Favorites of ’08December 31, 2008 at 12:47 pm | Posted in Articles | 17 Comments
Tags: fangirling, shipping
This is late. I intended to have this up really early on December 30th. Now I think it might not even be 2008 somewhere (I don’t know. I don’t keep track). But anyway, now that the new year is upon is, it’s time for me to finally properly reflect on 2008. Like so many others before me, I do this with my favorite things in anime.
I wanted to keep mine until after Christmas when I’m pretty much guaranteed that nothing new will come to prove your list wrong. The 30th would have been safe, but yeah. I missed out.
I thought of calling this…yearly feature the “best of ’08” but we all know that I am not capable of trying to hide my bias. So “favorites” works much better.
I have all the typical categories. Nothing really fancy. I suppose anything unique that comes from this is basically…um…my own point of view? Maybe over the next year I’ll think about making it more unique, but somehow I doubt much will come of it.
Anyway, for an anime to eligible for any of my “favorites” the anime or thing in question had to have a start in this year somehow. This rule does have a small exception on a few of the categories. Most of them depending on my own personal whims.
Favorite Soundtrack (Instrumental) – Clannad & Clannad ~After Story~
*shockgaspwhat* It’s not Macross Frontier? Yeah I know what everyone else thinks. Shut up.
Background music is something I don’t really think about a part from a few series where music is supposed to be important. Mainly it’s just there to help the mood and you’re not really supposed to notice it too much. Of course, when it is so good at this you can’t help but notice it.
Clannad is my favorite soundtrack for background music, because the background music will so often make me cry (therefore being “so good” I can’t help but notice it). Yes, sad scenes are sad no matter what, but unless you start throwing that music in my face, I won’t shed a single tear. Of course, if you throw that music in my face, I’ll start having tears stream down my face. It’s really a shame that there’s no middleground there.
Of course, it’s not just about the crying. I only recently downloaded the Clannad soundtrack, even though I declared I would not (for fear of sitting at my computer crying randomly), but it’s made me appreciate it even more. Somehow, it makes me start thinking about things and inspiring thoughts that I wouldn’t really…think about. I tend to think of OST’s as stopping original thought because your mind connects them to one series, but somehow that didn’t happen here at all.
As for my favorite tracks…Well Nagisa’s theme is the best (not even basing that on Nagisa love, it just is). I also listen to “To the Same Heights” and “The Place Where Wishes Come True” a lot. “Shining in the Sky” is apparently the one that will get me to cry so easil, but it’s also the one that makes me thoughtful…somehow.
Favorite Soundtrack (Vocal) – Macross Frontier
Thar it is. An obvious choice because no other anime has as many songs. Of course that’s not why I chose it.
First, to be honest, I’m not really that big on the instrumental tracks from Macross Frontier (well, I actually like the non-vocal versions of songs, but you know what I mean). I think it’s good for background music, but it doesn’t quite grab me. It’s just not my type of music, it’s the simple.
The songs that Ranka and Sheryl sing transcend normal tastes in music though. Perhaps you hate bouncy songs, but you will like Seikan Hikou. Perhaps you hate really powerful singing (those people exist), but you’ll still like all of Sheryl’s songs. You will especially like it when they sing together or else I will need to toss you out.
Of course, this isn’t necessarily true, but I’d say it’s the general rule with a few minor exceptions. Outside of the fact that “Macros Frontier is the best Evar” I really don’t know what else to say. It’s the soundtrack that wins battles in space. It wins everything else too.
Favorite tracks would be…everything? Yeah. Pretty much everything.
Favorite Opening – Toki wo Kizamu Uta by Lia (Clannad ~After Story~)
Is it surprising that Lion isn’t my favorite? Not really. As much as I love that sopening as well, it really can’t win against beautiful key girls with wind (especially when Nagisa shows up so much).
Toki wo Kizamu Uta might be my new favorite opening overall (for any anime ever…that I have seen). It’s got all of my favorite things. Beautiful scenery, beautiful girls, beautiful animation, a beautfiul song, lyrics that match the anime, and wind~ ah, glorious wind.
At this point I really don’t have much more to say. It pretty much comes down to, “it’s beautiful”.
Favorite Ending – Vanilla Salt by Yui Horie (ToraDora!)
At first I didn’t like this ending at all. The song bothered me since it felt like there was too much going on and the same went for the opening. Now they’ve both grown on me and I never skip past either during my ToraDora! viewings.
