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Ani-Bloggers Choice Anime Awards Top 12 Picks 2011

December 16, 2011 2 comments

2011 has definitley been a prolific year for anime – both awesome and lousy. Before even writing my top picks on the blog I already have several favourites cycling in my head. Before you start raging at the list, think about this: this is my own personal picks for the ACAA awards on kiddtic.wordpress.com and I’m not necessarly labelling them the best anime of all time, just what I feel that had an impact on me during this year. Now without further ado: here are my top picks starting from the bottom to the number one! Note that I put images of my top three – I wanted to emphasise their importance to me!

12. The World God Only Knows
This show took dating-sims on whole new level! Keima employs his vast knowledge of dating-sims to capture the escaped souls plagueing the hearts of numerous heroines of vastly different personalties, and his life literally depends on it! It’s quite easy to pick a favourite girl (I may get some rage for this but I have to say shiori the shy librarian is my favourite of the first season!)

But what stops this from reaching higher on the list is that although there are huge strides in character development for the heroines, Keima himself doesnt really make any progress himself and pretty much remains the same throughout the series: naive and painfully snide.

11. Mayo Chiki!
I think Subaru is one of the cutest reverse-trap characters in anime (I hope that didn’t come off wrong). While Mayo Chiki doesn’t really break new ground, it was a very entertaining show filled with likeable characters. And I really feel out for Kojiro, considering that he is constantly tormented and used as a human punching bag. And there is a girl wearing neko-mimi and glasses! What more can you want?

10. Denpa Onna To Seishun Otoko
Denpa Onna is an amazingly beautiful show, and I could expect nothing less from Shaft. While Denpa Onna doesn’t really have a coherant plot line, it outlines trying to live a normal teenage life. But this proves difficult for Makoto as he has to look out his cousin for Erio Towa, as she believes she is an alien after mysteriously disappearing for six months. Very similiar character designs to the more recent show Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai, so very moe indeed!

9. Astarotte no Omocha!
Not many gave this show a chance due to the premise set by the HYPERBOLIC show description: “…Astarotte Ygvar, the first princess for the kingdom of Ygvar, has just reached the age of 10. For the upcoming years of a young succubus’ life, it is necessary for them to have a male harem. In order to maintain their body and preserve a beautiful appearance, they must consume a substance only found in males…” and you can figure out the rest. Despite this supposedly “dangerous” premise, it was a very sweet and sincere show and nothing in the show description actually happened. I suggest that you give this show a chance and watch it without precedent.

8. The Idolm@ster
Since the Idolm@ster had been announced at first to air for 12-13 episodes, I was a bit concerned whether this would be rushed and the individual idols won’t get enough screen time respectively. But as I watched each episode I was pleasantly surprised! Each idol got an equal amount of air-time, without absolutely overwhelming the rest of the cast (especially the quiet achievers). What made me even more ecstatic is that they decided to prolong the series into a full season! Now each idol can get more screen-time without time constraints, and I do love my moe idols!

7. Kimi Ni Todoke
This show frustrated the HELL out of me, but I’m glad to say that it was good kind of frustration! This romantic comedy kept me hooked on right to the end, and I would ask myself: “is it going to work out in the end?” but the answer was of course painstakingly obvious. But sometimes I would get irrationally angry when Sawako would talk herself down and retreat to square one for the smallest things, but all the good points of this anime definitely makes up for this slight shortfall.

6. Nichijou
Probably the most unpredictable comedy to emerge for quite some! I would have to take a long break after each episode to gather my senses, as I’m left thinking “what the hell was that?!” and re-watch it on YouTube to make sense of it. My favourite character would have to be Yuko, the things that happen to her! Besides from her awful jokes and poor word-play, to summarise her daily life: anything that can go wrong will go wrong! Despite all these crazy events, they treat it as if life was normal which painfully ironic (hence the title Nichijou a.k.a My Ordinary Life).

