The "Madhouse Gambling Quadrilogy" (January 2011, February 2011, September 2011)
Like I said at the end of my Akagi review, if Ring ni Kakero 1 is my #1 most-wanted North American anime license then the "Madhouse Gambling Quadrilogy" is my #2, #3, & #4 (literally, it's Akagi, Kaiji [both seasons], then One Outs). If Ring ni Kakero 1, in my mind, represents anime at some of its most fun & concentrated, then the Gambling Quadrilogy represents anime at some of its most dramatic & psychological. Nobuyuki Fukumoto's general style is simply masterful in its ability to take seemingly simple games and making them outright evil in their execution, & Shinobu Kaitani was able to take baseball and twist & turn it into something that makes you wonder if that's what actual baseball games are like. Akagi's characters & dark demeanor help make the title more approachable to people who don't know anything about traditional mahjong, Kaiji is probably the only title I've seen that makes rock-paper-scissors look demonically manipulative, & One Outs actually made me care about baseball for once. If you haven't seen any of these shows then you are truly missing out, and if you've only seen some of these shows then definitely get to the others, because you're still missing out.
Super Robot Wars Compact 3 (February 10, 2011)
I remember a time when I didn't know about SRW... And then my friend decided to check out Alpha 2 on the PS2, simply because GaoGaiGar was in it. Needless to say I haven't turned back since then, and Compact 3 is probably an entry that both represents SRW at its most ideal yet also at its most repressive. First off, SRW's ideal is to celebrate mech anime, as well as give titles that have been forgotten a chance to shine, so having titles like Acrobunch, Betterman, Escaflowne, & Mechander Robo in a SRW is a great showing of that ideal... On the other hand, they are pretty obscure titles in Japan, and having their sole SRW appearance be on a handheld that was effectively on its deathbed at the time of its release (i.e. the Wonderswan Color/SwanCrystal in the year 2003) didn't really help give those titles a big chance to shine. Also, it was definitely one of the tougher recent entries in SRW, with Shura grunts having a fair amount of power to them, accuracy rates definitely not feeling like they were, well, accurate, and smaller HP counts in general. Still, if you want to go off the beaten path in terms of SRW, and if you absolutely loved seeing Folka in OG Gaiden on PS2, then I say go ahead and check out Compact 3, though you'll need an emulator to really play it... Unless you want to pay $200+ for the cartridge, plus whatever a Swan Color/Crystal goes for online.
Also, the chances of this game getting remade, ala Impact & A Portable? Really small, unless Banpresto decides to toss in Acrobunch, Escaflowne, Betterman, Mechander Robo, & Dunbine (both TV & OVA) into SRW Z3, not to mention Victory Gundam, Daltanious, & Megazone 23 if they want to remake SRW D. I'm just being realistic here, though that line-up does sound awesome.
Team Astro (June 3, 2011)
You think Ring ni Kakero 1 is over-the-top? You think Prince of Tennis is ridiculous? You think Inazuma Eleven is ridonculous? Well then, my readers, you don't know anything! Before any of these titles were doing any of their crazy happenings, Team Astro was filling up the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump back in the mid-70s with stuff that, upon viewing, will turn your hair white... And then your hair will fall out before growing back due to the MANliness you've just seen! There were plans to make Team Astro into an anime TV series back in 1992, but that never happened due to a lack of interest. Instead, TV Asahi teamed with Production I.G. in 2005 to make a short animation to help promote the station's baseball games, which then resulted in a full-out TV J-Drama adaptation of the manga, though an entire game & some other scenes were taken out so that the story could be told in nine 45-minute episodes. And who better to lead this team of insanely over-the-top, ready-to-die, baseball-playing superhumans than Sonny Chiba himself! And, seemingly in the "beating all of the odds" spirit of the title itself, this J-Drama can actually be watched legally via streaming with English subtitles! Just go to DramaFever.com, and check this show out, because it is awesome. Really, there is nothing that can really hurt your enjoyment in watching this show...
Except for really rough subtitles that can't even get the names of any of the characters, outside of J. Shuro and a couple of others, correct. Well, to DramaFever's credit, the subs are still fully understandable to the point where you can still understand everything that's going on, so don't let rough subs keep you from watching an awesomely insane show. Yes, I purposefully put "insane" second, because that's what this show is.
