Saturday, December 29, 2012

Top 25 Opening Themes for Fall 2012

Perhaps it's more due to the expectations I had assigned to the fall season after such a fruitful spring session, but I had high hopes that we'd get some creative approaches to the openers this season. Overall, while I think the music itself has gotten easier on the ear and catchier in the brain, I'm finding myself sighing more after the first ninety seconds of the episode.

I'm uncertain if it is due to the content of the shows. Long-distance hikes such as Space Brothers and Gintama' have resigned themselves to glancing out the window and appreciating the scenery, while shows granted a second season such as Sword Art Online and Medaka Box are sleepwalking, plenty satisfied with their content keeping the viewer's interest. Outside of the eternally-enjoyable Polar Bear Café and the Jojo's Bizarre Adventure remake, all of the shows in the Top 10 are first-time appearances.

The decent shows have managed to make ripples, but I can guarantee you this: the bad shows sank like shrapnel. You won't see To-Love-Ru Darkness and Girls und Panzer in these rankings, but you will see a show I wish we could scrub from the collective fanbase's memory, only for its incredible failure. I'm sure you've already guessed by now.

With that, I give you the hardest rankings I've ever had to sit through—the Top 25 opening themes of Fall 2012.

(Clicking the title of the song will bring you to the YouTube'd OP; clicking the artist will bring you to their PV for the song.)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Golden Ani-Versary of Anime: HOMEWORK TIME

It took us a little less than three weeks to completely fill out the Golden Ani-Versary of Anime roster. Our listing has a pretty good cross-section of bloggers and reviewers, writers and scholars, Ph.Ds and underclassmen, and I'm proud as fan to be a part of this deep analysis into the history of anime. The past fifty years have been both glorious and rocky for the medium in terms of critical acclaim, commercial success, and global acceptance, and considering its dependence on both human genius and electrical energy, the output in the next fifty years can be anyone's guess.

Now, it's time actual homework. A project this big is going to need some standards.

As the editor for this project, I've been debating many different aspects for our essays. After a few questions to the Tweeting public (and a mechanical pencil to the palm to get my thought process moving), I think we've come up with a general rubric for the blog's entries.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Golden Ani-Versary of Anime: Full Blog Panic!

You've got me wondering, Japan. You got Tatsunoko Productions to celebrate their 50th anniversary six months before their actual 50th anniversary, but we still haven't seen a Tetsuwan Atomu 50th anniversary anime poster yet? No matter. Tatsunoko's 50th is good enough for me.

Regardless, the outpouring of support for the Golden Ani-Versary of Anime has been duly noticed. This was just some uncertain shot-in-the-dark project that I thought a handful of fans would be into. Instead, we filled up the roster in the span of two weeks! Incredible! It may not have gotten the attention that a petition for political or social awareness would get, but it's still impressive!

So let's get down to business.

Currently, we're trying to develop a sensible rubric for all of the essays and rankings, but we can definitely say that we have a time frame in mind. In the next few days, we'll develop a strategy for essay length and content, but for now we can at least settle on a pattern.

We've been hemming and hawing with various release schedules. Should it be year-long? Month-long? All done in the span of 24 hours? Should we start at 1963 and work our way to 2012? Reverse order? Should we throw darts at a Masamune Shirow calendar to randomly pick dates?It's been decided that we shall meet in the middle, both in duration and in sequence.

Once the calendar flips to 2013, we will start with our first year, 1963, the year that Tetsuwan Atomu debuted on Japanese AND American televisions. Within the same week, we will also roll out an entry on 2012, thus book-ending our fifty-year trip in the first seven days. The next week, we'll roll out 1964 and 2011, then progress inwards until we get to the late 1980s / early 90s. Once we get to the last ten entries in late June, we'll randomize the order and finish with 1989, the year that the great Osamu Tezuka passed away.

Each week, we'll accompany the entries with a profile of the year's timeline, covering the important events that defined the industry in both Japan and globally. Hopefully, approaching anime from its past and its present might give us all insight as to how we will view anime in the future.

Some of you might be too antsy to wait to see who has been selected for what years. We've provided the entire listing beyond the jump and hidden for spoilers, so if you want to remain surprised, don't access the jump!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Golden Ani-Versary of Anime: Introducing the Payroll!

We're still working on some of the kinks for the Golden Ani-Versary project, including details surrounding the length of the essays, the frequency that each post will be made, and the order that they will appear. We also have to figure out what we're going to do if we can't fill in the final ten spaces, but we still have a good three weeks or so until we'll start getting submissions.

We will also announce a new blog for all of these posts, so that means we may be seeking help for designing the banner. (Hey, I'm not art-smart.)

However, what we can announce is the list of the bloggers, writers, and Twitter accounts who have made reservations to contribute to this 50th-anniversary celebration for the debut of the Tetsuwan Atomu anime. We won't go so far as to say who will be writing for what year, but we'll at least give you a list of who will be lending a hand.

(Mind you, we're not paying people in Tetsuwan Bucks...)

Here we go! In no particular order...

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Golden Ani-versary of Anime: Mark Your Territory!

What has anime evolved from?
What will anime evolve into?
Will the future involve a Mawaru-Penguindrum dub?

In barely under two months, a very important milestone will be reached in anime, and it is likely that many fans, no matter what genre they worship, will not realize what has come and gone.

If you take a look at the overall anime timeline, you'll notice that we've already missed an important anniversary. Back on January 15, 1960, Japan ran its first animation on a TV broadcast, a three-story, 30-minute animation called The Three Tales (Mittsu no Hanashi), so we've already missed the opportunity to celebrate the golden anniversary for televised anime. We've also missed the 50th anniversary of Japan's first TV series, as the show Otogi Manga Calendar debuted in 1961.

I don't know about you, but I feel bad for missing two anniversaries. I'm not going to miss the next one. Neither should you.

January 1st, 2013 will mark exactly 50 years since the mighty ground-breaking anime Astro Boy (Tetsuwan Atomu) debuted on Japanese television.

