I don’t know if I can do this next year, what with how the end of second year and the beginning of third year of med school (if I make it that far) goes. But more than about actually being able to see plenty of anime in 2009 is I’ll be motivated enough to keep track of stuff that grabbed my attention over this next year like I did this year. It’s been tiring and annoying to set this list up. But even most importantly, it’s been fun to try and do it again, especially when I’ve seen a lot more stuff in 2008 than 2007. As always, my opinion is not the be all and end all, so feel free to comment and criticize about my picks. If I forgot someone, let me know. If you don’t agree with any of my choices, let me know (hopefully with more than “X character”>*, though :P). Hopefully this will be an enjoyable experience for you as well.:3
To begin with, for 2008 there are still several people that I like enough over the year to write about, but these are the ones that stick most in my mind, even though things might change over time. It was great knowing them, and hopefully I can get to know more characters that I liked from this year as well.
– Noe Isurugi, true tears
Just one part of the love rectangle that defined the show, Noe was the initial hook to keep me watching. As the (apparently) naïve and crazy chicken girl who seemed to drag Shinichiro into wacky adventures looking for her own tears, she broke the monotonous life he was stuck in. Noe ended up being his inspiration to finish up the book he was working on, as well as an inspiration for him to begin to grow as a person and move forward in life. While following his and other’s happenings in the town they live in, she forgets to follow her own surroundings and begin her own maturation process, but starts to try rectify that error, with some fireworks in the process. In terms of the love triangle that developed in the end, I was firmly on her side of the camp. It wasn’t that I disliked Hiromi, but seeing Noe directly make an impact on Shinichiro’s life made me a fan. Alas, if only he had more time to know (and pine over) her, Jibeta and Raigomaru.
– Chiaki Kiyosuki, Shigofumi
Sometimes you need someone to lighten up the mood and make things fun again when everything else seems mired in a funk. Chiaki provides that awesome counterbalance to Fumika’s apathy about the world. Despite how her job delivering letters from the dead can often be a downing experience, Chiaki lives her afterlife to the fullest, while also trying to make Fumika live it up as well, which can seem an almost monumental task at times. The fact that she’s pretty much the same as she was when she was alive (in a touching, though bittersweet flashback) when others would probably bemoan how things went (like, say, Fumika) makes her outlook even more admirable. Though she tends to go overboard with some things (like drinking), you can tell that she really cares for her fellow shigofumi carrier, and she does her best to at least make sure that their job is never boring.
-Kenjou Horo, Spice and Wolf
A harvest-promoting goddess who’s a wolf, proud, clever, and a little too boastful sometimes, Horo is special. On a trip to the North with Lawrence, a merchant who isn’t as good with his money as he possibly should, Horo demonstrates her knowledge of how the world works, an insatiable appetite for apples, and great acting ability while the two are traveling to make things comfortable… for her at least. I derived great enjoyment in watching the pair’s banter in trying to show up each other, and I got more joy in seeing Horo usually come off the better of the two, as well as beginning to reveal to Lawrence troubles with years of relative isolation that she had. Of course, because of her nature, trouble never seems far off the bend, either from the Church of England that’s going strong, from fellow creatures in nature, or from random passersby that might disrupt the balance that she and Lawrence have. Despite that, she and Lawrence manage to see things through, and the trust they have is good to see.
-Rahzel, Hatenkou Yugi
The first word that comes to mind when I think about her is “cocky”, and why shouldn’t she be? Despite traveling with two pretty strong and reliable male compatriots, Rahzel can more than hold her own physically, intellectually and magically, though sometimes she overestimates her abilities. She never backs down from any challenge, gives harder than she gets, has an indomitable spirit and her charisma with others is very hard to deny. Certainly her enthusiasm for life and in trying to make the world more interesting for her partners Alzeid and Baroqueheat was infectious and admirable to me. I can’t really explain it too well, but she’s a unique whirlwind that I haven’t seen in anime before, and I wish I could meet someone with her confidence and capability in real life. Maybe with Billy Joel playing a soundtrack in the background. 😛
-Makoto/Mako-chan, Minami-ke Okawari
While we saw in the first season how his cross-dressing was born out of necessity in order to be close to Haruka who he crushes hard on, we see that it’s starting to become a force of habit. It doesn’t help that Kana, who pretty much started the whole thing, refuses to interact with him most of the time unless he’s as Mako-chan. The funny thing about is that we see that Makoto wholeheartedly goes into it, overdressing at times and even coming as Mako-chan when it isn’t needed. You can also almost see the conflict that he has in his head about whether to continue doing this or not, partly from the fear of being discovered and beaten/kicked out by Chiaki, and partly because his “manliness” is as stake as he plays a female so well. But since we see how comfortable he is as Mako-chan, it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime soon, and I take much enjoyment in his struggles and his worries (I wouldn’t mind if he went to the extreme either way, to be honest).
-Kogarashi, Kamen no Maid Guy
I won’t say that he’s the only great thing about the show, since that would be mean, but he’s by far the best thing about it, as expressed in an earlier post. I mean, the guy even gives out Maid Guy Badges. And as awesome as some butlers have shown they can be (Hayate, Sebastian, that guy from Black Butler), you get the feeling that Kogarashi would come out on top in a no-holds barred brawl, or in serving their respective masters.
-Mrs. Yamada, Chi’s Sweet Home
The mother of the family that picks up and takes care of the cat Chi, she’s often the one that has it the most together, the enforcer whenever Chi steps out of bounds, and the cover-up whenever Chi’s in danger of being revealed to the landlady who follows a strict non-pet policy. Plus, she looks great despite what she has to deal with in taking care of a toddler, a crazy cat and a sometimes spastic husband. Roastbeefyweefs would agree with me in that she’s d(“d).
