Top 10 Anime Openings of 2009

As I did last year, here is the list of what I thought the top 10 anime OPs of 2009 were. Enjoy!

10. “Aoi Hana” by Kukikodan – Sweet Blue Flowers OP

This is a nice little song to start off the countdown.

9. “Super Driver” by Aya Hirano – The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya OP2

While the ED was the good song from the first season, the OP was the good song from the second season of Haruhi.

8. “Kimi ni Todoke” by Tanizawa Tomofumi – Kimi ni Todoke OP

Another nice soft rock song that I think is pretty good and matches the show pretty well.

7. “Kimi Shinitamō Koto Nakare” by May’n – Shangri-la OP

I wasn’t too sure about this OP to start with, but it kind of grew on me after a while

6. “HANAJI” by Yu Kobayashi – Maria Holic OP

Rather ecchi, but how can one not like this OP?

5. “Karma” by KOKIA – Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom OP1

KOKIA once again makes the list, this time for her excellent, if not eerie, OP for Phantom.

4. “Parallel Hearts” by FictionJunction – Pandora Hearts OP

This OP just stuck on me from the very start.  I think it’s pretty good, anyway

3. “Oyasumi Paradox” by Etsuko Yakushimaru – Natsu no Arashi! Akinai-chū OP

I didn’t watch this show, but I love this OP.

2. “Falling Down” by Oasis – Eden of the East OP

One of the very best OPs of the year, if not for the past few years. And being sung in English (being that it’s sung by Oasis) probably doesn’t hurt either.

1. “kiseki” by NIRGILIS – Birdy the Mighty DECODE 02 OP

However, the #1 OP of the year goes to a show from all the way back in the winter season.  It was a tough choice between #1 and #2, but I thought this one just won out.

Funimation licenses Eden of the East, Casshern Sins remake

Funimation entertainment has announced that they have licensed the anime series Eden of the East and the Casshern Sins remake.  Both shows are scheduled to come out in 2010.

Casshern Sins is a 24 episode series which aired October 2008 and March 2009.  Eden of the East is an 11 episode series which aired between April and June 2009.

Funimation also got box sets of remastered Dragon Ball Z episodes, which apparently are DVD box set releases made from the original masters.  I guess this is somewhat of a big deal for Funimation and DBZ fans.

Funimation also announced the Korean live-action movie Daytime Drinking at their Otakon panel, scheduled for an April 2010 release.

Yesterday, Funimation also announced that they had licensed four Case Closed movies: The Last Wizard of the Century, Captured in Her Eyes, Countdown to Heaven, and The Phantom of Baker Street.

Eden of the East – Anime Review

eden_east_logo

The Essentials

Name: Eden of the East
Genre: Mystery, Comedy, Drama
Episodes: 11
Aired: April 9, 2009 – June 18, 2009
Based On: N/A
Director: Kenji Kamiyama
Produced By: Production I.G.
US Distribution By: Not Licensed

Cast

Character Japanese Cast English Cast (N/A)
Saki Morimi: Saori Hayami
Akira Takizawa: Ryohei Kimura
Juiz: Sakiko Tamagawa
Satoshi Osugi: Takuya Eguchi
Kazuomi Hirasawa: Motoyuki Kawahara
Mikuru “Micchon” Katsuhara: Ayaka Saito
Onee: Kimiko Saito
Haruo Kasuga: Hayato Taya
Daiju Mononobe: Atsushi Miyauchi
Kuroha Shiratori: Rei Igarashi

Review

Eden of the East is a mystery series regarding a man identifying himself as Akira Takizawa who turns up naked in front of the White House, and in the process saves a Japanese tourist there, Saki, who had gotten in trouble by throwing something over the White House fence.  However, Akira has no memories of the past and is in possession of only two things: a gun and a mysterious cellphone which says he has ¥8.2 billion ($82 million) on his phone and is answered by a girl named Juiz who appears to be able to do anything – for a price.

Soon, Akira finds out that he is a “Selecao” – one of 12 people seemingly randomly chosen by a man only known as “Mr. Outside” and given 10 billion yen with instructions to use it to save Japan.  However, only one Selecao – the one who is actually able to save Japan – can survive the game, with all the others being taken out by “The Supporter.”  The mystery deepens even further when the possibility that the Selecao are connected to the “Careless Monday” event that took place 3 months earlier, in which 10 missiles hit Japanese cities, but somehow no one was killed.

