Memories of 2013: appendix

For the first time since beginning the ’12 days’ format, I’ve added live-action, both from East and West, to this list. There is a little bit of regret associated with this decision: if I’d done so last year, Les Misérables would definitely have made the list (and Utakoi would probably have been the one missing out). Personally, I just found this year to be a relatively weak one for anime. First of all, one of the series that I thought might end up here finished on a less than stellar note (Psycho-Pass, I’m looking at you); even though I still found it very thought provoking personally, the announcement of a continuation has me wondering whether my musings will have any grounds to stand on in a year’s time. Second, I’ve found myself incredibly low on time, such that many of the series I would normally watch had to be put on the backburner. Finishing Kyoukai no Kanata after I had written most of these posts didn’t help – the hilarity of the episode 6 spoof was a strong contender for a spot on the list of memories – although in hindsight, I think I’d stick with the moments I’ve chosen anyway. Finally, this was the first time I dropped a noitaminA series after starting it (Galilei Donna was good until episode 3, but I’ve heard that it crashed pretty badly afterwards due to executive meddling, and I’m just not willing to spend my precious time on it)!!! That’s why a full one-third of my list has deviated from what it’s traditionally been. But what’s past is past, and this blog is changing as my own life is, and as anime just doesn’t seem to hold all of my interest anymore. Where will we both be in one year’s time, I wonder? But that’s something I’ll put aside for the time being; instead, here’s the list of what I saw this year:

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Memories of 2013 part 12: What is fun is good!!

I had a little trouble this year determining what would take the final spot on this list. Usually, there’s an unforgettable series or show, or an important development in the community that everyone talks about. But there was none of that this year, at least for me – that’s probably one of the reasons that four of my memories this year are from non-Japanese live action series! And I even found myself skimming some of the fun-but-OTT Covert Affairs, even though I haven’t followed the 4th season because I was a little put off by some of its opening episodes. But as I kept waiting for that one series that would sweep me away with its Oomph! factor, I realised that one had already crept into my heart. So, whilst I always knew that Uchouten Kazoku (aka The Eccentric Family) would make it onto the list, it is with some surprise that I present it as the most subliminal experience of this year.

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It’s WAR!!

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Memories of 2013 part 11: Marital spat

The first K-Drama I watched this year, and the one that got me hooked onto them again (it was sooooo good!) was City Hunter. The show draws its name and basic inspiration from Hojo Tsukasa’s manga of the same name, though the story is mostly it’s own – a tale of family, love and revenge that was really hard to put down. But whilst it was generally a serious show, I also want to remember it for some of its light hearted moments: and this was definitely the best one.

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Memories of 2013 part 10: Be-san x Lucy FTW!

Personally, I didn’t find Servant x Service quite as enjoyable as its predecessor by the same mangaka, Takatsu Karino, quite possibly because I just liked the quirkiness of the characters in Working!! better. It could also have been that the openings of that series were far catchier (‘Someone WAN WAN!’), or perhaps it was the voices, as a number of my favourite seiyuu populate the cast of the latter. But there is one thing about this more recent offering that wins hands down, the romance department.

Stop it!!

Stop it!!

The one thing often lacking in anime is a believable or enjoyable romance between adults (= people from their early 20s and up) – but it courtship or after marriage. I can probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of series that I’ve seen or read with adult romances, and many of them often involve characters that met and started dating during their school years anyway – the exceptions I can think of pretty much all screened during the noitaminA slot… So it was quite a relief to get a couple of adult relationships in Servant x Service, and office-based ones too boot, particularly since the office is perhaps one of the more common places that such romances occur. But even out of the two, the Hasebe-Lucy one was far and away the favourite, not only for the laughs, but also because of Hasebe’s earnest yet gentlemanly behaviour.

Ganbare, Be-san!!

Ganbare, Be-san!!

