12 Days of Anime: 09 – I Wanna Find This Love I Can’t Forget

So I didn’t watch anything in this season except for Norgami Aragoto so I’ll do a longer post about that after the final episode this week. Because of that and the fact that it’s one of my AOTY, I won’t go too much into it right now. I’ll be talking enough about it soon, that is.

Suffice to say, I was shocked at how much I loved Aragoto. I finished the first season while this was a few episodes in and once I got past the Yukine part that was insufferable in the first season, it actually was decent!

The second season, however, is fantastic. To the point where I don’t want to call it just a shounen. Which then brought up a personal debate with myself about why I’m uncomfortable with calling a show with good drama and characterization a shounen when it still mostly fits the bill of being a shounen. Well, it could be rather because Noragami doesn’t feature as many of the standard shounen cliches and plots?

Perhaps writing it off as another shounen when it’s better off as action/adventure is a mistake. Which doesn’t address why I’d get heated about calling it a shounen though, why not accept that?

ANYWAYS, Noragami Aragoto kept me on the edge of my seat with every episode. Though it still had quite a few problems that prevent it from being a 10/10 show, the amount of enjoyment I got out of it was almost incomparable to anything else I watched this year.

My own personal enjoyment of the show is enough to get it on the list but if not that, have one of these other suitable reasons: Bishamon and her unexpectedly fantastic arc and also her great fashion sense holy shit, Yukine’s character development, Nora as one of Rie Kugimiya’s best roles (FIGHT ME) or Taku Iwasaki’s fantastic, strange and controversial soundtrack.

12 Days of Anime: 08 – Ultimate Precure Wish and Neko Atsume

Cure Scarlet

There was one thing I always secretly hoped for in a Precure but never dared speak aloud. My all time favourite voice actress, Miyuki Sawashiro, as a Precure character. Well, in a big role as a Precure character. I thought it was something that would never happen.

But it did and it was fantastic. It’s a rather subdued role for her since she’s playing a gentle hime-sama (with a godawful design holy shit) but it’s still better than nothing.

Also from Go! Princess Precure is a certain episode. My favourite episode of the entire series (and there have been some good ones!) and quite possibly my favourite unserious Precure episode of all time.

Episode 33 introduces a new (cat) fairy, I won’t spoil the deets, who is very shy and reserved. Resident (also cat) fairy teacher Shamour (voiced by Mayumi Shintani aka Nonon from Kill la Kill) takes said shy fairy to meet with regular cats in town where they have a cat fashion off???

Shamour also teaches the Precures about respecting your enemies and Shut gets a lot of great moments as well. Someone punches a shark.

Overall the episode was hilarious and played to my weakness of cute anime cats. Especially the new fairy who I was so ready to buy merch of the moment I laid my lil eyes on his ugly and adorable little self.

The episode was so ridiculous and I can’t believe I enjoyed myself as much as I did when I watched it.

Openings.moe

As a curator and wannabe creator of all that is random and generated, seeing something like openings.moe pop up is really fun. I wanted to share if you didn’t happen to catch the wave of it on twitter that seemed to swamp it all at once.

It’s such a simple concept. Random anime openings (and sometimes endings) play in glorious creditless HD (whe navailable). It’s purpose? Up to you. I’ve seen people making a game of it but I think I’d enjoy just putting it on in the background as I work. So far I’ve seen one opening for some anime I’ve never even heard of and remembered a lot of songs I’d long forgotten about.

It’s got lots of nifty features too. You can loop one video, pick just opening and endings, a list of videos in rotation (I think, I haven’t checked because I want to stay surprised) and you can even bug the creator to add stuff if you really want to (though you probably shouldn’t).

Anyways, it’s novel as heck so go have fun with it. I look forward to seeing what the creator does with it in the future.

 

12 Days of Anime: 07 – Walking Dead Quote

In a rare turn of events, an adaptation of a manga I loved turned out fantastic. There was hardly anything disappointing about it. A few changes that I wasn’t too pleased about but hey, I understand why they were changed at least.