Nichijou would have been in my top three, however! As the series progressed, it started to stretch out the gags and ended up feeling a little tired and repetitive. In the first half of the season it was “set-up and punch-line” and each episode was jam-packed with gags. In the second part of the season, the gags lasted a lot longer and it felt like the show had lost some of its energy in regards to humour. At times I would want the skit to hurry up and finish and move on to the next segment (ehhhhh?!), as I was getting bored very quickly and made me feel unsatisfied when the credits rolled. They also added some new segments to the anime such as “like love”. I understand that it was to add variety to the show, however it felt so incompatible with the nature of the show – hilarious and random. If this anime aired for the first half of the season, it would have been in the top three at least. But because of the sudden change of pace and drop in intensity in the second half, I felt reluctant to place it higher.

5. Steins;Gate
Riddled with incredible plot twists and conspiracies, this anime achieved many feats. It was moe with Mayuri (tutturu!) and presented exciting and mind-blowing plot twists. This show is definitely out of my normal comfort zone, filled to the brim with science-fiction references (Back to the Future, anyone?). Although I felt a bit lost with all the explanations, terms and changes in plot, I still thoroughly enjoyed the series. I highly recommend this to any science-fiction/time travel fans that are not exactly into the anime fan base, nya?

4. Squid Girl
You probably were expecting Squid Girl to make my list without question, though it may be surprising to you that it didn’t make my top three. While Squid Girl is a fantastical show of love and joy, I felt that it wasn’t deep enough to merit a place in the top three. Its hilarious and cute, but compared to my top three I felt that it was lacking something. Plus I would feel awfully biased if I placed Squid girl higher without proper justification, is it perfect? No, but than again no show truly perfect. Nevertheless I still love Squid Girl de-geso!

3. Working’!!
Working is related to Nichijou in that it uses wild and wacky humour in a slice-of-life format, but the similarity stops there! Working is a crazy show, but it’s more subtle which I thought was a very nice touch. I always look forward to every episode on Crunchy-Roll to the point where I’m shamefully replaying episodes in anticipation. I find it impossible to hate the cast, they are so different yet they seem to naturally fit together. Even though Working doesn’t really have a plot, I love everything about this show and not many series gets me this fired up!

2. Puella Magi Madoka Magika
A typical moe-moe Mahou Shoujo anime? Boy did I fall for that trap. This anime is a sight to behold with twisted art and dark undertones, and one deceptively evil and somewhat cuddly creature! Madoka Magika exceeded my imagination with twisted renditions of reality that seemed to blend naturally with the characters, its scary what Shaft is capable of… Puella Magi Madoka Magika reflects on equivalent exchange: the idea that you cannot gain something without sacrifice of the same level, and this anime stretched this concept to the limit!

1. Usagi Drop
I know that in the podcast I said I was unsure whether to put this as my anime of the year, but after weighing them up against all my other choices I decided this must be my number one. I learnt so many things from Usagi Drop such as responsibility and the sacrifices required to raise a child, especially when you’re single and working full-time! There are a lot of media outlets that focus on the difficulty of being a mother, which is very understandable. But has anyone really focused on what the dad is going through? Girls are prepared for motherhood at a considerably younger age, with all those baby toys and play-sets. But there was really nothing for the younger male demographic except action figures and toy guns and before you know it, you’re in your teenage years (and we end up as alien creatures obsessed with guns and video games without really giving responsibility much thought). Sure there are family planning centres, but as a guy I would rather have a visual example. I’m glad to see that there are a lot of young adults taking interest in Usagi Drop, its a light-hearted and sincere show filled with beautiful art and opening/ending songs. There is so much to love about this anime, and I’m glad that they put so much effort into this show! Perhaps it warrants a second season?

Licensor of the year:
My favourite licensor for this year would have to be NIS America, which may come off as unusual. Although they aren’t as large as the more dominant companies such as FUNimation and Sentai Filmworks, they put in a lot of effort into their releases and take care of their customers (Bandai should follow their example). They are also known to make magnificent box art displayed on such works as Tora Dora and Katanagatari box sets, and its a piece of art that you can display with pride! More companies should follow NIS America’s example and put more effort into their licenses and make it worth its price-tag. And please Bandai, enough individual volumes! I have to painfully turn down the K-ON volumes until the full collection… and they also have Working’!! and Kimi ni todoke. ’nuff said.

