Anime NewsEvangelion 2.0 and Summer Wars, coming to U.S. theaters before their releases to DVD/Blu-ray. Summer Wars is even looking to be a serious contender for the 83rd Academy Awards. We will have to wait until late next month to discover if it will be listed among the final nominees for the golden Oscar.
Manga NewsNaruto discovered the truth behind how he was sealed with the Nine-tailed Fox and merged it's powers with his own, One Piece had it's first time skip and training story in it's entire thirteen year run, and BLEACH's Ichigo Kurosaki finally got rid of that game-bug Aizen, but lost his Shinigami powers in the process. These stories all look to have a stellar 2011 planned.
To close the year out, the Moderators of Anime Vice gathered together to create a Best of 2010 List from anime and manga. We considered trying to put together an absolute list of the best for 2010, but seeing how we are all scattered across the globe. That would of been a logistical nightmare, at best. So, listed below is the personal best of the year from the Mods of Anime Vice. We were to each pick our favorites in manga & anime. The only condition is that it had to be released this year in either Japan, North America, or any other locations we may be from. This is our gift to you. Please, enjoy.
Mod's Choice: Best of 2010
Panty and Stocking with GarterbeltI love how well this show does its parodies. My favourite episode of Panty and Stocking up till now has to be either 6 or 9. The few first episodes where hit and miss. The animation in this show is debatable since Gainax uses PSG to experiment with several styles. The music used in this series is great and it got most watchers hoping the cd will come out soon.
Watch it via Crunchyroll: HERE
KatanagatariI just finished watching the series Katanagatari, and it was worth the 12 month wait. Something the new audience wont have to bother with. The story is pretty good with all kinds of twists in the end. The battles have good choreography but they do tend to take allot of time explaining stuff. Its kinda sad that they did not use the music from the trailer that much but keeping it till the very ending was pretty cool and worth it. :)
Star Driver: Kagayaki no TakutoStar Driver is a series I just started watching, so the battles are the only thing I'll talk about. The Cybodies have great designs and to me the Zero Time is a great idea. Its almost as over the top with its flair as other super robot series like Gurren Lagann but it seems not to go overboard to much.
Digimon Cross WarsI got excited for an new series and it looks like I got what I wanted its in Digimon Cross Wars.
And like always it has an undetermined number of villains thrown at the heroes. The only thing that bothers me is the new type of Digivolving in this series, Its boring and I miss the old ways, But I guess we'll just have to wait and see how this awesome series turns out :)
Angel BeatsI didn’t quite know what to think of Angel Beats after watching the first episode. At first glance it seemed like a weird combination of Haruhi with Clannad and Kanon, but I’m glad I stayed through the whole thing. The unique concept was part of what appealed to me and though the character borrow a lot from anime clichés they evolve in such a way that they grew on me the more I watched. Sure the ending was disappointing and there were a lot of things left unexplained, but the overall experience outweighs the few bad things it has.
Durarara!!Durarara!! Is the most original show I watched this year. What I loved the most about it is that it’s not afraid to make fun of itself and it doesn’t take itself too seriously even though there’s some heavy drama in it. I loved the characters, the animation was top notch and the action sequences are wonderfully choreographed. There’s only one word to sum it up: badass.
Watch it via Crunchyroll: HERE
K-On!!This is a controversial choice. Many people dislike the K-On! Franchise as it is moe at its purest form, but I love it. I love the innocent yet chaotic sense of humor reminiscent of the Marx Brothers and some of my favorite shows from back when I was a kid. What set K-On!! Apart from other shows that rely on moe for their comedy is simple: it’s not boring, it’s consistently funny from beginning to end.
Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai"My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute" Also known as "Oreimo" for short.
As you might guess, the story here revolves around a brother and sister and their... somewhat complicated relationship. Kirino and Kyousuke don't get along well, and one day Kyousuke finds out his little sister has been hiding something - she's a closet Otaku with a thing for little-sister-themed eroge games. Kyousuke somehow sees this as an opportunity to repair their bonds, so decides to help her instead of exposing her to everyone.
