And another year passes by without incident. So it seems like a decent time to look back at the years anime and games. As per usual, the figures and whatnot won’t be discussed as they get their own post on the blogs anniversary. Still, there’s plenty to look back at without them. And for starters, here are my fave shows of the year.
Note that I haven’t included any shows which have yet to finish airing. So shows like Persona 4, Fate\zero, Kyokai Senjou no Horizon and Guilty crown get to fight it over in next years post (assuming that 1. I’m still posting by then and 2. I actually remember them!)
And now, lets get on with the rest of the stuff!
Worst shows of 2011
- Kaito Tenshi Twin Angel – So bad, I didn’t get past the 3rd ep. It now sits in the infamous list of “shows I couldn’t bear to watch, alongside Okusama wa Joshikousei, Vampire Knight and a small handful of others.
- Oniichan no oh god it was shit… How the hell did I manage to watch the whole thing???
- Deadman Wonderland – Some manga just shouldn’t get an adaptation. This is one of them. The censorship killed everything! And it wasn’t the fanservice type of censorship either.
- Seikon no Qwaser II – New depths of depravity have been uncovered!
- Blood-C – I do not need a 12 episode prologue/advert for a feature film coming out next year!!!
- Fractale – It had the hallmarks of being a great show but it ended up being very meh. A lot of NoitaminA shows ended up like that. 11 ep series are probably not a great idea either.
- Star Driver – 26 episodes of “enemy mecha of the week” really took its toll. GaoGaiGar this wasn’t!
- Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko – It was kinda like a fancy meal which looked great, tasted fantastic, but ultimately, didn’t do anything about your appetite and you’re left just as hungry as when you started.
- Kamisama no Memo-chou – After coming off the back of Gosick, it never stood a chance but the mystery element of the show was still sorely lacking, despite it all being about a “detective agency” and how they resolved their cases.
- Kimi ni Todoke 2 – My god, it dragged on and on and on…
- The Idolm@ster – I can’t say this enough. I was really REALLY surprised at how well the show turned out and how fun it was!
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica – I don’t think I need to explain why, right? Not quite a top 5 show of the year for me, but only just.
- Tiger and Bunny – I don’t think ANYONE expected it to be as good as it was!
- Dog Days – I’ll admit it! I quite enjoyed the show. It was solid and entertaining.
The rest worth noting
- Freezing was pretty awful, but not in my worst of the year. It helped that I went in with very low expectations. Same with Rio Rainbowgate. Sengoku Otome was far worse than I feared though…
- Baka Test was still good, but the shift to more personal relationships as opposed to just class F in general hurt it. It just wasn’t as good as the first season. And it needed more of Akihisas’ sister!!
- I’m still waiting for a figure of Eucliwood Hellscythe from KoreZombie!
- Hen Zemi was almost genius in how twisted, yet funny it was!
- Steins Gate got people talking and it was pretty good to boot. Hearing Imai Asami is always good for me because I like her. Not quite as much as Hoc-chan but still… Also, the science wasn’t complete nonsense like it was in Chaos Head!!
- Kamisama Dolls really needs a sequel. They can’t just put a teaser up at the end like that!!
- R-15 was another show I didn’t finish but I’m waiting for the BD rips. It’s the first show I can’t watch because of all the censorship!!
- Mawaru Penguindrum was the most F**ked up show I have seen in a long while. Even Umineko doesn’t come close. It was almost depressing!
- There were a lot of shows which were fun to watch at the time but were quickly forgotten. Sacred Seven, Dantalian no Shoka, A Channel and Level E come to mind.
- My figure expenditure went right down this year, so why do I have less money this time? Oh right, my Macbook pro… It’s useful to have a laptop as well as a workhorse desktop but damn I felt dirty when I got it and it doesn’t exactly do anything better than a windows PC. (I also crashed it more times in 2 months than my PC has crashed in the last 2 YEARS!
- I so very nearly bought a Saber Alter Dollfie Dream… If it was a bullet, I swear I would be able to feel the heat from it as it whizzed past my face!
- So many things I want to do this year but between one of my best friends getting married, I family trip to Hong Kong on the cards and other things, I wonder if I’ll have a chance to do any of it! Damn it, I WILL go to Wonder Festival!!!
- I need to go watch more films in the cinema too. I do go when I want to see a film badly but I’m more likely to simply brush it aside. I did that with a lot of films this year. But I’ll watch the Avengers at the IMAX, even if it kills me!!!
Speaking of films, I finally took some time to watch Macross Frontier: Sayonara no Tsubasa!
And thus ends one of my fave anime from the past couple of years. Not quite the good ending one was hoping for but Sheryl fans did get one up from the Ranka ones!! Overall, all I can say is that, like the Rahxephon movie, it wasn’t better or worse than the original TV series, just different. The TV series has the advantage of sufficient time to go into details and even have some fun (remember that episode around Ozma which was basically the makers playing with those who have seen the original series? Pineapple cake is safe!!) but lacked a formalised structure for the story so the ending was rather messy and lacked closure. The Movies had the structure to base itself on but lacked the time to fully expand everything so there were gaps in the narrative. And some of the last bits of Sayonara no Tubasa were pretty contrived, but they did give a better sense of closure than the TV series. But I want more of the Galaxy fairy dammit!!