Eden of the East is done in an unusual style, at least based on most other shows I’ve seen, and thus can’t really be fitted very well into any pre-existing show “templates” out there.  I think this serves the show well as that allows it to keep the viewer on their toes as Akira delves deeper and deeper into the mystery of who the Selecao are and what involvement he’s had with them in the past.  The show picks up momentum right away and continues it all the way through to the end of the series – though, even though some major story lines are resolved in the series proper, the answers to some of the bigger questions are left for two sequel theatrical films.  Despite this, the series is still largely able to stand on it’s own even without the two sequel movies.

I think perhaps the biggest strength of this show is it’s characters, especially Akira, who has to deal with having to piece together who he is, what he has done, and why he has done it.  However, many of the other characters are also rather compelling to watch as well.

There appears to be very little to dislike about this show.  It has great animation, great music.  As I noted above, it seems to have a compelling story that it’s able to keep up all the way through the series.  It also mixes it’s comedy and drama aspects very well, and I don’t really recall any place where I thought the transition between comedy-centric parts of the show and drama-centric parts of the show was awkward.  Overall, I think this is an excellent show which many, many people could enjoy.

Scores

Story: 5/5
Animation: 5/5
Music: 5/5
English Dubs: N/A

Overall: 5/5

First Watched: April – June 2009
Do I Own: No
Do I Recommend: Yes

Anime Credits – Eden of the East OP

A couple months ago I posted what I figured would be as close to shoe-in for the #1 ED of the year (the Munto TV ED).  Now I’ll post what I think is probably currently in the #1 spot for the top OP of the year for 2009.

Spring 2009 Mid-Season Report

Since hell month struck right at the start of the season, I wasn’t able to do my usual first impression posts for show that I was watching, so I decided to do a Mid-Season report once I caught up.  As a result, here it is!

Number of episodes watched are in parenthesis.

1st Tier

1. Eden of the East (6)

It’d be hard to rank anything above this at the time being.  This show has everything: music, animation, story, intrigue, you name it.  Eden of the East is definitely not your usual fare, and given that it appears to obviously in good hands as far as writing and production, it is shining brightly as a result.   While the last episode was a tad confusing on the first viewing, there is very little to find wrong with this show so far.

2. K-ON (7)

I believe K-ON was the 8th of 8 shows that I decided to watch at the start of the season, and I picked it for the sole reason that Kyoto Animation was producing it and I seem to like their stuff, even if the premise of this particular show didn’t appeal to me very much.  Well, I’ll say it right now:  Oh please forgive me KyoAni for ever doubting you!  K-ON is everything Lucky Star ever wished it was, and more.  Good music plus interesting and hilarious characters make this a fun show to watch.  And while the characters use most of the standard “moe” characteristics from many past KyoAni series, they seem to be mixed and matched differently, giving the characters some freshness.

2nd Tier

3. Requiem for the Phantom (5)

OK, yes, I know, I’m probably the only person in the anime blogosphere who doesn’t hate BEE TRAIN (though admittedly, I’ve only seen 2, maybe 3, of their shows total), but I’ve so far been digging Phantom.  This series seemed to take an animation quality dip come the 4th episode or so, but the storytelling seems to be rather solid to me.  Sure, there are some issues, but compared to many of the other shows on my watch list, this one is doing pretty good.

4. Fullmetal Alchemist (6)

I kind of have this and Phantom tied at 3rd right now, but I think overall I’ll put this at 4th right now.  One reason is that thus far the series is just going through stories which I’ve already seen before in the first series, which is to be expected.  It is going at a far brisker pace than the first series thus far, though, having gone through the material of about 16 episodes of the first season i only 6 in the second, though we’re only up through about chapter 8 of the manga or so I believe.  There are various other things which I think don’t make this as strong of a series as it could be, but it’s still pretty good so far.

5. Valkyria Chronicles (6)

I didn’t really know what to expect or how much I’d like a show like Valyria.  I have, after all, not really watch any show very much like it before (though I’m sure many have been produced).  However, I have been pleasantly surprised by it so far.  The “courseness” of the animation, while good in concept, could be pulled off better, however.  But as far as the story and characters are concerned, they seem to be well thought out and executed pretty well so far, and it’s one of the shows that I actually look quite forward to seeing more episodes of.

