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Thursday, 1 January 2009

Bye 2008, Hello 2009!

It' s officially the new year (We have 3 more years to live if you believe that the world ends on December 21st 2012. These Doomday dates keep popping up don't they?) in here in Brunei and I'm happy to say that it's raining right now. My favorite type of weather is rain, especially when it's in the right amount. So far the new year has started off good but that also means that school will be hear in four (Damn!) more days.

While most of the people I know are happy that the holidays will be over soon, I'm not. I was so goddamn busy during the holidays that the only time I laid around doing nothing was the first week of the holidays. The rest was spent on helping with my cousin's wedding, staying at my grandpa's, filming video evidence (anyone who wants to see it has to see me directly cause the others aren't comfortable with posting it online) of ghosts/demons, several parties, watching movies at the mall, translating hundreds of pages of manga, walking to the end of the Tutong sand spit and taking driving lessons. A great holiday if you ask me but it'll take at least another week before I get sick of it.

What I planned on doing but ended up not doing were the parkour filming that was planned and the building of my 00 Raiser set which has to wait until school starts again so I can pick it up. Looking forward to that seeing as the reviews for that set are quite positive. As for the parkour, my skills are intact and have added a few new tricks i can do with a pole. Mifune's figthing style from Soul Eater isn't as impossible as I thought seeing as the trick to it is quite simple though that doesn't make it that much easier to put it into practical use.

As you can see, I've cleaned up my blog and changed the banner which I may change again since it feels like it's missing something. I've also added some more songs to my music player at the top and I hope you enjoy them. I've also added a list of sites that I get most of my info from. The anime blogs that I posted up should give more or less half of the shows for each new anime season, the online stores are sites where you can order stuff from japan particulary gundam model kits, crunchyroll is a video site like youtube specialising in anime (for those of you who are still unaware that Naruto will no longer be subbed by dattebayo, you'll probably be visitng this site every week) and the Animesuki forums are a set of forums dedicated to anime discussion. The rest are pretty much news sites that pick up tidbits of info on various things but I have to warn you that Sankaku Complex is NFSW (Not Safe For Work) and you have to be careful on that site despite it having some interesting articles.

Right now, I'm going to post up the my top 10 anime of 2008

10. Kannagi
This was directed by the guy who directed the first 4 episodes of lucky star but got sacked later. I'm still not sure why though or even if he feels bitter towards it considering that the cameo's from Kyoani productions showed up here and there in series. The cameo's didn't even seem the least bit spiteful so i guess he's moved on enough to poke fun at the matter. When he directed Lucky star, I figured that timing jokes was where he needed to develop more but it seems that there were other reasons for his sacking. As I saw through Kannagi, he's definitely on the level of a director but what he's done isn't particularly outstanding. It's solid but not quite memorable. It's funny, well animated and the pacing is quite good but I can't say that it's going to go down as one of the best despite what fanboys may say. (Honestly I'm somewhat biased against it because of the community of Kannagi fanboys in Japan, they were being quite stupid just because of something that happened in the manga.) But it's

9. xxxHoLIC Kei
This series showed me some interesting things about japanese folklore and myths. It's a shame that Brunei doesn't have as many legends as the elevens do. This was quite a thought provoking series with high stats all around except for the conclusion of the Kohane arc which I thought was a let down considering how good the rest of the series. The characters are very interesting and I'm glad that they saved the Himawari arc for the last bit of the series. Very nicely done overall by production I.G.

8. Code Geass R2
This had to be the most spectacular and most epic anime in years. Concept, animation, music and characters were as amazing as the plot twists that came in game breaking sizes. I can't think of any other anime that had me guessing so much at what was going to happen the next and I never got them right. I swear to god I had my mouth wide open whenever they had something epic come up. Especially at lelouch's awesome moment of crowning which was also doubled as a crowning moment of awesome. This series is practically one crowning moment of awesome after another all the way. It really was that epic a series. Especially if you overlook the silly plot holes along the way. To add to that, they've recently said that they're not entirely done with the franchise just yet so here's hoping to another season.

