And so I finish with moments that made an impact on me in some way, shape or form. It makes me realize just how much has gone on this year that’s been interesting and fun to keep up with, and it also reminds me about how many moments that I haven’t seen yet. Things keep on moving, so hopefully this next year keeps up with the trend of interesting shows, though I might not be able to keep with them as much as I did this year. Ah well. As always, if you have selections of your own, please say them. :3
–DON DON!, Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
This season returned to even better form than the first season just from the opening act of episode 1, consisting of an alternate universe where our favorite suicidal teacher was a pyramid scheme representative getting caught up in things he didn’t understand, becoming a mutant, and chased by a mob of a religion that he’s apparently joined though he has no recognition of doing so. The sequence itself was hilarious (like Itoshiki-sensei saying the topic phrase while advertising his wares), but the fact that this story came from one of the inside pockets of one of the manga volumes, and that this was apparently a Go Nagai parody just made the moment even more better.
–PRRROMOTIONS!, ARIA The ORIGINATION
I can easily call episode 9 the climax of this season, and maybe of the whole entire series so far. We know that throughout ARIA, we’ve watched as out three little undines set out to achieve the highest rank possible as an undine, a Prima. I’m sure that at the back of our minds as well, we know that as soon as that goal is reached, everything will be over. So, with me being enthralled with the continuing adventures of the Three Gondoliers and co, I hoped that things could go as long as they can, but everything ends whether we like it or not. In that case, I would only want that the series goes out as best as it can. :3 Alice’s promotion is probably the most powerful thing I’ve seen in anime in a while, showing just how much she’s grown. Acknowledging that it was with the help of both her friends and her seniors that make her a better undine, and being open and trusting enough to sing her heart out was a direct contrast to the shy, antisocial person she was at her introduction in the series.
And it was great to see how far she had come, both in the song, and in the aftermath, where Alice becomes the first of the three undine trainees to become a full fledged Prima.
-We Are Family!, CLANNAD
It was the climax of the first series, where Nagisa, having earlier realized the sacrifices that her parents had to make in order to accommodate her dreams, feels and unnecessary guilt trip and shuts down write as her dream to perform a play comes to fruition. Paralyzed on stage, it takes her parents bursting in, and Akio leading the charge with an impassioned speech about how they’ve just done what a family does: care for each other and try to promote the success of each other. As Sanae, Tomoya and the rest of the club members join in to remind Nagisa that her success is their success, than she’s able to shake herself out of her self-pitying and go on. The moment to me is the summation of what CLANNAD was trying to tell us about the strength of family, something that continues (with some hiccups along the way) in After Story.
-The Bus Stop, true tears
At this time in the final episode of the series, we can see that Shinichiro has things figured out. That after all that’s happened, he loves Hiromi, yet at the same time acknowledges all that Noe’s done to help him come to that realization. Not to mention all she’s done to make him feel like the stuff he’s done actually matters, to make him “fly”. Noe, with a broken leg, understands and accepts this view though it hurts, as for a while she feels that she doesn’t really know a lot about what’s been going on, and that she finds herself still unable to fly, so to speak. As she uses crutches to go back to the hospital, determined to get there by herself while Shinichiro believes in her, he falls on his knees and cries while singing off-key (overwhelmed by the moment) a jingle about himself that she used to sing. Noe with determination moves on. I am pleased.
