LMT’s Best of 2012

I think they got some things reversed here.

I think they got some things reversed here.

After yesterday’s rather absurd end-of-year ranking based solely on week-to-week viewing, I thought it may be best to provide a real ranking of the series that finished in the year 2012. Rather than just settle for just a simple top 10, I went over the top and just went for all 37 I completed this year. The first 27 of these will just be short descriptions of why I did, or did not like a particular series. After that, there’s a bit more detail. I hope you enjoy this, and feel free to let me know how wrong/right I was about the anime that aired in 2012 in the comments. Continue reading

12 Days of Something II: 12 Moments of Anime

So this 12 Days thing is running near a close, so I thought I would actually do something most people do with this sort of topic, actually write about 12 moments in anime that occurred this year. I know, really original, right? So I’ll try to avoid some stuff I’ve gone on-and-on about over the course of this series of posts and limit myself to one thing per month. Can I pull it off? Find out below.

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A Milestone Amount of Time Has Passed and Therefore I Must Write About It #4

Speaking of train wrecks…

These posts are never easy, in fact, I believe the previous 3 iterations of these have been absolute train wrecks. So instead of worry about that, I thought I would do something a bit differently. After all, I can’t do top X lists of my favorites of all-time, properly reflect on changes in my life or even retire from this blog because I haven’t found a reason to do so yet.

Back in the first week of this experiment when there was no set topic for what I would even write on, I described myself as a failure of a fan, but that’s beside the point. It was the popular thing to talk about series that influenced one as a fan. So in grand style, I’ve decided to retread that particular story and talk about the shows that have influenced me most since then. Nothing special or depressing here I hope. I’d have to really be trying to wedge that in. So without any further delay here they are.

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Amagami SS+ plus 13 – Prescription Strength Bath Salts

Miya is literally holding onto the theme of this episode

The final episode takes place at a newly opened bath house that was offering free usage to women. Junichi’s lustful desires offend Miya because they are not directed at her, which ultimately comes back to haunt the both of them at the end of the episode. In between, the cast pretty much stick to type as they go from bath to bath.

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Amagami SS+ plus 12 – Mind-Blowing Overreaction

They didn't even have to wait to get out of high school to decide on marriage. You deserve better.

The conclusion of the Haruka arc brings with it the conclusion of Junichi’s involvement in the series. That said, he certainly goes out with a bang here. He spends an awkward night with Haruka at his house, but proceeds to do nothing. Before going to sleep she reveals she’s going back to England. Junichi, in typical fashion, overreacts believing he will lose her forever. With some deceit and help from others, he proposes on Haruka’s graduation day.
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Amagami SS+ plus 11 – Catastrophic Middle Names

The character who really deserved her own arc.

The 1st half of the Haruka arc is really about planting an idea inside of Junichi’s head. That’s not exactly Inception-like in implementation, but rather his being casually led in the direction of proposing to Haruka on her graduation day from high school. To that end, he’s run through mock family formation with Haruka by Hibiki. Then, Haruka’s relative from England appears and strongly suggests to him that he make a move before she leaves to go sightseeing. He then goes ahead and confirms their relationship by actually talking to her.

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Amagami SS+ plus 10 – A New Low in “Documentary” Filmmaking

Junichi just engaging in a bit of cannibalism after remembering what he went through with Ai.

The 10th episode and conclusion of Sae’s arc focuses mostly on Sae’s work preparing for the Founder’s Festival. Junichi feels left out because Sae is busy running all over the place to prepare for the festival. However, he hatches a scheme to stay close to her by filming her work as a documentary. Sae’s struggles continue until Junichi steps in and offers to help her in a more substantive way. The thought alone drives her to the finish line and a successful festival.

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Amagami SS+ plus 09 – The Blistering Pace of a Glacier

I'd probably willingly accept being attacked by that kind of bear

The resumption of Sae’s arc brings something of a reversal from the first time around. Junichi suffers from fits of jealousy in this episode as his girlfriend has become the idol around school due to her performance in the Founders’ Festival last year, while he is an afterthought. He makes a show of trying to make it seem like he is still somewhat in control, and though it turns out badly it’s charmingly so. Finally, Junichi is presented with an opportunity to return to the past in their relationship.

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Amagami SS+ plus 08 – Argue, Frolic, Rinse and Repeat

Your very own truck stop pickup legend is about to unfold!

