Sports have never been my forte either in real life or in my viewing preferences, but I do tend to have one or two a year that I end up enjoying. That’s how I’ve found some favorites like the baseball anime Cross Game. This year, however, there was a torrential downpour of sports anime. I ended up watching much more than I have ever before within a year. Below are my choices, some of which are still airing.
There aren’t too many CG shows that are able to fight their way to the top of a given season, but Sidonia no Kishi had a fabulous setting and story to push it into the limelight this past spring. Sure, the vast majority of characters were exact templates of one another and I sometimes couldn’t tell the difference between one girl from another, but the original concept of the main character and his world held me enthralled. I’m reminded greatly of one of my favorite sci-fi television shows, Battlestar Galactica. Like in Sidonia, theirs is an existence shaped by alien invasion and the last resort for survival. They float boundless through achingly beautiful, yet cold, stars, constantly on the lookout for hostile encounters and natural resources for harvesting. As terrifying and abnormal as such a life may sound, their many years in space have given them the time to adjust to their new reality.
The truth is that if you’ve seen this past summer’s Aldnoah.Zero, you likely know exactly to what my title refers. The show had several surprises up its sleeve through its run, but nothing beat the finale in shock factor. The outcry that came pouring out after this episode aired clogged my online feeds and resulted in one of the longest discussions I’ve had about a single anime episode with KWoo. Neither one of us expected what happened, particularly with the way the protagonist stood on a pedestal for the majority of the series.
Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka? triumphs over the entirety of the year on cuteness, hands down. Young girls in gloriously frilly uniforms serve up drinks with latte art of submarines and tanks. Classmates who get drunk on caffeine and waitresses with exotic naming conventions for food and drinks live just around the corner. The rabbit cafe also doubles as a bar in the evening, staffed by a kindly older father and an overly fluffy “rabbit” grandfather that looks more like a basketball wrapped in sheep’s wool than anything else. It’s a haven for aromas, sights, and taste buds, and a place I could imagine making my regular morning stop on the way to work.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to my readers that Mushi-shi would make it to my top twelve for the year, being as the original still stands over the past eight years as a show I consider to be among the best, even including other visual mediums. The timeless emotions that well up upon watching the familiar and the alien intermingling with one another never completely melt away. They seep into your eyes; they push through the tiniest of crevices and become one with your consciousness. When the second season started in the spring, it was if the long break never happened. It’s almost a miracle how the years fall away upon that first episode of Zoku Shou and you are again with the mushi-shi, as if just waking from a long sleep.
Simple, sweet, and straight to the heart, Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha was a delightful addition to my winter season. I visited Japan shortly after watching this show and actually walked up the shrine on which the setting is based. There was certainly plenty of advertisement connecting the show to the site: several of the confectionery shops leading up to the grounds were packaged with the anime’s logo, and at the main entrance stood a cardboard cutout of the goddess for posing. I of course obliged and snapped a shot with her.
The tunnel of red gates just past the main gate and shrine creates a feeling of otherworldly-ness, like you’re being beckoned up a path to a different dimension. You don’t know if popping out on the other side whether or not you’ll be the same as when you entered at the start. Since I had already seen the anime before visiting the shrine, I half expected my ascent to result in a woosh of blue foxfire and an audience with Uka-sama herself. I imagined while at Fushimi Inari Taisha that my awe and excitement were delightfully watched by the unseen goddess and her familiars.
For the first time in Anime B&B’s history, I am taking part in the seasonal 12 Days of Anime. For this event, I will be taking the more traditional approach of choosing 12 different anime (sort of…) that aired during the year of 2014 that positively stood out to me. This will obviously be a huge test for this blog, since the average posting rate is usually 1-2 times a month. For this project, I’ll be [hopefully] publishing a post a day until Christmas, so stay tuned for my twelve most memorable moments in anime for the year.
I’ve been dry up on dramas lately with the flood of decent anime for the past few seasons. But finally, I have spotted a couple that are intriguing enough to wedge themselves into my weekly line-up. One is a sequel to an old favorite of mine that takes place in a public prosecutor’s office. The other is a live action of a manga about an antique bookstore. I like my television shows like I like my dinner table: covered with many different foods of varying sizes and spices. Fortunately for those of you interested, both are available on Crunchyroll: Hero 2 and Antiquarian Bookshop Biblia’s Case Files.
Christian anime blog, Beneath the Tangles, asked me to appear as a guest on their podcast. Please listen and share your thoughts!
Originally posted on :
For our fourth episode, we are excited to have Marina, from Anime B&B, as our guest with Charles, our editor-in-chief here at Beneath the Tangles, as co-host. This month, we talk about the profound impact that anime has had upon our lives, as expressed in one of Marina’s articles.
Feel free to stream the episode below, subscribe on iTunes, or check out our RSS feed!
Also, be sure to email us with any questions you would like included in our “Listener Mail” portion, including the name you would like stated in the podcast and your website or blog for us to share!
Time Stamps: Intro – 0:00
Announcements – 8:32
Otaku Diet – 13:19
What We’ve Been Thankful For – 25:09 Current Article/Discussion – 33:14 Listener Mail – 1:02:24 Closer – 1:11:50
There’s a distinct lack of Ghibli’s TV series, Sanzoku no Musume Ronja, on my Feedly and Twitter, which is a shame given its charm. Watching this show feels like a step into my childhood, with memories of tales like the series Pippi Longstocking (no surprise, since the writer is the same), several of Roald Dahl’s books, Charlotte’s Web, and the Chronicles of Prydain with its European-inspired setting. The original story of Ronia the Robber’s Daughter comes from Swedish writer, Astrid Lindgren, and takes place in a magical time in a forest populated by spiteful harpies, baneful dwarves, playful will-o’-wisps, and jolly thieves. Ghibli is the perfect vessel for a story like Ronja’s, and would have likely made a beautifully drawn film with music orchestrated by the esteemed Joe Hisaishi or Cecile Corbel. Instead, it is the first of the studio’s TV series–and I dearly hope it isn’t the last.