The cameo of Isamu Dyson and the YF-19 (from macross plus) was a really classy touch as well, even if it does completely mess up the timeline. Even by their own timeline, Sharon Apple was around in 2040, Fire Bomber was in 2045 and Macross Frontier was set in 2059. Never mind that the yf-19 would be in active service and technically obsolete due to the VF-25, Isamu would be, what, mid 40s by then??
anyway, now on with the video games!!
Game of the Year
You’d think that picking a GOTY would be easy. At least it has been for the last few times I’ve posted something like this. But this year, it was really hard. We’ve had quite a few great titles this year (mostly released around November…) but for me, none really stood out from the rest for a clear GOTY. Not sure if that’s because competition was fierce or if none really left a strong enough mark on me but that was the situation I was in. I was very close to put in a big NONE sign for this part of the post, but then I remembered Portal 2. Like many of the other good games this year, Portal 2 doesn’t really hold up to repeat playing (how can it, since we already know the solutions to all the puzzles?) but it was a game which was ridiculously good fun throughout and, crucially, was a sequel which was able to step out of the shadow of the original. Gears 3 and Uncharted 3 both had problems stepping out of the shadow of their predecessor but portal 2 just got on with things. It was simply one of the best gaming experiences of the year and it didn’t carry any extra baggage either!
- Uncharted 3 – Technically superior to uncharted 2 in almost every way but having too much of a good thing means that it’s harder to focus on what makes it stand out
- Dead or Alive Dimensions – THIS is how DoA games should be like! I forgot how fun they could be after the mess that was DoA4. Bought at the end of May and it still doesn’t leave my 3DS for very long!
- Arkham City – The move to a more open map meant that the structure of the game in general wasn’t quite as good as Asylum but on the whole, it was what sequels should be, bigger, bolder and more brash!
- Xenoblade – Proof positive that the JRPG is far from dead. It’s far from a classic but it shows that the genre is still able to craft wonderful stories (cliches and all!) and have fun battle systems which don’t feel like a chore to play through. Are you hearing this, Square-Enix???
- Hyperdimension Neptunia – By all rights, I should hate this game with a passion, but I don’t… In fact, I was able to play the game to completion without any issue, aside from a few bits at the start (mostly involving the retarded auto-item usage system)
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution – a timely reminder about how great and ahead of its time the original was. And the latest game was pretty decent and a worthy successor too, aside from the boss battles which were out of place and stupidly easy. (hint: gas grenades and Typhoon are your best friends!)
- Gundam Extreme VS – Arrived just before Christmas and I’m glad to see that they did away with the crap they added in Gundam vs Gundam (the last one I played), such as the map attacks… Still, the Extreme gundam is one cheap mofo… But it is an arcade game afterall so you can’t say it’s unexpected…
- Ico & Shadow of the Colossus HD – Now THIS is a reason why HD remakes are a good idea!! I missed out on SotC the first time around but Ico is still wonderful to play.
- 3DS – No way to get around this one. Easily the biggest disappointment in terms of video game stuff this year. Things are getting better but for most of the year, the only thing I was playing on it was Dead or Alive Dimensions. Now it’s DoA and Starfox 64, with a little ocarina of time! And this is after 9 months!! Also, screw the ambassador program! It may have given me some really great GBA games for free but that doesn’t make everything OK!!
- Marvel vs Capcom 3 – Less than a year later and we already have an update? That’s just taking the piss. Also, the game just is way too unbalanced to work well. It’s too easy to win by simply mashing and/or projectile spamming.
- The 3rd Birthday – Sqweenix drive yet another series I love into the ground and incinerate it for good measure to ensure it will probably never come back (another was Front Mission).
- Gears of War 3 – It’s probably good that Gears 3 ended the series (for now) as the 3rd game really felt like it was on its last legs and fast running out of steam.
- L.A. Noire – Bit of a weird one because when I played it, I though it was pretty fun and novel as I got really sucked into the game and plot as a whole, but when I returned a few months later, it was like the magic had disappeared. Without the mystery and cohesiveness of the plot to drive things forward, what was left was simply bland, dry and very dull…
- Duke Nukem Forever – It was never going to be a good game but it wasn’t as bad as most people would say. But it was hobbled even further by incorporating ideas from more recent shooters, such as the limited number of weapons you could hold at any one time… If you’re going to do old skool, do it all the way!!
- The legend of Zelda Skyward Sword – OK, so the game wasn’t bad and I’m not a massive Zelda fan but I was really felt unimpressed by Skyward Sword. The swordfighting wasn’t quite up to scratch (the wii motionplus had a tendency to misread my movements which resulted in pain for Link on multiple occasions) and the game felt really padded out, especially near the end. It was still pretty decent but nowhere near as great as most publications claim!
That’s pretty much it for 2011. My eyes are now on the PS Vita. Doubt I’ll get a launch machine after being burned so badly by the 3Ds but I will get one eventually, you can bet on that! Now, I can look to see what anime shows I’ll be likely to be watching in the next season.
Finally, to all readers. あけましておめでとうございます。