Let that sink in.


All of the DVD sales, global conventions, cosplay, maid cafes, Haruhi dance gatherings, Twitter and Tumblr conversations...all of it could be considered the product of the seed planted on January 1, 1963, when Astro Boy debuted on Fuji Television. Back in that first year, Japanese television ran a total of seven animated programs. This year, we're likely to have at least 120 new shows alone.

In honor of this immense milestone, I'm going to try something new and adventurous, and it's going to require help. A Herculean amount of help. After all, 50 years of fandom would be impossible to distill from even the most talented experts, let alone a tiny reviewer like myself. We're going to need a gigantic contribution from all the fans to do this.

No fancy names, so we'll call this...

The Golden Ani-versary of Anime


(Name under construction)

The plan: Take that initial year of 1963. Take the most recent year of 2012. That's 50 years of solid televised anime that we need to chronicle. Therefore, including myself, we're going to need a total of 50 anime writers, bloggers, historians, and scholars to target 50 total years. It could be the year you were born, the year you first turned your attention to anime, or a year that has fascinated you historically. Regardless, we need 50 writers to write about anime, a year at a time.

Your job: Here's what you have to do.

  • Get in contact with me, either through Twitter (at @GTebbetts) or through e-mail (geoff.tebbetts at
  • Reserve a single year (from 1963 to 2012). Do it fast before someone else does!
  • Provide a ranking of the top shows of that year, no more than ten, and explain why. (This isn't necessarily a ranking of your favorites, but it can be. There may not be many for the earlier years, so an entry with just one show for 1963 would be fine.)
  • Over the next year, we will go from 1963 to 2012 (or the opposite direction if it is easier), but we WILL cover every year. In order. It might go a year a week, or we might rattle through all 50 in two months, but we WILL get through them.
  • Recommendations: we're going to need more people who want to tackle the earlier years, so be adventurous!
Will this project be big? Quite big, likely requiring its own blog. (Names being considered.)

Time consuming? All signs point to YES.

In need of help? You bet.

I have no idea who we can draw together for such a large aspiring project, but I think we can do it. I currently have no plans to make this bigger than a mere blog, but I think a project like this will do a lot to educate people on the history of such an amazing cultural industry, as well as unify generations of fandom under a single ideal. Who knows? Maybe all you Naruto fans will understand where your anime was derived from, while all the Ribon no Kishi scholars will appreciate what your habit has developed into.

1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972

1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982

1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992

1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

Red: Requested

Blue: Tentative

Black: Still available

Reserve your year! Hopefully we can assign dates quickly and have our essays ready to roll by the first day of 2013! As the years are reserved, I will scratch out the dates below, so act fast and spread the word!

UPDATE: We now have a Twitter account (@GoldenAni), so be sure to look for a new blog location in the future.

UPDATE (11/19/2012): We now have all 50 spots filled!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

[Anime Survivor 2] Final: Binbôgami Ga! vs. Humanity Has Declined

It is the spectacle, the enamoring uncertainty, which lurks in Survivor that has made it last for such a long time. All of the competitors are so unknown that first glances do no good at predicting a winner. The weak may be able to outsmart the strong, the strong may be able to out-muscle the weak, and those in the middle may end up victorious due to both eating each other in the process.

That apparently isn't the case with Anime Survivor. If anything, this was more a Lord of the Flies approach to survival, the weak constantly getting picked off each week, while the strong survived due to momentum (the strength of previous episodes) or genetics (how well the staff had performed in other shows). Those shows that had a bad premise didn't stand a chance at making it to the final round, while those with weak plot lines were exposed in the middle of a feeble season.

Really, Anime Survivor was a miserable idea I came up with. Better than BTOOOM!, perhaps, but certainly worse than Battle Royale.

And that leaves us two shows that many predicted would have legs this past summer. It was all between Natsuyuki Rendezvous, Binbôgami Ga!, and Humanity Has Declined (Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita, or hashtagged as #Jintai) from the starting gate, and while shows like Kokoro Connect and Moyashimon Returns pulled hammies halfway through the race, these three showed staying power. That is, until Natsuyuki Rendezvous displayed one of the weaker dramatic endings and collapsed yards from the finish line.

So which show—Binbôgami Ga! or Humanity Has Declined—wins in this photo finish in the last ever failed Anime Survivor experiment? Well, let's just say that the cameras weren't required for the end.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ixion Saga DT: The Trollingest OP Ever?

Kid plays video game. Kid entranced by a virtual heroine coming onto him. Kid "falls" into the video game to become a true warrior, eventually thwarting his clever enemy by punting him in the junk with a spiked boot.

Before you laugh at this premise behind Ixion Saga DT and call it immature, perhaps you should follow the lyrics to the actual song. Go ahead and access Crunchyroll to follow the opening theme, "DT Suteru" ("I'll lose my DT") by Golden Ixion Bomber DT. Go ahead. I can wait. Just be sure to note that our hero is swinging a sword that turns into a thick-tipped giant hammer when he holds it juuuuust right.

Getting a little bit of a hint that there's something trolling under the surface of this sub-standard adventure anime? Maybe the lyrics might give you a hint. Just be aware that the underlined lyrics were what was written on the screen, while the lyrics underneath are the actual sung song.

「戦士の称号」捨てる                 I will give up my title as a knight!
DT捨てる                                     I will lose my DT!

僕に戦士の称号捨てさせてよ       Let me lose my knightly title.
僕に「DT]捨てさせてよ           Let me lose my DT.

普通の男に戻りたいな                   I want to become a regular guy again.
おとこになりたいな                         I want to become a man.

とても悲願しい運命                        My extremely long-cherished fate
とてもかなしいたからもの              My extremely woeful treasure

宿敵に返上したい                          I will return that to my enemy.
きみにささげたい                            I will give it all to you.

次元転移したときから 強く引力れ合い  Since the time I jumped dimensions, I've felt a strong pull
であったときから 強くひかれ合い          Since the time I met you, I've felt a strong attraction,

眠るたび悪夢をみた                      And when I sleep, I have nightmares.
眠るたびゆめをみた                      And when I sleep, I dream.