To put it simply for this one…it’s cute. The little tiger and the girls walking around with umbrellas. It’s cute. And it avoids the one thing that makes almost all endings disliked. It’s not boring. There’s always something cute happening on the screen! It’s impossible for it to be boring.
So, like Toki wo Kizamu Uta, I can sum up my reasons for this being a favorite pretty easily. It’s cute.
Favorite Insert Song – What ’bout my star? @Formo by Megumi Nakajima and May’n (Macross Frontier)
Macross Frontier can’t win any other categories because I pretty much remember all of their openings and endings more for being insert songs.
Anyway, this one is my favorite because…well I can’t count the number of times I’ve watched this scene. I love the song and the scene is just hilarious. Oh and how I love to see Ranka and Sheryl sing together. Those girls are really at their best when they work together. Or…sing together, because you can’t really say that they’re working together in this scene. Though it’s amazing how in sync they are when they’re competing.
Yeah. This is my favorite insert song. I like this version of the song better than Sheryl’s. It’s catchier and more fun and…calmer too somehow.
Favorite Female Seiyuu – Megumi Nakajima (Macross Frontier) and Kanae Ito (Amu in Shugo Chara!)
Hahaha. Tie. I don’t think I can even decide between the two in ranking. Maybe I’d choose Kanae Ito because she’s more of a seiyuu while Megumi Nakajima seems to focus more on singing.
Now there may be those wondering if I have forsaken my love for Nana-sama, but no I have not. Though I can’t honestly say that I love Nana Mizuki more than I did in 2007. The love is pretty much constant. Kanae Ito has done a lot of new things (though really just Shugo Chara-related) and Megumi Nakajima is completely new to me in 2008. So my favorites go to them.
Also, I wanted to choose based off of a specific role. Nana-sama does great voice acting, but I’ve ended up disliking almost all of her roles at least a little bit from this year except for Utau. Lydia and Kotoko are really the ones I’m thinking of and…well yeah. Two main girls kind of beat out Utau also so…Megumi-san and Kanae-san!!!
And there is no male seiyuu this year. I like all the same ones as last year. (I follow men less than any other fangirl I know)
Favorite Mascot Character – Eru~ (Shugo Chara!)
I’d consider a mascot character any character that without being a “main character” gets shoved on merchandise like its no one’s business. They’re also easier to draw than other characters. And hey! Eru fits this quite nicely (all the charas do). Of course, anyone who reads Shugo Chara posts on this blog should already be aware of my vast Eru love. I have a figure and a keychain of Eru!
So yes. Eru is the obvious favorite.
Favorite Female Character – Furukawa Nagisa (Clannad ~After Story~)
With the last few episodes of Clannad, I’d like to call Nagisa a kind of…”come from behind” winner. If it hadn’t been for these last few episodes in the After Story, I’d probably call Amu (Shugo Chara!) my favorite. And Amu is a very, very close second.
Quite simply, Nagisa is one of the strongest girls I think I’ve seen in anime. Perhaps it’s not a very obvious thing since Nagisa is in fact…weak. But the fact that she’s always willing to do her best despite so many things. I mean, her life is tough. Though I will say that perhaps I can only find Nagisa so strong because of our similar situations and because she can do the things I can’t manage to do myself.
There’s a lot I can say about Nagisa, but this isn’t the right time. For now, I’ll just leave it saying that I love Nagisa. She’s sweet, innocent, but still somehow strong. And she’s cute. Oh she’s very, very cute.
Favorite Male Character – Tsukiyomi Ikuto (Shugo Chara!)
lol obvious. Again.
Of course, I could just leave it at my shallow fangirling and go, “look at my Shugo Chara posts fools!” with all of the crazy fangirling. Specifically there’s a recent moment where MyVampireEyes got me thinking too much about Ikuto in jeans…
*ahem* But anyway, 2008 is a year where Ikuto’s character has gotten a lot of development in the manga with the already famous (among fangirls) arc that’s pretty much dedicated to him (other characters get their spotlight too though). Every “bad boy”character has their own secretly nice side. Something we only got glimpses of when he was around Amu (the Amusement Park is still especially memorable) until quite recently.
Of course, I don’t want to spoil anything, but Ikuto’s past makes me see him as more than just “the right guy for Amu” because he’s also a wonderful older brother.
