Impressions on a Year 2007: Happy Action Fun Time

Written by TheBigN

This installment contains SPOILERS. I repeat, SPOILERS, so read at your own risk. This is also hella long, so again, read at your own risk. :3

With that being said, these are the episodes or moments in series this year that made an impact on me; the “definable” stuff.  I guess, in a way, you could say that as an extension, these are the memorable series for me for the year. Not all of them are my favorites for the year, and all of my favorites aren’t on this list, but these are the ones that stick in the mind long after the show’s over. 😛  

  • Chiaki playing Rachmaninoff, Nodame Cantabile, episode 11
    • This was a turning point in the anime, as more people find out that Chiaki has awesome talent on the piano with his scintillating performance.  After this moment, others made efforts to pave his way for success abroad, despite his apprehension. Of the moment itself, it was the first time I ever heard the piece (I believe it was Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto for those who want to know), and listening to it was moving for me, from when the orchestra joins into to Chiaki’s piano solo at the intro till the end.  Seeing the emotion that was placed into the piano, the emotion that other members of the orchestra had in accompanying him, the emotion that Stressmann had in seeing his and Chiaki’s work paying off, and the emotion that the audience had listening to something more than they expected was what made this scene for me.
  • Legendary Girl A, Lucky Star, episode 10.
    • The introduction of Meito Anizawa, that crazy manager from Animate in Lucky Star. With fiery passion, awesome subordinates, different animation from the norm and excellent action (the Legendary Girl A Shift itself was the stuff of legends, especially with the call at the end), his call to action was one of many sequences that helped make that episode the funniest in the show. I wish more store managers were like Anizawa wherever I go.
  • It isn’t always sad, Kagamin, Lucky Star, episode 21
    • A nice example of how strong the bonds of our main four characters are here. For the member of the cast that tends to get the short end of the stick, it was no surprise to see that what seemed like a love letter turned out not to be like that at all during their school trip.  Granted, the guy who asked her outside couldn’t know how she felt about the situation, so it doesn’t feel right to have thoughts of punching him in the face for being too embarrassed to buy a trinket and asking Kagami to do it for him. It still doesn’t mean that we can’t do irrational things sometimes as human beings, and that it would definitely feel sooooo good after the deed was done. Anyway, without being told the situation, but just seeing and noticing how Kagami felt, Konata decides to bring her, as well as Miyuki and Tsukasa to a photo booth. The resulting photo shows a flustered Kagami surrounded by people who care for her, as well as a nice “We love Kagamei” message on it.  Yet another example of why friends can rock.
  • Life’s not fair Mugi, Hitohira, episode 10
    • So, the Drama Research Club had already folded after losing to the Drama Club in a tense showdown, which would have provided a nice ending to the series anyway, if a bit somber.  So I wonder what happens next after that climax, and what does occur is a nice dramatic twist (to me) in a series that’s already had more than enough drama, for better or worse. Inspired by Mugi’s confidence to get over her stage fright and finally speak out in the large voice that everyone knows she’s capable of belting out, Mugi’s best friend Kayo decides to travel abroad to help fulfill her dream of becoming a better photographer. Hearing the news, Mugi is in shock and devastated as the world that she knows and slowly begins to expand upon with her growing confidence is rudely broken at the seams. Unable to handle it, she seems to withdraw into a shell, and is unable to talk about the inevitable.  At a winter festival, while Mugi complains about the situation, Nono pragmatically tells her that that’s life, especially since she’s leaving too as a senior, and that Mugi should deal with it.  Not having been in this situation before, Mugi is left in tears, and probably worse off than before.  That compound situation for Mugi made Hitohira one of the better shows of the year for me, since it talked about something I’m familiar with in a way that had nice emotional impact. It definitely made me feel for her at least.  

About as low as you can get.

  • Subaru goes over 9000, Nanoha StrikerS, episode 17
    • This was the “OMG All Hell Breaks Loose” moment of the year for me. Given the amount of time spent on Subaru and on her relationship with her sister Ginga, I was more emotionally invested in both of the character than I initially thought. We already know that Nanoha and co are getting smacked down in that Nanoha way by the Jail’s Combat Cyborgs and friends, but seeing Ginga appearing as if she’d been beaten to the edge of her life, was a shot to my gut, as it probably was to Subaru’s.  It was the first time I’d really seen a character in any Nanoha series that badly messed up, and that gave the show an edge for me that the others didn’t have.  Seeing Subaru’s reaction asking for Ginga back with tears running down her face while undergoing a subsequent power up made the moment more powerful, since it showed the bond that the sisters had and how important it was.  The results were very surprising with some of the best action scenes in the anime, as there wasn’t much indication beforehand  that she could be powerful enough to take on three cyborgs and actually be able to come out on top. Having the big reveal that Subaru’s a cyborg herself on top of that was the icing on the cake for a big “WTF?! GOOD JOB!” from me in how that particular scene was managed.  Sadly, nothing could top that emotional level for the rest of the series; I would have at least wanted to see Nanoha in White Devil mode again near the end. 
  • The man with the flame on his back burns out, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, episode 8
    • We all knew it was coming in order to help Simon mature into the person that he was going to become. Though I don’t think that many of us thought that Kamina’s death would have happened quite as soon as it did.  Of course if Simon had more confidence to do the job that he had to do in the first place, chances are that the entire sequence of events would not have occurred so suddenly. But at the same time, Simon might never have come into his own role to be as great as Kamina saw him being. Regardless of that fact, we were treated to one of the more interesting sequences of the year, from Kamina pulling himself out of battle briefly to literally smack some sense into Simon, to his apparent death after the Beastmen took advantage of him letting his guard down, to his brief resurrection with the first appearance of my favorite move of the year, the Giga Drill Breaker.  