The Kidd and the Squid Anime Podcast Episode 1 Part 1+2

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Last Sunday we recorded part one (and very much later that evening, part two!) of the first episode of the Kidd and the Squid anime podcast! Naturally being the first podcast, I was nervous as all hell so forgive me on the overall quality. In this episode we discussed our 2011 experience from anime conventions to natural disasters and several highlights.

We also discussed why we started blogging anime and the upcoming Ani-Bloggers Choice Anime Awards hosted on my esteemed co-author’s site kiddtic.wordpress.com and discussed what made the list and what didn’t.

Why did we split the podcast into two parts? Well it was unintentional as Kidd was suffering from an unexpected black-out over yonder in South Australia! It was on the basis of bad luck rather than an editing choice.

You can listen to this podcast directly on kidd’s blog on kiddtic.wordpress.com or directly download on the same site. We may be thinking about uploading it to the iTunes store for your listening convenience so be sure to keep on the look out for that!

Bishoujo figures: how far is too far?

December 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Hello one and all! Sorry its been so long since I’ve made my last post on the website, life has been hectic since I had recently graduated from high-school, went on Leavers and what-not. But hopefully I will have a lot more extra time to do some discussion topics and reviews both on Kiddtic’s site and yours truly. This time I wanted to talk about Bishoujo figures and their stance in the Australian community when it comes to censorship, as I have an interest in figures and Australia’s controversial censorship system. If you have any opinions or questions, be sure to comment below!

We all know that anime and merchandise go hand in hand, especially figures of all shapes and sizes that can suit different tastes. Eventually you may come across figures of the “bishoujo” variety in online figure stores such as Ami-Ami and the dealers room in conventions across the world. Some figures appeal to its target audience by its quality craftsmanship and adorable character designs, however some tend to follow a more blunt approach to marketing, such as gravity-defying breasts and scantily-clad versions of our favourite characters. Figures are something that you can display and be proud of, not hide in your closet every time a guest comes over (unless they hold the same enthusiasm as you do for ecchi figures). Its not like I have anything against bishoujo figures, but should it be the main attraction of a figure? Lets face it, for most of us its hard to keep a straight face when you buy a “Beach Queens” version of your favourite K-ON character in a convention, especially attempting to maintain eye contact with the cashier (though this problem is averted with online stores).

When I buy a figure this is the process I normally take:

1. Is this something I would like? (Favourite anime or pop culture icon)
2. Is it cute? (Always important for me)
3. How much? (Can I get a better deal somewhere else?)
4. What company is it from? (I tend to favour Good Smile Company)
5. Can I display it?

Can I display it.

This is a big factor for me, what is the point of buying a figure if you’re to embarrassed to display it in the first place? Personally it feels like having a dirty magazine on my coffee table when I have a female guest over at my house, I would be ashamed with myself but that is my own personal feelings. Some collectors wouldn’t have a problem with this, but I feel like it would be injustice to the figure (and my wallet) not to display it. I like to treat figures like a work of art, I want my friends to come over and admire its craftsmanship or have a bit of a laugh at the hilarious and cute poses of the nendoroids, not receive a glance of disapproval.

One of the iconic figures of BOME

Now that I think about it, I haven’t seen any bishoujo figures of the “BOME” variety at conventions or stores within Australia or at least Perth anyway (BOME is a sculptor that specialises in ecchi bishoujo figures). Of course I tend to see them in online stores like Play-Asia and Ami-Ami but these are foreign distributors. At most I’ve seen several Beach Queens figures in conventions, but that is pretty much it. For those especially in tune with video games, Australia has the some of the toughest censorship laws. I wonder if figures also get the same treatment as video games, restricting it to “protect” children and morality, I wouldn’t be surprised. The same with the sale of eroge, if they refused to classify Mortal Kombat then its a definite no for eroge like Bible Black, considering Australia has no R18 system in place at the moment. In the meantime if you want to order am ecchi figure, then your best bet is online.

What do you think of Bishoujo figures? Be sure to comment below!

Categories: Discussion Topics, Figures