-Breaking Through, Bamboo Blade
It was your typical “team goes through a rough patch, but becomes okay” episode here. The kendo club had lost their way after a series of unfortunate events. Team ace Tamaki was at a loss in terms of what to do against a rival after losing to her, temporarily taking a break from kendo to figure things out. Firebrand Miyako was contemplating quitting kendo because of a rival that she just couldn’t beat. And the captain Kirino was planning on taking the fall to protect the club, planning on resigning for the actions of two estranged members of the club. It’s been seen before, but I liked how things managed to come back together, with Yuuji reminding Tamaki that losing is alright if one learns from it, Satori accosting Miya-Miya for being a sore loser and telling her to try harder, and Saya reminding Kirino that it’s not all on her shoulders and that she should share some of the burden. With all of that, the members who caused problems deciding to quit by themselves, Ishida-sensei that he still has more to do with the club than he assumed and even Dan-kun realizing that he’s improved enough to defeat his bullies, the kendo club was whole again, and all was good. :3
-The Apartment Is Alive, With the Sound of Music, Kurenai
Episode 6 is something special out of left field… though not really. After a series of interesting events, Shinkurou and his apartment-mates were tapped to perform a play in a nearby park. Part of the play involves singing, and we, as well as Shinkurou find out that some members can’t carry a tune well. Suddenly during a practice duet between Shinkurou and the tone-deaf Yuuno, a musical number starts, and I still don’t understand what the hell had happened with that, save that everyone could carry a tune at least. Whether or not you could say they were all good singers is one thing (extra laughs because Yuuno’s voice actress, Ryouko Shintani, is actually a competent enough singer, and the change is stunning before and during the piece). But it was very enjoyable. 😛
-Falling vs. Floating, Kara no Kyoukai, Chapter 1
The fight between Shiki and the ghosts was fun to watch, though the details surrounding the existence of the specters in the first place were a little confusing to understand. Regardless of that, seeing Shiki utilize her Mystic Eyes of Death Perception at will, the constant shifting of her knife for maximum effect, the leap into a powerslide (and understanding why she could use that arm to land from that height in the first place), and the awesome shiny detail from ufotable made it a magic moment. :3
-You Are The Criminal!, Shion no Ou
Episode 21 of the series gives us the flashback that we’d been waiting to see. Not the murder per se, but the match between Shion and the murderer that came afterward. As Shion slowly realizes that the identity of the killer happens to be the one that is facing her right now in the final match of the shougi tournament, everything comes back to her. The phrases that she remembers the killer saying (“Listen to the voices of the pieces, they will tell you everything”), the king piece covered in blood, the vow not to speak, and so on. We also get to learn the motives behind this act by the killer himself, and as always, it’s not really something to justify actually killing for. I mean, there should be better ways to unlock someone’s potential in shougi than homicide, aren’t there? This climactic moment, coupled with one of the more powerful pieces from the OST (“Akai Kioku”, Red Memory I believe it translates to), and some dreamlike animation and montage (powerfully done by the director, who also did that infamous episode 4 of Gurren Lagann), and you have one of the most powerful “everything comes together” moments that I’ve ever seen in anime. Who says shougi anime weren’t entertaining? 😛
-Thanks For The Memories, Kaiba
Episode 3 introduced us to Chroniko, a girl who was working hard to try to help her family make ends meet, from having hser memories related to various things like music or books being sold off to planning on having her physical body sold to make a lot of money. We find that she’s a hopeful girl with plans to go to another planet and live in the future, and that’s she’s okay with having her body being sold because her memories would be stored and kept for safekeeping to be placed in another body. Those hopes never come true, as her memories are removed and randomly scattered for good. We also find that Chroniko’s family, made up of her aunt and her two sons, are pretty well off, so her sacrifice was in vain and seemingly done because that aunt just didn’t want to bother taking care of her anymore. However, we see that in the aunt’s memories, despite how she might have felt and all the troubles she’s had in her life, she missed the fun times she had with his sister, Chroniko’s mother, and Chroniko herself. All of this comes back to her when playing a piano using Chroniko’s musical memories, which makes for a powerful and sad moment.
-I’m My Own Worst Enemy, Detroit Metal City
In the first episode, we already have an idea of how Negishi and Krauser-san are supposed to co-exist. And we can also see how when Negishi gets overly emotional about something, good or bad, sometimes things happen that can’t be helped. This was the case when he meets up with someone he had a crush on in Aikawa-san at a music store. While reminiscing the times that they had together, a DMC song plays on the radio, and Negishi, to save face, has to bash that band he plays for. While attempting to appease DMC fans that were offended (to say the least) by his remarks to protect himself and Aikawa, during his time showing off his Krauser air guitar skills, he began to get the confidence to tell her how he truly feels. In the process, the personalities of him and Krauser fuse, and when he’s finally able to get to her, he screams that he wants to rape her. Given how awesome Krauser is, I’m sure that’s totally what Negishi’s desire is, and Aikawa is understandably shaken by that moment. It’s just the start of things to come, but it’s a great one. 😀
-You’ve Go A Friend in Me, Hidamari Sketch x365
Yuno, just starting out on her own for the first time, is painfully shy and painfully nervous in just getting to know people, though you can tell that she wants to get to know them. So it helps that people want to get to know her as well, especially in the case of Miyako, who just minutes after meeting her for the first time, decides to give her the nickname “Yunocchi”. As I said earlier in a post on this moment, “With that gesture of giving a nickname to Yuno not out of convenience, but because of interest, you could see that in Miyako, our protagonist had discovered someone who wants to get to know her as much as she wanted to get to know them. It doesn’t take much to lift the weight of self doubt off your shoulders if you have someone that’s willing to help you out with it, as we’ve see in the first season and specials when Miyako recognizes when Yuno’s worry and attempts to assuage those fears time and time again. Everything has changed, as Yuno isn’t alone anymore with a new found friend and comrade, so it does make sense that the setting of “lonely Yuno” would change as well.” Add to that some awesome moments of foreshadowing how their friendship would be, and nice symbolism of the doors of Yuno’s anxiety with a vengeance, and you have a great moment.