The soul still burned.

  • My “every high school student in this show is pathetic” moment, School Days, episode 10
    • I say this because I think there was a point in watching the show where that idea popped into the head of all that watched it. It was a great example for “How to Write a Trainwreck 101”, but I digress. Of the all the characters in the show, my favorite is Setsuna. As Sekai’s friend, you saw the effort she made in trying to preserve her happiness with Makoto, even though she probably realized that Makoto wasn’t that pure in the first place.  Acting as a wedge to try and drive Makoto away from even dealing with Kotonoha, we find that she sacrificed her feelings for Makoto for Sekai’s sake (I won’t lie when I thought that the feelings were for Sekai initially).  It wasn’t like I couldn’t see it coming after she kissed Makoto in “secret” while they were cleaning up for the festival, but the fact that she decides to sleep with Makoto in order to “keep him with Sekai” was frustrating. Until that moment, she was probably the only important character that I believed had some sense, but we all give in to temptation I guess.  :/
  • Miyako’s breakdown, ef ~ a tale of memories, episode 7.
    • Despite how important and serious the scene is, I couldn’t stop grinning as I watched the sequence. SHAFT did a great job in presenting how frantic and desperate Miyako sounds when Hiro doesn’t pick up the phone calls.  I wouldn’t think that keeping a static background (well okay, she’s fading away while the scene’s occurring. :P) with just piles of constantly overlapping texts wouldn’t really be effective until when I saw it (and it shows how awesome you can be without using a lot of money). The declaration made by Kei in the previous episode, coupled with the sad past that Miyako had caused a 180 in terms of personality. Someone who sounded so collected and filled with happiness in that scene sounded pretty broken. As others have mentioned, it was probably a good idea that Kei deleted the phone calls before Hiro saw them, as I remember another moment in another anime this year where a similar log of calls were noticed by their target.

Most realistic crying I’ve seen this year.

  • The box, and what should be done with it, ef ~ a tale of memories, episode 6.
    • While many would say that Kei’s declaration of making Miyako disappear would be the most important part of the episode, it’s the brief argument between Hiro and Kyousuke that makes the episode, and probably the series, for me.  We have Hiro, a professional manga-ka, and Kyousuke, an “amateur” filmmaker, essentially talking about the same thing but going at it through different means.  What starts off as Hiro complaining about Kyousuke’s lack of a vision as something to build his film from leads to a philosophical argument in terms of what either feels is necessarily in order to make something they want to make. As I’ve said before, I feel like I lie somewhere into the middle between Hiro’s struggle to work within boundaries to create something he wants versus Kyousuke’s relative freedom bogged down by his strain to find that one thing that moves him, and in turn, moves the audience that watches his work. Obviously that old statement “the ends justify the means” could use a little work here.  :3

Set goes to Kyousuke. Score is 2 sets to one

  • Someone left the cake out in the rain, El Cazador de la Bruja, episode 22, I think. 😛
    • As cliché a scene as having an impactful moment in the rain is, I thought that El Cazador pulled this off well.  After a possessed Ellis unconsciously injures her confidant Nadie, regains said consciousness, realizes what she’s done and runs away from her, we’re left sorta wondering what Nadie would do. It should be no surprise of course that Nadie remembers the times she’s had with Ellis and realizes how deep their bond really is.  Finding Ellis in the rain, hugging her from behind, and telling her how she feels, coupled with a nice piece from Yuki Kajiura (with nice vocals) made the moment nice. Of course, we always knew that mutual affection was there, but seeing it actually in action made people watching the show for that aspect feel like it was worth it. For people looking for actual story on the other hand… well… :/
  • Let’s call the whole thing off, Sketchbook ~full color’s~, episode 4
    • Up until this episode, every main thing we’ve seen was from Sora’s perspective, and this wasn’t going to be anything different. What did seem to be different was what Sora was thinking about. On a field trip sketching in some woods with just Kasugano-sensei and her elder Nagisa Kurihara, Sora notices that Kurihara sees and goes about things differently than she does. As a great example, bird that flew lower than usual resulted in separate interpretations as to why it did so.  It was the first time I’d really seen Sora wonder about how other people view things considering how she seems to favor keeping to herself, and I thought it helped expand her world a little bit bigger than it originally was, as well as mine when watching the show.