I wasn't sure quite what to expect when I started watching this anime, I feared it might follow in the footsteps of the infamous Kiss x sis, but I'm happy to report it didn't even come close. Instead, it became increasingly apparent as the series went on that this would be one of my top picks of the year. The more I watched the more I felt towards each character; increasingly unbearable frustration towards Kirino, a mixture of admiration and simpathy towards Kyousuke for pushing through Kirino's crap and continuing to help her, and pure damn hatred towards another character at one point, but I won't spoil anything here - you'll have to go and watch yourself!
What tops things off is that Oreimo is also beautifully crisp, smoothly animated and just all together well-produced. I don't know how many people feel the same way, but I just feel it has a little more polish than lots of other series, and it shows.
Watch it via ANN: HERE
Sora no Otoshimono: Forte"Heaven's Lost Property Forte" The sequel to Sora no Otoshimono.
Continuing the mixture of action, fan-service and absolute hilarity is 2009 hit series Sora no Otoshimono's sequel - Sora no Otoshimono: Forte. Yet again I've been kept thoroughly entertained and chuckling away at poor Tomoki and the zany situations he somehow finds himself in. For those who haven't seen this ludicrous show before, it revolves around Tomoki; a young boy in a peaceful town who has his quiet life shattered by an angel that literally falls from the sky and into his life, with others soon following. To me it's a two-sided show, it has the aforementioned crazy side (which is often presented by super-deformed characters) and then a more serious side that decides to show itself every now and then and remind you that there's actually a progressing, and increasingly interesting plot going on. Being a fan of both interesting plots and dumb shit, I can't get enough Sora no Otoshimono.
Watch it via FUNimation: HERE
BakumanI think someone here actually convinced me to give this one a try (hurray Vice community!) and I'm including it in my top picks because, more than anything else, it's really interesting. Like, in an "I'm actually learning something" sort of way. Bakuman is about an artist-writer schoolboy duo who team up to become professional "mangaka" (manga artists). This is one of those series that often doesn't even feel like an anime at all, unlike lots of series, it's a very believable story, as though it could have been a TV series rather than an anime. But as I was saying, what's really interesting is how much you learn about the manga creation process - how ideas are drafted into "names" and then later into full scripts and storyboards, how big companies like Shonen Jump actually work, the relationships between mangaka and their mangers, and so on. I really feel like I have a somewhat intimate knowledge on the matter now whereas before I just thought "dudes write/draw manga, manga gets published."
Honorable MentionsDragon Ball Z Kai (Blu-ray, US) - There are lots of conflicting views on Kai, with lots of people complaining that the musical score isn't as great a Bruce Faulconer's, or that it's censored and there isn't any blood any more. But I'll tell you this, if you're a Dragon Ball Z fan and watch it dubbed, Kai is a must-buy for the new dub alone. It's leaps and bounds better than the original, both in terms of it's translation and quality (I checked out an episode of Z to compare, and I couldn't believe the difference, especially with Goku's voice acting, boy has Sean Schemmel improved!) There's even swearing/cursing to boot, it's awesome.
Clannad (Blu-ray, Jap) - I'm using this Japanese Blu-ray release as an excuse to get Clannad on this list, it's a limited Japanese release and it costs... well I'll let you take a look for yourself. Regardless, if you haven't seen Clannad yet (and it's sequel Clannad After Story), I implore you to, it's an absolute masterpiece with an amazingly touching story. I can't praise Clannad enough as I'm sure many fans of the series would agree. Oh, but if you do watch it, do yourself a favor and watch it subbed, not dubbed. The dub is just plain bad.
KatanagatariI wasn't quite sure what to make of this show when I saw the first episode of Katanagatari, but over the course of a year I've fallen in love with this series. The series pulls in a bit of everything from all out action, melodrama, romantic comedy, moe, yet it manages to not just balance them all well, but it executes on all of these facts on a high level. It's one of the few times where something manages to be a jack of all trades and near master level at all of them as well.
