End of Year Special: Revisiting the Old

This year has been quite a special one for me in the world of anime and blogging. I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I’m not playing catch-up (even when I’m mercilessly dropping shows), so I’m thinking of stepping back and moving away from watching currently airing anime in the coming year.

It’s been very difficult keeping up, and as much as I’ve loved some of the shows from this year, I much preferred the ones I was able to marathon in one to two viewings as opposed to having to wait a week (and sometimes longer) per episode.

And while I was able to cover much ground this year, there’s still a huge backlog of anime and manga I want to experience. What follows is an unordered list of moments that really stay with me from shows I’ve experienced (at least) twice now. Feel free to skip over the headings for any shows you don’t want to be spoilered on.

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Kill la Kill – “DON’T LOSE YOUR WAY!”

If I haven’t mentioned this before, I’ll say it here: I like fun shows, and I like works that are incredibly dense with a ton of ideas packed into them. I also like illustrations. A lot. And when they move, I think I like them even more. It’s a fundamental part of my enjoyment and a big factor as to why I love anime so much.

This is a show full badass characters and badass fighting that plays out as a continuous stream of hyperactive action with a fuckton of character and ideas packed into it. For these reasons, as well as thematic ones, I absolutely can’t get enough of Kill la Kill. It’s one of the funniest, liveliest, cool shows with amazing animation, one of my favourite aesthetics ever, and a god-tier soundtrack. If you’re looking for awesomeness, watch this show. Seriously, DON’T LOSE YOUR WAY!

Honestly, no matter which moment I pick from this series, I’ll always feel like I’m overlooking a dozen or more equally awesome moments (pretty much everything the characters do is awesome on some level). With that said, I think I’ll go with Ryuko enduring a beating from 2-star Mako for hours, only to discover she was holding back when she creates a HUGE crater after punching the ground out of frustration. The power of friendship overtakes greed in the end, and the struggle it took to realize the value in that has never before looked so badass.

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Baccano! – “The Femme Fatale That Cut Me Twice”

I had another fun flirt with Baccano this year. This time joined by a friend. And this being my third gander at this dangerously attractive woman (Baccano!’s got sex appeal, don’t lie). I’m of course, still attracted, because there’s something about this gal (this show) that catches the eye and comes off as inviting in many ways, all of them cool. I drink the bottle of wine she offers me without the slightest bit of hesitation. All of it. THE ENTIRE THING. In. One. Sitting.

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Metaphor

What transpired next was this unique chronology of events that were all so familiar, and yet oddly surprising. Once again I find myself caught up in this bizarre period piece of the wacky and the supernatural. A pair of robbers who inadvertently spread joy and cheer wherever they go, suave gangsters, crazed psychopaths, a badass solipsist, immortals, and fetching characters all around. Oh, and a train with an unforgettable name (even if you tried): The Flying Pussyfoot.

If I had to pick a moment, and there are a ton (pretty much any scene involving Claire, Ladd, Isaac and Miria), I’m particularly fond of the entire staff of The Daily Days drawing guns on Gustavo and his goons. It happens the split second they turn their backs, and the smug look on Nicholas’s face makes it even more gratifying.

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Code Geass – “Family Reunion”

Returning to Code Geass was an awesome treat that had me exploding with fanboy joy. I think I’m learning to embrace nostalgia more now, because I was expecting not to like it as much as I did years ago. But I was wrong. There was so much I had forgotten about or just didn’t notice on my first viewing, that in watching it again, more observant of the less tangible details, I’ve come to appreciate the contemplative simplicity the show has to offer.

As with all of these entries, this show has many moments. And while I still think the ending is the greatest out of the entire series, the scene that stuck out to me most this time around was Lelouch’s confrontation and assassination of his brother, Clovis. I didn’t give it much thought the first time round, but now I can’t help but go back to this moment and really reflect on just how important it is. This is where Lelouch still has the choice to go forward with his plans or turn away, maybe even return home with his brother. And it’s the fact that it’s his brother, who seems genuine in his relieved and joyous surprise at Lelouch’s survival. But there is also fear running through him, and though the show had been presenting him as a pretty horrible character up until now, I felt sympathy for the man as he stared death in the face of a dear loved one.

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Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann – “Hot-Blooded Sentimentality”

Man, what this show does to a man’s soul is beyond logic or reason. So many moments leap out at me with big, bubbling emotional grit, telling me to clench my teeth before giving me a powerful wallop of feels. But it was the finale; the final fight and the resolution after, that pierced its drill through my heart once more. Very powerful stuff. Powerful enough to bring MANLY TEARS to this anime fan’s eyes (again).

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