ハイペリオンの覚醒にうなされてしまうよ         I've groaned in my sleep from my awaking Hyperion.
からだのほてりにうなされてしまうよ                 I've groaned in my sleep from my body's warmth.

オーラの冷まし方をおしえて         Tell me how to calm my aura.
ねつの冷まし方をおしえて            Tell me how to cool my heat.

どうしてだろう 宿敵と対決すれば対決するほどに    Why is it that the more I fight with my enemy,
どうしてだろう きみをしればしるほどに                      Why is it that the more I know about you,

僕はもう アルマギアが戦闘状態になる         the more I'm thrust into Armagia's open warfare?
僕はもう あいつがかたくなる                          the more that part of me gets so hard?

僕に戦士の称号捨てさせてよ         Let me lose my knightly title.
僕に「DT]捨てさせてよ             Let me lose my DT.

主君の右腕と決別さ                        This is goodbye to my master's right-hand man.
みぎてとさよならさ                           This is goodbye to my right hand.

ライバル同士で戦おう 決着は      Let us fight as equal rivals. The conclusion to it all...
ふたりでしよう これからは             Let us do this together. And from now on...

宿敵を逃さない                                 I will not overlook my enemy.
きみをはなさない                              I will not let you go.

宿敵と対戦しかない                         I can only fight my enemy.
きみとはなれない                             I can never leave you.

Can you perhaps guess what "DT" means then? (Check below.) Well, considering the main villain (whose initials "ED" could now stand for "erectile dysfunction") basically had his balls literally busted by the hero, I think you can tell.

* DT = "doutei", the Japanese word for "virginity".

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Top 25 Ending Themes for Summer 2012

To tell the truth, part of me didn't want to do these rankings. I honestly never made it as far as the ending theme in some shows (Dakara Boku wa H ga Dekinai, Ebiten), so it's required some forced research. That may be why some shows fell through the cracks this season, but in all honesty I'm rating the OPs higher than the EDs this summer. There was just part of me that appreciated the beginning of some shows instead of their ending.

What did I see a lot of? Scrolling. Miles and miles of top-to-bottom scrolling that probably didn't need to be done. Hey, I suppose it beats "running shots" by a mile, but at least five shows tried that pan.

What didn't I see a lot of? Good endings. Apart from the Top 5, a good season may have left a lot of these endings off the chart. I suppose the producers were as sleepy as we all were this summer.

So let's get on with it already. Here are your Top 25 EDs of Summer 2012. Cuddle up to them and get some good Z's.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Top 25 Opening Themes of Summer 2012

This summer desperately needed good music.

You could have put an anime to just about any song (as the above video has so eloquently showed us), and I would have considered it rankable before I considered it rank. Mind you, that doesn't mean it's time to see a K-On! "Gangnam Style" parody at the next convention's anime music video contest, but at least there was something good to watch for a few minutes before I turned the streaming service off.

So I present to you this season's Top 25 opening themes. It took a while to weed through so much. Perhaps I should have kept things short, since it was pretty hard to settle on one, but I think I've made the right call.

And not one horse trot in any of 'em.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

[Anime Survivor 2] 3rd Place - Natsuyuki Rendezvous

Let's make this short and sweet before the shine is gone, folks. I'm going to hate myself for this review miles more than you might.

I had convinced myself that we had a sure thoroughbred this season once we saw what the moe train wrecks had wrought. No matter how many times Tori got punched in the crotch, no matter how many lingerie shots Campione! gave us, no matter how many ping-pong balls got eaten by Chinatsu's hair in Yuru Yuri...we were doomed to have a long, hot season of anime that we would forget once the first episode of Robotic;Notes was screened.

I'm just stunned that noitaminA would royally let us down. The wide-open net was there. All they had to do was nudge the ball through, but Moyashimon Returns shanked the kick, missed completely with its complete change of character profiles and drab storylines from the first season. The second show clanged their shot off the crossbar in the 90th minute. (Pardon the soccer metaphor—finally saw the US National Team win!)

Considering the severe letdown, I really shouldn't devote much time to this review. Third place in Summer 2012's Anime Survivor is Natsuyuki Rendezvous.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

[Anime Survivor 2] 4th Place - Kokoro Connect (Blogger Random)

Yes, "Freaky Friday" was called "Fortune Cookie" in Japan.

We've seen this formula before, back when Lindsey Lohan wasn't a druggie and both Judge Nelson and Fred Savage were still inexplicably popular. The whole "body switch" thing. I mean, it's not so foreign a concept, and manga such as Your & My Secret already beat other shows to the punch. Hell, even off-the-wall comedies such as Excel Saga and Binbôgami Ga! gave it a shot.

But if the human body can be treated like a vehicle, why stop at just changing drivers? Why not see what happens if someone resets all the radio stations or puts diesel in an unleaded-only tank?

That's the concept behind the 4th Place...

Excuse me.

Hello to all of you people reading this blog. I hope you don't mind, but I've decided to involve myself. You all know me as "Heartseed", the real star of Kokoro Connect.

I noticed recently that the person who writes this electronic mumbo-jumbo doesn't have all that much to provide for fandom. His biases against harem shows are crimes against humanity at times, and he's grumpier than Clint Eastwood at an Ikea. He thought that Nobuna Oda show was worse than that show with the chrome-plated chests, and this was after he teased us with a review of Kids on the Slope that never actually manifested itself.

So I have decided to intrude and make things more interesting. From now on, this blog will switch with another blog randomly. No matter who the reviewer is, they must review the show without skipping a beat.

And that brings us to the show that comes in 4th Place in this season's Anime Survivor, Kokoro Connect. Let's see who shows up to review...