Favorite Love Triangle – Ranka x Alto x Sheryl (Macross Frontier)
This one I can explain quite easily. A love triangle where all three participants get along? And so well too. Ranka and Sheryl both like the same guy, but I think it’s quite obvious that they either like each other as most or quite close to there.
These three also work best when they’re all together (as shown by the fantastic finale). To be honest, I was happy when Alto didn’t choose either girl by the end of the show. Breaking up the trio would be more disappointing than anything else I think.
Favorite New Ship – Rima x Nagihiko (Shugo Chara!)
Ah yes. The stubborn girl with the trap. A classic combo (since when?). Both of them are smart and sly little guardians. Always figuring out something about the other one, much to the other’s dismay. To say it simply, both of them are sneaky, but both of them figure out what the other one is being sneaky about. They both need each other to keep the other one in line!
To me that’s what makes the best of pairings. Two people that are able to keep each other under control in some way. Two people that need each other and et cetera.
It’s kind of sad that this is the only new ship I found in 2008 though. Everything else was from 2007 as well. So this needed a special mention somehow. Next year my shipping will probably be more focused in the year (hopefully). Though two of my favorites will be continuin into 2009.
Favorite Ship – Amu x Ikuto (Shugo Chara!)
Hahaha. Obvious once again. (lol, I had to use a scan of a card because I’m saving all my other images)
A couple that still isn’t officially a “couple” even in the manga (but soon! SOON!) and the subject of my most crazy bouts of ranting fangirling. Quite honestly, it’s the pairing I will never get tired of shipping.
As much as I would like for them to become the official OTP (like…NAO), I enjoy their little stubborn interactions where they both pretend like they’re not interested in the other (although Ikuto somehow pretends while constantly hitting on Amu). They’re a pairing that suit each other and which most of the fandom viciously supports. A quite obvious pick for favorite ship.
And as fun as they are with their back-and-forth banter (oh so much teasing~), they also have nice “aww” moments which really makes them fulfill everything I could ever want in a couple. Hence, the rabid fangirling.
Now let’s watch me cheat so I can have my obvious choice in here along with another one.
Favorite Pairing – Nagisa x Tomoya (Clannad ~After Story~)
Hahaha! The shipping fangirl cheats so that she can get three pairings into this post. (Oh and I have to say, I really love back to back images of my favorite pairings. They are the best.)
Favorite pairing would specifically be two people that officially have gotten together (they’re getting married~) since I no longer have to ship them. There’s no point! They’re already together!
I think there’s no real reason to explain why they’re a favorite. I always say that I base my shipping and such around two people that fit each other and quite honestly, there’s no couple that shows this quite as well as Nagisa and Tomoya. They always stand by each other and support each other. There’s not a lot that you have to say about them because they just…work. And it’s really that simple.
Also…they’re going to get married~
Favorite Premiere – Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu
A series that I fully expected to just watch for a few laughs with some romance on the side ended up surprising me quite a bit. It made me smile, it made me giggle, it made me “kyaa~”, and it made me go, “awww.” All in the first episode.
I got a pairing to support right away (and I supported them every week that I watched the show) and surprisingly I ended up liking Haruka right away as well. Even though I fully expected her to be an intolerable moe-blob. She’s still so moe that it’s rather frightening, but somehow…it worked rather than making me want to roll my eyes.
Basically, it was the most pleasant surprise I encountered this year.
Favorite Finale – Macross Frontier
I don’t even need to explain why. Just watch it and anyone will be able to tell why.
An awesome fight with awesome music and just…awesomeness all around. It also has the benefit of being entertaining when all the shippers cried themselves to sleep when no girl won in the end. Granted, I enjoy shipping too, but I didn’t really care in this anime. I was in it because I just…enjoyed it. Strange that for once I had no specific reason (well, I specifically liked Ranka a lot, but I can’t really think of anything else specific).
And Grace was a bitch (and therefore an awesome villain) so seeing her defeated just make you want to shout, “HELL YEAH!” while watching the episode and that makes it an awesome finale all on its own.
Favorite Episode – Shugo Chara! 43
Amu shines and Utau sings~ A really, really memorable episode for me (and zomg pretty much no romance whatsoever). Every time I start to lose faith in the Shugo Chara anime, I can go back to this episode and remember that it has its moments. It has its wonderful shining moments.
