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A word to the wise, ladies and gentlemen: if you plan to spend Christmas in the Colorado Mountains, make sure you have a working heater.

I didn’t. Space heaters, fireplaces and baths of water boiled on the stove filled my week.

Of course, it was a MEMORABLE Christmas, and since it’s the first Christmas I really can tell a story about, one of the best I’ve had, but… waking up and seeing your breath? Yeah, interesting experience to say the least.

But that’s not what this blog is about! This blog is about Anime, and it’s been a week since I so much as talked about it! I’ve got lots of stuff to let out, so it’s time for me to finish out the last seven days that I missed due to holiday hijinks.

~The Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!? Anime Blog 12 Days of 2007 Anime Christmas~

On the 12th day of Christmas, 2007 gave to me…
12 Eppys Ending
11 ‘Chemists Healing
10(*12) Stars A’Shining
9 Starfish Smacking

8 Drills A’Piercing
7 Rocks A’Crushing
6
Germs A’Brewing
5 PSYCHO GIRLS!
4 Bamboo Babes
3 Fun Girls
2 Weird-Ass Guns
1 And a Blog with a spotty history!

(And then, Boxing Day goodies!)

12 Eppys Ending (AKA, Genshiken 2)

Yoko Ohno
Yoko Ohno is Hot.

Hear that sound that sounds like a rabid dog at the end of his leash with a tasty steak just out of his reach? That’s me, very upset that Genshiken 2 is ending incomplete at 12 episodes. Why am I upset? Because it sucks when a series as heartfelt and true as Genshiken doesn’t get to finish its story like I had hoped.

Don’t get me wrong. Genshiken 2 is here in this place because it’s been the best season of the series. It has taken the manga stories and really embellished them, making the great characters wonderful and even making the mostly irritating Kuchiki hilarious. It’s done some amazing things, including a graduation episode that really hit close to home for me, a modernly updated anime-phrase spouting american otaku voiced by Yuko Goto, and of course the hilarious, infamous (and flat out wrong) episode 5, better known as the yaoi episode.

So why am I upset? The big thing I was hoping for, the focus on the relationship between Sasahara and Ogiue, EASILY one of my favorite couples in all of manga and anime, was only briefly skimmed on and will have to reach its focus come another OVA or season.

Regardless, Genshiken 2 has overall been more than I expected, and I expected alot. I expected more wonderful stories about a college otaku club, focusing on cosplay, doujinshi, and character relationships. I got all that and a bag of chips.

11 ‘Chemists Healing (AKA, Busou Renkin and Baccano!)

The Bacouple of Baccano
Victorized!
Busou Renkin and Baccano!. Giving new meaning to “Too Stupid to Die.”

For number 11, I figured I’d talk about two marvelous shows about “Alchemists”, one that ended in the winter season and one that ran through the summer season. The first is the best traditional shounen series of the year. The second is one of the most fun (and hilariously over the top and violent) shows of the year. Both treat Alchemists very differently than the traditional definition (and differently from Full Metal Alchemist, too, but then, FMA treated Alchemists as mages rather than prototypical chemists)

Busou Renkin is the best Shounen show of the year, and is at least ten times better than whatever One Piece, Bleach, and regrettably Hunter X Hunter and Naruto have to offer at this point. Dio Bravo did an excellent essay as to why, but if you’re still stubborn about it then I guess there’s no helping you. For the record, my anime club loved the series once they got past any of the “cliche” mindsets they had, and one of my friends ranked it as one of his favorite animes because of Watsuki’s style of being more like a western comic book (since said friend is a big fan of western comics.)

Baccano! is something I would have talked about more if there was any indication of just what I should be talking about. Of course, what can be said isn’t THAT hard. It’s an anarchic piece of pulp literature turned anime about a highlander-esque battle between immortal alchemists told in such an nonchronologic order that it would probably scare even the episodes of Haruhi. It’s plot is a rampant romp through prohibition era America about mobsters and the immortals that live among them, a multiway confrontation on a train between cultists, a psychopath in a white suit, a gang of street rats, and the exploits of two hilariously stupid and amazing self-styled thieves. The cast is the strength of the series, and any moment that involves either Issac and Miria (the aforementioned thieves) or Ladd (the psychopath) is pure gold, and the development of the street rats, namely Jacuzzi Splot (who wins the award for BEST. NAME. EVER.), is a wonderful story in its own right. Don’t be afraid of the odd episode order or the violence. The series is simply amazingly good fun, and one of the dark horse candidates for best series of the year.

Now if only I could get any of the other shmucks that claim to help me blog to watch it.

