Ongoing Investigations: Case #112

I happily finished up Jellyfish Princess right on schedule, it was a nice way to end 2010. All the things I loved in the first episodes, the humor, the understand of female geeks, and the budding relationships, were kept intact throughout its run. However, things like fashion and business being major plot threads were surprises. Perhaps the most unexpected part of all was how much the story became about Kuranosuke, and him actually having the most growth in its short time span. Tsukimi was not relegated to the side, and she certainly had forward movement of her own, but Kuranosuke seemed changed the most by their encounters. Their relationship, budding into romance or no, had a nice coming together in the final test of getting on stage. This is by no means the end of course, as the manga continues to run, however it was a good stopping point if not truly satisfying.

hisuicon This week is mostly me reflecting on anime that ended really well from last season. As predicted Kuragehime was another great show that proves that the Noitamina block is always the show to watch any season. Kuragehime just like House of Five Leaves was based on an ongoing manga series and they both picked a solid place to end in overall story. With fate of the Amamizukan apartment building resolved and everyone one having gone through a solid bit of character development you would be hard pressed to currently find a better place to end. All of the relationships are still up in the air and somethings are unresolved but if it ended here I would not be utterly frustrated. Tsukimi and Kuranosuke are sort of interacting  something closer to normally by the end of the series which I think is major progress for both of them. It was always surprised to see female nerds in a non-fetishistic light in anime. I know that Melissa Tanaka found the girls a bit too over the top for her tastes but I thought it was a major step forward in presenting female nerds as more than male nerds with breasts. It is a fun series and I hope to see its exposure through streaming get someone to license the manga so we can read the ending.


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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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2010: A Year of Great Openings

When looking back at this year, I was struck by how many great openings came to mind so I thought,”hey, let’s call that out in a post!” And the way I see, to have a good opening you need a good song, good animation, and both of them need to fit together distinctly. When watching an opening, I’m looking for a feeling, it should set a tone and a pace for what I’m about to watch. I think openings can have a lot of power so I have to give props when they are done well.

A good opening draws you and sets a tone for the anime. It can be the vanguard and frontman for a series giving you your first impression of what the show is about and what mood you should be feeling when you watch. Plus the animation on the opening usually at least one level higher quality than anything in the show itself so most openings are a joy to watch. There are some exceptions to this rule but we are not here to talk about them today. Today we will discuss some of the best openings of 2010 and why they stand out.

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