Best of 2016 Awards

It seems like the end of the year has come upon us before we know it, and it’s a chance for me to look back on the year that we’ve had and see what stood out to me! I’m also going to use this spot as an opportunity to mention things which were exceptional that were not anime. It’s also worth noting that I will on occasion distinguish between favourite and best. A favourite thing is the thing which I personally enjoyed the most. Obviously for me to enjoy it, it may have some technical merit, but something can be a favourite while I recognise its flaws or lack of general appeal. A best thing is one which I think is strong on all technical levels, and I liked it, but it may not have felt as personally enjoyable as a favourite. For something to qualify for an award, I have to have completed it for the first time this year. It doesn’t have to be new in general unless specified, I feel that limiting myself to only new things means that I miss out on shining light on older things and it’s not as though only new things are good, it just has to have been new for me. Also, when it comes to some of the non-anime categories, it would be unusual for me to actually partake of something released in the last 12 months. Continue reading

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Long Riders 10 – Finishing what you start

This week’s episode is a continuation of the Azumi Autumn Ride. Because the girls have been told that they’re running close to the time limit, Ami is really worried that they’re not going to be able to make it in time so she won’t be able to officially finish the event, but fortunately Hinako has a plan.

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12 Days of Anime: Day 12 – An Ode To Joy

Classicaloid is the anime which I have been really enjoying and it seems that other people aren’t really into. I want to finish off my 12 days of anime though with a look at the opening sequence of the first episode. I took piano lessons as a young child, and something about the sounds of classical music really struck a chord with me. I’ll still often opt for a classical piece if I’m just looking to relax, or as some low-key background sound while working on writing or chores. Classical music is often used in media, I think both because of its beautiful sounds and also because it’s in the public domain and therefore you don’t need to go through too many hassles to make use of the tunes. An Ode To Joy has been used many times in anime (I’m sure many of you can think of the dramatic sequence in Evangelion set to this tune), but Classicaloid puts its own spin on the classic tune.

This is unadulterated visual joy set to classical music. Continue reading

Series Review – My Hero Academia

Have you ever wanted to be a hero? In a world where around 80% of the population have some sort of special power or Quirk, Quirkless Midoriya Izuku longs to be a hero so he can help others.

Izuku one day runs into his most admired hero, All Might, and owing to a sequence of events, All Might offers to bestow powers on him. This gives Izuku a chance to join the prestigious school, UA, where the best heroes are trained.
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My Hero Academia is a show which I think effectively combines the Western superhero story with the Japanese shounen underdog story. It is just what it presents itself as; a tale of someone initially without powers becoming stronger, overcoming adversity, and achieving their goals, but it tells the story with a consistent and appealing style. Continue reading

12 Days of Anime: Day 11 – When I thought I Was Losing It

The first few minutes of The Devil Is A Part Timer anime are set in the fictional world of Ente Isla. We get to see some set up which leads to the Devil and the Hero being stranded on earth. The world has the typical fictional maps, typical fantasy trappings, but what it also has is a totally made up language.

I’m by no means fluent in Japanese, but I can often understand the thread of a conversation or at least pick out a few words. The fact that I was hearing the characters converse and not comprehending what was being said at all aside from subtitles was totally confounding. I stopped and restarted the video a few times just to confirm what was going on. I knew that there weren’t different audio options the way I was watching the show, so I was very much puzzled.

Thankfully, once the characters made it to Japan, there was some Japanese speech and I could work out what was going on! Well played Devil is a Part Timer! For a few minutes, I was totally immersed in a fantasy world and absorbed in a sense of strange otherworldliness. As an auditory moment, it’s not easy to convey in written form, but it was a truly memorable moment and something which added to the building of the fantasy world of Ente Isla.

12 Days of Anime: Day 10 – gd Bungee Jumping

gdgd fairies (my review of the series is here) is without a doubt, the gdest anime which I have watched this year (not the best or my favourite, but it’s very fun). A moment which I think really captures the ridiculous absurdity of the whole show is when the three fairies decide to go bungee jumping and have a scavenger hunt. Continue reading

Series Review – Kiitaro’s Yokai Picture Diary

The title of this series of anime shorts (4 minute episodes) speaks for itself – it’s a show about a boy named Kiitaro, and the memories that he makes meeting lots of different youkai. The first episode of the show has a slightly different feel, but the other episodes all involve Kiitaro meeting some youkai and having interactions with them which reveal something about their nature.

The show is light-hearted and comic in tone, with Kiitaro ending up in some silly situations either from misunderstanding the youkai, from the actions of the youkai themselves, or his main companion the Zashiki Warashi Suzu.
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