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My 2010 January 30, 2011

Posted by ayasawada in Anime, Drama, Film, Manga, Music, Personal.
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I’m way late with this, but I can just about get this in before January is out.

Last year was pretty mad for me. But I continued to consume a healthy (some would say unhealthy) – though markedly toned down – amount of Japanese media.So here’s a quick overview of what I enjoyed in 2010.

(There probably are some mild spoilers in here, so beware!)

Anime

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Thoroughly enjoyed, though if I’m honest, I still perhaps preferred the darker tone of the first series. LOVED the music and the final scene <blush>

That was one of just a few story-led shows that I watched. For one reason or another most of my picks were light-hearted comedy romps or slice-of-life shows.

BakaTest I wrote about already and is returning for a second season in 2011.

K-On!! returned in 2010 with a second exclamation mark for more of the same in a double season format. Like the first season, while I am not immune to the charms of K-On, I wasn’t really wowed by it.  I waited the whole season for a concert moment to rival the concert scene of the first season, but none of the (relatively few) new songs gave me goosebumps. And FFS play something other than Fuwa Fuwa Time!

I enjoyed two slightly navel-gazing ‘otaku’ shows in Ore no Imouto and the World God Only Knows. I’m a sucker for well-executed, self-deprecating, in-joke filled shows and these were both brilliant, with two of the best OP themes of the year.

OreImo did, it must be said, lose its way in the last one or two eps, but I’m hoping the OAV episodes (including the ‘true’ end) will fix that. World God Only Knows has been renewed for a second season! Joy!

I finished up Toradora! too, at last after a Xmas marathon viewing. Enjoyable, but I don’t think I loved it as much as I expected to. It suddenly got very serious toward the end, which did raise the stakes, but it maybe lost something that had me hooked at the beginning. Or maybe I was just tired from finishing it at 4am?

One anime I really enjoyed was High School of the Dead. Brilliant summer stuff – great Japanese take on the zombie genre, mixed in with fab action, good music and ecchi true enough to B-movie traditions. A second series is in the works I hear – looking forward to that this year.

My #1 anime of the year though was Angel Beats!. I actually caught up with this late but it was without a doubt one of the best shows I’ve ever seen and testament to the Key!/Jun Maeda effect. It’s just PERFECT. 10/10 in everything – perfectly paced, beautifully animated, touching story, ridiculous humour, some of the best music (both score and songs) I’ve ever heard from a series and like almost every Key-related anime it had me in floods of tears at the end.

2010 also saw the return of UC Gundam in the form of the Gundam Unicorn OAVs. This was top-notch. Brilliant in almost every department (Gundam-wise. Story will make little sense to anyone with no knowledge of UC Gundam universe). The animation in particular is stunning. Can’t wait for the continuation in March.

Movie-wise, I LOVED the Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi. Very long (over-long?), but wonderfully put together and very touching. Well done KyoAni. The first Macross Frontier movie: the False Songstress, was fabulous too, and thankfully not just a complete rehash of the series, or a weirdo reimagining like the Escaflowne movie. The songs in particular were just lovely. Universal Bunny and Sou Dayo still give me goosebumps every time I hear them.

I watched the first Gurenn Lagann movie, which reminded me how much I loved the series (still prefer it though). Will have to catch up on the second one sometime soon. And I finally finished Eden of the East with the two movies, King of Eden and Paradise Lost. To be honest, I was rather disappointed.

I’ve written about Eva 2.0 and Welcome to the Space Show already, as well as Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works, Red Line and Musashi at the Sci-Fi London Oktoberfest Anime All-Nighter.

Lots to look forward to this year, including those I mentioned above, and the next Macross Frontier movie: Sayonara no Tsubasa. Thus far this season, I’ve picked up Puella Magi Madoka Magica (excellent take on the magical girl genre) and Infinite Stratos (which is dumb, but very entertaining). Got my eyes on a couple more too, but those are the two I’ll definitely stick with, I think.

Manga

Still loving Kimi ni Todoke and 20th Century Boys rolls on, though my interest is waning slightly. It’s a pretty sprawling plot. XXXholic rolls on, but Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle finally came to a (very confusing) end. Not sure if I’m entirely satisfied after 6 years of following it (my entire working life, in fact!). Finally, I picked up Cross Game, which is just FANTASTIC. SportsXhigh-school romance = WIN. Thank goodness someone finally saw sense and translated a Mitsuru Adachi manga.

JDrama

Practically no drama in 2010, apart from finally finishing Osen (which was very disappointing due to its lack of a proper ending!) and the two Nodame Cantabile movies, which were just lovely ^^

Am hoping to pick up at least one drama this season. First episode of Misaki Number One was a bit meh, but I’ve high hopes for Deka Wanko, if only because Tabe Mikako is in it…

Movies

Saw a few randoms at various Japanese seasons, including Vermillon’s Wife and Good Morning to the World! (both excellent) at BAFTA’s 2010 Premiere Japan series. The Toki wo Kakeru Shojo movie (2010 version, a sequel of sorts to the original movie (NOT the anime)), was a little meh though. K-20: the Fiend with 20 Faces was pretty good. Also enjoyed Takeshi Kaneshiro’s Hana-bi and the (deservedly) Oscar-winning Departures.

Music

Perfume put out three excellent singles (especially this one) and did an exciting live at Tokyo Dome (DVD is on its way. Squee!).

YUI also put out more nice, if unspectacular singles and the Briliant Green made a comeback, albeit slightly disappointingly for me. Blackout just wasn’t as strong as any of the stuff on their Complete Singles collection. MEG put out a new album, which is pretty good. I have to say, Perfume aside, I was mostly disappointed with my JPop purchases in 2010. Gotta watch what I splash the cash on this year — import prices aren’t getting any cheaper!

Games

I finally finished Momohime’s story in Muramasa: the Demon Blade as well as Call of Duty: Black Ops over the Xmas holidays.

Just started Sakura Wars: So Long My Love, which I am strangely addicted to. I have Super Mario Galaxy 2 as an, as yet unplayed, birthday present and I really ought to get back to Zelda: Twilight Princess at some point. And I’m thinking of getting a PS3 at some point…

Other random highlights

I saw Kabuki live, which was excellent and met Danny Choo, an inspiration to us all.

Looking ahead to 2011

I (hopefully) have a trip to the motherland in June, this time to Hokkaido, though there’ll be time for a shopping trip to Tokyo ^^. I’ve taken up my Nihongo lessons again in preparation. もう一度がんばります!

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