7. Xam'd: Lost Memories
The broadcasting of this anime was actually delayed for a year or so since they couldn't find a timeslot to show it in japan so it premiered on the playstation network instead. The concept of this series is quite unique and every aspect of this anime balanced out so well that it doesn't make sense for it to be delayed. It's made by BONES so a high degree of quality is expected and since it was made by them, I wouldn't be surprised if they put it up on Animax this year seeing as they just put up Darker Than Black which I also enjoyed though I have to say that the last episode was somewhat lackluster for such a series.

6. Shikabane Hime Aka
This anime was based on a manga but they moved things around to accomodate the anime's pacing. That was a smart decision since I found that the first few chapters of the manga were rather bland. The best part of this anime are the characters and their relationships with each other since they're made to be quite likeable making this more than just a GAINAX action anime though those are good anyway especially in gurren lagann's case. The next season is coming right up and it's titled Shikabane Hime Kuro, hopefully that means that the story's going to get darker than it already is which would be good.

5. Birdy The Mighty ~ DECODE
The Dark Horse of the Summer 08 season. Just from the ridiculous name and the strange character design, most people wouldn't even bother watching this. At least not for the story if you get what I mean. I'm not most people though so I gave this series a chance and boy did it surprise me. The music particularly stood out for me. It was on the same level as Iwasaki Taku's compositions too. The first 3 episodes were very impressive in all aspects. The 4th and 5th not so much but they were there for filler and budget reasons. Everything after that was more or less the same quality as the first 3 episodes. The fight scene against the robot in the 10th episode was one of the best i've ever scene. Hopefully they'll put in a fight like that in the climax of the next season instead of the build up episodes.

4. Ga-rei Zero
This was the biggest surprise of the Fall 08 season and also one of the best for it. The first episode made it seem like your average high production "b-movie" anime but the twist at the end of the first episode was the clincher. At the end of the first episode, everyone who watched it all the way went "WTF?!". The weapons concept were both ridiculous and amazing(this is the only anime where you'll see someone use a suitcase as a weapon) It was a really smart move by this studio and I'll look forward to a sequel if they ever animate it. Hopefully they won't be completely faithful manga since it's not very impressive.

3. Clannad
I went through the game and I know how this one will turn out. I'm apparently regarded as a monster for not crying through several key points of the game though I did feel very bitter at the normal end of the game despite how beautiful it was. My favourite arc conclusion is Kotomi's arc which was incredibly powerful and touching in both the game and anime. Music, humor, animation and story are all well done in this series though the first eight (excluding 5&6) episodes of the second season were rather disappointing for me. The main drawback is that it doesn't intergrate all the characters properly and two of the story arcs from the game got shafted. Not that it really bothers me though, they did go through Tomoyo's arc in a special episode and I thought that Fujibayashi twins' arc was the worst arc out of all the main arcs. I have big expectations for the ending.

2. Toradora
My favourite part of this series is it's music. I don't just mean the ED song Vanilla Salt but it's BGM is very nice and suitable for the series. The characters are also a joy to watch with how well they're developed. Animation and story are also very well done and that's hardly a surprise considering that the guy who directed Honey and Clover is in charge of this. It's not quite as funny but it's still up there as one of J.C. Staff's best works.

1. Gundam 00
Very good music, action, story and concept. The battle scenes damn good and the designs for this season were extremely well done. It even has a masked man that goes by the name of MISTAH BUSHIDO! I can't remember ever watching any other mecha series where the mecha of the grunt units were actually a whole lot cooler than the protagonists' mecha. First the Overflag,

then the GN-X

and now it's the Gadessa(I am definitely getting this one).

The suits just keep getting cooler and cooler. It's a shame they couldn't intergrate Exia's aesthetics with the 00 while the rest of the suits improve in design but it makes sense considering the goal of the protagonists in the second season. I've watched the latest episodes over and over again because the fights were that good. I wonder what exactly they have planned for the finale since the most powerful suit has already made its debut with another 13 episodes to go.

That's it for my first post of 2009. I'll leave you all with an image of Mistah Bushido.

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