Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Anime Spotlight : Top Anime from Yesteryear : 2009


2009 was a great year for anime filled with a ton of great shows. Join me as I take a trip down memory lane by sharing what shows I thought were the best of that year. Keeping in mind that this is a personal list. I would love to hear what anime from 2009 you enjoyed and how you feel about my list.

Cross Game

Synopsis : Cross Game is the story of Kitamura Kou and the four Tsukishima sisters, Ichiyou, Wakaba, Aoba, and Momiji. The Tsukushima family runs a batting center with an attached coffee shop, and Kou's father runs a neighbouring sporting good store. Wakaba and Kou were born on the same day in the same hospital, and have been close friends since childhood — close enough that Wakaba treats Kou as her boyfriend, even though nothing is officially declared. Aoba, who is one year younger than Wakaba and Kou, doesn't like how Kou is taking her sister away from her and claims she hates him.
Genre : Baseball, Clubs, Daily Life, High School, Manga, School Life, Shounen, Sports
PV :  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgJEeZNOyRI (AMV as no trailer could be found)
Thoughts : Cross Game is up there with some of my all time favourite animes. A great romance told with sports elements. A Full review from me on Cross Game can be found here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4eZ9iDf0lE&index=1&list=PLQ0HpXfp5-bWhgjtZA_SS3qJZOpOGCbaR

Saki

Synopsis : Miyanaga Saki is a high school freshman who does not like mahjong. Ever since she was a child, she would lose her New Year's gift money during her family's mahjong game. If she won, her parents would be upset, and if she lost, well, she lost. As a result, she has learned to play in such a way that her score always remains plus/minus zero: Not good enough to win, but not bad enough to lose. When we meet her, she is being dragged to her school's mahjong club by an old friend. How will a girl who hates mahjong, yet has become adept at the game as a result of her upbringing, cope in this environment?
Genre : Clubs, Comedy, High School, Manga, School Life, Seinen, Sports
Thoughts : Saki is a fine example of how Anime can make almost anything look interesting, in this case mahjong. Saki features probably the largest collection of seiyuu I've seen in a show, great animation. Well placed music and lovable characters. And even some strong yuri undertones :D

Higashi no Eden

Synopsis : On November 22, 2010 ten missiles strike Japan. However, this unprecedented terrorist act, later to be called "Careless Monday", does not result in any apparent victims, and is soon forgotten. Then, three months later... Morimi Saki, a young woman currently in the United States of America on her graduation trip, gets into trouble in front of the White House in Washington DC, and only the unexpected intervention of a fellow countryman saves her. However, this man, who introduces himself as Takizawa Akira, is a complete mystery. He appears to have lost his memory and he is stark naked, except for the gun he holds in one hand, and a mobile phone in the other. A phone that is charged with 8,200,000,000 yen in digital cash.
Genre : Conspiracy, Josei, Romance
Thoughts : One can really see that the people involved with Anime Greats like Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex and Seirei no Moribito were involved in this show. Top notch audio and video production added to great characters and a really well thought out plot. Makes for quite the ride.

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

Synopsis : At the start of summer vacation Mirai, a middle school freshman girl, travels to Tokyo's artificial Odaiba Island to visit a robot exhibition with her brother Yuuki. A magnitude 8.0 earthquake emanates from an ocean trench, the famed Tokyo Tower and Rainbow Bridge crumble and fall, and the landscape of Tokyo changes in an instant. Luckily the two children meet Mari, a motorcycle delivery woman, on Odaiba, who helps Mirai and Yuuki head back to their Setagaya home in western Tokyo.
Genre : Coming of Age, Daily Life, Seinen, Tragedy
Thoughts : Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 did a fantastic job of sharing what people would go through after a big natural disaster. A lot of work was done to make sure that the show would have a realistic image of what kind of damage an earthquake could cause. I would highly suggest this show to anyone looking for a really fantastic coming of age tale. Just make sure to keep some tissues on hand as it has some hectic emotional parts.

A Certain Scientific Railgun

Synopsis : Academy City is the home to circa 2.3 million citizens, about 80% of whom are students working to develop psychic powers and advanced technology. Students are ranked according to levels corresponding to their psychic powers: those without any are ranked at Level 0, and those with some manner of powers progress from Level 1, the weakest, to Level 5, the strongest. Only seven students in the whole city are ranked Level 5, and these seven are ranked among themselves as well.

Electro-master Misaka Mikoto is a headstrong Level 5 esper, ranked third in the city. Her perverted and passionate roommate, Shirai Kuroko, is a Level 4 Teleporter and a member of law enforcement and public safety corps Judgment. Uiharu Kazari is Kuroko's shy Level 1 partner at Judgment and a specialist at hacking and information gathering. Saten Ruiko is Kazari's mischievous friend who has a habit of flipping the latter's skirt to find out what color of underwear she is currently wearing, much to her chagrin, and a Level 0.

Those four friends would normally be simply carrying on with their daily lives like always, but some sources of disturbance to their routines have surfaced. Recently, several strange urban legends have surfaced in Academy City: a mysterious woman who will simply strip in the middle of the city, seemingly oblivious to everyone around her; a boy of unknown powers who can easily negate any force and deflect any attacks, no matter the form they take; a way to artificially increase one's psychic level, quickly making many students into much stronger espers than they were before, and which might work even for those ranked Level 0...

Almost as if these legends themselves weren't strange enough on their own, something even stranger takes place: while there may be some exaggerations in how they are told, they are, one by one, all confirmed to be, in essence, true. And since people often tend to become drunk with power, the case of artificial powering-ups has some quite disturbing ramifications: increased powers in the hands of reckless people is quickly leading to more and more severe crimes...
Genre : Action, Comedy, Conspiracy, Dystopia, Fantasy, Manga, Sci-Fi, Seinen, Super Power
Thoughts : A Spin-off from A Certain Magical Index, Just focusing more on the best girl Misaka. I really enjoyed Railgun a lot. The anime has a good mix of comedic elements, epic fights and a good plot. Yes it also has a character that wants nothing less than some shoujo ai...

Some notable mentions from 2009 include but are not limited to : K-on!; Natsu no Arashi!; Taishou Yakyuu Musume and Yume-iro Patissiere.

That was my list of favourites from the 2009 Anime Season. What was yours?