2008 Year Review

Yes, I know, it’s incredibly late. But I had a few series that I really wanted to praise, so here it is (though I will backlog it in about a week or so done). I also have yet to review one major series that I’ve included, but I will get there.

And a warning, there is at least one major spoiler this time (Code Geass), so don’t click unless you don’t care.

Favourite Opening/Ending Sequence

The Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk. Druaga’s opening sequence, rather than being composed primarily using shots and key frames from episodes, is a little story all in itself. And not just a 90 second summary of the story, but rather an omake that places the characters in an entirely different world…for about half of the series, I half-expected there to be a real-world tie-in somewhere (like in the .hack series)!

Druaga Op 01Druaga Op 02

But that’s not all that special in itself – I’m sure there are other series that do the same thing, though I can’t think of one at present. The other draw about the opening is how the credits are presented. Creativity points from me!

Druaga Op 03Druaga Op 04

Finally, though it isn’t the only series that does this, the nod to seiyuu fans buys all my votes.
(p.s. the second opening is even better though, so I know exactly what’s going to win this category next year.)

Favourite Opening/Ending Song

It was only used for a small number of episodes, but nevertheless, Diamond Crevasse from Macross Frontier. I listened to it over and over again especially after episode 20.

Favourite Insert Song

Hitomi’s Continued Story. No contest really. This and Diamond Crevasse were the only two songs I listened over and over again to after the respective series ended. (Apologies, I can’t find a legal sound clip to link to.)

Favourite Seiyuu Performance

If I can award this for a 5 minute segment, I’m giving it to Nazuka Koari for the last few minutes of her performance as Nunally in Code Geass R2 Episode 25. The best anime crying scene I’ve ever seen and heard.

Nazuka KaoriNunally 1 (credit: that anime blog)

Otherwise, I may be in danger of giving this to the same person two years in a row. Kamiya Hiroshi for Natsume in Natsume Yuujinchou. Just LOVE him here, though I think I may love his performance in the second season even more.

Natsume walking his catKamiya Hiroshi (credit: Fumitsu.com)

Greatest Disappointment

hm…Macross Frontier. It’s like Darker Than Black from 2007. I was fine until the penultimate episode…in fact, with the excellent buildup, I was really looking forward to the final episode, and the action certainly lived up to the anticipation, even though the music eventually got a bit irritating. However, with the way it ended, it felt like a certain character died for no reason at all.

Hidden Treasure

The first season of Druaga. I don’t normally like shows based on RPGs, or even on games in general…but the take-offs they do in this series are absolutely hilarious. Episode 5 was simply brilliant, especially where Wakamoto Norio came in!

Anime of the Year

hm…Code Geass R2. It’s far from perfect – too many loose ends that didn’t tie into the first series (there may have been a reason for it, and even the creator lamented about it, but we cannot overlook that no matter what), plot developments that were sometimes way too over the top, and a very poor explanation of what it was exactly that Lelouch’s parents were trying to achieve. (Schneizel’s is relatively straightforward, but episode 20/21 left a lot of people wondering exactly why the world the Emperor and Marianne wanted was sooooo repulsive to Lelouch etc.) But in the context of the year, nothing else really got and/or kept my attention. I was really disappointed with Frontier’s ending, Gundam 00 just didn’t have that great of an impact on me, and whilst the plot in Geass was just about impossible to believe, I loved Lelouch’s character development through both series (he’d have been the anime favourite character if I split the category in two). And for entertainment value, I’d say that Code Geass wins hands down.

Code Geass R2 2 (randomc)Code Geass R2 (randomc)

p.s. I haven’t gotten round to the review yet, because I wrote about 10 pages of notes on the rewatch. If I figure out anything, it’ll appear in that review.

Best Old Series

Only three this year, and the winner is Ergo Proxy. The review will be coming soon, but in summary, it was gripping and interesting, a mature psychological series that looked at what life and living means. If I could have given the Anime of the Year title to this, I would have.

Best Film (any that I saw this year)

No contest here, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.
tokikake
I just wish I’d thought of looking for the dvds earlier – the limited edition is now hideously expensive!

Favourite Drama

last-friends
Another no contest, Last Friends was the only drama (out of the five I saw) that kept me hanging on week after week, even though the later episodes weren’t quite as good because they focussed on Sousuke for far too long. Well worth the time.

Favourite Character

eto…this is here because I’m going for a drama character this time. Takeru from Last Friends.

Takeru (image credit: Fuji Tv)Last Friends family

He’s like the perfect guy in every way (sensitive, tidy, can cook…the list goes on), except for the trauma that still seems to affect him… (picture credit to Fuji TV)

And for the record, here’s what I’ve been watching:

Anime:

  • Gundam 00 first season (Autumn 2007)
  • Rental Magica (Autumn 2007)
  • Ghost Hound (Autumn 2007)
  • Shion no Ou (Autumn 2007)
  • Hatenkou Yuugi (Winter 2007-8)
  • Druaga season 1 (Spring 2008)
  • Nabari no Ou (Spring 2008)
  • xxxHolic Kei (Spring 2008)
  • Macross Frontier (Spring 2008) TBC
  • Natsume Yuujinchou 1st season (Summer 2008)
  • Kurozuka (Autumn 2008)

Anime Feature Films:

  • Vexille (August 2007)
  • Gedo Senki (July 2006)
  • The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (July 2006)

Old Anime:

  • Eureka 7 (Spring 2005)
  • Infinite Ryvius (Autumn 1999)
  • Ergo Proxy (Winter 2005-6)

Dramas:

  • Last Friends (Spring 2008)
  • Change (Spring 2008)
  • Osen (Spring 2008)
  • Ryuusei no Kizuna (Autumn 2008)
  • Shinsengumi (2004 Taiga Drama)

Dropped

  • Jyushin Enbu – Hero Tales (Autumn 2007)

2009 stuff

  • Gundam 00 season 2 (Autumn 2008)
  • Kuroshitsuji (Autumn 2008)
  • Druaga season 2 (Winter 2008-9)
  • Genji (Winter 2008-9)
  • Natsume 2 (Winter 2008-9)

About karice
MAG fan, amateur translator and political scientist-in-training. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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