Best Anime Of 2010

And finally, it has come the time to talk about animation. Well, to be more precise, Japanese animation… yeah; anime. All this while that I have been gathering information and writing notes about my favorite anime this year, I have been thinking how tough it is to decide which will be number one. My biggest question so far is: what should I base my decision on?

If a new anime fan wants to know which are the best anime out there, all its needed is a google search and you will get tons of Blogs that feature top 10-100 anime lists. Its not surprising, since all hardcore fans are eager to share their opinion on what they consider to be the very best. What is surprising, is the fact that nine out of ten of these “top anime list” coincide with their first three spots; Naruto, Bleach, One Piece. Sad, since these three anime -although great in their own way- are most likely not the best three anime of all times. Hold on! I’m not going to say Cowboy Bebop is the number one, my opinion in this case should be as impartial as it can be… I’ll try my best.

The problem with most anime top lists is that it is largely based on viewership, which it might sound just like the right way to go about it, but when considering that nearly all greatest anime do not cater to the common anime viewer, you have to reanalyze your choices.

Do we rank a story based on its plot, soundtrack, character development, style of animation, etc? Or do we just simply do it based on our personal opinion? When making your list, you will definitely only mention those anime you have seen and consequently liked, wanting to make a point on why those anime are the best of the best, which defeats the purpose of giving an impartial and honest opinion on if those anime are or are not indeed the best. For example, I have never watched Ghost In The Shell. This anime will never be on my list of top anime of all times. It is, however, on the list of many other people and I respect that. I’m not entirely biased to say Ghost In The Shell is not an awesome anime, I just don’t care for it. I’m not very interested in cyberpunk, only anime I love which falls under the science fiction genre is Ergo Proxy. The same goes for Akira. The animated film Akira is one of the most recognized of all times, and this is not my personal opinion. It was the door for many on becoming hardcore anime fans. And I believe, it will continue to inspire many anime artists. For me, Akira means nothing. I have seen it twice (a “second chance” kinda thing), and I can tell you with complete honesty it is one anime I have no interest in, I don’t even recommend it to others because I don’t think much of it myself. Not that I don’t think it’s a good story, and with one of the greatest main characters in anime history… but really, not my cup of tea.

So, how should I rank an anime in a way that it is neither pressure nor personal opinion influencing my decisions? I think it is almost impossible. It could be done by a professional critic, but how much of it will be his personal opinion and how much will be impartial? Even for professionals, I think it is somewhat hard not to be biased by their own beliefs. After going over this repeatedly, I have decided I will stick to my own way of ranking. I always do it based on how much it managed to entertain me. After all, I am not a professional critic, nor am I writing for a magazine. I am, however, part of a more important critic, the FANS.

As an important critic, an anime lover, and an anime obsessive-compulsive-maniac-lunatic fan, I will now share my own personal top anime list of this year with links to the review and episodes for those interested. I will only comment on my number one since I thought the rankings makes it pretty clear on how much I liked it. Just that number one anime I can’t keep quite about.

Just a quick note before I start; Really, what is it about Naruto? Ninjas? Please…!

10- The World God Only Knows

9- Katanagatari

8- Arakawa Under The Bridge 2

7- Fairy Tale

6- Kaichou wa Maid-Sama

5- Otome Youkai Zakuro

4- Durarara!!

3- Kuragehime

2- Occult Academy

1- Psychic Detective Yakumo;  I was entertain completely. I love mystery, and this anime did not disappoint me in any aspect. The animation is good, the story plot is awesome, the characters are very well balanced. And its about a psychic detective, what more can I ask for? Nothing, its perfect.

Top Post, Bebopperal Inspiration

Back to the routine,

Bebopperal Inspiration was the post of the month for November. It might seem somewhat annoying that Bebop keeps popping up every month ever since that time I wrote about the soundtrack. Well, Cowboy Bebop is one of those series that has marked the history of television. It will forever be in every 10 best ANYTHING list.

Here is a link for those Cowboy Bebop lovers, to one of the most entertaining blogs for CBB alone. Its all about CBB.

And pictures… I love my Bebop crew! 🙂

We don’t like Julia here at Sine Cera so… no Julia pictures. Vicious is okay, he’s got his mysterious personality.


Grave of the Fireflies

I’m the type of person that likes to get overwhelmed with movies. I enjoy it, especially if I cry once or twice… Personally I think it is one of the best things that can ever happen to a person in the curse of his life; to allowed a story to touch his heart in such a way, it’s changed forever. These are not JUST pretty words, it’s true, this is the way I truly feel.