Monday, September 3, 2012

Selling the Sizzle: The Summer Anime Season in Logos

Call me a sucker for commercialism, but a well-crafted logo sometimes is enough to draw me into purchasing a mindless product. You could throw all the testimonials and infomercials at my proverbial wall and hope that something sticks, but more often than not, the five-year-old in me will opt for the colorful mascots and neon signs. I'm the type who can't really enjoy the wooden nature of Wheel of Fortune or Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, but Press Your Luck is a different animal altogether.

I found myself applying this to Summer 2012's selection of anime. Amongst those that qualify as "mindless drivel", I found myself disliking three shows to the point of not bothering to care how they end (Campione!, Love and Election and Chocolate, Ebiten). All are chock-full of mindless plot lines and unnecessary sexual escapades, but I found myself ranking them in a manner that correlated to how bad their logo was.

Love and Election and Chocolate (Koi to Senkyo to Chokoreeto) wasn't as bad as the first episode suggested, but it was still bad. Like its logo, a melted and messy confection, the show was good in construction, but bad in organization. Perhaps it was too complex for such a simple design?

Campione!, like its own logo, was incredibly difficult to view. If there is symbolism surrounding its "Pick-Up-Stix" design, I certainly can't see it. I mean, considering the show started in Italy, I haven't the foggiest idea why the exclamation point is stuck with a rose bloom. It's like the staff assumed France and Italy were the same country.

This brings us to Ebiten, a show so horribly disfigured by multiple personalities that it can't decide on an anime logo. I'd show you what they look like, but I don't want to be reminded that there's a train wreck like Ebiten out there. I'd be doing a disservice if I even showed the logos to people. (Out of mind, out of sight.) The manga's logo is relatively better, but a logo written solely in Sans Serif would look better.

So that got us thinking—which anime shows from this season have the best logos?

Friday, August 31, 2012

[Anime Survivor 2] 5th Place - Uta Koi

Vanilla. Mayonaisse. A one-dollar bill. A named background character in a Rumiko Takahashi manga. You're the Nami Hitô of anime.

This feeling of "normal"—this is sadly the feeling I had last season when I had gotten to the midway point of this whole "contest". By getting to the peak of the anime season, you've gotten past the indigestible curd, but you still have a ways to go before dessert is served. I have that exact feeling right now; I haven't the energy to scowl at the middle of the pack, but there's really nothing to praise about the work.

Considering Medaka Box, Mysterious Girlfriend X, and Folktales from Japan parked their Hyundais in a lot full of shiny sports cars and broken-down Edsels, I'm expecting mediocrity at this point. We got it with Moyashimon Returns, and it's likely we'll get it with our fifth place show, Chôyaku Hyakunin Isshû: Uta Koi.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

[Anime Survivor 2] 6th Place - Moyashimon: Reloaded

For the longest time, I had hoped that noitaminA would target the right shows for a sequel. So far, the only sequels have been Honey & Clover (back in 2007, before the first streaming anime shows were screened) and a few follow-ups to Nodame Cantabile. Since 2010, we have had a few two-cours shows, but one of them was Guilty Crown, and I'm pretty sure most of fandom isn't hammering down doors to get that one green-lighted for a return.

There could be many arguments that some don't deserve sequels (No.6, Hataraki Man) and that others would have continuity ruined by a second season (AnoHana, House of Five Leaves), but many could say that shows like Princess Jellyfish, Shiki, Eden of the East, and Fractale Tatami Galaxy are ripe and ready for one. You could say they are practically fermenting in potential.

How appropriate that I mention fermenting. It's just too bad this show wasn't left in the vat for a little longer. Sixth Place in Summer 2012's Anime Survivor is Moyashimon Returns, a noitaminA show that didn't deserve a half-hearted attempt at a sequel.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

[Anime Survivor 2] 7th Place: Tari Tari

I will be one of the few that will admit the luster wore off Hanasaku Iroha after the first season.

P.A. Works did a wondrous job animating the series, and it felt great to see an anime focus on something closer to the heart of Japanese culture and the whims of society. I think a lot of people take the small tourist-based businesses of Japan for granted when they watch them in an animated form, so it felt good to get a sense of realism surrounding the onsen inns of Japan.

However, that sense of realism seemed to eat at my core like a grater to my inner daikon. As time went on, I found myself disliking the false disconnect between the "realism" of an animated show and my own. I couldn't find myself accepting the characters as real people, and some of their personalities got under my skin. If anything, I found myself appreciating the stern leadership from Sui, the inn's matriarch, more than the bubbly effervescence of the shiny-skinned youths working at the inn.

When I learned that P.A. Works was going to release a show that had that same sort of feel and animation, I wondered if I'd be able to stand the characters, now that a connection was made to Hanasaku Iroha. I suppose that's a reason why 7th Place for this season's Anime Survivor goes to Tari Tari.

Monday, August 13, 2012

[Anime Survivor 2] 8th Place: Total Eclipse (a.k.a. What Hath Shirow Wrought?)

One of the first titles that rooted me in anime and manga (and eventually reviewing) was Masamune Shirow's Appleseed for two very different reasons.

When I bought the compiled manga volumes from Dark Horse Comics, I wasn't exactly sure what kind of manga I liked. I was partial to Rumiko Takahashi's works, but mecha hadn't thrilled me that much. Voltron had caught me as a kid, but I never got into Macross and Gundam (as much of a sin that might be to some). Bubblegum Crisis didn't catch me right away, as it was still an expensive get. When I opened the pages to Appleseed, I finally got the picture. Machinery was cool, especially if there was an underlying point to all of this technology. The translation was complex, and the conversation was foreign enough for me to get lost in the electric traffic jam that Olympus brought with it.

Of course, then I saw the digital wreckage that the OAV series spawned. Limp animation was coupled with ham actors, and all of the philosophy and mechanical jargon were stripped to leave the beat-up heart of a jalopy. It was then that I discovered the power of a good mecha show—a good distribution of detailed technology, deep thoughts, and even a svelte body sliding into the mechanical shell was what made a good mecha show to me.

