I consumed more media this year than in any other year of my life, and most of the media is related to my anime and manga hobby. Given how the anime and manga I do consume are recommendations from friends and acquaintances who I either trust, or know me well enough to bet that I’ll enjoy the recommended work, I did enjoy most of what I watched and read. It’s been an awesome year in fact. I made this list to distinguish moments for shows and books that actually air and publish in 2009. That list will follow this one, and I will dedicate each post to a particular moment. I do feel that I would be remiss if I don’t make this particular list, given the volume and awesomeness that I plowed through. Here’s a sample (I only list shows that I completed):
- Beck: MCS
- Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam (TV)
- Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team
- Turn A Gundam
- Martian Successor Nadesico (TV and movie)
- Legend of the Galactic Heroes
- Eureka SeveN
- Grave of the Fireflies
- Seirei no Moribito
- The Sky Crawlers
- Sword of the Stranger
- Aria the Natural
- Aria the Origination
- The King of Braves Gao Gai Gar Final
- Macross 7
Wow that’s a lot of anime (at least 5 shows are 50 episodes long and LotGH is twice that)! These are manga and anime that impressed me a great deal, and if I were to list down the big moments that really made an impact on me this year these shows and books would dominate the list. That would be a shame, I think; because this year had it’s moments too. I will remember love for those moments in succeeding posts. For now, here are some big ones. BEWARE OF SPOILERS, FOR THERE ARE MANY!
Turn A Gundam, Epilogue
This song, so powerful. While never completely running out of dramatic tension, I found Turn A Gundam quite difficult to engage as a dramatic work bringing with me an appropriate seriousness. This is not to say I didn’t find it enjoyable, quite the opposite. However, it was a lighthearted kind of fun that contrasted with the seriousness of the events in the narrative. However, this ending, this epilogue gave the whole show a measure of gravitas that I fully appreciate. Only here the epilogue voices out and resolves the romantic tensions. Poor Sochie ;_; [SPOILERS IN THE VIDEO]
I am very fond of this particular device when resolutions of plot points require conversation (logically speaking) and yet as a viewer we are denied the ability to eavesdrop. The only voice we hear is Sochie’s, screaming. This stays with me, I like this pain.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes, (Bucock’s) The Last Lecture
The last stand of the Admiral against an overwhelming fleet led by Kaiser Reinhard von Lohengram himself. Reinhard asked him to surrender. He didn’t. Instead, he lectured the young Kaiser and it was gentlemanly, honorable, and GAR. The Kaiser ordering a salute to the Admiral from his whole fleet was almost as equally awesome.
Bateszi said it best:
At the Battle of Marr-Adetta, Old Admiral Bucock meets his maker. Battle-weary, yet too old to do anything but fight, he evacuates his remaining soldiers before rejecting Reinhard’s offer of mercy, instead choosing to go down with his ship. His final speech to Reinhard blazes with the kind-of respect and pride one can only feel for a man who has seen it all. He closes with a toast to democracy, composed as he tastes the last wine of his life, completely and utterly unshakable in his belief. It is a brave man’s end.
A salute for the heroic fallen! I realize that however I admire the likes of Wenli and Reinhard, it’s these words by Bucock that resonate with me most.
Eureka SeveN, ANEMONE!
This show already has a pantheon Love is in the air moment™, I gushed all over it here [->] But this one is just as good, near the end. What I love about it is how Anemone opens up as a character to become improbably sympathetic; cruelly juxtaposed with her resigned yet relentless assault against Eureka and Renton.
[In my next life…] I’ll get myself a mirror so I can practice smiling.
This line just kills me. It kills me dead. When Dominic arrives and their love story is finally, and for the first time fully voiced out. It’s amazing. This is a confession scene, after all; only done in a near-climactic mecha duel and it outright steals the show.
I cried harder than I did for Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. That is all.
Alice takes the gloves off, Aria the Origination
The last will be first. The genius pair becomes a Prima undine. It’s historic, it’s unprecedented and to me, a big narrative problem:
Alice is an undine for Orange Planet. She first appears (in volume 3 of Aria/episode 3 of Aria the Animation) as a standoffish, detached girl of 14.Aika later describes her as anti-social and complains about her tendency put on a grim face and speak in a quiet voice. Alice speaks in a deadpanmanner, though she frequently uses dekkai (でっかい?, literally, “huge”) as an intensifier. Although initially only a Pair, her rowing already surpasses both Aika and Akari’s—for which skill she was scouted by Orange Planet despite her young age. Despite working for rival companies, Alice, Akari, and Aika often practice together, and Alice sincerely enjoys the others’ company, though this does not stop her from telling them to be quiet when they argue. Because of her age and lower status, Aika often addresses her as “kōhai-chan” (後輩ちゃん?, “junior” said in a friendly manner). Through her friendship with Akari and Aika, Alice lightens up as the series progresses, though she still struggling with her detachment. For a long time, Alice is not confident in singing skills, until Athena advises her simply enjoy what she sings and not worry about her performance. In volume 11 of Aria, Alice graduates from middle school. She is later promoted to Prima straight from Pair, the first undine to do so, and is given the title “Orange Princess” (黄昏の姫君 Tasogare no Himegimi?, lit. “Twilight Princess”). Her name comes from Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland.