Memories of 2013 part 9: Enemies, opponents and rivals

One thing I really enjoy about following a show closely is the language that it can teach me. The first series I remember fondly for this is Bakemonogatari, which taught me what in the world an “amateur virgin” was. Translating a certain drama CD back in the day also taught me a lot about how love is expressed differently in English and Japanese. Now, as I’m watching more Korean dramas, I’ve also finding the nuances of this particular aspect of human interaction fascinating. But to return to what I found to be the most contentious term this year, Taichi’s “teki” in episode 19 of Chihayafuru 2; whilst the debate over what is the correct interpretation has been really frustrating for me, I’m really glad that all the research I had to do has given me a much better grasp of how ‘enemy’, ‘opponent’ and ‘rival’ are expressed in Japanese. Care to have a gander?



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Memories of 2013 part 8: the sadness of saying goodbye

The Monogatari series is known for several things, among them a sassiness that fits Shaft’s famous head tilts and copious amounts of fan service that have alienated more than a few viewers. On balance, however, the negatives have always been drowned out by the positives for me; one of those positives was Araragi’s banter with a certain twin-tailed shrimp of a girl.

"I'm sorry, I bit my tongue!"

Overall, I’m happy…because I was able to meet you.


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Memories of 2013 part 7: Musical chairs

Although K-dramas dominated the live-action fair that I partook in this year, a series that hails from the land of my favourite accents also claims a spot on my favourites list for this year. Somewhat strangely, given my obsession with voices and accents, it’s a scene that is known for the wordless claims being staked by the characters involved. I’m speaking, of course, of the meeting of the Small Council in “Walk of Punishment,” the third episode of the third season of Game of Thrones.

There are several other moments of Game of Thrones that I quite like, mostly involving either Arya or Lady Olenna Tyrell. But this scene stands well above them all. Fascinating, it was, to watch Littlefinger clearly aiming for the seat closest to Tywin, with Varys settling for the second and Pycelle content with the third. Cersei, having arrived late, naturally attempts to create for herself a place at Tywin’s right hand. But my favourite reaction is Tyrion’s blatant disregard for the pandering that his fellow Council members exhibit, as he drags a chair to the opposite end of the table. Of course, Tywin was well able to shut his son down shortly after, but it nevertheless remains a spectacle that’s difficult to surpass.

Memories of 2013 part 6: Corporal Levi…

Death incarnate

For titans, Death incarnate.

I’ll hazard a guess that most people chancing across this post will initially think that this will be another instance of fangirling over ‘the epitome of cool’…but whilst I did enjoy watching and rewatching some of Levi’s Titan-demolishing scenes, it was an anime-original exposition of his character that really stayed with me. I’m sure anyone who watched it will know what I’m talking about, but for those who don’t, spoilers up to episode 22…


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Memories of 2013 part 5: Game Over

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“It’s Game Over.”

On to the second K-drama snippet that stayed with me this year. Once again, Personal Taste has its own flaws, but it nevertheless brought me plenty of smiles. It also stunned me once again when I realised just how gorgeous Son Ye Jin actually is…how in the world did they manage to make her look so frumpy?!

Out of all the moments I’ve chosen this year, this is probably the one that should not be seen out of context. Basically, after 10 episodes of misunderstandings and lies, these two characters took the first steps towards clearing it all up. And omo…what a moment it was.

Just a little warning: a pretty big spoiler in this one!


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Memories of 2013 part 4: Seiyuu jokes in my anime

As always – though it hasn’t been particularly obvious over the last two years, methinks – one of my posts is going to be about my greatest obsession in anime: the seiyuu.

This time, it’s not specifically going to be about my favourites (though I LOVE You-kyan in Senyuu and almost cried when Sakku returned in the Monogatari series), but rather about the little amusing things that only seiyuu fans would notice on a first time watch.

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That’s Grizzly Mama speaking…with the voice of INOUE KIKUKO…

The first of these occurred quite early in the year, with the classic ‘I’m Inoue Kikuko, and I’m 17′ joke woven so naturally into Polar Bear Cafe (as a Grizzly Bear, 17 years is probably about right). I’ve personally known about this one for years, at least since I listened to the Code Geass Drama CDs where it also showed up – but I don’t even remember how I first found out about it!

The second was one that I didn’t actually register – I face-palmed when someone pointed it out on a forum, because I really should have realised. Care to guess why the following scene of Servant x Service was soooo funny?

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“So, who is it?” “An actor I don’t know.”