The Gakkou Gurashi anime did what I hoped, played the first episode straight and caught a lot of people off guard. It blended the drama of their day to day lives with a sense of wonder and fun that’s incredibly sad in its own special way. I teared up at moments I didn’t think I would, I laughed at moments I didn’t think I would. It was enjoyable in so many ways.

To be honest, I can’t really talk about Gakkou Gurashi too much more just because of how satisfying it was. It just… was good. I’m disappointed one of the most poignant and dramatic moments in the manga was changed (something that changes a lot about Rii-san and her grip on reality) but other than that… it was just good.

Look at this goddamn angel

It seems like lots of care and attention went into the series (the OP changing was fantastic and set the tone of the episodes really well as things got worse and worse) and I’m glad that people who were otherwise unfamilliar with the series enjoyed it as much as I do the manga.

Hopefully we’ll get a second season (well, with that final scene I should hope so) because it starts to feel like a different series after that and I’d love to see it animated. Until then, I’ll at least be grateful that this series turned out so dang well.

Also I love me some Rii-san oh my god do I ever.

12 Days of Anime: 06 – Imperfect Virgin

It was complete chance that this followed the Maria entry on this list. Truly.

Anna Nishikinomiya is one of my favourite characters this year by a goddamn mile. Shimoneta was a lot more clever (and raunchy) than I could have possibly imagined and Anna was an interesting villain to be sure. Though, that isn’t to say she was villainous because she was so thirsty that she’d break his goddamn dick off if it meant she could have it but rather that she was constantly getting in the way of their plans (and uh, threatened to kill one of them w/e).

I found her over the top sexuality and lust to be really interesting, even if it was played for laughs. The “for humour” aspect is especially egregious when we dismiss the fact that she was still trying to rape him but since it was female on male, it’s just hilarious rather than awful. But all that godawfulness aside, her Dr. Jekyll and incredibly horny Mr.Hyde scenario was a surprising factor of the show that I would have never guessed from just the opening and previews of the show.

Like the cookie thing? Never have I heard that Boku no Pico yooooooo’d so hard in my goddamn life. That is some next level shit right there.

I never thought we’d get a second season of this in the first place but with the tragic passing of Miyu Matsuki, Anna’s voice actor, I hope that we never do. It’s a shame one of her final roles was such a horrible and fantastic character but Anna stands out because of her amazing voice work so I’m grateful that she did such a great job.

We’ll miss you, Miyu Matsuki. Don’t know how they’ll do the Tales of Zestiria anime without you. :(

12 Days of Anime: 05 – Perfect Virgin

Maria the Virgin Witch

Maria the Virgin Witch may not be anywhere close to my AOTY but it’s definitely one of the most interesting shows to have aired this year. It scratched an itch I didn’t know I had.

Accesible (though comepletely off the wall ridiculous) historical fiction with colourful and unique characters who constantly, constantly defied the expectations I had set for them that spoke freely of female sexuality like it wasn’t no shit at all? Damn. Sign me up for some more of that.

Viv was (unexpectedly) the absolute biggest bro ever

The thing is with Maria is that I don’t know another show that’s even a little like it. Either the sexuality aspect or the historical fiction that isn’t boring and insufferable (and I say that as someone who seriously enjoys historical fiction novels a whole lot).

So while I can’t pin point one thing to credit Maria the Virgin Witch for, I’d give it this spot just for being so fresh and unique. It’ll be a long time before I can find such a refreshing show again.

 

12 Days of Anime: 04 – Spinning Around, Around, Around the World

Kamisama Kiss

Last year gave me Akatsuki no Yona which I was head over heels in love with and left a gaping fantasy shoujo hole in my heart that I thought could never be filled. Well Kamisama Kiss S2 and Shirayukihime sure did the best they could there.

I wasn’t initially excited about the second season of Kamisama Kiss even though I was happy there was a shoujo series I liked finally getting a second season (and so is Shirayuki very soon!). However once I started watching it, I fell back in love and enjoyed almost every minute of that show (the Kurama arc kinda was too long imo).

