Just trucking along. Happy 2015 guys. Still celebrating Christmas for 12 days right?
1. Revisiting the annual 12 765Pro girls ranked (excluding Kotori). Last time I did it.
- Makoto – Still best girl.
- Takane – Already one of my tops but her range expanded this year, even as a joke character.
- Miki – A special character in a special place in my heart.
- Mami – Asapon also does a better Mami today than maybe even as recent as 2012, but the playful jailbait is just a ball of fun.
- Ritsuko – She is the most like me still.
- Iori – Greatest gain, because of Moviem@s performance and Kugyuu voicing her better than ever.
- Yukiho – I learned to appreciate her a lot more in 2014. Mainly as a character who is very strong.
- Haruka – Leaders gonna lead. At least over somebody.
- Hibiki – She takes a lead over the rest due to gained appreciation for her beyond the bullying.
- Yayoi – While I also gained a deeper understanding of this character, it reaffirms my lukewarmness towards her. Sob story or not.
- Azusa – I like her more than this ranking would suggest, but she really is just someone who sets up the rest of the group; a great support character.
- Chihaya – Even with all the sympathetic fiber in my being she is no match for the rest of the cast in my mind. But make no mistake, I also like Chihaya.
2. Twelve confusing seiyuu nicknames found in IM@S. Rest assured this is not an exhaustive list by any mean.
- Cutter – 松井恵理子 (Matsui Eriko)
- Meshiya (飯屋) – 原紗友里 (Hara Sayuri)
- Kami (神) – 若林直美 (Wakabayashi Naomi)
- Yuucha – 郁原ゆう (Kahara Yu)
- Pirami – 平山笑美 (Hirayama Emi)
- Kaachan (母ちゃん) – 平田宏美 (Hirata Hiromi)
- Maple – 戸田めぐみ (Toda Megumi)
- Suzie – 末柄里恵 (Suegara Rie)
- Nekosan – 金子有希 (Kaneko Yuuki)
- Chocotan – 桜咲千依 (Osaki Chiyo)
- Daasan – 津田美波 (Tsuda Minami)
- Yukinko – 五十嵐裕美 (Igarashi Hiromi)
3. Best girls 2014, in no order
- Aila (GBF)
- MayuC (WUG)
- Shione (Sorameso)
- Rin (Fate)
- Hoshijiro ~SPOILER version~ (Sidonia)
- Aoi Miyamoto (Shirobako)
- Mako Mankanshoku (Kill la Kill)
- Satsuki Kiryuuin (Kill la Kill)
- Hana (Captain Earth)
- Hana (Hanayamata)
- Haruka Amami (IM@S)
- Rin (Love Live)
4. Most memorable episodes in no order
- The smoking episode from Zvezda
- The timeskip episode from Nagiasu
- When Hideaki Anno saved Christmas in Shirobako
- Wing Gundam Fenice versus Star Build Strike Gundam
- When the WUGchans visit Kaya’s home town
- Daimidaler episode 5
- When Sonic appeared in SeHa
- When Ryuuko is trying to get to school on time
- Ping Pong episode 1
- Tokyo ESP episode 1
- Samurai Flamenco’s Beheading Gorilla
- After Togo blew a hole in the wall of the world (tbh it’s not that memorable)
5. Uh, since recency bias, let me share with you my twelve favorite IM@S Million Live live performances from their first concert this past Spring.
- The Idolm@ster (day 1) – Sorry, no video, go buy your own copy.
Bonus: I don’t wanna work either – From the first Cinderella Girls live.
6. Twelve ways I supported “the industry” with money in 2014, in no particular order (but numbered):
- Buying scalped tickets – concert tickets are a textbook example of the secondary market/supply and demand, right?
- Bought used goods – Because a vibrant secondary market encourages more transactions on first markets, right?
- Buying concert goods at the concert – Because it beats buying concert goods from the secondary market.
- Buying movie tickets so I can get tokutens – Because buying a movie ticket sure more directly supports the industry than to buy…merch? On either first or secondary markets?
- Entered lotteries for concerts I can’t go – Because it enables other people into buying concert tickets?
- Paid into a fan club (Japanese).
- Paid FUNi for simulcasting (with the way the exchange rate is, it’s worth like 2 fanclub memberships).
- Paid into a premium radio channel on Nico.
- Paid…Nico Premium. Not only I support the platform, I indirectly support Dwango who is behind a bunch of my animu/idol crap. Win win?
- Bought IM@S DLCs – That 765/ML/CG anime ain’t gonna make itself.
- Bought ML in-game items – That ML anime ain’t gonna make itself.
- Bought ML in-game items to get codes to ML 2nd Live – Because how else am I suppose to go to ML 2nd to buy concerts good there?
All of this is possible because Japanese companies are incestuous to the nth degree. The synergies you get from building both a horizontally and vertically integrated stack of businesses, geesh.
7. Twelve notable OP/EDs. Yep, just phoning it in this year. I didn’t get a lot of ear-time for non-IM@S music this year. There are also a couple others that could make this list; I wasn’t able to watch Psycho-Pass 2 by the time of this post, for example.
