Another year has come and gone, and with it tons of shitty anime. You know what I’m talking about; the shows that don’t really exist for any other purpose other than the fact that Japan is the most sex-crazed country in the world, those that are made because Japan will throw insane amounts of money at anything they deem cute enough, or those that are just plain retarded. Yet, every year a handful of people in the industry decide to actually try to make something good. It’s rare, I know, but it does happen, at least a few times a year. These shows are the reason I continue to watch anime, because I know that deep in Japan’s erotic and perverted bowels there are people who really want to make shows that are entertaining, fun, and visually unique.
5 – Nichijou (My Ordinary Life)
While I never really paid a whole lot of attention to Nichijou in it’s first half, for some reason I just decided to watch every episode I had missed in a day, and found out that I actually really liked this show. For one thing, comedy anime are now a dime a dozen; ever since Azumanga Daioh and Lucky Star, everyone has wanted to cash in on the fad of ordinary girls doing ordinary girl things. Almost all of the time these aren’t funny at all, because they rely too heavily on lame, overused gags and some “Oh, I do that stuff too” thrown in for good measure. Nichijou, however, decided that everything that happens should be as crazy as humanly possible, which, as much as I normally don’t find random stuff funny, I actually thought it worked really well. I don’t know what it is that makes it so different, but I think it may be because it’s so obviously not trying to be normal and relatable, or it may be because the characters are actually supposed to be the source of humor, instead of just the situations they find themselves in. It’s kind of sad that this show didn’t end up selling all too well, probably because OMG IT ISNT AS KAWAII AS K-ON 😦 BOOOO, but I suppose that’s the price you pay when you don’t give those Japanese otaku enough kawaii, and instead try to do something that’s actually funny.
4 – Fate/Zero
Well, I’m kind of cheating here, since this show isn’t really finished airing yet. But hey, MAL lists the first and second seasons separately, so that’s my excuse. To be honest, I wasn’t too sold on the first episode of this show. To me, it seemed like some huge in-joke to everyone who had seen/played F/SN and I wasn’t going to have a clue what was going on. And the hour long episode of pure exposition didn’t really help matter much. Yet, after that first episode, I thought it was great. It’s rare that something that is essentially a big tournament/elimination anime is done as well as F/Z has done it. For the most part, all of the characters are interesting, though there is a problem with the sheer number of them. So far the story hasn’t really been too much of anything, but that’s too be expected, as it’s taking it’s time developing characters and building suspense for when people start to die. And if the second part continues to be this good, then I have very high hopes for this show.
By the way, has anyone seen the price of the Blu-ray boxsets of this that Aniplex is selling? Go check it out, it’s unreal.
3 – Madoka Magica
Overhyped? Yes. Awesome? Yes. I’ll be the very first to say that people are a little too firmly attached to this shows nuts to see that it isn’t the epitome of anime as we know it today. And I really like how everyone goes on and on about how it has revolutionized the magical girl genre, because of how dark it is and everything. I suppose none of these people have ever seen Utena, so I guess I have to forgive them. But no amount of hype can change the fact the Shaft is awesome and so are the visuals of Madoka, and honestly if this had been done by another studio it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as good as it was. The combination of Shaft’s animation, the genuinely interesting story, and the dark tone it takes makes it one of my favorite anime this year (and in a while) but I’m not so on board with calling it the anime of the decade or anything.
2 – Mawaru Penguindrum
Uh, well I just wrote a whole bigass reveiw of this series so, if you want to see me ramble on why I like this show, go check that out. It had nice artwork and animation, a good (yet pretentious) story, and plenty of weird stuff to keep you wondering what the hell is going on.
1 – Steins;Gate
With this show being related to Chaos;Head, I wasn’t really sure how I’d feel about it. I mean, I liked Chaos;Head well enough, but it’s problems with it’s sporadic story and lack of subtly didn’t really sit too well with me in the end. Another big thing that I thought would be a problem was the time travel aspect of the show, since the concept of time travel in any medium of entertainment is hard to pull off; you know, since it doesn’t exist and all. However, I thought the way it was handled in Steins;Gate was fairly interesting, since for a good portion of the show, they can’t technically “time travel”, and can only communicate with the past. And the fact that the series shows what everyone knows would actually happen if a bunch of random “scientists” in their twenties found a way to manipulate time made it even better to me. Although a lot of people didn’t really like that the story didn’t develop into anything too big, I was actually glad for once that everything didn’t turn into a classic “We have to save the future” scenario. Well, it did, but that plot point wasn’t that prevalent throughout most of the series. But the biggest reason of my love for this show is it’s main character: self-proclaimed mad scientist HOUIN KYOUMA!!! Call him Okabe, Okarin, or Houin Kyouma, he is the anime character of the year, without a doubt. He is hysterical, fun, and genuinely interesting, and takes this anime from being good to being great. Honestly, if some generic geeky/smart character had been the main character instead of Okabe, how much less awesome would this show have been? And while it may not have truly been the greatest anime of this year, this series simply made me realize why I suffer through all of the stupid and shitty anime that come every year; for shows like this, that are just plain fun to watch and experience.
God bless, I don’t really know how to describe this show, but I’ll try. So, we’ve been treated with another slice-of-life comedy, that quite honestly, I liked a lot better than previous attempts (K-on, Hidamari Sketch). I think it’s because this is pure nothing, just things in life and how we always put such huge emphasis on things that are completely insignificant. Like the sausage sequence, which takes the “Three Second Rule” to the extreme, and Yukko wondering if the principal knew his jokes were bad, but he still said them on purpose. Most everyone can relate to having some deep introspective opinion on something so stupid and trivial; just today I spent the better part of half an hour wondering how the music industry chooses the next Justin Beiber, and played out scenario after scenario in my head of how it could happen. This anime seems to exemplify what life really is; a collection of things that we find interesting or appealing to ourselves. Well, didn’t mean to get all philosophical, but couldn’t help it. Also the show is really crazy, in a good way I suppose, and it has that bare-minimum art style that seems to have been adopted by every slice-of-life anime since the dawn of time. Some parts were actually pretty funny, and believe I even chuckled a few times, (quite a feat, my toleration of humor is rather stout, takes a lot to make me laugh).