Before anything else, I loved this scene. So much was going on: the refrain that is the test by the waterway by the great windmills overlooking Neo Venezia, Aika’s feelings of inferiority and envy clashing with her genuine love and respect and delight for her friend, and Akari looking on towards the prize of her journey — so tangible now, but not quite there yet. This was the turning point of the narrative wherein the end was clear, resolution is happening, and it is happening fast! The story suddenly (suddenly? really?) becomes that of young people making it in their world, living their dreams; and perhaps that of a planet continuing its order of things through a new generation.
(I figured that this is the only way I can sneak in Moyashimon in this post)
However, this scene posed a conundrum that I along with a few other fans of the show was not able to solve: Alice graduated from middle school after three years, represented by the three installments: the Animation, the Natural, the Origination. Three Martian years, twice as long as Earth years… and you can tell by the number of times they changed into their winter uniforms that this is indeed the case. IF SO, ALICE THE GENIUS JUST SPENT 6 EARTH YEARS IN MIDDLE SCHOOL. MAKING HER 20 YEARS OLD UPON GRADUATION.
Her boyfriend is a pilot, who is also a cook part-time, Miss Martian Successor Nadesico (episode 19)
Things like this make Nergal Industries a fun corporation to work for. Sure it’s some kind of underhanded plan to wrest power (oh the irony)
Yes I actually like Yurika. Self-delusion completely in the service of a cheerful outlook… or is it the other way around? She’s fun to watch, make fun of, and cheer for either way. It is in 2009 where I noted three shows that, along with Gurren Lagann, are the best examples of what I appreciate in terms of my ‘remembering love’ aesthetic ideology; that is they are excellent tributes to older shows in their tradition (mecha anime). These shows that I watched in 2009 are Eureka SeveN, Turn A Gundam, and Martian Successor Nadesico. This scene remembers love for Super Dimension Fortress Macross, by paying homage to the Miss Macross contest, all the way to using live electronic votes tallying. The episode went as far as meme-ify the Macross franchise, something I can appreciate: “Nadesico: We Remonstrate Love.”
(banner made by otou-san)
Genesic Gao Gai Gar, Final Fusion!
I find it hilarious how Mamoru was giving a traditional shonen anime play-by-play while the ultimate form of The King of Braves finally fused. Who is he talking to? Is he telepathically communicating with all of the Gutsy Galaxy Guard? Is it completely a soliloquy? Is he breaking the 4th wall: the SHEER AWESOMENESS before him tore the 4th wall down like it was cardboard? Maybe it’s not so much the breaking of the 4th wall, Mamoru, Guy, and the Gao Machines FINALLY FUSING created a new dimension and WE WERE BROUGHT INTO IT. It’s like the DIVIDING DRIVER, only it involves the viewers. Is this dangerous? WELL YES! Palpareppa and the 11 Soul Masters are still at large, and Pisa Sol keeps bringing them back. BUT IN GUY I TRUST, IN GENESIC GAO GAI GAR I TRUST.
All will be well.
Gigil’s Power to the Dream, Macross 7
Fire Bomber’s Basara makes bad girls go good. Basara also makes bad guys go good (and arguably bad traps too). How does he do this? BY THE POWER OF ROCK. When and how does the transformation happen? Don’t look for subtlety here, because this is Macross 7 after all. YOU CAN TELL THAT THE TRANSFORMATION IS HAPPENING WHEN THE BAD GUYS START SINGING ALONG. But oh yes, it’s wonderful. I cried and cried. If there is a common thing between these moments, I cried my eyes out (except for Gao Gai Gar when I laughed out loud). Macross 7 is terrible, and yet it has this awesome power to just take hold of my heart. So for Gigil, and all the Macross fans, let’s listen to Basara’s song: POWER TO THE DREAM
There were many other moments, given that I’ve watched so many shows — and am in the middle of so many (Mobile Fighter G Gundam, Monster, Overman King Gainer, Mobile Suit Victory Gundam), but these are the ones that stand out in my mind right now, recency bias be damned (I had just rewatched Gao Gai Gar Final). What about you? Any moments that stick out in your mind? Give spoiler warnings in the comments please, and try to keep it about shows that did not air in 2009 (same with manga). For youtube clips, [open bracket]youtube=[openquote]”[url]”[close quote][close bracket].