Well, it looks like we found a show that left just that last part. 8th Place goes to Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

[Anime Survivor 2] Nobuna Oda (a.k.a. Desperately Seeking Shôgun)

From now on, we're through with the whole "survival" angle.

Really, this season feels like "survival" applies more to the viewers than the actual shows themselves. Shows like Dakara Boku wa H ga Dekinai will be there when the season ends, but our resolve to endure all the harem shows absent from Spring 2012 won't be there. Many have already tapped out from the Boston Crab that the second season of Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere slapped on us. Those who have survived that wringer just for the sake of a happy ending in Natsuyuki Rendezvous will have to gut this one out.

That being said, it's going to be much more difficult this time around to get to the cream of this crop, but one thing still applies—a show that involves a gender-swapped ruler of Japan from the past can never be seen as a truly noteworthy accomplishment.

Ninth place in Summer 2012's Anime Survivor is The Ambition of Nobuna Oda.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

[Anime Survivor 2] 10th Place: Arcana Famiglia

Now that our second Anime Survivor is underway (the first having contributed heavily to a desire to eat whitefish and a staggering fear of owls), I can honestly say that I have no idea what show will wear the heavy crown this time around. There are a handful that may make it to the finals, but I can't guess which would make it to the top. Perhaps this is a sign that I randomly chose all the good anime shows (or all the bad ones) for this contest.

In analyzing the other shows at their face value, I'd say that we're in for crazy weather. It seems that the bountiful harvest from spring (Kids on the Slope, Tsuritama, Fujiko Mine, and the close of Fate/Zero) has dried up into a dustbowl of barren choices. Again, I blame the lack of relief on the immense gains usually left for the equinoxes—Summer and Winter just aren't for fans.

That being said, I'm going to try to remain optimistic. There is still a chance we found some roses growing among the thorns. That's not to say that it's impossible to pluck the stinkweed from the bouquet. And La storia della Arcana Famiglia is a story in desperate need of some Prada perfume.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Summer 2012's Anime Survivor (Live From Otakon!*)

Hello from Otakon 2012! AniMaybe is having a great time in Baltimore! We're partying with cosplayers and attending all the big panels and industry announcements and glowstick-glowstick-glowstick dacing at raves and

Yeah, yeah. That's all one big fat lie.

Hardy har, Geoff. Joke's on you. Everyone and their tsundere sister is having more fun without you at Otakon, while you're stuck back home with your work and lack of a decent personal budget.

Fine. You know what? I am totally prepared to have fun without you guys. Screw y'all and your collective Haruhi dances. I'm going to have just as good a time partying with Crunchyroll and Funimation during...

Summer 2012's Anime Survivor!

(Oh. That's right. Everyone's at Otakon, so the announcement loses its punch.)

No matter! I'm going to run my own panel from the solitude of my apartment called "Geoff Tebbetts Actually Liked Hand Maid May: My Year With A Tsutaya Records Rental Card"! Just go ahead and party with the bigwigs from ANN! I'll be fine by myself!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Top 25 Ending Themes of Spring 2012

It took me a few minutes to get myself together for the 25 Best Endings to Spring 2012's anime season. By the time I was done a few hours later, I liked only one of the positions, and that was naturally the top spot.

So to hell with keeping it a secret until the end—I loved the music in Kids on the Slope, and its ending was naturally the best and only one I wouldn't change. Hell, I may end up building my own soundtrack from the jazz greats that appeared in the show.

I will say one thing about the endings this season—I was severely disappointed. In a way, I put a positive spin on that statement, as there was so much that was good about Spring 2012 that there was very little to find flawed in general. Therefore, by default, the endings get my scorn, as I really only liked about ten of them.

So perhaps we should guess to see which one I didn't like at all? Come on. Guess. Betcha you get it right.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Your Spring '12 Anime Survivor Champion!

This is no secret, so I'll just come out and say it. Kids on the Slope (Sakamichi no Apollon) was the real winner to this season's introductory Anime Survivor. I purposely left it out of the equation, because I felt the variable was too obvious. Judging by the first episode and its staff, it was going to be the last show standing, not matter how good or bad Spring 2012 turned out to be.

However, I was also quite skeptical about the rest of the lineup. Would we all still have our faces buried in Bodacious Space Pirates, Fate/Zero and Phi Brain? Would we all be bitter about the dormant Winter 2012 performance?

Suffice to say, this season failed to disappoint me, and that in itself was a bit of a beautiful disappointment.

Now that the season's over, it's time to see what made Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine so damned good.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Anime Survivor: Spring '12 - Second Place!

It feels almost inevitable that the final act during this Anime Survivor experiment would be between two shows that know how to use a squirt gun.

The tale of the tape in this last showdown couldn't be any more lopsided. Tsuritama is vibrant in both atmosphere and appearance, its characters rarely frowning, even in defeat or the midst of an oncoming natural disaster. Meanwhile, the Fujiko Mine animation is almost too dark for its traditionally-comedic roots, the improbable stunts by the Lupin the Third cast marred by Fujiko's tormented beginnings.

It's interesting that the squirt gun itself in one show is a portal displaying the other show's general vibe. An unexpected comedy relief in The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, yet an actual device that could be dangerous in the wrong hands in Tsuritama, the water pistol is pretty much the central device in this spring. It seems we'd need something to cool down an anime season that's been hotter than most in recent memory.

Enough of the chit-chat. That makes the announcement anticlimactic. The fifteenth show to be eliminated from Anime Survivor and this season's runner-up is...

(And yes, there are some spoilers ahead...)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Time out! Time out.

You know, playing soccer without stretching isn't a great idea.

I missed out on posting the Anime Survivor finals this weekend, but not a problem! With a major holiday this week, we can end it with a bang! (We really can—it's "buy one, get five free" at the fireworks marketplaces set up every two-tenths of a mile.)

Also, there are plans in motion to give AniMaybe a major face-lift. We're looking to change the overall design, as well as the name. If you have any good ideas (other than "Geoff's House of Suck-tastic Cardfight! Vanguard Reviews") for names, we're all ears!