Now I just have to sit around hoping an s3 gets animated. I’d love to read it but it’s just so long and intimidating to buy all those volumes.

Shirayukihime was something that I tried repeatedly to read in the past but I just couldn’t get into it. Nothing about it hooked my interest and I never made an attempt to keep reading. For that reason, I didn’t even bother with the anime.

Obviously, I did end up watching it. I don’t know why, really. I was already watching a ton of stuff that season. But I did and I absolutely loved it. It was so refreshing to see a couple like Zen and Shirayuki with no gross drama or awful shoujo cliches. They even end up smooching at the end of the first season! Soreseka was kind of similar but that did have some hella uncomfortable and gross moments and also that age difference ugh…

Were there other shoujos this year? Whatever. They were probably shitty anyways.

12 Days of Anime: 03 – The World is Pitch Black

Ah, the sting. The sting unique to watching something with so much promise squander and waste it. It feels like Yatterman Night, the surprise darling of winter 2015. At first.

How could it not be with such a fantastic first episode? I was caught off guard. Surely Tatsunoko Production couldn’t make magic happen again like they did witch Gatchaman Crowds, could they? But with this episode, it seemed like maybe they would.

They set us up for the fall then hit us with it hard, all the while presenting an interesting post-apocolyptic world that I was excited to learn more about.

But as episodes went on… it was clear the first episode was a fluke. The first few episodes were good and let’s be clear, I did enjoy them at the time. However once the show started to get stale, it got stale fast. Jokes got repetitive and focus was on all the most uninteresting places and characters.

I never finished the series because it just got too boring but from what I’ve heard it doesn’t seem like I’ve missed very much at all. Which is a shame considering how amazing the first episode was at the time.

This takes the place of the Charlotte and Classroom Crisis selections I had for 12 Days because Charlotte is dumb and I have nothing good to say about Classroom Crisis anymore. At least Yatterman Night managed to wow, even if only for awhile.

12 Days of Anime: 02 – “I Just Got A Step Closer To My Dream”

Though the bureaucrats at ANN won’t let you vote for Shirobako for AOTY (despite the fact that it’s anime of the year, every year), the best episode did air in March. Hell if I watch just this episode next year, I’ll probably include it on my list again because episode 23 of Shirobako is just one of my favourite anime episodes of all time.

From Seiichi meeting with the author and delivering comeuppance to Chazawa to the end of the episode where Shizuka records her lines and Aoi breaks down from happiness. It’s all fantastic and more memorable than the actual final episode that follows after.

It’s such a simple and powerful scene that for months after got me to tear up just thinking about it. I could be waiting for my bus after work and remember Shizuka turning to thank them and how Aoi just tries her best and man, gonna sure try not to cry at the bus stop.

Such a display of joyous emotion, of the happiness you have when a loved one succeeds, the pride you feel for them is all so wonderful. The excitement we viewers have for Shizuka whose talent shone through, who finally caught a break, and who as a miserable adult surrounded by succesful people, a lot of us saw ourselves in. She did it.

It’s a scene that will stay with me forever. An episode I’ll come back to watch over and over on it’s own, as if I wasn’t already encouraged to rewatch the series.

Thanks for being so great, Shirobako.

12 Days of Anime: 01 – Every Parade I Go To Ends Up This Way

I remember not knowing anything about Death Parade but seeing the opening all over twitter without stop (and I mean, with good reason right?). When I actually watched the first episode, I could not believe the disparity between the kickass opening and the dire content of the show.

Initially I thought I’d only remember the show for the shockingness of the first nature (because obviously the woman was lying to protect her husband) and it’s ridiculously fun opening but the show actually ended up being really good. Not a masterpiece for the ages but easily one of the best shows that aired this season.

Just thinking about the scene where she visits home (oh man did I cry) or the absolutely beautiful ice skating scene reminds me how much I enjoyed this show. (Not ot mention Mayu’s final scene like my god)

But hey, I would have never even given it a shot if it weren’t for it’s fun (too fun as it turns out later on) opening that even now is my favourite of the  year.