10(*12) Stars A’Shining (AKA, Super Mario Galaxy)

Super Mario Galaxy
HERE WE GOOOOOOOOO!

I am going to say it as simply as I can.

Super Mario Galaxy is the best game of the year, and thus far best in the current console generation. It is possibly the best game since Super Mario Brothers 3 or Earthbound.

No, I am not a mere Nintendo fanboy. I don’t care about FPS XYZ, even if it is Bioshock or Halo 3. Mass Effect? PC RPGs are GARBAGE in my eyes, and thus my interest in it is fairly low. Portal is BRILLIANCE condensed into three hours, and even then I had a bit more fun playing Super Mario Galaxy.

Why did I have fun? Simple. It was the best done Mario game since SMB3. No real gimmicks, excellent level design, LOTS of things to see, simple controls, and some amazingly fun powerups. Ice Mario skating on lava is one of the most awesome things I’ve ever seen. Plus, get all 120 stars and you get to play through the game as LUIGI, which is both awesome since it’s the first Mario game with playable Luigi since Super Mario World, and it changes the challenges by keeping the SMB2 traits of Luigi intact.

Do I have complaints? Sure. Ice and Fire Flowers have time limits, and there’s only two areas you can use the free flight ability. But beyond that? There is nothing wrong with this game. It is the most fun I’ve had playing a game all year.

9 Starfish Smacking (AKA, Clannad)

STARFISH CRUSH!
Do not doubt the power… of the Starfish…

I stopped wanting to hate Clannad fairly quickly. Delaying Haruhi 2? I can put up with that so long as the series is great, and Clannad is wonderful. I was very pleased to find it to be a mostly fanserviceless non-harem rather than what I’d normally expect from a Bishoujou Game adaptation, and I loved the beautifully magnificent end to the Fuko arc and the wondrous beginning of the hilarity that is Kotomi’s arc.

There’s no way I can hate a series this beautiful. Easily Kyoto Animation’s best animated series, even in 4:3 (seriously, 16:9 doesn’t add that much to anime. Suck it up, guys.) Wonderful writing, and great characters to boot. Each episode connects its threads of plot together with strings of occasional character focused comedy. Hilarious one moment and touching the next, I can’t find any complaints about Clannad. Best Romance of the year.

(Okay, so it’s technically not even a romance series. It’s about family and friendship. If I knew more of what ef had to offer I’d probably give that best romance.)

8 Drills A’Piercing (AKA, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann)

That is my drill!
“If you become a wall in my path, then I’ll break through you every time! THAT IS MY DRILL!”
I think I’ve said more than enough about Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann already. Best Show of the Year, perhaps of the decade.

7 Rocks A’Crushing (AKA, Kaiji)

Kaiji Cry
I have nothing but respect for a man who can still cry.

With each episode, Kaiji amazes me with the twisted, hellish depths it sinks to. The Human Derby event is disturbing beyond all reason, and has made for just about the most twisted and sadistic arc I’ve seen since anything in Higurashi.

In other words, what started out as great has only become more superb as it continues to show the true depths of evil it can show. Best Psychological Drama of the year. (Sure as hell better than what the Death Note anime turned into. Ugh.) I can’t think of much more to say than that.

6 Germs A’Brewing (AKA, Moyashimon)


Hey! I wanted SIX, not YOU FIVE!

Ahhh, Moyashimon. Truly the best WTF!? series of the year, and the best Educational show EVER. What initially terrified me due to its English name (at first there was no way in hell I’d watch a show called Tales of Agriculture) has proven to be a consistently outstanding and hilarious piece of light-hearted education with a bit of gross-out humor.

And the cast just keeps getting better. Most awesome professor ever. Most awesome “those two guys” since Taniguchi and Kunikida whined their way through Haruhi. Most awesome OCD germaphobe ever. HOTTEST FEMALE OF THE YEAR (Aoi Mutou is amazing.) Even without the adorable bouncing microbes I’d love the series. BREW!

BOXING DAY SPECIAL! (Day after Christmas shopping! Three for one deal on Old Shows!)

13 Mics A’Playing (AKA, GaoGaiGar)

Mic Sounders
Even the buttmonkey robots are awesome! Hooray for Mic Sounders!

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann had an interesting effect on me. It made me seek out other Super Robot shows. Me, who prior to this year only really enjoyed three mecha series: Macross/Robotech for nostalgia purpose, Martian Successor Nadesico for its farcical comedy, and Full Metal Panic!?, for its inversion of the mecha genre.