And all knees, too. Man, those shiners are going to look bad tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Anime Survivor: Spring '12 - State Your Case!

(Who knew that Tsuritama would turn into its own version of Survivor? I wouldn't be surprised if someone unearthed an Immunity Idol right at the climax.)

We started with sixteen, and we made it to two. Time to pony up and make your own argument. Should Tsuritama be crowned king of the island? Should The Woman Named Fujiko Mine make off with all the jewels?

Tell us in the Comments section which would get your vote and why. Maybe I might even base my choice off of the best argument! (And I just might—I'm totally stumped.)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Anime Survivor: Spring '12 - Week 8.2

It's about time to start planning out Summer 2012's Anime Survivor, but stock futures show that this might be a market primed for bear. Normally, that would be terrific, considering just how fun watching Polar Bear, Grizzly Bear and Panda this season, but we're talking the negative, losing-your-life-savings sort of bear. Crunchyroll has announced their first threesome (Nobuna Oda, Total Eclipse, and YuruYuri 2: Erekutoriku Bûgaru), and they all seem to have the inviting charm of a poison toad.

That likely means all three are already on board, just in time for me to push them off the plank.

After already claiming Kingdom, Funimation will grab Moyashimon 2 and maybe a panty-flasher like Dakara Boku ga H Dekinai, while Crunchyroll loads up on Natsuyuki Rendezvous, Tari Tari, Love, Election & Chocolate, Aruvu Rezuru, Ebiten, and Humanity Has Declined. Viz takes on the next Rinne no Lagrange season and contnues Accel World, while Kokoro Connect is lost once Sentai Filmworks grabs the rights.

But were all about the here and now. Three shows left. All are good, but one's got to hit the road.

The fourteenth show gone from this season's Anime Survivor is...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Anime Survivor: Spring '12 - Week 8.1

Let's face it, guys—if you had an awesome animal in your anime this season, your show was bound to make it to the semifinals of Anime Survivor.

Whether it's cooler-than-advertised Anteater from Polar Bear's Cafe, leader-by-default Tapioca from Tsuritama, the adorably-dumb Apo from Space Brothers, or even the parliament of owl-headed goons from The Woman Called Fujiko Mine (yes, a group of owls is called a "parliament"!)—everywhere you looked, BOSS ANIMALS.

So which one is lowest on the food chain? The thirteenth show to be sent to the glue factory in Spring 2012's Anime Survivor is...!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Best Opening Themes of Spring 2012


Well, I suppose everything generally got better this season. Last season's ugly opening-theme performance aside, there were just too many good shows in Spring of 2012 to screw up the OPs for the second season in a row. Even with the passing of the Gintama' anime, there was a lot to choose for musical services, and a lot of opening animations were nice to watch.

So just sit back and listen to the dulcet tones of Mutta Nanba(?) as we count down the Top 25 Opening Themes (and the Worst One) for Spring 2012.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Anime Survivor: Spring '12 - Week 7.2

Sorry about the wait, folks, but you don't know how agonizing this last choice was. I had a eulogy written for both Polar Bear's Cafe and Kuroko's Basketball this week before my bed made me sick.

That's right. My BED. Apparently the thing's so ridden with allergens that my throat darned closed up on me. A shot in the hip (read: a shot in the ass) of steroids and a truckload of Allegra-D later, and I'm almost 100%. Just need a new mattress now.

Back to the story at hand. Let's face it; the top three seeds have been set in stone for weeks. Tsuritama has made a horse-race out of the noitaminA time slot, Space Brothers has been quiet and diligent in its story, while Fujiko Mine is somehow related to an owl (which might explain the hooters). Whatever. What matters is that there needs to be a fourth in the Final Four.

The twelveth twelvth 12th show eliminated from Spring 2012's Anime Survivor is...

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Anime Survivor: Spring '12 - Week 7.1

I don't have any good explanations why Accel World lasted so long. Perhaps there was a glimmer of hope in it becoming something more than a game and a bit of intrigue in Haru's character, especially with some clear lines drawn in the love polygons, but those of you who know me know I have a procrastinating side. I probably didn't feel the pressure to vote it out until it lasted further than expected.

Besides, I hated Haru's "cousin". Such a horrible attempt to introduce a new character.

That being said, the first to go in this week's Anime Survivor isn't that hard of a choice. Overwhelmingly, eleven out of twelve voters stuffed the ballot box with this show. Did I not pull the plug on this show soon enough?

The eleventh show to be cast from Spring 2012's Anime Survivor is...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Anime Survivor: Spring '12 - Week 6.2

First off, an apology.

I know I wanted to review Kids on the Slope weekly for AniMaybe, but I suppose I have learned the hard way that weekly (or even monthly) reviews for the same show is something that I am not exactly built for. I found it difficult to do when I covered Rio: Rainbow Gate! and Dragon Crisis!, and even reviewing Puella Magi Madoka Magica was somewhat of a burden. I would rather judge by watching a show just once or all the way through, not by placing flags along the way.

You will get a Kids on the Slope review out of me soon. It's just that freaking good for a noitaminA junkie like myself.

That's probably why I'm hoping to finish this Anime Survivor thing soon. There hasn't been a lot of feedback on this new approach of reviewing, except for that one person on Twitter who was utterly shocked I dismissed Mysterious Girlfriend X this week. (Sorry, @ABCBTom. Had to be done.)

So let's get right to it. The tenth show gone from Spring 2012's Anime Survivor is...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Anime Survivor: Spring '12 - Week 6.1

Actually, that was quite liberating.

Now that I don't have the pressure to defend Medaka Box anymore, I'm actually looking more forward to seeing how most of Spring 2012's shows end up. I mean, Tsuritama and Dusk Maiden of Amnesia have rolled into interesting mysteries of their own, while Space Brothers and Kuroko's Basketball are doing well to set up multiple seasons. I mean, I haven't even watched a single episode of Fate/Zero or Phi Brain this season, yet I haven't missed a single Polar Bear Cafe.

