12 Days of Anime #2 – Nine Great Anime Related Moments from 2013

Tomorrow I’m going to post the anime moment that had left the deepest impression upon me this past year. I’ve already written of 10 moments, but here are nine more moments that I thought merited a paragraph each, of an exciting, impactful or “other” moment in my anime-related life from the past year. Why nine? Because tomorrow is the tenth, the big one (Order of following moments is arbitrary).
Moments will be included for: Sword Art Online, Samurai Champloo, Oreimo, Little Witch Academia, Suisei no Gargantia, Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, Valvrave the Liberator, ToraDora!, and Kyoukai no Kanata.

Studio Trigger's Little Witch Academia Episode 1

This sense of wonder, isn’t this why we’re here?

1. Little Witch Academia – A Simple Joy: This had been 20 minutes, and, well, just like the previous moment, it filled me with inexpiable joy. I felt like the character had in the opening sequence, I felt like I did when I’ve been taken to the cinema to watch Disney films as a child. There’s nothing extraordinary going on here, but as an experience? It struck me to the core, and I’ve rewatched it several times since. It’s not simply childish, it made me feel like a child, a much worthier feat. Every time I rewatch it, I get more excited, this is probably my #2 moment of the year.

2. Sword Art Online Light Novels – Emotional Manipulation, Sci-fi Moments, and Disappointment: After how much I’ve been affected by SAO last year, this year I’ve read the light novels, all of them. The next two stories not covered in the anime are quite heavy-handed in their emotional manipulation, but they worked, I might be turning into a sap, but it is what it is.
It only took him 12 novels, but the author is finally showing real signs of a science-fiction story/considerations appearing in his books. Sadly, it is marred almost immediately by resorting to the same cheap tricks to create a caricature of villains, as he had done with Sugou in the Alfheim Online. There are better ways to create villains than caricatures.

Studio Trigger's Little Witch Academia Episode 1

For that wide-eyed wonderment,

3. Samurai Champloo’s Finale – A Head Scratching Moment: When Samurai Champloo ended, it had just made me go “Huh?!” – It felt like a non-sequitur, like a non-ending, that doesn’t resolve anything. But after thinking about it some more, I thought it fit the show perfectly. The content of the show, the episodic nature of the show, and the message. It was a great moment, and that I actually had to pause and think for a few minutes about it made it even more worthwhile.

4. OreImo S2 – Eagerly Awaiting New Episodes: I really liked OreImo’s first season, and I’ve actually really enjoyed the 2nd season as well, once we got past the first couple of episodes. As each episode ended, I’d blink, look at the time, and be surprised that it was already over. I would eagerly await each new episode, giddy and excited about what it would bring. I felt like a small child on the night before his birthday (we don’t have Christmas here :P).

Studio Trigger's Little Witch Academia Episode 1

For someone being a bad-ass in mid-air,

5. Suisei no Gargantia’s Finale – A Hollywood Ending: I quite liked Gargantia, but as others watched the fireworks of the finale with joy, I watched those fireworks as the aftereffects of the show blowing up. How fitting that I liken this show’s ending to a Michael Bay film, where the explosion and the spectacle overtake everything else. Chamber gets to be ultra-cool (no sarcasm), but that comes at the cost of the show’s messages and his previous personality. Everything is just too excited and too unlike the show up to that point. The ending was just so Hollywood, in the worst meaning of the word. “AMORE!” shouted the pirate, in a very affected manner, and I facepalmed.

6. Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (My Little Monster) – Great First Episode: This show’s first episode had my mouth agape. I like romantic comedies, though in anime they often fail me even more than they do in Hollywood films. This first episode was glorious, with both character confessing, accepting, and embracing their relationship. It was even quite funny. Too bad that they then regressed to usual RomCom beating around the bush. I still wish someone would recreate the show from the 2nd episode onward, and show us a relationship.

Studio Trigger's Little Witch Academia Episode 1

and for the comedic timing and precious expressions.

7. Valvrave the Liberator Episode 10 – Ugh: That episode, with the “consensual rape”, which I actually wrote a full post about (and how vampires are about invasion), I felt bad after watching the episode, and yes, it came out of nowhere, though in retrospect you can see how the show was building up its themes (which we took as “just being anime”, talk about a call to revisit our medium’s tropes and values), and going online to see how people discussed the episode, on twitter, reddit and elsewhere filled me with great despair.

8. ToraDora! – The Great RomCom That Wasn’t: A few years ago I tried to watch ToraDora by marathoning it and had to give up early. This year I paced myself until episode 12 or so from which I’ve marathoned the show. I think this is the single greatest anime RomCom I’ve watched to date, and it’s not actally a RomCom – it’s a drama, it’s about human nature and pain. Though like most RomComs the ending is as we expect it, the characters’ emotions and actions strike much harder, and even took me by surprise a time or two. A very worthwhile watch, even if the early episodes can be hard to slog through, especially if you’ve tired of tsunderes starring Kugimiya Rie, anime-isms, or silly RomComs. Stick through it, you guys.