3rd Tier

6. Shangri-la (6)

Shangri-La starts the series of 3 bottom-feeder series for this season.  While I appreciate an anime series which has some (apparent) thought and depth to it, I’m almost wondering if it’s too complex for it’s own good.  We have jibber jabber about carbon markets and bubble economies and the like and after a while i’ts just kind of like “wut?”  Also, while I realize most shows aren’t exactly realistic, being able to create a bubble and burst it in a nation and forcing whole industries to go bankrupt in mere seconds is more than what I’m really able to believe.  I think this series still has some promise if it gets it’s act together, but it has a long way to go.

7. Pandora Hearts (6)

Pandora Hearts is not last for one reason:   The chracters.  I love the characers and I love the character designs.  It’s a pity that they couldn’t actually be featured in, you know, a good show.  The show has gotten a little bit better in the past couple of episodes, so maybe there is hope, but so far the episodes have largely been a muddle mess of confusion, where I don’t really understand what’s going on half the time.  Add to this the sub-sub-standard animation quality (I had read about XEBEC having crappy animation before, and now I know what they were talking about) and Pandora Hearts is quickly becoming a rather forgetable show.

8. Asura Cryin’ (5)

It pains me to put this last since I keep watching it hoping that it will get better, but I think drooling on my pillow while I sleep is better written than this show up until this point.  So we have three factions, which all run different student councils at this school, and they have these Asura things or whatever, and, well, hell if I know what’s going on after 5 episodes.  All I know is that banging Demons is bad and Natsume using his Asura thing might be hazardous for his ghost-girlfriend’s, er, health.  Perhaps the main good point to this story are (some) of it’s characters and what humor exists, but it all goes downhill once it starts getting serious.  And it’s animation isn’t all that stellar either.

Spring 2009 Blog and Watch List

Sorry for not posting in the last week.  That was a combination of the basketball tournament (which took up a good deal of my weekend) and getting into the homestretch of my class (which I usually do on the weekend, but got pushed to my weekday evenings…when I usually do my blogging, thus limited to no blogging for the past little while).

I was initially planning on blogging 2 series for the Spring 09 season, but I think given that I’m probably going to be somewhat slammed with my class for the next month (the final month + oral exit exam for classes I haven’t taken in 3 years), so I think I’m only going to pick up one show to blog.  In my preview, I had 3 shows on my “May blog” list: Eden of the East, Phantom, and Shangri-La.

Now, I’m one who sometimes likes venturing out onto paths that other bloggers sometimes don’t tread on (see: Shion no Ou, Nijuu-Mensou).  Two of the seemingly most highly expected series this season appear to be Eden of the East and Shangri-La which, I presume, will have bloggers falling over themselves to blog it.  As a result, I think I’m going to blog Phantom myself.  My only worry with this show is largely that the only two fansub groups listed as doing it I haven’t really downloaded anything from before, so I don’t know whether they’re of good quality or whether they get things out quickly or not.  So there you have it for my blogging list.

As for shows that I’ll watch, Eden of the East, Shangri-La, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Pandora Hearts were already on my “will watch” list, so I’ll probably grab about 3 shows from the “may watch” list to add to this list.  Out of that list, I guess the most appealing is K-ON, since it was really the only show that didn’t raise some question marks with me, and I guess when I get down to my “may” list, I go from picking shows that look good to picking shows that don’t look bad.  Next on my list is Asura Cryin’.  The preview I saw looked more serious than the “semi-serious” description of the show, and the arrival of what looked like a mecha-like thing put this show into question, but I think overall it looks good.  Finally on my list is Valkyria Chronicles.  This is somewhat iffy to me, but just not as iffy as Summer Storm (highly questionable animation to me) and Tears to Tiara (looks like a fantasy show that is taking itself way too seriously).

So, to roundup, this is what my blogging and watching slate for the Spring season will look like:

Blogging

  • Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom

Watching

  • Asura Cryin’
  • Eden of the East
  • Fullmetal Alchemist
  • K-ON!
  • Pandora Hearts
  • Shangri-La
  • Valkyria Chronicles