Here is the start of my multi-part Favorite in 2009 series. I’m going to post on anime, comics, tokusatsu and film/television. Some may be more list like, while others may be more essay-esque. Here’s hoping I actually finish before 2009 does.
When historians from the far off future of anime fandom in America (about 5 years from now) look back at 2009, they’ll see that this was the year of simulcasting and digital streaming coming into prominence. Services like Crunchyroll and Hulu have brought new and old series to the internet, legally at that. FUNimation and Viz have stepped up to simulcast some of their biggest titles, like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, One Piece and Naruto: Shippuden.
Of the shows I’ve seen this year, Eden of the East is my favorite original series. Akira Takizawa finds himself without any memory and with almost unlimited resources for a competition to fix the woes of Japan. Upon his awakening in Washington DC, he finds Saki Morimi in front of the White House, and crazy hijynxs ensue.
It’s a fairly serious mystery with good bits of comedy spread throughout it. All 11 episodes aired in Japan in late spring. A compilation movie and a sequel hit theaters over the fall, and a final film is coming out next spring. The series has been licensed by FUNimation.
Unfortunately, I don’t foresee my favorite new series from an existing franchise coming to America soon. Definitely not doing all that well. Not everyone cares for the unadulterated awesomeness of Go Nagai.
Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z Hen is a modern retelling of Go Nagai’s 1970s Mazinger Z anime about Koji Kabuto and his super robot fighting against the evil Dr. Hell. Shin Mazinger adds aspects from other Go Nagai series – such as basing the Kurogane Five on characters from Violence Jack – and explores the previously skimmed-over history behind Mazinger Z.
Particularly, the series put more emphasis on the Mycenaes and the Greek mythology aspects than before and developed the enemy Baron Ashura’s back story. It was directed by the renowned Yasuhiro Imagawa, who also directed Giant Robo and G Gundam.
Speaking of Gundam, this year saw the return of the prototypal real robot series to the air waves with Mobile Suit Gundam 00 airing on SyFy’s AniMonday block. It’s nice having an anime block on American television again, especially after Cartoon Network keeps cutting back even on original animation for live-action ventures. This year has seen great shows on AniMonday, such as Gundam 00 and Monster. However, its attempt at showing Voltron and Street Fighter motion comics fell flat on its face. Hopefully it’ll learn from its mistakes and keep bringing good series to the states.
A new Gundam 00 movie is ushering in the new decade in 2010, so maybe it’ll make an appearance. Let those parade colors fly for the New Year.
Favorite Original Anime:
Eden of the East
Favorite Previously-Established Anime:
Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z Hen
Favorite Development in Anime:
Proliferation of legal online streaming
Favorite Cheer Up after Depressingly Bad Heroes:
Syfy’s AniMonday block