Studio Trigger's Little Witch Academia Episode 1

And although all things must end, they may as well do it with a bang.

9. Kyoukai no Kanata (Beyond the Boundary) Episode 6 – A Studio, Freed!: This show ended recently, and had many issues. Most of the show’s issues could be boiled down to Kyoto Animation not getting to make the animation they wanted and are good at, a light animation focusing on humor and character interaction, and as such they took a dark fantasy romance and spliced it with their type of show, resulting in what is a pretty weak show on either front. Well, not episode 6! Episode 6 was completely unrelated to the rest of the show and felt like an OVA, but I usually judge OVAs by how “fun” they are, and this episode was a lot of fun. We’ve had the cast acting as if they’re idols, singing, a training montage, non-stop comedy, and no serious moments. It was the most fun I’ve had with the show, and it drove home exactly why the rest of the show suffered, by being so good. But at least it’s a pleasant memory from the show :)

So, dear readers, I guess the question here should be obvious – any moments that stuck out in your memory from the last year, from anime or other media, that you’d like to share?

8 comments on “12 Days of Anime #2 – Nine Great Anime Related Moments from 2013

  1. Shingeki no Kyojin Episode 8

    “What? A Shingeki moment?” you ask. But yes. The ending to this episode is one of the strongest of the entire year for me personally. Mikasa’s complete emotional breakdown upon discovering that Eren is indeed alive is just so powerful, and done beautifully. I was eager to see how she would react to the news of his death, expecting her facade to crack at that moment, but instead she bore it stone-faced. However, hearing his heartbeat broke down her emotional wall and it became a moment simultaneously lamenting his death and celebrating his life. It’s those types of cathartic emotional beats that I’m always looking for, and this one sure as hell delivered.

  2. Aeternix says:

    I would say the anime moment that had the most effect on me this year has to be not actually a moment in an anime, but rather the moment of watching an anime. A few of my friends and I were lucky enough to get to a theater to watch the new Madoka Magica movie. The experience, to be free from spoilers, was amazing. Seeing the movie in the theater was something that I never thought I’d ever do with an anime. I guess this just adds to my whole discovery of the community and the connection we all have. The theater was filled (in a city that really has a small population too!) with people eager to watch and discuss the movie (which we all did in great detail after). Overall, that has to be my top anime moment of the year. An experience that really opened my eyes to the community at large.

    • Yeah, I also watched Rebellion Story in the theater, which was my first such anime experience, and had a blast.

    • Guy says:

      The first and only time I’ve watched an anime film in the “cinema” had been back in 1998 I believe, when I had my grandfather take me and two of my cousins to the only cinema in my country that had aired Princess Mononoke. There was no break, and the sound had been a tad too loud – which in retrospect I think is perfect considering how engrossed it made us in the movie, but yeah, I’ve been rapt. Princess Mononoke is still one of my top three all time favourite films, anime or otherwise.

      I put it as “cinema” above because at various sci-fi/fantasy conventions, I’ve watched numerous anime films, including earlier than 1998, Ghost in the Shell and Ninja Scroll early, but most of the Studio Ghibli films over the years, and plenty of others besides.

      Also, I definitely hear you about watching a movie with “people like you”, who come there to celebrate something you all like together, and are game for discussing and just being excited about it together. It’s also a good way to have good discussions, often without a bunch of the nonsense and lack of immediacy the internet brings into such discussions. The very first post on this blog for instance, is a Watchmen movie review, after I’ve attended an early screening for comic-book readers. Such stuff was glorious :3

  3. This week also featured a moment that skyrocketed to my top anime moments of the year, but I will keep it vague since Guy hasn’t seen Arpeggio of Blue Steel yet – the final episode featured an emotional climax that was the payoff to my favorite character arc of that show. That show in general was such a pleasant surprise, and it really nailed the finale, which is so rare. I said recently that I usually enjoy the penultimate episode better than the finale, but in this case they really worked well together and ended the show on a great not. I really hope they make another season because it would be a shame to bid this world goodbye for good.

    • Guy says:

      I’m not sure I will watch this show, we’ll see what people think of it in a few months, when I look back for something to watch (not like my “plan to watch” pile isn’t nearing 200 shows…), but I also find your taste suspect, for how much you thought episodes 10-11 of Kyoukai no Kanata to have worked for you :P

      More seriously, I’ll keep it in mind, but also wait to see what others make of this show before committing to it. But yeah, it’s always good when shows don’t fumble their endings, I’m way too used for it happening.

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