Decidedly, the word is that 2007 is not as exciting as 2006. We did not have Haruhi, we did not have Simoun, we did not have Black Lagoon. In fact, I’m going to talk about shows I didn’t see in 2007 (and some that I did see, but not like Haruhi, Simoun and Black Lagoon).
What’s amazing about 2007 was I managed to get a new top 10 anime on my list in the form of Manabi Straight. I’ve been watching anime “seriously” for over 10 years now, so having something added to my all-time top list has been a pretty rare event. I’ve also been blogging for a while now, and this year is probably the first where I took a jab at the forsaken community of bloggers and blog readers, and to really see if anime fans are trendy internet citizens (the jury is still out there for that).
This year also marks a couple big splashes for anime movies. I don’t really mention Tokikake much but I’ve seen that film on 35mm this year even if it’s really a 2006 title, and it is really a treat. I also have seen 5cm on 35mm zero times, which bothers me greatly; but at least I got to see it. And of course, if you can count Paprika as 2007 (I did see it first in 2006 after all, and again in 2007), then we also have that. I’d almost count seeing Tales from Earthsea as well, now that it’s on DVD and still not going to be screened in the US until 2009 at the earliest. At least we gaijins will get a shot at Kara no Kyoukai and the Evangelion remakes in 2008 to curb our theatrical anime craves. RIGHT? Kara no Kyoukai is like, zomgomomustsee.
Almost on a similar thread of thought, we got some interesting attempts at “for the family” pie on TV as well. Romeo x Juliet was probably the second most popular one among the English-language folks, only dwarfed by the acclaimed Denno Coil. That’s on top of shows like Les Misérable – Shojo Cossette, which like, no one watched. And others, of course, but read on for those.
We’ve gotten Afro Samurai on … the other more conventional front. At least for action fans. Maybe Seirei no Moribito can go there as well, despite the distinct lack there-of. How about the last episodes of Karas? Do people still remember Soukou no Strain? And speak of space shows, how about Xenoglossia or Heroic Age? They did get subbed right? And 2008 marks a new Gundam TV show running along side of a new Macross TV show. That’s got to mean something.
But if we’re counting pure popularity, then it’s probably more meaningful to talk about Bleach and Naruto. Or even the Gegege no Kitaro anime. Speaking of which, how was Busou Renkin or Gintama? And D.Gray-Man? I hope you people who watch those shows got more juice out of them than I did with Claymore. Not that Claymore was disappointing, it just wasn’t much to begin with…or rather, it was all about the first 3 story arcs. It was fun. But when you get almost as much out of Kaiji, you gotta wonder why you even bother at all.
Or substitute Kaiji with, say, Over Drive or Wangan Midnight. Or, lol, Shion no Ou.
On the shoujo/josei side 2007 has been kind. Nana tied a knot so that was that–the whole Nana thing was wearing out anyways on the fanbase. Nodame was surprisingly fun but it was nowhere nearly as “great” as Honey & Clover. It just lacked that special something…that I’m not sure Moyashimon has. I loved the OP for Nodame though. I gave LoveCom an earnest try but it just wasn’t meant to be, and it wasn’t even as good as Bokura ga Ita (well I guess that’s 2006). I was surprised that Shugo Chara didn’t catch my attention when I tried it, even if it’s honest to goodness decent shoujo (especially after the ugh fake shoujo Nanatsuiro Drops). All it did was make me realize how sad Kamichama Karin was? I guess worse comes to worse, there’s always staple stuff like Saiunkoku Monogatari and Kyo Kara Maoh, on their nth season and mth episode. And I guess no one is confusing Nanoha StrikerS for shoujo anymore, right? Sort of like how did Hitohira get to be in a seinen magazine? But the anime is so…shoujo-ish. Maybe I’ll find out that Code-E is actually ripped from some porn magazine or something ludicrously trashing.
Speaking of trashing and slashing, I still respect the Higurashi even if I think it’s stupid. It’s clear that 2007 is the year of the slashers, between that and School Days. I can totally see why both games were so acclaimed. But in reality those kinds of shows should be grouped with stuff like Aria OAV and Sketchbook, since their appeal is kind of niche and the shows come off to me in the same way. Well, maybe not School Days. Or Bokurano. Anyways, it’s hard to broaden the appeal to a general public for any of these shows. Maybe that’s the secret behind Myself; Yourself? You know, combine the two?
