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It remains to be seen how well Houro Musuko (the TV production, that is) tells the story at hand. I’m not sure how I feel about how far into in the (manga) plot the first episode picks up, but they only have eleven episodes to work with, so, eh. Either way, I’m happy to see evidence here of some of Takako Shimura’s visual techniques that always interested me.
AIC seems to have done about as good a job as is possible at reproducing the look of Shimura’s almost watercolor-style coloring in animation. I spent most of the episode marveling at that, actually. Then it occurred to me that the washed-out backgrounds are reminiscent of Shimura’s sparse background use; I didn’t think to pay attention to background variation until the episode had nearly ended, but I’ll certainly do so in the future.
Aoi Hana did some interesting things with backgrounds, too, but if it’s loyalty to the source material you’re after, here you go.

It remains to be seen how well Houro Musuko (the TV production, that is) tells the story at hand. I’m not sure how I feel about how far into in the (manga) plot the first episode picks up, but they only have eleven episodes to work with, so, eh. Either way, I’m happy to see evidence here of some of Takako Shimura’s visual techniques that always interested me.

AIC seems to have done about as good a job as is possible at reproducing the look of Shimura’s almost watercolor-style coloring in animation. I spent most of the episode marveling at that, actually. Then it occurred to me that the washed-out backgrounds are reminiscent of Shimura’s sparse background use; I didn’t think to pay attention to background variation until the episode had nearly ended, but I’ll certainly do so in the future.

Aoi Hana did some interesting things with backgrounds, too, but if it’s loyalty to the source material you’re after, here you go.

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Long break lethargy

…is the phenomenon of lengthy periods of downtime in an irregular schedule (e.g. that of a graduate student) resulting in absolute fuckall getting done for weeks on end. Such is the peril of winter break.

But I’ve been trying to catch up on anime, at least. I won’t be attempting much during the winter season, but it’s nice to finish one season before moving on to the next anyway.

Let’s review:

Amagami: I got pretty bored with it before the end, though I can appreciate its going about the business of harem anime in a nontraditional way. I’m a harem fan, but I also like weird storytelling.

Bakuman: Dropped. It doesn’t help that I need a break from the manga anyway. It really doesn’t help that the show emphasizes the teenage romanticism, which is my absolute least favorite thing about Bakuman. I don’t hate it with furor, I guess, but I have an MA thesis to do.

KamiNomi: It’s hard for me to comment on this one. I’m not sure how to express in words what I like about it. Fetishizing of the mundane, maybe? Let me think about that.

Kuragehime: Liked it, mostly. It didn’t challenge my preconceptions or anything, but it’s a show you can put a little thought into, which is always appreciated.

OreImo: You know, I thought it was alright. It wasn’t what I expected, but I had a lot of fun with certain episodes. It helps to be an unapologetic moefag, though.

Star Driver: I’m still enjoying this quite a bit, mostly because of the villains. They’re so convinced that they’re doing the right thing and, generally speaking, so levelheaded about it that you start to believe them. And, while I have nothing against the heroes here, I love that most episodes devote healthy slices of time to the bad guys. Maidens aren’t any fun anyway.

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I. The sleeper

So, Hoshi no Samidare. I did this one last year. And yet it must be here, at the top of this list; I have no choice.

Because it ended this year. Because the ending (which is Moment the First, incidentally) wrecked me royally.

I decided to read this one for the novelty of its concept. It’s about a destined heroine who, once she saves the world, means to destroy it. That’s weird, and I like weird.

I waited quite a while to begin reading; I grew tired of staring at the thing in my bookmarks, maybe. And what I found was a story brazen and unrelenting in its plotting, ruthless in its characterization, aware of the limits and uses of both irony and spectacle — a story that, in my estimation, achieves something near to technical perfection.

More importantly, though, it’s a story that engages me at practically every juncture. I never had to force myself to continue. I could sit back and let the thing have its way with me.

And it did.

I won’t elaborate on the specifics here, as we’re talking about the ending, and I’d really like you to read it. But I will say that the events encompassed by this first and final moment of 2010 beat all others by a vast margin in terms of sheer emotional impact, which, I think, is about the grandest and most difficult thing a writer can achieve.

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II. First rule of Gundam

I was introduced to Gundam proper this year.

A long post could follow that sentence. But I don’t think I need to do that. You know how Gundam fits into the anime tradition, probably, regardless of whether you’ve seen any of it. And if you don’t, suffice to say that it’s kind of a big deal.

I’ve tried to choose something from the lengthy franchise that demonstrates its importance to me and appeals specifically to my preferences, and I think I’ve succeeded.

Moment the Second: Gundam 0080.

This is an odd little OVA. It takes place during the One Year War, but it dispenses with large-scale battles and focuses on what war means to your average suburb-dweller. It’s not exactly a slice of life show, but it puts slice of life, as a technique, to good use.

Battles do happen, by the way; they’re small in scope and rather nice-looking. The notable thing, though, is that they have consequences.

0080 is probably worth watching even if you aren’t especially invested in the Gundam IP. It’s short. And, appropriately enough, it’s set around Christmas.

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III. Go to DMC

Moment the Third: every millisecond of Detroit Metal City.

No, really. This is one of the funniest things I’ve seen — not just in 2010, but ever. And, as an added bonus, it’s pertinent to my circumstances, sort of. Negishi Souichi is an early-twenties guy who discovers that things don’t always go according to plan, and if you’ve made it through your early twenties without finding yourself in a similar position (generally speaking, that is), you might be doing it wrong.

There’s a live-action film, too, in which Gene Simmons plays Jack Il Dark. Like, for real.