The conclusion of the Kaoru arc is about as contrived as humanly possible. They are first picked up by a semi-truck at the rest stop. They end up conveniently staying at a hot spring inn. After that, they wander around the local town which is on the beach before they are rescued by a familiar face. They also argue and frolic a bunch in between.

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Amagami SS+ plus 07 – The Disappointment of Victory

Oh Junichi, if only you had kept your eyes on the prize, you could have had this

The 7th episode of the Amagami sequel takes us back to the Kaoru arc. Being the bad friends that they are, they end up involved in hijinks together in the classroom, at a hero show and on a bus tour. Through all of that, I think this was probably the best episode to date in the second season.

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Amagami SS+ plus 06 – The Best Nikuman Competition Ever

You win Miya, at everything.

The conclusion of the Ai arc brings with it terrible acting, an escape from an encampment, a pairing that will never happen but should and also a date between Junichi and Ai. After the events of the festival, Ai heads into the city to buy her brother a gift that she forgot to buy. She then runs into Junichi who had broken away from the cram school training camp for the evening so they could have their promised date. Thanks in part to Umehara’s intervention, it goes successfully.

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Amagami SS+ plus 05 – Disappeared by Cram School Terrorists

Actually, this sort of play doesn't seem like it would be that bad an experience

The 5th episode of the Amagami SS sequel takes us back to the Ai arc. Not all the way since Junichi is still calling her Nanasaki, but effectively 1 year after the beginning of the original arc. In this particular installment, Junichi is struggling with cram school to get into university. Ai is struggling with duties as captain of the swim team. How will they ever manage to get together for their Christmas Eve date? Also, Junichi falls asleep alot.

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Amagami SS+ plus 04 – The Ending is Missing 3 Letters

Junichi clearly isn't into breaking the kinds of moral boundaries that would be broken with this sort of play.

The conclusion of the Rihoko arc brings an end to the long awaited question of whether she would ever manage to formalize relations with Junichi. In this episode, we had Rihoko successfully fend off a potential suitor, followed by 17 minutes of awkwardness before Junichi made his move. Altogether, this wasn’t a particularly great episode. However, for those who wanted closure, it successfully accomplished its mission.

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Amagami SS+ plus 03 Definition of Disturbing

The creation of perverted Junichi part 1

The 3rd episode sees the continuation of the Rihoko arc from the first season with mostly much of the same. There’s the usual combination of her constant worries about her weight, memories of their time as childhood friends and then conversations with her former seniors in the tea club. Finally, the next turn in their relationship is forced upon by one of their classmates.

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Amagami SS+ plus 02 – The Greatest Speech Never Heard

He completely fluked his way into this situation.

The conclusion of the Tsukasa arc pretty much ended without any surprises. Tsukasa ultimately won the election. Junichi was able to consolidate his relationship with her then push it on to the next level without really trying. Everyone came out with their reputations intact, even Kurosawa. Plus, Rihoko was worked in extensively as her arc is next. Yes, it was a typical episode of Amagami after all. Continue reading

Amagami SS+ 01 – All Politics is Local

Biting her thumbnail, it's on now.

Leave it to Amagami to be the first show this season I feel like continuing to watch beyond the first episode. The second season starts by picking back up on Tsukasa’s arc, and though most should know from the first season that all ends well between our erstwhile man of action Junichi and Tsukasa, this episode does a good job of combining drama and the feel of the first season. Continue reading

Pointless Debate #17: A Typical Year

Genre conventions play a key role in deciding what is or isn’t controversial.

As the protagonist in Ladies versus Butlers!, Hino Akiharu is far from the most genre-defining character. He essentially goes around and gets into various sexual misadventures with the variety of girls who also happen to be both have feelings for him, and represent simply character types to attract the interest of a wider part of the niche audience that watches harem anime. Akiharu is really just a typical main character in a typical harem anime. Perhaps that was typical of 2010.

So I bring to you the story of the year in anime presented here in three acts. First is the story of one man and the variety of fates that come about as the result of one seemingly insignificant decision. The second is the story of a group of friends and the creation of memories that can be passed down to others. Finally, the story of two characters pushing boundaries in the hardest way possible.

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Pointless Debate #12: Escapism

Call me cynical, but there's no way that Junichi would be able to pull if he were a real person.

Recently, I was pulled up by a “fictional” person on Twitter for a reference to escapism in Amagami SS. More specifically, I called it “the sad, sad escapism that is Amagami.” Predictably this led into a debate that really went nowhere mainly because of my own time restrictions and the fact that I was in two minds about escapism in general. However, there were a few interesting things that came out of all of this.

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