MitsudomoeMitsudomoe doesn't really break new ground in any way or shake things up, but the tales of the three crazy Marui sisters and the gang of loonies that make up their homeroom class made me laugh far more than any other of series from the 2010 line-up. The ultra cute and almost chipmunk-like character design always made me smile and also served the purpose of making the Jackass level gags and South Park toilet humor all the funnier.
Watch it via Crunchyroll: HERE
Panty & Stocking with GarterbeltA lot of things about this series harken back to stuff I used to watch as a little kid. Shows like Ren & Stimpy, Rocko's Modern Life, Tiny Toon Adventures, Pinky and the Brain and a host of other cartoons that threw sanity completely out of the window in exchange for shenanigans. The variety both within episodes and between episodes has impressed me as well and it seems like the people making it are having a fun time just doing whatever concept comes to there mind, whether it be something more traditional for the series or an idea that's a complete curve-ball.
Okami-san and Her Seven Companions The anime Okami-san was a complete unknown to me until I heard about FUNimation streaming it this summer. It came completely out of left field and quickly captured by attentions. So much so that I completely decked out the episode pages onAnime Vice. It was developed by the same people who brought us animes such as The Familiar of Zero and Toradora. The season as jam packed with excellent stories that in a very clever way mimicked the fairy-tales all the characters were based upon. In the review I wrote for the first episode, I described it as "If Shrek and been an Anime", and and my "Must Watch" of the year. I'm very much hoping to hear about a season two.
Watch it via FUNimation: HERE
Negima! (manga)Negima! has always been a fun manga for me to read, and it's U.S. publication has always been stellar to the authenticity of the original Japanese. The publisher Del Rey released a lot of really good volumes in the Magical World story arch this year that had great laughs and a truly powerful tournament arc, but the one that really got me was Negima! Volume 25. It's rare that I will sit down to read something that makes me laugh out loud, but I was cracking up at the fight Jack Rakan had with the minions of the villain Fate. You have to read it to believe what they got away with.
Maria Holic Complete Series (DVD)Yes, I know the original run of Maria Holic was released in 2009, but in February 2010 Sentai Filmworks released the complete DVD set in America. This wasn't to the taste of a lot of people, but I enjoyed it. I loved how it took the cliches of all the yuri romance and turned it on it's head. It was filled with silly pop culture references and some of the sadistic humor really had me laughing. Of the entire cast. I think Matsurika Shinoji is my favorite. It was always fun watching her either mock Mariya with a backhanded compliment or straight out call him a tranny. She's the only person who could seem to get away with it, as well. I'm also excited to hear rumors of a second season.
Watch it via Anime Network: HERE
Girls Bravo - FUNimation DVD Box SetAgain, I know Girls Bravo is an older anime series from years ago, but after the previous license holding company, Geneon, dissolved. FUNimation picked the series up and released the whole collection completely uncensored this December. All the over the top fanservice and bouncing naked breasts for a guy to enjoy. A short, young-boy Yukinari grew up being bullied by girls to the point where he is now afraid of girls and breaks out in hives when touched by them. Isn't it ironic when his life is soon filled with women, but only one doesn't seem to trigger his allergy. What made it even better is that FUNimation posted the entire first season on their youtube channel uncensored.
Watch it via FUNimation: HERE
Bonus Trailer for 2011!As an added bonus I thought it would be nice to close with a trailer for something I believe a lot of us are looking forward to with bated breath. Evangelion 2.0 will be coming to U.S. theaters and has it's first showing will be on January 19 in Austin, TX. The DVD/Blu-ray will be released on March 29th and is already available for preorders on Amazon. With the release in North America, the UK distributor, Manga Entertainment should be announcing their own release schedule soon.
MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HANUKKAH, and have a Great NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!We hope you enjoy our picks and fell free to make a list of your own. Here's hoping that 2011 will bring us more great news and grow the Anime Vice community and staff even more!!
- article contributions by moderators: Kelleth, Black Rose, Newten, sickVisionz, FoxxFireArt -