All of ther characters that got any real screentime all showed some of their best sides in this episode. Amu, the girl who helps people to stand up and is learning to believe in herself. Utau, a stubborn girl who finally lets her warm angelic side show through. And of course we have Ikuto who is a really great older brother (it’s just unfortunate that his sister is so weird, so he so often has to ignore her).
Seeing Utau and Amu work together after all of their fighting (and some rather extreme bitchiness on Utau’s side) was quite nice. Especially since Utau is pretty much the number one stubborn tsundere out of the three girls. Even her tsuntsun is no match for Amu’s mahou shoujo power! And I think that’s what really shows what a great Magical Girl series Shugo Chara is.
Favorite Manga Chapter – Shugo Chara 32
Oddly enough the splash page of this chapter is more of a spoiler than the pages inside it. Strange.
In the thick of Ikuto’s arc we get to finally take some mystery away from that catboy as we get to finally find out some things about his past. His adorable, adorable past with Utau and Tadase.
Now I like to keep spoilers out, so I’ll just say that as cute as this chapter is, it also makes one want to do lots of crying emoticons. Ikuto’s occasional emo-ness really needs no excuses after this chapter. He’s been having a hard time since he was a child and he managed to take care of others. Making me want to declare him the best older brother in anime, but there’s really a surprising amount of competition there so I can’t.
I really want to say more, but I’ll save some of it for future episode posts where I don’t even have to worry about spoilers.
Favorite Anime – Clannad
ZOMG surprise of the century? Even though I’m such a Shugo Chara fangirl? No not really. Doki’s beginning and its filler arc will spoil my mood quite nicely even when it’s just mentioned. So Clannad (specifically the After Story) takes it home. I can ignore its faults a little more easily, because at least every episode focuses on a character that you see more than once and I never found any episode completely unentertaining.
In this anime we have a great cast of girls with some really great stories (Nagisa is number one!) and it’s all quite well done. I’ve already rewatched the first season and since I’m enjoying the second season even more, this is obviously a series that I’m going to continue rewatching.
As with any anime it has its faults, but…I like it. And it’s sure to be a favorite for years to come.
Favorite Manga – Shugo Chara!
I need to follow more manga because I didn’t even have to think about this for more than a few seconds.
We have Ikuto’s arc right now which is going to lead to the end of the series, so there’s been so many developments that fans have been waiting since at least near the beginning of the series for. A recent cliffhanger is making many fans cry out in agony for the delay in the next chapter (though they’re mostly being very polite about it and wishing the manga-ka well). Every chapter this year has had something memorable for me in it, so yeah. It’s an obvious choice and that’s all I can really say.
And I think that’s it for my favorites. Now I’m just going to give out my one “best of” award. That award is the “fangirling” award. The series that generates the most excitement, shipping, kyaa-ing, and quite often stupidity among the female portion of the anime fandom.
Quite obviously by that description I say…
Shugo Chara! obviously.
I don’t even think I need to back this up because the Shugo Chara fandom is very, very excitable. The amount of heart-attacks that ensue just when spoilers for the latest chapter comes out is quite amazing. And of course, when you have a large fandom, the easier it is to get excited because whenever you go, “OMG!!!” it’s quite easy to run into someone who will say, “OMG!!!” as well.
For me personally it’s probably the series that’s easiest to get excited over as well. Even if that excitement leads to rage, it’s always there. Because even if I start to fade, I’ll get tons of comments that will get me right back in it.
The merchandising and all of the fanworks are overflowing too. This series is popular. And it’s popular with fangirls (like me).
Right now I’m calmer about my enjoyment, but you can bet that with the recent episode, the excitement all over the fandom is going to start again like crazy. Every time you think it might finally be dead it will spring back to life. Though we’ll see what happens when the series fully ends.
And that’s it. I planned a better post to celebrate the New Year (and this would have been posted yesterday), but sadly there’s no time.
As an explanation, I hurt my ankle (badly) and wasn’t allowed to sit up or stand so no computer was available for me to use. Normally we would have the laptop and I could have finished up my posts on that, but my dad needed it for work.
Today my mom was nice enough to set up a little stool and some cushions so I can sit at my computer properly, but I will be very absent for the remainder of the day because it’s a pain to move from room to room and I want to spend time with my family. So Happy New Year everyone! I’ll hopefully be more present tomorow. Hopefully I’ll get to my post on what I got for Christmas too.
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