12 Moments of Anime Day 12 – The Tragic Life of Yuuko Amamiya

In a way, I hate to wrap up this project with this episode, especially with this post going out on Christmas Day (which itself is rather ironic if you know Yuuko’s story), but I found  episode 6 of ef – a tale of melodies to probably have the single most impactful moment in any anime series in 2008 that I’ve seen, and thus wanted to save it for last.

Yuuko's Broken Past

Watching the series, I knew for a while that Yuuko wasn’t telling Yuu something, and that something was probably up between Yuuko and her adoptive brother.  However, to have it plopped down like it was in such a bare and upfront manner just made a shocking story all that much more disturbing.  This episode probably single-handedly made ef – a tale of melodies the best series of the year, with many of the other excellent episodes being icing on top.

The shocking and disturbing nature of the scene and the overall writing and way it was presented, put into the show in the way that it was, makes the tale of the Tragic Life of Yuuko Amamiya my final, and top, of the 12 Moments of Anime in 2008.

The 12 Moments of Anime project is the brainchild of CCY.

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12 Moments of Anime Day 11 – Hayami's Shocking End

I had a lot of problems with H2O: Footprints in the Sand, including the way that the main character, Takuma, got into his rather pathetic state by the end of the series in the first place.  However, the show resolves this story arc in a sudden and shocking fashion.

Don't smile like that just before you're going to be smashed by a train, damnit

Hayami getting killed by a train was tragic in many respects, including the fact that she had just been accepted by the town and that I don’t recall the story hinting anything like that was going to happen, making the viewer feel like things were becoming alright (except for Takuma’s condition)  before it occured, and the fact that Takuma realizes that the same thing happened to his mother.  It was a very bright spot in the writing for a series which was otherwise rather lackluster.

However, this event, which is a top contender for “most shocking event of the year” puts it on the list of 12 Moments of Anime, even if it isn’t a particularly happy moment.

The 12 Moments of Anime project is the brainchild of CCY.

12 Moments of Anime Day 10 – That's a Ramiel We Can Believe In

Yesterday, I said that the Wilhelmina vs. Sabrac fight was probably the best I saw all year.  However, there is one which would definitely give it a run for it’s money, and that is NERV’s battle against the angel Ramiel in the first reboot movie Evangelion 1.0: You are (not) Alone.

That's one sweet angel

They made sure to spare no expense on the special effects in the movie, especially on the climatic battle with Ramiel, where the creativity of Evangelion really shines through when they present us with the ultra-powerful and morphtastic angel.  This super battle between heavyweights earns Ramiel a spot in the list of 12 Moments of Anime

The 12 Moments of Anime project is the brainchild of CCY.

12 Moments of Anime Day 9 – Wilhelmina vs. Sabrac

Perhaps the single best fight I watched this year was the one between Wilhelmina and Sabrac in episodes 20 and 21 of Shakugan no Shana II.  The fight may have been slightly long winded, but as they usually do, the writers of Shana find a way to make the whole thing interesting and entertaining, all while slowly and surely unraveling Sabrac’s secret.

Sabrac is probably the most bad-ass of all the bad-ass enemies in Shakugan no Shana so far – even the members of the Bal Masqué would be hard pressed to defeat him in one-on-one combat (OK, Wilhelmina’s fight wasn’t entirely one-on-one, but still…) – so this fight shows us just how powerful Wilhelmina is, as well as how resourceful Yuji is and how well the Flame Hazes work together by that point in the series.

Overall, the kick-ass fight of the year earns Shakugan no Shana II episodes 20 and 21 a place on the list of 12 Moments of Anime.

The 12 Moments of Anime project is the brainchild of CCY.

12 Moments of Anime Day 8 – Use the Druaga Beam!

Probably the best gimmick episode of 2008 – and perhaps one of the best ever – was the first episode of The Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk.  Obviously this show was trying to grab attention right off the bat – as well as perhaps draw attention to Gonzo’s new found attempt to make their episodes available subbed online at air time.

Too bad the rest of the series wasn't this good

This episode was full of hilarity, making me “nearly [laugh] out loud from start to finish” as I wrote at the time.  This episode would definitely contend for a spot in one of the top 10 episodes of the year, I think.  Too bad the rest of the series couldn’t follow suit.  I guess that’s one problem with starting your series with such a great episode: it’s very hard for the rest of the series to live up to it.

In any case, making fun of fantasy anime and use of Druaga Beams earn Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk episode 1 a spot in the 12 Moments of Anime.