-After My Own Heart, Penguin Musume Heart
I’d like to think that sometimes the random comedy that defined PMH had something more to it than that, and episode 14 is a big example why. In Sakura discovering a new member of the Student Council, we constantly get shots from her POV which highlight various “moe” points that the girl has. A Rei-clone (quiet, obedient, reticent, mysterious) seems to be an automatic starter for people, but it doesn’t work for me. Luckily they add in that she’s also dressed as a maid, is an otaku, Maguro’s little sister, and a lesbian. If that doesn’t manage to cover a wide swathe of anime fans, I don’t know what else would, and that’s probably the point. For what it’s worth, I’m a fan of the maid, otaku and lesbian portions myself, but you didn’t hear that from me. ;D
-Meeting Each Other Halfway, CLANNAD
The show did it to me again during the episode 24 Tomoyo special, where Tomoyo and Tomoya had somehow managed to get to together (on a side note, it would be nice to see how that actually comes to fruition, as I enjoy the pairing). However, because of their positions in the hierarchy of school (Tomoyo being all-important student president, Tomoya as lowly delinquent), Tomoya bow out because he feels like he’s dragging Tomoyo down, like other silly fools you end up making things worse because they act selfishly. That being said, when they meet each other again long after in the snow (yay Key), while Tomoya tries to tell Tomoyo to go on with her life without him while he fends for himself, she pretty much says regardless of what he wants, she’ll wait for him, no matter how long it takes. Tomoya agrees, and things work like their supposed to again. It’s idealistic love, yes, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t tug at the heartstrings.
-Just When I Thought They Couldn’t Do It To Me Again, ef – a tale of melodies-
a tale of memories already had plenty of moments that stood out brilliantly, to the point where I felt like I wouldn’t be as affected from moments I saw in this recent season after the masterful job SHAFT did with it’s work. And I’m glad to say that I was proven wrong in that aspect in episode 6. We all knew that something wasn’t quite right with Yuuko in some way, what with her attire, how she seemed to try and drag Yuu out of his self-imposed exile from others while trying to keep herself a mystery. And when Yuu calls her out on hiding herself, Yuuko in a awesome “You can’t handle the truth” moment, reveals to Yuu what’s happened to her in the local church, disrobing herself in from of him and speaking a stream of consciousness that explains the feelings and shows the damages she’s received from being physically and sexually abused by her foster guardian. Along with her continuous speech, SHAFT starts with her prologue to the damage with tarot cards, then displayed a slow-pan up a silhouette of Yuuko’s body, highlighting in red and demonstrating in a variety of shapes the many places that she’s been hurt, figuratively and mentally.
And despite the fact that she’s revealing herself to Yuu, she doesn’t help things by using barbed words about how he doesn’t understand while it’s all his fault, and she seems to become demonic when she replies “LIAR” to a plea he made to her. Both Yuu and I were shell-shocked. Well played.
-Coming Out Of The Closet, Kannagi
Episode 7 of Kannagi reminded me of the episode in Kamichu where Yurie attempted to stay under a kotatsu for the entire episode, and succeeds. As that was my favorite episode of that show, having Nagi do the same thing by remaining in a closet for the majority of the show became my favorite episode of the series. It brought together the main cast in a way that shows off their individual characteristics, and plays them off during their interactions in a hilarious way. The fact that Nagi plays an important and awesome role in the plot of the episode without us even really seeing her for more than two minutes tops in the show makes it great. Even without the silly reason as to why Nagi decided to whole herself up in the closet (though her feelings are understandable), and Akiba turning the episodes level up to 11, I wouldn’t have minded if it was just Nagi in a closet without anyone else, since it was funny enough.
-Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies, Ga-Rei Zero
This was a good way to get people hooked onto a show that people didn’t really care about when it began. Despite the cool action scenes, intriguing uses of fun weapons, and fun stuff like that, it didn’t really hold my attention until right at the end. All of a sudden, what seems to be a former comrade of the team we only started to get to know and like slaughters the majority of the team, with the rest killed off by another member of the team controlled by an spirit before killing herself. All of the backstory we started to learn and introductions to some people that had the potential to be interesting was wasted, and we wondered what was going to happen next after the massacre. For those who continued to watch, the show became what led to that moment and then some for one of my favorite shows of the year. But for those that stopped watching soon after the first episode, it was at least a good way to keep interest. And Yomi ;_;
Well, that’s it for the moments of 2008. It’s really been a fun year in terms of anime that’s come out in Japan, new voices coming out in the anime blogosphere and all of the events that also happened outside of anime. I can only hope that next year begins even better. Have a great 2009 from Drastic My Anime Blog.