From the above you might be able to deduce what show gets tossed, since I actually have faith in the voters this week. Why not? I'll go with the opinion of the masses.

The ninth show to be cast off in Spring 2012's Anime Survivor is...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

(Eat My) Anime Shorts

No, not these kinds.

Over the past couple of years, we've seen Crunchyroll try to sneak in a few shows that have specialized in five-minute anime shorts (i.e. Tono to IsshoMori-san wa Mukuchi, Recorder and Randsell, Poyopoyo). By all means, there's nothing wrong with consumption before the entrees, as long as those between-meal "snacks" aren't too bad for you (Nyanpire has been said to cause tooth decay!)

So what anime shorts would you recommend to viewers? Phanton Thief Reinya? Double-J? Gakkatsu? Hit us with your favorite (and least favorite) shows in the Comments section!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Anime Survivor: Spring '12 - Week 5.2

Yes, Spring 2012 may be one of the marquis anime seasons we've had in a while, but I still think back to how sour last season felt in the mouths of so many people. Fate/Zero had taken a depressing season off to recharge for its second half, while Bleach and Gintama' both hit a wall and departed from the list, leaving nothing but a deep freeze.

Of course, I was rather giddy once the Winter 2012 season started. Hey, it's Nisemonogatari! Nishio Isin is back with more of that stapler-wielding "tsundere" and all those creepy pedophile jokes affixed to the main character! It was incredibly funny then, but somehow sliding the donut-loving loli-vamp and the all-heat-no-flame "Fire Sisters" into the cast failed miserably. Oh, well. At least we got the most unintentionally comic episode of all time in the notorious "toothbrush" ensemble.

So many probably have that spite towards NisiOisiN still fresh in their gums like that last bit of spinach you can't quite get out. That's why the eighth show to get canned from our Anime Survivor cast is...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Anime Survivor: Spring '12 - Week 5.1

Okay, okay. The writing's on the wall. I can take a hint.

Still going to troll you guys over not liking Medaka Box before the good stuff starts. Yeah, it's gone this week, but not this half of this week. Before we dump the dead weight overboard, we're taking a different show off first!

The seventh show to leave Anime Survivor this season is...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Anime Survivor: Spring '12 - Week 4.2

Let's cut to the chase. I feel guilty for showing Saki: Achiga-hen the door first, but it had to be done. More game strategy and less talky-talky, and I might have let it stick around longer. No one picked it to get dumped this early, but I'm sure at least half of you that cast your votes will be satisfied this week.

The sixth show to be escorted off the island in this season's Anime Survivor is...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Anime Survivor: Spring '12 - Week 4.1

Three weeks of Anime Survivor down, and we're already staring at the halfway point of the anime season. Yeah, we started late this year, but can you blame us? There's been a lot of quality we've had to sift through, so we're not going to jump right in and cast our votes after only one episode.

I have no guilt about the first four shows that have been given the hook. Hiiro no Kakera is going nowhere, and now that the sides are set, I expect it to finish the same way that Fushigi Yûgi did. Unless Upotte!! manages to recreate the Invasion of Normandy as a sports festival, I'll have no interest in looking back.  At the same time, I'm noticing a pattern in the poll—you guys just don't like Medaka Box, do you? Way to hold a grudge against NisiOisiN.

Well, you won't see it disappear this week, either. Voted off the island as the fifth series to go during Spring 2012's Anime Survivor is...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Anime Survivor: Spring '12 - Week 3

Lots of competition down here in the Blue Grass State this weekend. Yeah, there was that pretty famous race over at Churchill Downs, but I'm referring more to the "my-hat-is-bigger-than-yours" competition by the ladies in the galleries. Serious cosplay contests for the ojô-sama crowd. If people ever make fun of your anime or manga hobby or conventioneering down in Kentucky, easily refer to it as "the Kentucky Derby for nerds".

I suppose Anime Survivor will start to look more like a horse race from now on. I feel content that we've gotten rid of the worst shows that were bound for the glue factory—now it feels like the remaining shows at least have something in their arsenal that could get them to the finish line. That doesn't mean that some shows won't hit the dirt at the first turn.

I also noticed that a few people feel that Medaka Box is the next to go. Surprising? Perhaps not. I think Nisemonogatari, Nisio Isin's last anime, jaded a lot of people, so I don't blame some people for thinking it's too talkative. Perhaps we might be jumping the gun on this next project—I'm willing to let this show incubate another week.

So let's get this race over with. The fourth show kicked off the island in this season's Anime Survivor is...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Anime Survivor - Spring '12: Week 2.2

I know that people weren't too surprised at my pick of Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals as the second show to go this season in Anime Survivor. Too much immaturity for a spin-off show that could have used its popular minor characters in more constructive ways. Nope, I'm just surprised that we haven't seen another dog turd used as a ninjutsu projectile.

So what's the next series to go this week? It shouldn't surprise you, either—it's an amalgam of the two most overused genres in anime these days: harem animes and historical rewrites.

Without further ado, the third series to be escorted off the island in this season's Anime Survivor is...

Friday, April 27, 2012

Anime Survivor: Spring '12 - Week 2

Don't you dare tell me that you weren't expecting Upotte!! to be the first show booted from our friendly game of Anime Survivor. The show was practically begging for sweet release from a hailstorm of bad criticism, and I'd be completely stunned if an actual storyline slithered out of that swamp. My guess is most people would agree with me—I haven't seen one glowing review of the show (but if you're willing to take a crack at it, defend it in the Comments section!)

This week, we have two more on the chopping block, but I'm surprised how easy this first pick was. Perhaps the high quality out of the gate from most of the shows this season quickly revealed what was collecting at the bottom of the barrel. It seems that some of you have done your homework and seen what I had seen, young grasshoppers, as six of the nine who voted on this week's poll thought this first series was doomed.

The second series (and the first to be associated with the Shônen Jump line) to be voted off the island is...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Anime Survivor: Spring '12 - Week 1

Sixteen possible survivors start out on a deserted island.
Which will be voted out first?!

