Now, in time before the end of the year, here's part of of my favorite posts of this year! Let's not waste time and just get right into it.
Rokudenashi BLUES 1993 (July 29)
It's a production like this that really makes me wish that a full-on TV series was made. Rokudenashi BLUES is one of the best yankii/delinquent manga you can read, but when it comes to anime it's a very niche genre with little to none TV anime series made around this idea of a certain type of schoolkid (Hareluya II BØY is pretty much the closest one can get to an actual delinquent TV anime). Even though I have not been able to watch the first movie yet, which is a 30-minute adaptation of the beginning of the manga, after reading the story arc that this specific movie adapts I just had to see how the 1993 movie sequel worked out. In the end, even though some elements of the story were altered to work with the 90-minute time restraint, Rokudenashi BLUES 1993 is an excellent movie, and I wish it had English subtitles of any sort... Hell, I wish it had a DVD in general, because even in Japan both Rokudenashi movies are VHS-only. The funny thing is that there was a live-action J-Drama adaptation that aired last year, yet Toei never thought about releasing its anime movies on DVD & use that recent promotion to help it sell. Still, there is an okay raw out there that has only minor issues, so if you're willing to watch anime raw then by all means check this movie out!
Anime Midstream Surprises with Big News! Raijin-Oh to go Sub-Only! (June 3)
There were two instances in making posts for this blog where I originally planned something shorter than what it became. The first was my post about the history of Illumitoon Entertainment, which was originally going to be simply me mentioning how Illumitoon's website wasn't working anymore, and the second one was this post about Anime Midstream. Originally, this post was just going to be about the news of Raijin-Oh Volume 4 & 5's releases (it's no surprise, though, that Volume 5 didn't come out this year like planned) as well as the news that the company was moving to Dallas, Texas. What ended up being made was my own personal feelings on how the company works, combined with my guesses as to why the company releases Matchless Raijin-Oh so slowly and what the move to Dallas could probably do for the company. I commended them for their ability to, somehow, survive in this industry on a single title with an amateur, though enjoyable, English dub. I thought it was a nice little post, but what happened after this post went up just made me like it even more. A few weeks after this post went up I received a surprise e-mail from Jimmy Taylor, head-honcho of Anime Midstream! Here is what he said:
I got a chance to read your blog during my downtime and I wanted to say thank you for the things you said. We will continue to do our best and hopefully have more releases for you to watch! We are keeping at it! ^_^
Considering that this is such a no-name blog among the multitude of anime blogs out there, I found this response to be very kind & I once again thank you for the kind words, Mr. Taylor. I say "again" because I did send a reply to Taylor after getting this e-mail... Which quickly devolved into a license request for Ring ni Kakero 1 (hey, can't blame a guy for trying when he has the chance, right?). Still, I once again tip my (empty) glass to you, Anime Midstream... Now when is Volume 5 coming out?
Kochikame the Movie 2: UFO Shuurai! Tornado Daisakusen!! (October 3)
Much like B't X Neo in Part 1, I had wanted to include Kochikame the Movie in the 2010/2011 list, but when you get down to it the second movie is simply the better title to talk about. Kochikame the Movie 2 has better comedy, better action, a better story, and even better drama. Ryo-san is just as entertaining as ever, but you even get to understand and like the movie original characters, not to mention the fact that this movie also uses the rest of the Katsushika Police in a way that lets them shine in their own ways, instead of being simply there for appearance's sake. If there is ever any chance for the Kochikame anime to come over, it would be the movies, because they work really well as an introduction into the series and they are also enjoyable & funny productions in their own right. At the very least, there is now a raw out there for Movie 2, so it's become slightly more accessible to anime fans... Of course, you still have to be willing to watch anime raw, but at the very least Kochikame utilizes a lot of visual humor that is understandable to people of all languages.
Crystal Triangle (September 18)
I guess you could say that this is my Gundoh Musashi equivalent for this favorites list. I went into this movie expecting a silly & stupid adventure movie... But I was not prepared for the absolute insanity that this movie contains. I've covered so much in my review, but there is some more that I could have added, because almost every scene has something crazy happening in it. It's an absolutely psychotic example of "random dart tossing" plot construction, and by no means is this a "good" movie... But I will be lying if I said that you should not check this production out, because you should (right now). Like I said in the review, if Mad Bull 34 is "so bad it's good" that it's considered worthy of a license rescue, then by all means, Discotek, please rescue Crystal Triangle!
Theory Musing: The Three Pillars of Sports (Boxing) Anime & Manga (October 31)
Admittedly, one reason this blog exists is because I can use this space to talk about my own personal thoughts & ideas when it comes to anime & manga. While the whole "Theory Musing" thing might not ever be brought up in another post I was glad to be able to share an idea that's been stewing in my head for a while. I love history & I love finding out about titles that inspired others, so being able to identify the three manga (& anime, to an extent) that essentially shaped boxing manga as we see it now was a fun thing to try doing. Again, this is a theory, so I encourage people to not agree with it and to argue their own feelings about it, but when I really thought about it Ashita no Joe brought the character-based drama, Ring ni Kakero brought the crazy action, & Hajime no Ippo brought the career story. At least in terms of boxing titles, there was nothing really like each of these titles before them (though one could argue that Joe was an influence to Ippo, hence the word "theory"), and, personally, knowing/feeling this makes me enjoy all three of these titles all the more. Don't like this theory, though? Good for you, and please tell me why!
Saiyuki Reload -burial- (August 31)
Just like the last pick in the last list (the 1st Anniversary post), this final pick is a very personal one. For the past three months before this post, my father was attempting a recovery from a stroke he suffered this past May, and on August 31 his life came to an end; luckily for me, I was able to give him a final "goodbye" a few days earlier. In terms of the blog, I was in the middle of reviewing OVAs based on Kazuya Minekura's manga Saiyuki, and I only had the Reload -burial- OVA left to review. I had thought about holding off on watching & reviewing it, but I decided that I should press on and (re-)watch it... And I think it was the perfect thing to do, because a big part of this OVA is about moving on from your past (i.e. the "burial" in the title), and it was an excellent way for me to learn to move on with my life without my father, because this is a really hard thing to do for anyone that has had either a father or a father-figure in his/her life. To be honest, I'm actually trying to hold back some tears right now typing this.
But, to be honest, Saiyuki Reload -burial- deserves to be on this list on its own merit, because this is an amazingly good Saiyuki anime production. There is absolutely no feel of "filler" in it, and every story is told excellently. It's a great reminder that Saiyuki isn't simply something for females to read/watch solely for the bishonen character designs, because there is also good action for the guys, as well as excellent character development for everyone. I can only hope that Sentai's release of Saiyuki Gaiden next month is not only an equally-good title but also a good seller for the company, because I really want to be able to buy a localized release of Reload -burial-.
And that brings us to the end of my favorite posts of 2012! In some ways this year was even better than the previous one for the blog, even if there were some harder moments to get through, both personally & in relation to the blog. I think I have only improved in my abilities as a writer than when I started this blog, and here's hoping that 2013 will be just as good, if not better. And, to rev that engine, 2013 is going to start with something big. First up is another video game review, but then will come the main attraction: I'm going to, technically, look at 30 different titles! All of them based on the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump! That's right, next month is going to be Jump January!!
See you then!