us said immediately, “this needs to be on TV.”

It has flashy action and I think the riff on reality TV would go over well. The melodrama is paired with a healthy dose of humor without one undermining the other. A colorful cast and the odd couple rapport between Tiger and Bunny rounds it all out. And it is already in the dub process.

With superhero movies being big at the moment, Tiger & Bunny would fit right in.

Astro Fighter Sunred

Back when Astro Fighter Sunred first came out I can’t remember how many people said that it would make a perfect fit on Cartoon Network. It has a very Adult Swim style of humor (and they good kind like Venture Brothers not 12 oz. Mouse) while still retaining a distinctly anime feel that sets it apart. Power Rangers has been an institution long enough that the basic premise is familiar enough to anyone watching but the humor other than that is broad enough to attract a general audience. The animation is hardly the second coming of Akira but it is not the type of show that needs that slick look. As long as the dub Americanized the show enough to be accessible but kept the spirit intact it actually could be a very strong moderate hit if it were lucky.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #113

I jumped into the Incredible Change-Bots series with a copy of book two. From what I can tell the first book ends the series but was popular enough that they made a sequel. Since this is a comedy it was no too hard to find a silly reason for new silly events to occur with the Change-Bots. The story itself is unabashedly a Transformers: Generation 1 parody down to having Autobot and Decepticon analogs with its own version of Optimus Prime and Megatron as well as most of the other well know Transformers. It takes the overall silliness of the original Transformers cartoon and pushes it to its logical comedic extreme. The humor often very dry even if the jokes themselves are rather goofy. There is humor beyond being a transformers parody but the Transformers parody is a framework that is omnipresent an inescapable.  I think overall the series would work a bit better as a page a week web comic so that the joke does not wear out its welcome. As it stands I found myself losing interest about half way through the book. It was never bad but it just could not sustain my interest. The art is rather of crude but it adds a whimsy to the story that an extremely detailed art style would have prevented. I can clearly see the appeal that a book but I never really got into it. Then again I never liked Adventure Time so maybe I just have a broken sense of humor.

Incredible Change-Bots Two doesn’t have such a complex story that you can’t pick it without having read the first; you probably could have guessed that from the title. What I didn’t realize was that it wasn’t just a funny robot series, it is a Transformers parody without trying to hide it in the least. This is most apparent in its opening recap of their history from the war on “Electronocybercircuitron” between the “Awesomebots” and the “Fantasticons” to their landing on earth and continued rivalry. Sadly, those first six pages are the best part of the entire book. They are funny enough to make you giggle as any parody should but the rest isn’t nearly as amusing. This may stem from it not pulling as obviously from Transformers as the opening sequence did; I wonder if the first book is different in that respect. Or perhaps it is just my personal taste about how long a joke can go on. I have rarely seen a parody that didn’t wear out its welcome in about 60-seconds. I agree with Hisui that I could see this as a weekly one-page comic worth tuning-in for because once again its major downfall was length. I really enjoyed the art-style which can be kind of elaborate on the splash pages but most of the time feels like high-level crayon drawings; it added nicely to what humor was there. P.S. I don’t know why Hisui doesn’t like Adventure Time!

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Narutaki & Hisui VS. 2010

It is time for the most anticipated and respected anime awards show of the year! (De gustibus non est disputandum.) On the Speakeasy we looked back at the trends that defined anime and manga in 2010. This is an examination of the individual titles and characters that made the biggest impact on us this year. We discuss what made us laugh and cry (for the better and the worse.) Feel free to chime in with your picks as well. If you have a suggested category you would like us to use next year just leave us a comment and we will try to work it in next year.

I really enjoy doing this post. Yeah, everyone does one, but that is because they are fun! For good or ill I know what kind of year I’ve had when I do this post.

Best Anime of 2010 or the Junmai Daiginjo-shu of Anime

Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn by Sunrise I know it seems impossible but Gundam Unicorn might actually be the one modern series that a majority of Gundam fans can get behind without their normal bickering. It incorporates the newest and flashiest technology while keeping true to the strength and spirit of the original Universal Century series. If you did not know better you would assume that Yoshiyuki Tomino played a part in the creation of this series for who seamlessly it works itself into the universe. The characters for the series harken back to the former archetypes set by its predecessors while not seeming like clones. Obviously a good deal of money and love was poured into this series because it consistently looks amazing. I look forward to learning the secrets of the Laplace Box and the RX-0.

Runner up: House of Five Leaves by Manglobe An absorbing and atmospheric character based historical drama. Based on seinen manga it is an adult work for both sexes that continues the tradition of great noitaminA anime.

Giant Killing by Studio DEEN When thinking this over, I had to ask myself what was I most anxious to watch each week? What did I want another season of (and thought it could sustain it)? I arrived at my answer pretty quickly. It was Giant Killing’s approach to characters that impressed me throughout the season. Never did the show bang you over the head with who these people were, instead we were shown through small actions, bits of conversations, and of course their approach to soccer. And best of all we got to see everyone involved when it comes to sports from the players to the fans, from the press to the managing staff. Everyone had a role but our main character was not a star or up and coming player, but rather the coach. Tatsumi makes this show and gives a new perspective for a sports anime. Perhaps Giant Killing isn’t the most thought-provoking showing of the year, but it did things just a little bit differently and it never faltered.

Runner up: Kuragehime by Brain’s Base (second mostly because I haven’t seen how it ends yet) This is a very absorbing comedy about a house full of girl geeks whose lives get turned upside down when cross-dressing Kurnosuke takes an interest in them. This is the most genuine depiction of geeky girls I’ve seen to date without being pandering. And it is also turning into a tender romance as well.

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