Another year has drawn to a close..Time to break out the confetti and scream “Happy new year!” at the top of your lungs at exactly 12:00AM of January 1st,2011. But before that, it’s time to review and remember everything that happened in 2010 – and try not to think about the fact that we’re one year closer to the so believed end-of-the-world in 2012.
I believe that 2010 was an okay year for anime (Ignore the fact that I’ve only started to watch anime regularly late 2009). I laughed, almost cried, experienced warm sensations inside my heart, and probably exponentially exceeded my bandwidth limit countless number of times – but it was all worth it. I’m grateful that I started watching anime (Cardcaptor Sakura’s the first), because if I haven’t started watching, I wouldn’t have started reading manga either. I would also be missing 85% of the songs in my iPod touch. I wouldn’t have started this blog and meet (virtually, not in person) a lot of amazing people that share the same interests. If it wasn’t for that spontaneous thought of “Hm, I wonder what happened at the end of Cardcaptor Sakura?” and myself picking up a series I didn’t finish watching when I was 5 years old, a lot of great things wouldn’t have happened. Now, looking back, it almost seems like a blessing made by fate that I got immersed in anime, manga and then Asian music, more Japanese culture and…the list goes on and on.
Anyways, let’s get to the countdown shall we? Note that I have only completed 5 series this year, so forgive me if your favourite characters or anime (like Durarara! and FMA:B) is left out.
#5. Kaichou wa Maid-sama
When the Kaichou wa maid-sama anime was announced, I was jumping out of my chair because I read and loved the manga. I knew the story and the characters well – an hard-headed tsundere with a hatred for males, a handsome male lead that takes interest in her, some interesting side characters and stories – enough to make you fangirl like crazy when the romantic scenes came up. The anime did execute the original plot satisfactorily, but didn’t quite reach my expectations. The characters felt one-dimensional, probably due to the fact that that not that much development was made until the last episode. The baka-trio was funny at first, but was repetitive after about 5 episodes – After that they just seemed like a nuisance. It’s too bad that the anime couldn’t be extended to capture all the good parts later on in the manga, where we find out about Usui’s past instead of repeating the cycle of Usui hitting on Misaki, though that is what the first arc is about. I also wished that they skipped the side stories because most of them weren’t so funny.
Despite the downs of the anime, Usui was portrayed perfectly, especially the voice acting, though I can’t say the same with Misaki. In her case, they should have just remained with the Drama CD seiyu as is. The character I felt was captured and developed the most in Kaichou wa maid-sama was Aoi-chan. The 14-year old cross-dressing internet idol developed from a spoiled little brat obsessed with fashion and cute things, to one that eased up to people he felt inferior to him and learn to work hard to earn what he wants instead of just complaining about it. The seiyu for him was perfect too.
The animation of the anime was okay, though at times it just seemed like the colours were bit unnatural and unfitting, e.g. the Seika High uniforms.
In conclusion, it was just a bit short of a worthwhile watch. My advice to you is read the manga.
#4. Yumeiro Patissiere SP Professional
I’m guessing Professional stood for professional business associates because the show is no longer centered around the joy of making the sweets anymore! The second season has all our favourite characters from the previews season through a HUGE growth spurt. Not only are they taller, but with longer hair too – and not just the female lead, Ichigo. Most of the main characters, especially the three main male characters from last season underwent large changes – two thirds of the main male characters left the academy, new cast of main character forms and a whole new setting. Most of the time you see the characters in Marie’s Garden talking about whether it is chance loss, disposal loss, advertisement or marketing. Instead of “Making delicious sweets is what we love to do!” ,the motto for the team is “Making profit out of our delicious sweets is what we HAVE to do or else we get kicked out of Marie’s Garden by Henri-sensei.”
In terms of character development, it was not as good as the first season, probably because it ended at episode 13, which I really wasn’t expecting. The second season captured the light-heartedness of the first season, and gave us a clear image of how our beloved characters grew up in the year they have been in Paris. Ichigo’s not as naive anymore, Kashino’s hard head has softened up a little, Miya remained the same annoying and spoiled rich girl that she is, and Lemon and Johnny were wonderful additions to the team… (Despite the fact Johnny was an exaggerated American stereotype). The sweets spirits are as consistently funny as always – since Ichigo doesn’t burn food and mess up all the time anymore, I found myself laughing more at the comments Chocolat and Vanilla make than the comedic moments between the..real people. The development of the team as a whole dominated the majority of the episodes…and left us wondering about the relationship between Kashino and Ichigo until the last 3 episodes.
The ending itself didn’t feel like an ending – it felt like a short term result to the things that happened in the past episodes. It could be because of that Team Ichigo had no real goal to work towards this time, except maybe earning more profit than they did last time, or helping their friends halfway across the world, or the battle issued by Miya that led up to the ending. The result of the battle was unrealistic too, but than again, so are sweets spirits.
Overall, I enjoyed Yumeiro Patissiere SP professional, it’s light-hearted, good development, and the team has a interesting way of working together.
Top 3 Animes of 2010
CLAMP has not failed me yet. Kobato was a wonderful anime with great character development, telling a simple yet beautiful story. The anime makes you fall in love with all of the characters, especially the pure and innocent female lead, Hanato Kobato. Each of the characters were so greatly developed. From the build-up to reveal Kobato’s real identity to Fujimoto’s backstory, everything was a great heart-warming journey as the episodes progressed. Watching the ending was like a kid opening their present on christmas morning – pealing through the beautiful wrapping paper to find the real treasure inside. It had a happy ending that was executed the right way- unrushed, touching, and made me cry of joy. (Something I didn’t seem much of this season)
2. Angel Beats!
One of the best animes I have ever seen with one of the most original premises I have ever heard of. Taking place in a limbo-like sanctuary for lost young souls. AB! had a lovable cast – each with a sad backstory that gain our sympathy. As the episodes went on the audience began more attached to each of the characters, which made it harder to see all of them disappear in one episode – but we’re happy they’re moving on to a better place. Whether it was Christ the computer hacking genius, Yurippe the fearless leader, or Otonashi the healer, well all laughed and cried for them at most of the points in the series. The music for AB! just added even more to the feel of the story… especially the OP and ED which gained more meaning as the story progressed. One of the only faults of AB! is that it was way too short. The issues concerning unfilled holes in the story and lack of development of other characters could easily be solved if the series were to be extended to the normal 24 episode length. The ending, though rushed, touched our hearts neverless… despite the fact that I didn’t really support Kanade x Otonashi because there wasn’t much clear development leading up to that. (Otonashi was developed as a healer and thus have no room for much romance…)
Now let’s just hope that there’s a second season because I would definitely want to see more.
(BEST SIDE SHIPPING EVER – YUI X HINATA)
Cutest.anime.ever. Another great cast of characters that are so weird and quirky that you can’t help but love them to pieces. Kuragehime flew right under the radar of the average anime watching fan, like me, but turned out to be one of the best of the season. If someone told you that a show was about a crossdressing dude and a bunch of otakus living in a 1920s retro house, your first impression wouldn’t be “OH I MUST WATCH THIS”. But the beauty of it is actually it didn’t have that much expectations that we enjoyed it so much. The light heartness of it all, the hilarious comedy, Kuragehime was an incredibly fun to watch. Sadly, this series suffered the same problem that many great series had this year – it was too short. The ending left a lot of things unresolved, including the relationships between a few characters in the story, but it was a fantastic fling while it lasted.