And now here I am, scooping up every adrenaline fueled super robot show I can find. While G-Gundam started to bore me, other shows have been fun, such as the (admittedly very unashamed of its H-Game roots) Super Robots vs. Cthulhu Demonbane, the paying homage to days of old Gun X Sword (which I admittedly had seen before, but I appreciate it even more now), and the fanservicey but still awesome Goddannar, but probably the best of what I’ve seen is GaoGaiGar.

Unabashedly a toy commercial, but awesome all the same, GaoGaiGar took the mecha trends of the mid 1990s and blew a raspberry at them with the kooky and awesome Gutsy Geoid Guard. While watching it after TTGL took some of the edge of the series off (especially considering TTGL is sort of a subversion of typical super robot shows) it still has many sequences that need to be seen to believed. My personal favorite? A epic, multi-episode penultimate battle between the heroes and THE MOONS OF JUPITER.

Best Toy Commercial ever.

13 Clowns A’Swinging (AKA, Kaleido Star)

Golden Phoenix
And this isn’t even the most spectacular thing in the show.

Gonzo has not produced a truly good series since Gankutsuou. My opinion of them is higher than most, but somehow I feel that every series Gonzo has tried to make since that masterpiece has been a bit of a waste of space. The best show I’ve seen from them since Gankutsuou is the schizophrenic-between-extremely good-and-extremely crappy Seto no Hanayome.

Fortunately from the time they made Full Metal Panic!? until they made Gankutsuou, they made some very good series. Samurai 7, Last Exile, and the most recent that I’ve seen and the focus of this bit, Kaleido Star really make me wonder why Gonzo doesn’t make cool stuff like this anymore.

Kaleido Star was introduced to me, dubbed, by a good friend from my anime club during finals week. I was astounded to find that it is perhaps one of Gonzo’s best, even if the dub has some painful voices. I’m now introducing it to Dio and Dominic subbed

What is Kaleido Star? It’s a character focused drama with dashes of comedy about a girl that runs away to join the circus. And not a simple three-ring circus, mind, but a high flying spectacle circus akin to Cirque Del Sol.

What makes Kaleido Star good in my eyes? Perhaps there’s the fact that it uses shounen tropes (most specifically, time limit training and training from hell) to effectively show the rigors of the life of a performer while still being fairly over the (big) top. Perhaps it’s the cast of well developed characters that really grow on you (well, aside from the bitch duo, but they get their comeuppance.) Perhaps it’s the occasional riotous comedy, usually involving one of the two buttmonkeys of the series, the perverted would-be-Magical Girl familiar Fool.

Its touching moments are nice, its humorous moments are hilarious, and it has a main character you can really root for.

Gonzo? WHY DON’T YOU MAKE MORE STUFF LIKE THIS?! STOP MAKING CRAP LIKE DRAGONAUT AND BLUE DROP! STOP BEING AN ANIME FACTORY THE WAY SQUENIX IS A REMAKE FACTORY! YOU CAN DO AMAZING THINGS!

*Takes a deep breath* Ahem, anyway…

7 Heroes Fighting (AKA, Fate/Stay Night)

Shirou and Saber
Yes, you’ve probably seen this image a million times already. I don’t care. It’s pretty.

I became interested in Fate/Stay Night after I saw a fairly amazing AMV to it using the song Knights of Cydonia by Muse. The action sequences depicted in the AMV looked exquisite, and the general gist of the plot that I got from the video made me want to instantly see what it was all about.

I was very very VERY happy when it did not disappoint. In fact, there was only one scene I really questioned the necessity of (for those who have seen the series, if I say “CGI Dragon” you’ll probably know what I mean and giggle along with me,) while the rest of it demonstrated a fairly astounding and well paced story with some excellent character development, especially in one of my favorite female leads, Saber. I’m quite amazed that this series slipped under my radar before, unlike GaoGaiGar (which aired before I was even an anime fan) and Kaleido Star (which aired before I was the level of anime fan I am now.)

Wait, I missed a series? OH NO!
DESPAIR!

How could I forget? How could I forget one of the years best comedies? How could I forget one of the only three shows worth watching in the summer?

HOW COULD I FORGET SAYONARA ZETSUBOU SENSEI?!

Maybe it’s because I put in those games. That’s probably it.

*Ahem*

Quirky, madcap, and possibly the first DADAIST anime in existence, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is a hilarious piece of evil that thumbs its nose at every one, satirizing Japan and insulting its fanbase, forcing the viewer to pause to read a good 50% of its humor since much of the stuff flashes by at a rate of a few frames.

Anarchic? Yep. Chaotic? Yep. Hilarious? Oh, you bet.