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.
Act One: The Gears of Fate
Tatami Galaxy is a story that essentially revolves around the choice of a nameless protagonist in his first day at university. The club he chooses to join provides him with the opportunity to gain prestige as well as the heart of the most beautiful woman at the school. Inevitably, he gets sucked into plots around the same group of people that sees those goals remain unfulfilled. The final arc sees him trapped in a series of parallel worlds which reveal what his life would have been like with each of his potential choices through the appearance of his room in each world.
The lesson of the series for me was one of overestimating the importance of one decision. The choice of club seemed like a bigger deal than it was given the disappointment that followed, however, the exploration of the worlds revealed that it he would always have the same “worst” friend and a relationship that with Akashi that would never progress as he was. He was basically the same person regardless of which club he chose. It was a simple reminder to embrace the present rather than dwell on the past.
Act Two: Legacy
Kyoto Animation produced a 2nd season of K-On! which made it’s premier in the spring. The club’s senior members make their way through their final acts of high school. The girls do all they can together; perform in front of the school a few times, go to a music festival and catering to fans old and new. With the end approaching, the four seniors elect for forge a path together beyond high school, but at the same time hoping to leave Azusa something behind.
The legacy portion of the series is something I really appreciated with this series. The personal concert for Azusa was fine, but the seniors really made sure she would have the motivation she needed to continue leading the club even if she was the only member. Fortunately, she had some friends in Ui and Jun to be with her regardless. Also through Sawako, we get to see how long an impression can be left on others, while also inspiring future generations.
Act Three: Breaking the Rules
For most of the last 3 months of the year, much was made of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. The bizarre contrast of heaven being a chaotic paradise of debauchery while hell was a place of rules and order. In reality, the two sides weren’t fundamentally all that much different from each other.
On the one hand, there were Panty and Stocking, well known for their passion to sex and sweets respectively, are somewhat controlled by the devout Garterbelt who hid a darker side that was used for comedic purposes. On the other, Scanty and Kneesocks, who were passionate about order, but had to hide their true demonic appearance from the public, while their master Corset engaged in many of the same activities as Garterbelt, only more sinister. What ultimately brought these two sides together was the penis of a social outcast.
It all seems rather horribly crude. Two extreme views of what society should be united by sexual purity is a rather interesting view of the modern world. That those caught in the middle seem to matter little in the chaos that ensues during their clashes is also worth noting. Nothing good ever seems to come to those in the middle of an ideological fight.
No piece of music here though I will take suggestions for what should go here, so as to stick to the theme of this post.
So a real special thanks to those who read and commented on this blog over the course of the last 12 months. Also thanks to ghostlightning for his constant encouragement and insights into Lakers fandom, Shinmaru for providing me greater perspective on Giant Killing when I wasn’t always intensely focused on tactics and man management of a fictional football club, the people behind the Aniblog tournament (Scamp, RP and my qualifying round opponent and far superior blogger Mefloraine), Hanners for being the only one who said anything about watching Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid with me and also discovering my Facebook profile, the crew at THAT Anime Blog for not saying anything about THAT post, Vucub Caquix for his ability to keep conversations alive and the people on Twitter and the Standing Committee… for putting up with me, plus anyone else I forgot to mention.