2010: A Year Where Anime Didn’t Suck
Yep. Obligatory “Best of the Year” post. Hell, I churned out ten of these damn things last year so I could catch up on everything I hadn’t written about in the millions of years I spent not blogging, so I may as well churn out one for this year, right?
So yeah, Let’s Listage!
Awesome kiddie show that revels in the sort of Saturday Morning Cartoon antics that we don’t see much in anime nowadays, since even kiddie shounen faire like Naruto and Bleach take themselves way too seriously for their own damn good. It was a hell of a lot of fun, even if it was pretty predictable.My favorite bit from the series: Dr. Minami. I loved how cartoonishly villainous he was, especially in his ridiculous quest to get revenge on Heroman for showing him up as the world was about to be destroyed in the first arc. That’s some Golden/Silver Age comic villain motivation there, and it’s a breath of fresh air since almost everyone insists on villains being “complex” nowadays. That can work, but it ain’t the only way to pull off villainy. Sometimes you need “Lex Luthor Hates Superman Because Supes Made Him Bald.”
At it’s heart, Kuragehime’s nothing but a glorified rom-com, but seriously dude, is that a bad thing? I don’t think so. It’s a pretty damn decent rom-com, and considering how awful most anime series that play around with said genre tend to be, it’s pretty surprising. The only real “problem” with the series is that the side characters are far more interesting than the pseudo-love triangle that’s at the heart of the series. I’m far more interested in the “landshark” lady, the geeky gals, and the family’s driver and his love of Benzs, so the serious moments where Tsukimi angsts over her love situation and her relationship with her mother feel like they’re getting in the way rather than adding to the big picture. But the fact that the series is still on my list despite that should tell you how solid the series is regardless of my ranting.
8: Dance in the Vampire Bund
It was a mess. A ridiculously absurd mess that never really explained much of what was going on. And the whole “naked girl cavorting about while claiming she’s super-duper old” was kinda creepy. But damn, this series was a beautiful mess. I blame my digging of this series on my old World of Darkness fanboy tendencies, since Bund aped so many tropes from that RPG and other vampire shit. I also blame my love of plot hole ridden old school OAVs that forced you to fill in the holes with your own convoluted ideas. It’s trash, but it’s the sort of trash I like.
7: Shinryaku! Ika Musume!
5: Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt
4: Soredemo Machu wa Mawatteiru
No real sense in talking about these series separately, since they all do the same relative thing: Make With The Funny. Most anime comedies just aren’t all that funny. The same can be said about comedies in general, anime or otherwise, but whatever. This is an anime site, so we’re only in the business of making gross generalizations about anime.
Anime comedies, as a whole, suck ass. But through some sort of miracle we got four series of varying degrees of damn good. Hell, three of them aired in the same damn season, which must be some sort of Christmas miracle or something like that. Angels trumpeting (and shooting guns and decapitating ghosts) and all that shit. They all come at it from a different angle. Ika plays it like an old school anime comedy. Soredemo and Working!! are more “contemporary” with the whole food service-as-comedy thing, but they manage to wrangle some halfway decent drama and good gags out of the same formula that usually results in utter shit. Panty and Stocking’s the odd ball of the group, going for a “western” angle while putting its own spin on the anime comedy formula, and turning out something fairly damn unique. And they’re funny. Damn funny. Fucking funny. Fatherfucking funny.
Anyway, Ika and Working!! are roughly on the same playing field. Nothing amazing or anything, but damn solid. Panty Stocking comes next, with its cool skew on things making it stand out moreso than the previous two series. But Soredemo wins out as far as 2010 comedies go. Chalk it up to the last few episodes and their descent into speculative chaos, what with the time travel, aliens, ghosts, and Bettlejuice-styled afterlife.
3: The Tatami Galaxy
It’s a genuinely touching coming of age story about friendship and romance and quantum physics and parallel dimensions and youkai. I think that description alone should explain just how awesome it is.
2: Occult Academy
Take all of the criticism you’ve heard about this series, reverse it, and you get my feelings on Occult Academy. Nothing but filler? Nope. All those episodes were ways of exploring the world and the fucked up speculative shit that takes place. It’s called “world building,” not “filler,” and it’s a different way to tell a complete story. The way the series dodged the so-called “main plot” was purely intentional, especially since the main villain outright admits to leading the main characters astray, trying to do her best to keep them from unraveling her plot. And then we find out that her plot wasn’t even the reason why the world ends, but it’s a completely different event that causes the alien invasion. The series didn’t waste its time on unnecessary things because the plot elements everyone focused upon were just a big, fat red herring to lead viewers astray. All of the craziness from the last three episodes didn’t turn me off in the least. In fact, I think Occult Academy has the single best climax to ever take place in an anime series. No exaggeration there. I fucking love this series.
1: Cobra the Animation
The franchise as a whole is my all-time favorite anime series. JET PIRANHAS! was my top moment of the year. I’ve been ranting and fanboying about this all year long. If you thought a different anime was gonna be on the top of my list, this must be your first visit to my blog.