I wish I was that flexible. I think Sora wishes she was that flexible too.

  • I wish I had sick days like this, Hidamari Sketch, episode 5
    • Throughout the series, you’d see random touches to show you that it was a work done by SHAFT and Akiyuki Shinbo, but it never was excessive enough to the level of ef or Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, nor should the amount have been enough to bug people who care that much to dislike what the company tries to do. However, all that seemed to go out the window with this episode, as Yuno was staying in, bedridden due to a cold.  We got to see what Yuno was dreaming about while she was resting, and it was these delirious thought that it seemed like there was free rein for SHAFT to do whatever it felt like doing as Yuno went about an extraordinary day.  And, being that these visions happened as she was sick, this was the episode most suited to some of the company’s trademark styles, creating a trippy adventure that was undoubtedly my favorite episode of the series.

And so it began… Yuno’s fall from grace…

  • The world in Manabi’s eyes, Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight, episode 7  (/me shakes fist at omo)
    • UFOtable being UFOtable, like SHAFT being SHAFT, is something that I enjoy a lot, so along that vein, Mei’s traumatic past episode (#4 if you’re wondering) would stylistically be  my favorite episode of the series as a whole.  However, this moment is my favorite from the series, showcasing Manabi’s abilities as a visionary as I would like to think, or at least as a missionary of some higher cause as others say.  As Manabi is pointing out to Takako (president of Aikoh’s High School Student Council) where things would be at the empty lot for the Seiou School Fair, we see that she already has everything planned out as to where things go and what will be done in the future without the help of anything else but her own mind it seems. When Takako wonders how Manabi knows where everything is going, we can finally see what Manabi has been looking to do from the start of the series. We don’t have any definite ideas of what we see ourselves, but based on how Takako is entranced by that same vision, it’s not hard to say that what we’re seeing is the exciting and wonderful utopia that Manabi has had since the beginning. Couple that with the fact that everything seems to slow down between the two in a nice touch by ufotable, and it seems that idea is confirmed, as well as that Manabi is much more than we think her to be.  I believed in her vision, and I think Takako almost did too. Either way, it was a powerful instance for the series. :3

See. And believe.

Well, that’s all I have for 2007, as far as I know. I’m sure I forget plenty of things along the way, but such is life. Hopefully next year, things will be easier to work with, though tranq me if I suggest doing something like this again. Seriously. 😀 Till then, I say goodbye to another year in anime, and say hello to what looks like a fun 2008. :3

10 Responses to “Impressions on a Year 2007: Happy Action Fun Time”

  1. 1 Adun December 31, 2007 at 3:26 am

    Chiaki’s performance of Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.2 was a powerful moment in Nodame Cantabile, and everytime I watch that episode, it gives me the goosebumps.

  2. 2 IKnight December 31, 2007 at 8:24 am

    Who could forget Kamina’s exit? Also, good point about Sketchbook 4, I didn’t notice that.

  3. 3 tengokujin December 31, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    Geez, man. You left out Kamina’s final appearance in the series. If that wasn’t heartstrings-tugging… I’m not sure what would be.

    Rawr rawr fight the powa.

  4. 4 TheBigN December 31, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    Adun: Hell, just listening to the music can give me goosebumps. Chiaki playing it = <3.

    tengokujin: Wonder what you are doing these days. 😛

    Back on topic though, Kamina’s final appearance was pretty great in it’s own right, but I think the impact that his exit had brought for the series up until that point and especially at that point shows how important the loss of Kamina was for everyone.

  5. 5 tengokujin December 31, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    By the way, if more store managers were like Anizawa… there wouldn’t be much product left, as each iteration of greetings would break an unnumbered number of products.

    “Finishing [the] fight, sir!” It’s weird to realize that the people I know are picking up speed on their small watercraft on the whitewater rapids that is life. Don’t capsize!

  6. 6 wriXeL December 31, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    Wow long ass entry…
    regretfully I havent seen most of these animes, but based on your comments, spoliers =[, i think I’ll start!

    Have a nice new years!
    cool site!

  7. 7 21stcenturydigitalboy January 2, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    All great moments, I really really wish I’d seen ef before I made my to 10 moments but you cought a couple of mine anyway, XD including what would have been ‘#1’ in any event, nicely done.

  8. 8 Owen January 5, 2008 at 9:33 am

    I didn’t really notice Konata’s intuitive actions till others pointed that out later, so thanks for reminding me of it (and here I was thinking you were going to go over the Kanata backstory like everyone else… 😛 )

    Great pick of the ef moments, especially the argument between Hiro and Kyousuke, which had me going all “:O” for the duration of the argument. Those were great times indeed.

  9. 9 Ryan A January 6, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    I like the way you did this. Those critical moments are a great way to reflect on the year. Good stuffs! 🙂

  1. 1 Epiphany « There is nothing here, move on. Trackback on January 1, 2008 at 2:18 am

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