Patterning an anime blog as a Survivor clone is probably not the most original of ideas, nor is it likely the best of them. After all, there are a million anime blogs out there (Vote for your favorite at the AniBlog Tourney! Or not! - Ed.), and chances are that some have gone the "reality-television" route. Hell, why haven't conventions tried some sort of "Cosplay with the Stars" idea?

However, I've found that the 2012 Spring anime season has presented a challenge that I feel hasn't been experienced before. We've suddenly been presented with a bountiful harvest of shows with more potential than a live wire. Crunchyroll pretty much flushed their tank, now that Gintama', Bleach, and Cardfight! Vanguard have wrapped up their animations for the meantime, and while they have beefed their lineup with the second seasons of Fate/Zero, Kimi to Boku, and Phi Brain, they've also added close to twenty new shows!

Funimation only added two new shows to their lineup to replace the powerful departure of Future Diary, but one of those titles is the new Lupin the 3rd spin-off featuring the busty bombshell Fujiko Mine. Viz grab two of their own in Accel World and Zetman, while The Anime Network/Sentai Filmworks is just happy to snap up licenses for home video release.

There are few surprises lurking outside of online streams—zombies were, perdon the pun, left for dead (Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka?'s second season was left untouched, while Sankarea is still homeless)—but I'd say this anime season should completely revitalize the fan base. There are a lot of shows to pick and a lot to weed out.

And that's what we're going to do at AniMaybe. Every week, we will look down the lineups and send one or two of the shows home with a lifetime supply of Rice-A-Roni until we get down to the one new show that summarizes the Spring 2012 anime season nicely. Of course, Kids on the Slope has been conveniently left off, since that will be reviewed weekly, but the sixteen other shows will get in the cage with only one walking out.

Upotte! - Medaka Box - Space Brothers - Folktales From Japan
Hiiro no Kakera - Saki - Sengoku Collection - Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals
Tsuritama - Haiyoru! Nyarko-san - Dusk Maiden of Amnesia - Kuroko's Basketball
The Woman Called Fujiko Mine - Mysterious Girlfriend X - Polar Bear Cafe - Accel World

There's our list of the sixteen combatants! The first show voted off of our island is...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Best Opening Themes of Winter 2012

I'll state my position on the Winter 2012 opening themes by restating my position on the ending themes. There was not a lot to be excited about. I have a feeling that many staffs asked their moneymakers to either take the season off or nap until it was time to shine for the last two minutes. I suppose that's why so many shows felt dry in Winter; too much hibernation, not enough hi-fidelity.

Okay, then. Let's try to pry whatever meat we can find on these carcasses left over by the buzzards and make some sort of ranking for the opening themes. Slim pickings, folks. Hope you have eaten earlier.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Best Ending Themes of Winter 2012

Okay, I'll set the record straight by admitting that I haven't had the endurance to watch anime since last summer. Last season was a struggle towards the finish line, so the otaku marathoner in me failed to train for the next big race. Why pull a mental hamstring while watching a Highschool DxD marathon when I should be resting up for the next season of Fate/zero?

That being said, let me wax poetic about this season's opening and closing themes by stating something I never thought I'd say—I actually liked this season's ending themes more than I liked the opening themes. It's hard to really explain why the magnetism has reversed its polarity, but perhaps the need to sell a series on its characters and plot to new viewers isn't as great as its need to keep regular viewers baited for the next episode. Personally, I couldn't be thrilled more, as we get the likes of ClariS, Aqua Timez, and Yôsei Teikoku filling the final slots.

Ready? Let's start at the end!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The 2011 Anime Encyclopedia: H to M

It's your friendly encyclopedia businessman, here to do business with you again!

Thank you for the recent purchase of the first seven volumes of the 2011 Anime Encyclopedia set. From AnoHana to Gintama, I'm sure you enjoyed the content?

What? You don't recall making such a purchase? Well, of course you don't. The anime business has always been sneaky like that. One minute, you're at an anime convention. The next minute, you've bought the entire Full Metal Alchemist series, a set of cat ears, and a full-body dakimakura of Kyonko.

Look, you've already bought the first seven volumes, suckers...I mean, sirs! You might as well buy the next six! Don't make us call in Vinnie and the Weasel to help you locate your credit card.

Here's the entries from H to M, and thanks for your business!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The 2011 Anime Encyclopedia: A to G

Wikipedia has pretty much destroyed the encyclopedia. Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger killed it in the library with a letter opener and a plug.

That's not necessarily a form of praise of the web-based compilation, but I wouldn't say Wiki's completely useless. Look, Wikipedia's great for getting trivia and overall factoids about shows, events, and public figures, but such a conglomeration of dozens upon dozens of edits and reviews will be bound to get things wrong. The days of going to a library and leafing through volumes of time-weathered information are over, and the costs of printing outweigh the benefits of digitizing everything.

But if I were to create an encyclopedia for my favorite things—namely anime, natch—I'd have to build from each letter organically. I'd likely grow my entries for each year, assigning one essential title for each letter, then building around them with other terms. While it would be easier to do it using Japanese kana, using the English alphabet is always a fun challenge. Good luck with the entries for L, Q, X or V!

So I challenge fans to construct their own listings for 2011, focusing on one entry for each letter of the alphabet. I present my own 2011 Anime Encyclopedia, complete with my favorite shows, actors, groups, songs, and random terminology from the past year. It's pretty easy to do, really. Just get a listing of the past year's shows from Wik...


Monday, January 2, 2012

Year in Review: The 12 Returns of Christmas

Happy New Year, folks! I just came back from the first line of Christmas present returns—that "P90X Workout" package was a horrible idea—but unfortunately I will never ever have the receipts required to get back the precious time I wasted on a bunch of anime shows the past year. I suppose it's blood payment for attempting to brave the elements and watch shows that were as bad as Yosuga no Sora, Asobi ni Ikuyo!, and KissxSis. Hopefully you all won't make the same mistakes I made with these 12 Shows A-Sucking.