Last month I did something that goes against my own set of rules for this Blog -not that I have to schematically follow these “rules” but it’s important to have a plan and to stick with it. Sometimes, however, you must give room to unpredictability- I talked about a movie I have never seen before (You should know, I only post movies I have seen more than once, that is, movies I particularly own and so on), Requiem For a Dream. I repeat; I will never see it, never… never, I’ll never see this movie, never… I’ll never see this movie, I’ll never see this movie… never, I’m telling you,  never… never… I’ll never see it, never. Okay! I got that out of my chest, great. The reason why I won’t see it is because, it’s juts too sad. It will haunt me for a month, and literally make me sad to the point where I will be so gloomy, it will affect not just me but others around me. I’m sure about this, it has happened before. And the movie I attribute this wishy-washy outburst of praise and hate is; Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru No Haka).

Written and directed by Isao Takahata, Grave of the Fireflies was adapted from the semi-autobiographical novel by Akiyuki Nosaka. Set in World War II Japan, the story is a flashback narrated by Seita who is sitting on the floor of a train station, and follows the siblings as they struggle to survive after they become orphaned during the Kobe firebombing.

Seita and Setsuko (Seita’s little sister)  managed to survive the firebombing in their neighborhood, and travel to another city to live with an aunt. There, even though they have a roof to shelter themselves from cold and food, after a while, the aunt becomes a bully, complaining about how they don’t contribute with any money towards the food expenses nor do any labor around the house to help. She continues claiming they are not appreciative and that they have taken advantage of her welcoming them in her house. Seita decides to leave, and with Setsuko, together they go off to live in an abandoned shelter.

In the shelter Seita and Setsuko capture fireflies and use them as lantern at night, but later the fireflies die and Setusko is sadden. She cries as she buries them, wondering why they had to die, just like her mother. Here is where things start turning for the worse as Seita and Setsuko run out of supplies and while Seita is forced to acquire food by any means Setsuko stays at the shelter growing increasingly ill from malnutrition. After taking her to a doctor and not getting much help, Seita decides to use their last resource, the little bit of money their mother had left them. He withdraws all the money from the bank, and buys food, and a watermelon for his little sister. When Seita returns to the abandoned shelter, he finds a dying Setsuko, hallucinating. He cremates Setsuko with help of a farmer, and then leaves carrying some of his little sister’s ashes on a tint and a picture of his father who died in the war. The flashback ends and the story goes back to the boy we first see at the beginning of the movie; Seita, dying on the floor of a train station. Out of the tint comes his and Setsuko’s spirit, clean and well dressed; this is the last image we have of them.

I don’t want to get into the interpretation of the title nor the film in its entirety because I just can’t help but be sad… and get sadder. For a long time I thought it was a fictional story, but as it turns out, it is a semi-autobiography of the author and his little sister who died of malnutrition during 1945. The author wrote the story in a way to apologise to his sister, as he blames himself for her death, and also to come to terms with it. I find this to be one of the most beautiful gestures. Tonight I have managed to finally write about this movie, and express (even if a little suppressed) my feelings for it in a way other than crying.

The film received positive critique. It was even compared to Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. truthfully, this story is one of the most powerful stories I have come across. If you decide to watch it (mind you, the film is extraordinary) I suggest you stop by the store first and get yourself 10 boxes of tissue, and -forget the eye drops- a basin full of water. I find water to be very refreshing on my eyes after I have been crying for hours.

Kimi, Meguru Boku

I recently finished watching the Korean version of Itazura na Kiss. Despite what most people say about it, I thought it was lovely. The reason why I post about it? Because it’s from a manga first made into a drama, then an anime, then a drama once again… or is it the other way around? Okay as far as I know it was a manga by Kauro Tada, sadly the author died in 1999 and the manga wasn’t quite finished. Nevertheless it became so popular that a drama followed the manga, and then there was the anime in 2008. The theme song for the anime is one of my favorite songs right now, “Kimi, Meguru Boku”… and main reason for this post. 🙂 There, I have explain fully.