- Sorameso ED – This is an OP that is in the ED. For whiplash presumably. But this animation’s got so much character to it.
- Bahamut OP – I can see why Lantis signed them.
- Mikakunin OP – This sakuga….
- Kill la kill ED2 – No video but maybe this suffices.
- Ping Pong OP – from a great animator
- Captain Earth ED2 – This sakuga… such youth
- Engagement of Climb OP2 – from another great animator
- Hanayamata OP – Meticulous. Bonus for awesome 2.5D collaboration.
- No-Rin OP – mainly for the song. Somehow I like it a loooot.
- Witch Craft Works ED – mainly for the concept.
- Wake Up Girls OP – mainly for the 2.5D, and, gotta put something with Kousaki’s name on it. I heard he tweeted that he’ll go back to work in 2015, that is wonderful news.
- Knights of Sidonia OP – Still IMO the best OP song of 2014. The anthem-like arrangement evokes a mass-produced feeling about the whole deal, which fits its full CG animation production I guess. This song live, however, is a wholly different beast and OMG was it great.
Bonus: Danna Wakaranai ED
Duet material at karaoke! I did playlists for the past couple years, so I might do one for 2014 as well, but maybe later?
8. I was going for 12 moments in 2014 that I cried, but I didn’t think I cried 12 times. Not even 6? So just plain o’ feels.
- IM@S SSA Day 1
- IM@S SSA Day 2
- …and KOTOKO Live the week before (reference to this for details)
- When Kami blogged about being preggers?!
- The third time I watched Moviem@s
- Shirobako 12
- All of the second half of Nagiasu
- Towards the end of San Flam
- When Akki announced her marriage the day after SSA
- Reliving SSA day 2 on home video
- Everytime M@STERPIECE plays
9. I don’t really post about site stats, but maybe this could be illuminating. Ranked, from most to least, by pageview, posts, of stuff published in 2014.
The number one post got picked up by the 2ch Perfume thread.
Maybe I should just talk about anime. despite turning into some weird eventer-Producer kind of existence, I still watched a lot of anime in 2014 and have lots of opinions. Well, first things first.
10. Ranked 12 2014 anime. I did 2 other top lists in 2014 and they’re all different than this one! LOL.
- Shirobako – Bulls eye in more ways than one. Even the seiyuu selection from Ruru to Nu to Kayanon to Nakahara-san. Or invoking a shitennou of Otaku. Or even just pure, simple Tarou.
- Ping Pong – Sports anime was never this fun to watch and true in spirit. But it’s also a little different in the usual Yuasa ways.
- Nagi no Asukara – I don’t want to spoil this. Not sure if it’s possible.
- Kill la Kill – Not as epic as Gurrren Lagann but it doesn’t need to be. There is so much substance here that it wears old soon.
- Log Horizon – Still too much feelings coming from my MMORPG days.
- Fate Stay Night UBW – Saved by Rin, this story. It’s hard to say my problems with it are despite the source material or because of the source material.
- IDOLM@STER Movie – Feels aside, there were some creative risks taken by this movie and I feel they paid off. Your mileage may vary of course.
- Hanayamata – It’s cute and beautiful, and I’m glad it didn’t take much notes from its seinen backdrop.
- Yama no Susume – The sequel tested my patience with its extended length, but once it got going I enjoyed the actual mountain climbing/tourism aspect of the story that season 1 was too short to take you on. As opposed to the meta mountain climbing aspect (Do people still market Gor-tex now that the patent has been long gone and replaced by superior substitutes).
- Gundam Build Fighter – About as fun as Yama no Susume for some, but for me it was a nostalgia-tinged warhead rather than just a straightforward feels bomb.
- Wake Up Girls – For convenience I lump in both TV anime and movie, but the movie is what’s stellar about it. The TV show does what it could to follow up, and we got some pensive ideas out of them.
- Locodol – This show is really good in a surprising way. It is easily the anime that exceeded my expectation the most in 2014. A good part of it goes to Itou Miku for being the raw VA she is that makes Nanyako the raw local idol that she is.
Bonus: Kaguyahime – Possibly my new favorite Takahata. Too bad it doesn’t say very much since I generally don’t like his work? I included 2 movies in the list so I probably should bump one up there down to the next list to be fair, but Kaguyahime feels sufficiently “out of realm” compared to the rest that it’s better to just highlight it? Yeah, that’s it.
11. A list of worth-mentions. I thought this year was great for anime. I didn’t watch that many shows but even so some were pretty fun. And among the crop there were even some that can probably stand against test of time (Shirobako, Ping Pong, Kaguyahime). It’s not every year you get shows like these, even if Yuasa is alive and well. So, some other shows I enjoyed:
- Illya – The Other Type-Moon is pretty alright. 2014 is not a year to complain if you are a Fate fan.
- Captain Earth – It’s really fun, but I’m not sure if it ended in a way that works for this show.