-Mio Sakamoto, Strike Witches
To start with, she has one of the more awesome laughs I’ve heard in anime recently with a big, burly laugh. She has a magic eye (covered by a nice eyepatch even though she doesn’t need to) and is not voiced by Jun Fukuyama (breaking the mold!). She has experience and a never say die attitude in battle against the Neuroi despite her ever declining abilities, is cool as a cucumber no matter what the situation, and is a great trainer and disciplinarian to keep the Strike Witches in check. Mio is confident and trusting in her comrades, and she’s a big reason why Yoshika was recruited into the force and a bit reason why she developed her special magical abilities as quickly as she does. To me, she’s the lovable “grizzled vet” that anyone would love to have on their squad, and I wouldn’t mind doing battle under her command.
-Kyouka Miderazaki, Kyouran Kazoku Nikki
An insane firebrand and a former goddess who happens to be matriarch of the most dysfunctional family I’ve seen in anime in a while. Regularly claiming to be omnipotent and omniscient, Kyouka does have a variety of abilities at her disposal, though she isn’t nearly as powerful as she’d like to be, falling to bouts of self-doubt sometimes and often annoying several people as she goes and does her thing. She demonstrates greater than usual strength and excellent combat ability, a “cellphone” ability which uses to transmit signals to other people’s heads via her own (either to transmit messages or to control others), the insight to usually know how things go down way before everyone else, and a weird penchant for naming things in a way that would make Laharl proud. Though her goal is to spread Family Frenzy around the world, she generally trusts and cares for each of the members of her family and tries hard to make the main experiment work. Not to make that successful, but for the family to succeed regardless of what happens, and I admire that.
-Kongou no Maguro, Penguin Musume Heart
Sometimes all one needs is a little gimmick to worm their way into my heart. Maguro is one of those characters here. In her case, she’s a maid underling of Marie Whitebear, Sakura’s main rival in the show. She apparently is able to speak to her master and fellow servants fine but when it comes to people she doesn’t know, she’s too shy to directly speak to them, and instead rapid-fire texts what she wants to say to the corresponding person’s cell phone. Usually while standing right in front of the target. It’s needlessly complicated when all she needs to do is open her mouth and say what she needs to say, as Sakura’s friend Etorofu keeps telling her. And compared to the formal, serious business appearance and manner she gives off, from the phone we get bubbly, cutesy almost airheaded messages. The dichotomy is just something that I enjoy from her.
-Johannes Krauser II, Detroit Metal City
If Kogarashi didn’t exist, he’d probably be the best male character of the year, but since that isn’t the case, the lead singer of Detroit Metal City loses out. But that really isn’t much of a shame. Killers of his parents, friends and lovers. Using metal as the only thing preventing him from being a serial killer. Raper of anyone or anything (the tambourine and Tokyo Tower are personal highlights), anywhere, such that even the very word itself isn’t safe (can anyone else say “RAPE” 11 times/second? I dare you). And continuously making legends befitting of his demonic and metal greatness. That’s he’s the alter ego of a meek shell of a man makes it even better, and I only wonder when the awesome personality takes over for good.
-Minori Kushieda, Toradora
If there was a line between calling someone an oddball and just plain weird, Minorin lands solidly in the latter camp, and loves it there. That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t know what’s going on, as she’s shown to be very perceptive and clever, and there’s clearly more to her than meets the eye. But she’s still a bundle of fun to watch, regardless. And I was going to post this video sooner of later anyways. 😛
-Tsugumi Aoba, Kannagi
Some people are just too adorable for their own good sometimes. Tsugumi is one of those people for me. A childhood friend of main character Jin Mikuriya, she really knows him, attempts to care for him whether he needs it or not (yay fried eggs and vegetables), and she’s probably one of the few people that he can confide in, no matter what the situation. Plus, she’s one of the bastions of common sense (i.e., not “crazy”) in the show, which is always a plus in my book. If she showed any initiative with Jin earlier on, it would probably be a slam dunk in terms of them hooking up. However, with the goddesses Nagi and Zange suddenly showing up and (in Zange’s case) directly or (in Nagi’s case) indirectly vying for Jin’s attention, Tsugumi is often the odd man out despite her efforts. I appreciate the fact that she tries hard to get Jin to notice her, especially when it seems those efforts to get him are in vain, and the moments where she reveals that she has a pretty competitive side and jealous side that belie her normal temperament (and her realization of those moments) make her even more adorable. But I feel like she needs to trust in Jin more than she apparently does; he was going to pick her to be his (fake) girlfriend in the show. And I’m not even touching the awesome work for the role done by her seiyuu, Miyuki Sawashiro. 😛
-Yomi Isayama, Ga-Rei Zero
From the beginning of the show, I wondered why she turned against her comrades in the first and second episodes. And when I got the backstory leading to the moment how things had come to pass, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. Because of how everything seems stacked up against her without it being her fault. Because of how you could tell that despite how else she might feel about Kagura, Yomi really does love her. Because of the emotions she instilled in her antagonists simply because of chance and luck Because we can so totally see how things lead to where they will. Because she’s an awesome sister to Kagura and an awesome prospective bride to Noriyuki. Because she has powers for good and for awesome, regardless on whatever side she’s on. Because life’s not fair. And while watching Ga-Rei Zero, it became less of me wondering about how what happens to Yomi happens, but in hoping that things would turn out alright for her. Even when I know that it won’t be the case, and it sucks. But it all makes for a very interesting character and show, to be sure. 😛
Tomorrow (Hopefully :P): Too many OP/EDs to count. And Youtube influx might scar omo.