Details?; Itazura na Kiss is about a girl (Kotoko) who has a huge crush on the handsome-perfect-genius Naoki. One day she finally decides to confess her feelings by writing him a love letter, only to be rejected and made a fool -in public… Gosh! I hated him- by Naoki, he tells her he dislikes stupid girls. True, Kotoko is not the smartest girl around, but her luck -although a little twisted- compensates for that. A minor earthquake destroys her house, and while is rebuilt, she and her father have to live with her father’s best-friend who has two sons, the eldest happens to be Kotoko’s senior at school… yep! Insufferable Naoki. You can only imagine all sorts of  hilarious incidents start happening from there on.

While watching the latest version (the Korean drama Mischievous Kiss) I went back and re-watched the anime to refresh my memory. I had forgotten what lovely theme song it has. What can I say? I have been listening to the song almost everyday now. Yep!! I am way hooked on this one. And I thought “Kiri” was the only anime theme song that would obsess me… The song is by Motohiro Hata, and it was the first to reach the top 20 hit -form the artist, I mean.

I think this song opened his doors. It’s very refreshing and adorable, it makes you want to smile all the way.

Here is the song with video;

Lyrics in Romaji (couldn’t find it in English)

Kimi, Meguru Boku.

Deai to sayonara kaze no naka de hashagu haru no hi ni wa
PASTERU KARAA mo odori dasu yo sa monogatari ga hajimaru

Sugusama boku wa kimi no moto e tobidashite iku no sa
Matteite yo hanayagu machi o ima kakenukete iru

Itazura ni karamaru unmei bokura zutto sagashitetanda
soshite ima futari de aeta kitto guuzen nanka ja nai
Kono mama soba ni ite hoshii

Usubeni iro mai chiru kimi no hoo o somete ikutabi mo meguru
Kimi ga suki da yo tokimeku MERODI ga umare te kuru kara

Tawamure ni hana mo saku kisetsu ni bokura mada tsubomi no mama de
Dakedo ima shinjite iru no kimi o shin de mo hanasa nai
Fukiareru arashi ni mo make nai

Futari umareru sono mae kara
kou naru koto wa kimatte ita no

Itazura ni karamaru unmei bokura zutto sagashi te ta n da
Soshite ima futari de aeta kitto guuzen nanka ja nai

Itsu made mo soba ni ite hoshii

Bebopperal Inspiration

Today I’m sick. I have the flu and as always it is a surprise since I don’t get sick very often, not even every year. I’m in bed, resting, or something like it. God! its boring for someone like me who likes to be up doing anything -although I must confess right now, that which I call “anything” has never to do with hard work; yep I’m lazy. I was trying to find a good anime to watch since I have been out of anime to watch, I have probably seen all of them (the ones that came out this year that is). Instead of finding a good anime, I ended up watching clips of Cowboy Bebop on youtube. (SIGH) Man this anime is incredible! I found myself lost in all that bebopperal (this word I made up a long time ago. Its meaning I can’t quite describe since it has to do with my feelings for Bebop. Its like a proxy between us two)

I want to share some clips of my number 1 anime of all times. I’m pretty sure it is number 1 for more than a few people out there. Enjoy;

(bell peppers and beef… NOT)

(the last few ending scenes… I hate Julia)

Someone had commented that in the end nobody got closure; that they all ended miserable. False and true. Everybody got closure, it was just too miserable a reality.

I think the end of Cowboy Bebop is as real as you are going to get it on an action anime, where the hero never dies because its not a drama but an action anime. In this particular anime, Spike had to die to end all that bitterness that was so overpowering. I mean, Spike was piratically living to find closure to his sad past. He did not want to care about anything else. Although he did came to care for others, I think he could not ignore his past as it was always coming back to him. It had been his only purpose for a long time and just because the crew happened to tag along he wasn’t going to let go of his main goal, to end everything between him and Vicious. You see, Spike is not a hero, he is what is called anti-hero. Spike was a bitter man, and believed he deserved nothing else but to carry the burden of his past. At the end, he told Faye he was not going there to die, but to live. That answers the question why he had to die. He needed to die as the Spike he was, a bitter lonely man. As he was, he was no good for the crew; that was his belief, and the reason why he is such an amazing character. Hes got flaws. That is the way he is, that is what made him so mysterious and appealing, and that is real. That is one reason why we like Cowboy Bebop so much.

Oh! How I miss the crew. Here is a drawing a did of Spike a long time ago. I wanted to draw him more realistic looking, and it came out something like this:

And here is a new drawing of him I just did right now on my skecth-book, which is why the hair is cut, hehe.;

Well, now I’m left with all the Bebopperal inspiration. I will use it to draw more of that character I have been working on, I will post once I’m done with it.