The 12 Moments of Anime project is the brainchild of CCY.

12 Moments of Anime Day 7 – Game to the Death?

Yet another under appreciated series in 2008 (though it started in 2007) was the shogi-themed series Shion no Ou (or Shion’s King).  While this show is packed with shogi, it is also a murder mystery about who killed Shion’s parents when she was little.  The series feeds you little pieces here and there, including events and information to throw you off the scent of the real killer (though I figured it out pretty early, though not without reservations).

I'll kill you! Erm, at shogi I mean.

The final three episodes of the series were all dedicated to the final match between Shion and the current Meijin Makoto Hani.  The intensity in the match, and the revelations made during it, made these episodes perhaps one of the more interesting conclusions to a series in 2008.  It makes you wonder how writers can make something like playing a shogi match into an interesting episode (or episodes) of anime.  As a result, Shion episodes 20 – 22 are included in the 12 Moments of Anime.

The 12 Moments of Anime project is the brainchild of CCY.

12 Moments of Anime Day 6 – Shana Cosplay is Instant Win

The otaku show of 2008 may very well have been The Secret of Haruka Nogizaka, with otaku and show references thrown in nearly all over the place.  However, one of my favorite parts of this series were the character’s tendency to show up cosplaying as characters which I both know and actually like:

Shana cosplay is always hot
Watch out for Excalibolg
Hecate! *drools*

Ah…anime referencing anime.  Half the time I don’t even know what show is being referenced, but when I do, I get a real kick out of it.  And doing Shana (and Dokuro-chan) just makes it that much more fun.  That leads to Shana cosplay being added to the 12 Moments of Anime.

(OK, I know that was a pretty pathetic example, but I was running out of moments to post XD)

The 12 Moments of Anime project is the brainchild of CCY.

12 Moments of Anime Day 5 – Twenty Faces of an Unexpected Twist

Perhaps one of the most under appreciated shows from 2008 is Nijuu Mensou no Musume a.k.a. The Daughter of Twenty Faces a.k.a. Chiko the Phantom Thief.  The thing about this show is that it appeared to be going on it’s merry way when, in episode 6, a huge twist threw the entire series into chaos:  Twenty Faces’ entire gang gets wiped out and Twenty Faces himself is presumed to have died.

The heat was on Twenty Faces in episode 6

My reaction to this episode was literally “holy shit” and this episode probably still stands out as the plot twist of the year so far for the shows that I’ve watched.  I was just stunned for a while after watching it, and if I was doing a “top 10 episodes of the year” countdown, this episode would almost certainly be on it, if not near the top.  This earns Nijuu Mensou episode 6 a spot in the 12 Moments of Anime.

The 12 Moments of Anime project is the brainchild of CCY.

12 Moments of Anime Day 4 – Vanilla Salt

It’s very difficult to pull out a single episode or event in Toradora to put in this list, so I thought I woldn’t use something from any of the actual episodes.  Instead, I’ll display it’s ending theme – Vanilla Salt by Yui Horie – especially since it has to be very much in the running for “Best Anime Theme of the Year.”

I said initially that Toradora was an “instant classic,” and so far it has yet to disappoint after 11 episodes.  It is definitely the best Fall series that I’m not blogging, and the ending theme just seems to somehow portray part of what makes this series good (though don’t ask me to explain how.  Maybe it’s the aura the song puts out lol).  That earns Vanilla Salt a spot in the 12 Moments of Anime.

The 12 Moments of Anime project is the brainchild of CCY.

12 Moments of Anime Day 3 – The Bear that Traveled Around the World

I knew that CLANNAD was going to get a moment in this list.  The question was: which one?  I ended up settling on the last real complete and independent story arc for the show in 2008 besides Nagisa’s: Kotomi’s arc, the core of which spanned episodes 13 and 14 of the first series.

Kotomi's Traveling Bear

I don’t know if it’s because of the character of Kotomi and how innocent (and clueless and freakin brilliant) she is or the fact the two characters that I like better – Kyou and Tomoyo – didn’t get “real” story arcs (though Tomoyo got more of one than Kyou), but Kotomi’s arc seemed to be the best story arc in the series to me so far – After Story included.

There may be short moments here and there that may be very good as well, but it seemed like that these two episodes were perhaps the best pair of episodes in CLANNAD, at least thus far.  That earns them a spot in the 12 Moments of Anime.

The 12 Moments of Anime project is the brainchild of CCY.