Twelve Older Animes that Deserve License Rescues 1 & 2 (January 2011 & June 2011)
They were the first two "Twelve Animes" lists I ever did, and they are still my favorites out of them all. Plus, as evidenced by the pictures above, these two lists actually feature titles that have since been licensed rescued, mostly by Discotek... Are they fans of this blog or something? Literally, ever since these two lists went up Tekkaman Blade II, New Hurricane Polymar, Casshern: Robot Hunter Casshan, Mad Bull 34, & the Space Adventure Cobra movie have all been licensed and are either out by now or are coming out soon. Plus, if you want you could also include Saint Seiya in there, since Discotek is also doing the four movies from the 80s, which means that the TV series being rescued is a possibility. Also, New Video Group is doing the original Digimon anime series, dub-only, with Adventure already out & Adventure 02 on the way. Yeah, out of 24 entries that's only six being rescued, seven if you count Seiya, but for a blog that's all about the obscure and has (what I'm guessing is) very minimal anime fandom penetration I'm shocked that even that much has been fulfilled, let alone so many from a single company.
Now, Discotek, where are the license rescues for B't X, Dancougar, both Eat-Man animes, & Robot Carnival? Hey, Nozomi, where's the return of Maison Ikkoku? And is it truly silly to hope that Dangaioh can one day get just one good DVD release?
Gundoh Musashi (December 1, 2011)
Gundoh Musashi is a show that I hate for all of its missed & dropped potential, nightmare fuel that the horribly drawn faces sometimes brought into my eyes, & that ear-aching "song" of a first opening. At the same time, though, Gundoh Musashi is absolutely hilarious in all of its visual "glory"; the horrible animation, the photo-backgrounds, the mistimed audio, that one time voices came out of the wrong mouths (twice... in the same shot), Musashi dodging a tree that wasn't actually drawn into the scene, and that absolutely silly second opening theme, among many, many other moments of comically-bad gold. Then there's the fact that Japan never got the entire show on DVD, even though the 8-episode "TV version" set that was released was apparently a best-seller, while Europe got the entire show on DVD... With subs in three different languages (why not English, Kazé France?!) and a complete collection re-release. I don't care if this show is, technically, one of the worst anime out there... This show needs a R1 DVD release badly, complete with a "dub" that is actually a MST3K-style rifftrack; I think that Japanese would be fine with it just this once. This review is, from what I can tell, the longest one I've ever done so far, but it's still something that has to be seen to be believed.
Oh, yeah, remember that first opening theme? Well, now it's stuck in my head... And if I'm going down then you're going down with me!
|... I... Well... I did use this picture on the anniversary post.|
The Land of Obscusion Turns One Year Old Today! (December 1, 2011)
Finishing off this list is a personal one above all of them, and it's the 1st anniversary post! Really, going from doing YouTube videos for a year to making a blog was a little bit of a change in how I did reviews, but I only think that I have improved in my writing skills by doing this blog, and reaching one year really made me feel like I just had to keep on going, and now this blog is starting its third year. Looking back at what I did in that first year to compile the useless lists I put up in that first anniversary post was fun for me, because it showed me just how much I had talked about in that first year, and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon, because that rare metals mine, as I compared this blog to, is deep and there's still plenty to dig through. Sure, we'll hit the underwhelming titles here and there, as well as outright bad titles, but I'm still making it my goal to talk about as many obscure, forgotten, and unknown animes as I can... And the fact that my readership has generally been doing nothing but going up (last month I was close to 1,900 views in one month), even if it's in small increments, means that I must be doing something right. I might be small in terms of anime blogs... But I've always been of the mind of "quality" over "quantity" (well, except for those first two months), and I think that's what counts in the end.
And that ends this look at my favorite posts of those first thirteen months of this blog's existence. I did do a lot that I had wanted to do in that first year, but I can guarantee that I always have plenty of titles that I plan on checking out, or re-watching, and reviewing so don't think I'm anywhere near done. I mean, come on, I still have titles like Salaryaman Kintaro, Zipang, RAINBOW, Showa Monogatari, Sci-fi HARRY, California Crisis, Bartender, and plenty of others to watch & review... Not that any of those will be coming up next or anytime soon, though; I'm just admitting that they're all on my list of titles to review one day. Now to finish cutting down the favorite posts list for this year down to 12, since I'm still at 27 on my list, not to mention that any reviews I do between now and the 2012 favorites list at the end of year will also be eligible.
Oh, what fun.