But that’s more than I could say for Dragonaut, a generally appealing train wreck of a show. It was something that could’ve been good, even like Gundam 00 good, but ended up about as good as Mamoru-kun. That’s just sad. But the whole anime grrl power-harem-whatever thing is going just as strong, and I’m just as prone to watching that stuff as ever. Umisho was at least funny, and Ninomiya-kun was surprisingly enlightened. In fact it’s the best fanservice-oriented anime I’ve seen in a long time as far as being artful with it despite the crap production. On the other hand there are many that I didn’t touch even with a 10′ stick, like Nagasarete Airantou. Or Himawarui!! (as Hayama would say). That reminds me, I still have to finish Night Wizard… and the clunker that is Sky Girls…clunks along warmly but that’s not to be confused with Rocket Girls–the latter is really for old men, the former for lonely otaku. Rocket Girls was probably my number 1 guilty pleasure in 2007, but I think it might just be some kind of cognitive dissonance at work from owning and watching a copy of Wandaba Style and trying to make sense of Tactical Roar.
At least those “<something> Girls” shows had real endings, I guess. (And I am excited for more Gunslinger Girl, by the way.) I’ve ranted on Code Geass enough, but at least that had dramatic impact. Followers of Pumpkin Scissors really got the shaft, even if it was great just for Kana Ueda’s dance routine and seeing Alice laying down the law in the last few episodes.
I’ve wondered about it a lot. Sometimes a show is worth watching even if it delivers just a couple great moments, much like Seto no Hanayome or Touka Gettan. And the inconsistencies in a 26-episode series just puts me off (Sky Girls is a good example). I really should skip around more. But there are still the Rental Magica out of those groups. Or Mokke. The kind of shows that require you to watch the whole thing but you just can’t be arsed to do so. And some shows are just outright something I need to not watch, like, lol, El Cazador de la Bruja. Not because I hate it for any real reason, but because it is Noir Lite, and Noir lite is still Noir, and Noir is long for “No.” At any rate I got my yuri fix from Marimite OAV and Blue Drop (and rewatching Simoun; but I could’ve used that Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora show to fix the itch too I guess), which was a very splendid show. Especially when you watch that with Ninomiya-kun back to back.
So what do I have left to tag in this rambling post? Maybe why I didn’t watch Saint October and its legion of awesome gothlolies? Or maybe why I have a hard time saying anything about KANON or CLANNAD? Oh yes, right, that other Kyoani show, Lucky Star. But all the fanfare L*S had just serve to remind me people have no sense of humor. Minami-ke was so much funnier but only a fraction of people watched that compared to Lucky Star. People probably can’t approach Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei with the right angle, so I don’t fault people for being disappointed about that (lol episode 11 anybody?). But even Potemayo or Dokuro-chan 2 (or lol, Red Garden, in a bad way) was a whole level higher (or lower, depends on your perspective) than L*S. Heck, some parts of CLANNAD was funnier. I really don’t get it. Or maybe I did but I’ve forgotten? Maybe still we can all join and say “LOL only weird otaku losers watch Negima?!” Maybe. Probably not. 1000% Sparkling was pretty cool. Maybe Masters of Epic? Oh wait, was I suppose to not talk about Lucky Star? Oh well, at least that’s one of the few shows I did watch to the end in this post. It really felt like I got the short end of the stick after following Lucky Star for a while; at least I can cry about it with others who feel the same.
But the really weird fun shows this year are probably just Moyashimon and Mononoke. The latter is a lot more weird than fun, and the former pretty even of a mix. Normal folks should stick to, say, Kimikiss Pure Rouge, Tokimemo Only Love, Darker than Black, or Myself; Yourself? Just don’t get on the nice boat by mistake, like Da Capo 2 (hmm I’ve yet to finish this), Engage Planet Kiss Dum (what the hell was this thing on?) or Devil May Cry. If you want straight-up weird, there was this thing called Tekkonkinkreet. If that’s not available then maybe try Ghost Hound.
After all of this I’m still missing mentions like for Sister of Wellbur–winner of the “one sidekick to eliminate 80% of your potential audience” award. Yeah, an award show might be the ticket. So I can also mention stuff like Sakura Taisen V OAV. Or Keitai Shoujo. Or AIKa R-16. Guh, guh, guh. I’ll run out of rewards to give before I run out of shows to talk about. I mean, this blog post only name drops for like 60% of the new anime in 2007, you know?
So, we totally should watch less anime next year. Who’s in? Or better yet, hear this Japan: make less anime and more better ones! Although I think 2007’s offering are not bad at all, it’s characterized by the likes of Emma season 2 and Polyphonica (which, by itself, is such a waste and shame!). Maybe it’s just a time of transition. Well, if that’s what’s happening, getting a heads-up might be good so I can go on a sabbatical or something.
Until the next ef or 5cm anime comes along, that is. And sure enough they always do.
Then I got to talk about it!
This is the end of a series of blog posts about 2007. Take it as far as you can throw it. Enjoy 2008!