Well, It's 2012, and how else should the end of the world be celebrated then by talking about the Japanese media of years past, this list contains my favorite things I read/watched this year, however their release dates are irrelevant, you'll be shocked at what I hadn't seen until now.
I have a bias against anime based on visual novels, but Robotics;Notes may have pierced that bias with it's brilliant blend of comedy, sci fi, and not so epic robot fighting. It's compelling characters make for a vibrant cast of personalities, and their respective stories are interesting for the most part. I'm also enjoying the show's transition into sci-fi, slow and steady.The series isn't over, and I look forward to seeing the rest. Notes qualifies because I picked it up 6 episodes in....
Well played 5pb, well played....
Yeah, I hadn't seen Baccano until now, it just didn't grab me until I got Netflix in January, man do I feel bad. If Robotics;Notes has a good cast, Baccano has a phenomenal one, and after all, Baccano is all about the characters. The cast feels like a bunch of sports rivalries, as everyone's personalities are always butting heads, and the intertwining tales of the alchemists and the crime lords only feels right because of the characters deliveries and the phenomenal voice acting, it's just good stuff.
8. Sket Dance
I love comedies, I love big raunchy, dirty comedies, with bad words, sex jokes, even stereotypes. Sket Dance is not that comedy, and that's what makes it great, that it doesn't have to go lowbrow. Bossun and friend's misadventures shine because of their characters, much like the two above, and the hilarious situations are all because of the setups these characters create, whether its a game of genesis, or Roman Saotome turning everything into a retro shoujo manga (which is soooo funny) Sket Dance is good clean fun, just don't get too into the storytelling (WHY DOES EVERYONE HAVE TO HAVE A SAD PAST).
7.Howl's Moving Castle
I took a day and watched the complete works of Hayao Miyazaki this year, so I saw quite a few things I've never seen before, and that will stay in my memory forever, starting with Howl's Moving Castle. The movie is the tale of Sophie, a young girl who gets turned into an old lady by a fat witch for some reason, and then Sophie tries to set things right, and runs into a wizard named Howl, and his moving castle, cue WW1 references and kingdom warfare. Howl's shines because of the setting, and the incredible art that Studio Ghibli always brings to the table, and it makes Miyazaki's love letter to British fantasy novels all the more magical, add in some sweet action scenes and you've got one tasty piece of theater.
6. Darker Than Black
I love Darker Than Black, the show just clicks with me, I know it's not a classic or anything, but I still really enjoyed my time with Hei and friends. My best explanation for what makes DtB good is the pacing, the show's two episode format is a really smart way to do things, and the episodic feel makes BONES able to tell stories of many different contractors, and the majority of these stories are quite interesting, and while the show is usually episodic, the little mystery behind the show adds another dark element, mixing with the hero Hei to create a feel thats well, darker than black at times, and lighter than white at times, if that makes any sense.
Magi is the best shounen manga to come out in a long time (in my opinion), and I think there are several reasons for this, one being the really well fleshed out characters, Aladdin, Alibaba, Mor, and Sinbad all shine throughout the show and really make it feel believable. Another great thing about Magi is the pacing, as arcs flow seamlessly into each other, and the plot never feels like it's slowing down, which is a nice touch in any manga. The last thing that makes Magi special is it's setting, which makes one wonder, how has this not been done before? Magi's interpretation on Arabian Nights just works incredibly well as a shounen manga, and the dungeon element is a really nice touch, really looking forward to where this one goes.
4. Princess Mononoke
My second favorite Ghibli movie, I feel bad for not having seen this way earlier. Hayao Miyazaki's Lorax shines in every possible way, a real classic, but not my favorite Ghibli movie, it's definitely something special though.
3. Laputa, Castle in the Sky
Poor Mononoke, if only Laputa didn't exist. If only Miyazaki's magical adaptation of Gullivers Travels was never made, and we never had one of the most influential movies ever. Laputa is incredible, the scene stuck in my mind is the mine cart scene, where the plot moves from train fighting, to minecart racing, to magical exposition, and thats just the opening scenes. Almost all fantasy anime take something from Laputa at this point, and it's just an undisputed classic.
Touch is one of the greatest sports manga I've ever read, and after reading it, I've realized how much of an effect it's had on the industry. Touch is Adachi Mitsuru's masterpiece about twin brothers, Uesugi Katsuya, and Uesugi Tatsuya, one a prodigy at everything (especially baseball), the other seemingly good for nothing, and the two are in love with their childhood friend. Tatsuya is content to let his hardworking brother win, but after a certain events it's Tatsuya in the limelight, no matter how hard their substitute coach tries to make them fail, they succeed and no matter how dark events get, Adachi's humorous baseball manga shines as an example of how to write about baseball. Another thing I love about Touch is the art, its so minimal and round, and yet deep at the same time, I really liked how it's drawn, and it clicks with the manga's small town feel, which is weird because it's set in Tokyo.
If you've read my blog, chances are you've seen me talk about GTO at some point, because I love it, so much.GTO covers delinquent turned teacher Eikichi Onizuka, who finds his first work at a private school, teaching a class famous for bullying, their teachers, but Onizuka is a tough one to take down, and his sense of humor, and his ways of helping the kids make for some of the funniest, and heartwarming things you'll see in manga period. There isn't much to speak of in terms of art, but it gets the job done well, especially for a comedy, and the action scenes flow as well as any shounen manga. If you plan on viewing any of the series I talk about in this blog, please let it be GTO and thank me later.
As always, do I suck? Should I have seen this stuff already? Am I awful for not having Mononoke at the top? Drop me a comment, and tell me these things, I appreciate it, also tweet me or share me with your facebook friends if you're so inclined, and until next time.
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Hi I'm Hamilton and I have opinions on things! I'm from the south (lets keep that on the down low), I read lots of manga, and watch anime (less than I read manga), I also play way too much video games and like RPGs and Shooters.
Follow Me on Twitter @Im_Hamilton if you wish
Stuff I Like:
Some of my favorite manga(s?) I've read are(in no particular order): Berserk, Zetman, Fullmetal Alchemist, Soul Eater, Gantz, Blood Lad, Air Gear, Black Jack, Naruto, the first few Bleach arcs, One Piece, Gintama, Hunter X Hunter, Ratman, Black Cat, Gamaran, Shingeki no Kyojin, Cage of Eden, Fairy Tail, Magi, Slam Dunk, Akira, History's strongest Disciple Kenichi (I've Read way more but this list is getting long)
I like anime too!: Most Ghibli works, Eureka Seven, [C], Samurai 7, Casshern Sins, Gurren Lagann, Trigun, Hellsing, Durarara, Dragon Ball(and Z)
Music I like: Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Oberhofer, Modest Mouse, the XX, Matt and Kim, Crystal Castles, No Age, Pavement, Neutral Milk Hotel.
Games I Like: Fallout 3, Chrono Trigger, Dark Souls, Skyrim, Minecraft, Day Z, Portal 1&2, Counter Strike, Street Fighter, Marvel Vs Capcom, Assorted final fantasies.