- Aldnoah Zero – Love and hate are opposites of the same coin. Ten-chan-hime is Kenny. It gets this high of a rank for its nice CG and solid setting.
- Knights of Sidonia – It’s pretty good actually, despite (or because?) the narrative-focused nature that sort of betrays its serialized comics roots. It’s not a common take on science fiction that has a survival take. What I feel that sunk this show was its mix of comedy and serious moments. It’s not a bad thing but the trade off is probably not worth it. And maybe that trade off is necessary because it is full 3DCG.
- Sora no Method – After watching Glass Lip I was about ready for anything that artistic. Problem with Glass Lip was nobody quite understood it, but Sora no Method was pretty simple by comparison. In a way the obfuscated character drama did well to hide the contriveness of the setting, but at the same time the heartful arguments and reunions remained. So it all still make sense. It just wasn’t compelling. Maybe something like Mikakunin would be better?
- Sabagebu – This show is great. Go watch it if you want to see something different.
- Space Dandy – This show is great. Go watch it if you want to see something different.
- Mushishi is still great but it is now squarely in the faux docudrama for the majority of it, so that’s why I’m taking my time to finish it.
- Love Live S2 – It’s got a nice, lively dramatic spin to all of this, and if anything I fault it tries too hard to milk the whole fan-danketsu-feels thing. Compare it to anim@s and you will see what it tries to do. It’s not wrong per se but it just feels too shallow (and idols are, if nothing, but that).
- SeHa – It’s got Sonic.
- Chaika – Not Scrapped Princess but close enough.
- Samurai Flamenco – Well it did end in 2014. Not a bad show at all, it was able to clean itself up.
Bonus: I have this rant about Yuyuyu that I don’t want to post on a “good” or “best” of list of 2014 because it probably doesn’t deserve to be there, but it is worth noting. Yuyuyu just too shallow even for an original anime. The concept and execution are all very good, but it lacks any kind of thematic bites or hooks to hang the story on. It isn’t too far from a simple hypothetical question, which is okay if you are chatting on the internet but thematically analyzing the work feels hollow. But I’m someone who watched and enjoyed Glass Lip (although I won’t recommend it to anyone lightly), so take my opinion with a grain of salt. That said, I guess at least in the case of Grisaia I can just watch 4 episodes of Lord of the Moe Basketball Club and get a similar effect.
12. We can’t look and predict the future without looking at the past. So in the spirit of Anime Bingo I’ll list twelve predictions for 2015. Why not, right? I think it’s an appropriate way to end this post, looking forward instead. If last year was the year of the brilliant future, then we’re living today brilliantly. Numbered for convenience only.
- Funimation overhauls simulcast site so it is a standalone portal – It’s just lacking in several areas. If I was bold enough I’d even go as far as predict a corporate restructure to better focus on streaming side. Unfortunately I’m not sure if that prediction can be verified. The long view is that how FUNi handles those growing pains will largely determine the marketplace for simulcast in the west for the near-to-mid future. The short view was I tried a number of basic things with FUNi’s service, including upgrading and changing billing, and it didn’t work. Their customer service kind of made me run around and I just didn’t have the time or patience for it.
- IM@S Million Live anime project announced – Just a blind guess, well, it’s 33/33/33% between this, a theatrical project for 765pro and/or CG.
- Fewer seiyuu marriages in 2015 than 2014 – 2014 is an outlier and things will mellow out. There were more than twelve so I couldn’t have made that into a list.
- More hiphop character songs in 2015 than 2014 – 2014 finally had a proper one, and it’s just going to catch on fire in 2015. I bought Suwa’s beatbox album, but that is kind of an aside.
- AniplexUSA hosts another proper “anime” event in the USA – Shoo-in I think…unless AX management implodes.
- More full-CG anime projects will be announced in 2015 than 2014 – Probably shoo-in as well… Too lazy to count the number of TV/movies (to set a parameter) in 2014 but there were more than just a couple. I guess to make it clear, it’s about announcing. Some projects may be full 3DCG but they don’t say it off the bat? It’s not easy to measure.
- A company that hasn’t licensed anime in English will announce an anime license in 2015 – Extension of growth in crowdfunding. FWIW Sekai Project licensed the Clannad anthology which makes them kind of a manga publisher now too? It’ll just continue, and not just SP.
- Cross Ange will add one more big-name seiyuu yet to be revealed before it’s over.
- There will be more crowdfunded anime and manga in 2015 than 2014 – Super easy shoo-in, so for bonus round, let’s say 35% or more.
- Comic Market 88 will not be as full as 87 but 89 will break the record again – Guessing by people’s general reaction to 87, as well as expected works available
- Original anime projects will increase in 2015. – I think part of it has to do with continuation of original projects, that supplement an expected number of original projects that debut every year. In cases like Fate UBW I don’t really know if you can count it as original or adaptation even if it is on paper an adaptation, given the amount of work the original creator has put into the anime. I think those kinds of projects will increase in number in the next few years.
- I’m out of ideas, so jokes time: No Full Metal Panic anime adaptation announced in 2015.
Year in Review 2014: