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Twelve Days of Anime #10: The Last

12 Days of Anime 2012   10   01

Who (Artist: Hoshino Katsura; Source: kisuki)

With both Christmas and the deadline for this post fast approaching, I was pretty strapped for ideas. And maybe it’s the season, or the unusual plethora of romance anime I’m watching this season (or the constant repetition of “The Last” by WongFu Productions), but I finally decided that this post would be all about the who, what, when, where, and whys of my anime history, represented by different anime that defined a particular point in time.

Who I loved were… Allen Walker. Kanda Yuu. Lenalee Lee. Lavi. I loved D.Gray-Man for its characters, and rather than their portrayal in the series itself, I enjoyed the personas the fandom created from the existing template – yes, I do mean fanfiction, and the well-written kind that don’t involve godawful crap from a twelve-year-old’s mind. It was always more enjoyable to structure different scenarios and place the characters in it than to watch their progress within the series since while entertaining, the show felt somewhat limiting in regards to the potential the cast had, and as with all shounen, the plot became needlessly convoluted and repetitive. D.Gray-Man was the show that taught me to look to the fandom to see the creative licenses fans took with the cast, stretching their personalities beyond limitations set by the show’s universe to take them to their fullest potential. And above all else, Kanda was the object of my fangirling at the time – it might have been the looks, the voice, that surly personality, or most likely a combination of all three, but Kanda represented the typical bad boy anyone would fangirl over, that requisite asshole with a permanent scowl on his face. But that’s a sort of charisma onto itself, and it’s what drew me to the show. It’s still quite difficult to explain exactly why I enjoyed his character so much, but there are only a few characters that can match the level of enthusiasm I had for Kanda.

12 Days of Anime 2012   10   02

What (Artist: deeple)

What I loved were mecha series like Gundam, Macross Frontier, and Infinite Stratos. Grand ambitions that push human abilities to the limit and space settings that give life to worlds that only exist in dreams. More than anything else, I loved the idea behind these shows, because as outlandish as it seemed, it always seemed so close to reach. The world will never be able to replicate magic, but giant fighting robots? Maybe someday. Certainly not right now, but in the distant, distant future the fast-paced mecha battles will become a reality and overly-philosophical dialogue will become the norm. None of the shows in the genre stand out to me in particular, as what I love about the genre overrides any individual traits the shows might have. The idea of giant robots are more important than the identity of the show, and more than the political intrigue and requisite love triangles/squares/polygons and emo protagonists, I enjoyed mobile suits going at each other with their overpowered abilities and multi-colored laser swords. It didn’t matter that the show wasn’t particularly “good” – who cared about the standards of quality when Jesus Yamato was owning everyone on the battlefield with his godmodded Strike Freedom for the millionth time? I love mecha anime because it’s full of man-made ambitions and fast-paced action that don’t necessarily require thinking; sometimes it’s best to just sit back and enjoy what’s on screen.

12 Days of Anime 2012   10   03

When (Kaden)

When I loved was Digimon Adventure and to a lesser extent, Digimon Adventure 02. Full of heart and the tried and true theme of friendship, Digimon was a tale of optimism and companionship that captured my heart back when I was in elementary school, managing to remain charming and magical all these years despite its flaws. It’s an anime that will always hold a special place in my mind, and one that I will always look back to with fond memories. When I think back to Digimon I’ll always remember Butterfly, all the Digimon bidding goodbye to the Chosen Children in season one, Takeru going to rescue Hikari, Yamato and his glorious pretty boy self, and that oh-so-cheesy but damn touching moment where everyone in the world comes together to defeat the Big Bad. There are no bitter feelings or unsatisfied longing when I look back at the show because I loved it without question, without particular reason. There will always be series I love more than Digimon, but it will never leave its place in my heart. It’s a part of my childhood, when everything seemed much easier and optimistic, just before the cusp of reality when idealism starts to die a slow death.

12 Days of Anime 2012   10   04

Where (雪@C83 2日目東セ-59b)

Where I loved was Pokémon, where dreams come true and everything seems larger than life. Pokémon is classic for a reason, because its world seems timeless. Horizons are constantly expanding, and new adventures are always starting to challenge the protagonist. I love the show because it’s where childhood dreams come to life, where anything and everything I’ve ever dreamed of can come true – a never-ending story limited only by my own imagination. Pokémon’s world isn’t restricted by silly rules or a set of characters that need to achieve a specific goal, thus dictating how long the “dream” can go on for. Its characters may change overtime, but the world never changes, and it’s this timeless Neverland that I came to love about anime.

Why I loved was Tsuritama. Fluffy, grounding, uplifting, and dramatic, Tsuritama embodies why I continue to watch anime to this day. Unrestricted and full of life, the show told the story it wanted to tell without being constrained by worries of sales output or attracting as many viewers as possible. It was sweet and idealistic without veering off into overly optimistic territory, spirited and heartfelt in its storytelling without being too overdramatic. Tsuritama reminded me why I love anime, and serves as a “transition” of sorts for me as a watcher – its vivacity represents the type of creative freedom that I enjoyed as a child, where every grand adventure was a childhood dream realized. But the show contains subtle nuances that I can only enjoy as a more mature adult, like how the colorful visuals contribute to the series’ atmosphere, and how the slow but consistent directing is representative of character growth that’s so rare in anime nowadays. These are all things that have become more appreciative to me throughout my anime history as I’ve grown and matured, and Tsuritama is the show that rejuvenated a hobby that was slowly becoming repetitive and colorless, teaching me to look for the more subtle things that truly make an anime “great”.

And of course, just like there was in the video, there is a “last” – although in this case there’s a lack of finality present. I don’t know when I’ll stop watching anime, and if the show I pick as my “last” now will be the same how many years from now. But in this moment, this series is truly something I can end my anime-watching “career” with and have no regrets about. Of all the things I’ve ever watched Kuroko no Basuke is the hardest to place because it doesn’t fall into any of the above categories – it falls into all of them. The series is who I loved: Kuroko, Kagami, Kise, Midorima, and Imayoshi, and everyone else that seemed like real people in their own right instead of simple characters that could only exist within the realm of their show. KuroBasu is what I loved – the fast-paced matches that were adrenaline and youthful enthusiasm, the feeling of giving something your all and walking away from it with your head held high… no matter what the outcome was. It’s when I loved, a time where I was starting a new chapter in my life and graduating from “mindless watcher” to a more mature audience who could appreciate all the things a show had to offer. Everything felt new and polished, like I was a kid again, waiting for my favorite show to come on TV.

The show is where I loved, the endless possibilities one can only find in high school, when the whole world seems like a big challenge. The basketball court was a place for the characters to achieve their dreams, to live out their life in the heat of the moment – it was both exciting and moving and intense, because it’s a place anyone can relate to. Whether it be cheering from the sidelines or dribbling the ball down the court or watching the players take flight as the coach, Kuroko no Basuke’s basketball court was a familiar place full of emotions people could easily empathize with, because they’re all feelings they’ve experienced before.

Kuroko no Basuke is also why I loved, the creative freedom that seemed untainted by concerns of catering to a certain audience. It’s also emotions that seem real and pure as opposed to manufactured and disingenuous, representative of a series that was confident in its material and the presentation to not be hindered by a desire to maximize the impact of an event to draw out viewer sympathy. The series was honest from start to finish, giving the viewers the compelling story of highschool boys in their adolescences trying to become the best at something. The growth the characters went through were phenomenal, only bested by the execution of said growth – there was a constant sense of dynamicity at play, and more than a sports shounen, Kuroko no Basuke will always be the epitome of what a character drama should be: compelling and natural. This is the one show that single-handedly managed to encompass just about everything I want to see in an anime, and it’ll certainly be a long while before anything can even come close to knocking this gem off its pedestal.

12 Days of Anime 2012   10   05

The Last (Artist: Fujimaki Tadatoshi)

December 15, 2012 at 4:00 pm
39 comments »
  • December 15, 2012 at 4:11 pmSyllen

    Beautiful video and beautiful post

  • December 15, 2012 at 4:13 pmShadiic

    That was an excellent read Bakamochi. I enjoyed how you touched on what was important for you and how anime has given us dreams and aspirations. Also yay for more Kuroko!!

  • December 15, 2012 at 4:23 pmNaminim

    Nice

  • December 15, 2012 at 5:23 pmyin13147

    Wow… I’m glad that you consider Kuroko no Basket as one of the best anime. Because to me, it is as well.

  • December 15, 2012 at 5:56 pmJimhawk

    Oh man, I am so glad you’re giving that fantastic video even more exposure. These 12 Days of Anime posts are each like a little Christmas present reminding me of how influential anime is in my (and everyone else here’s) life.

  • December 15, 2012 at 6:53 pmahomine

    kuroko no basket!!

  • December 15, 2012 at 7:40 pmEntrav

    Fantastic post. I have never seen “The Last” and just watched it now. Very interesting, thank you for sharing.

  • December 15, 2012 at 7:57 pmKira526

    Great post Bakamochi! Initially I got all fired up when you mentioned Digimon because that is a show I am nostalgic about. It was one of THE shows of my youth and thinking about how important it was to my 11 year old self makes me smile. It will definitely stay with me whenever I reminisce about my childhood.

    And then I got even more fired up at the end when you mentioned Kuroko no Basuke! That show is the reason I started commenting on randomc in the first place! I have never really been interested in sports anime before, but that show was everything I wanted in an anime. I leave for winter break in a week and I may just re-watch that entire series now :)

  • December 15, 2012 at 8:20 pmdimasok

    I loved D-Gray Man! Before it came impossible to follow… the anime ended on a good note, and the manga kept on going well for a bit more and then it just became unbearable…

  • December 15, 2012 at 8:29 pmsealouse

    a little off topic, but I watch that video then spend the next 3 hours watching H+

  • December 15, 2012 at 9:07 pmCherrie

    Wow, that definitely caught my eye, especially when you linked off Wongfu’s video! Loved it! It’s such a classic Wongfu film and I loved how you tied it to anime. I can totally relate when all the what, when, why, who… especially Digimon because I get so reminiscent when I think back. It’s definitely a huge reason why I got into anime in the first place (and one of the first to be fully dubbed that I watched back to front).
    Great to hear your history and some of your favorites =) and I think I love you a little more now because you watch Wongfu too! Yay!

  • December 15, 2012 at 9:13 pmAkai

    You really nailed that part about Digimon and Pokemon. I tried watching the latest seasons and given all the experiences I had with anime since the good old days, I really couldn’t bring myself to enjoy them too much. I sometimes think that if I was in my early twenties during the early to mid 90s, I wouldn’t have fallen in love with those two shows – and then I shudder and feel ridiculously glad that the first seasons will always hold a special place in my heart.

  • December 15, 2012 at 9:25 pmgrey

    so mochi, did you pick up kuroko no basuke’s manga? :3

  • December 15, 2012 at 9:37 pmshamaticgrl

    all i have to say is DIGIMON!!!!! Mochi you need to watch Digimon with me and cheer on Takari :3

    • December 16, 2012 at 6:40 amSeishun Otoko

      Takari & Digimon Adventure <3

    • December 16, 2012 at 2:23 pmChloesong

      *swings flag* DIGIMON!!!! (And Takari ;) )

  • December 15, 2012 at 10:36 pminfinite

    I always liked the pokemon games more, not to say the anime is bad. I watched “The Last” and first thing I thought was your definitely single. J/k.

    • December 16, 2012 at 2:20 pmChloesong

      Really? More than Ash and Pikachu, and when Butterfree was set free? Haha :) and of course, bumbling team rocket.

      • December 16, 2012 at 3:01 pmTre

        I will always be waiting for the day when Butterfree returns in an episode (Did he ever come back; If so, I’ll go and watch that episode immediately).

      • December 16, 2012 at 5:49 pminfinite

        I remember that I stoped watching after the orange island arc and going to the first pokemon movie and getting a mew card. But the game was what got me into it. Also I spent way to much money on the cards. Good memories though (^-^).

  • December 15, 2012 at 10:38 pmrufe

    Digimon Adventure was so sweet. I tried to rewatch it but just didn’t have patience for how the story dragged on. I wish there were a condensed version =P

    Pokemon really did have a great spirit. Something incredibly joyful with great friendships that survived parting of ways etc. I still love team rocket O.o

  • December 16, 2012 at 12:46 amShrubbery

    D. Gray-man, it’s been so long since I heard of this series being one of the first on my watch list, but it’s definitely one of the best series I’ve seen, even after all these years. Still waiting for it to continue, but that’s probably not gonna happen

    • December 19, 2012 at 11:35 amAni_BEE

      It doesn’t help the the manga is dradding along. I don’t mind it begin monthly but they are missing months as well. T-T

  • December 16, 2012 at 1:51 ambazerkaX

    KINAAAA GRANISSSS <3

  • December 16, 2012 at 3:37 amKiseki

    Ah, could you please credit the artists of the fanart posted?

    Also, the artist of the D-gray.man illust doesn’t allow reprinting even if you ask for permission, so it’s best to find something else. u_u

    • December 16, 2012 at 1:44 pmAkai

      I’m noy too strict on credits, but I would want them in this case because I want to see more from the artists behind the Digimon and D.Gray-Man pictures.

    • December 16, 2012 at 2:41 pmverdant

      Sorry, it’s my fault as I was the one helping with the HTML for this post and I forgot to properly credit the artists for their fanart. I did try to find out who the artists were though, but I had a pretty hard time trying finding out their names with only a zerochan link to work from.

      Thanks for letting us know about the D.Gray-man illustrator, we’ll try to find another image soon.

    • December 16, 2012 at 8:32 pmBakaMochi

      Oh, sorry – I originally found all the images on zerochan where it’s free-for-all rather than artists uploading their own work, so I actually had no clue who they all belonged to;;

      If you know who the Pokemon/Digimon art belongs to, please do let me know so I can credit them properly :D

      • December 17, 2012 at 1:45 amKiseki

        For Pixiv art, Saucenao is your best friend! For everything else, reverse Google image search does the trick (unless it was deleted a long time ago ahh). c:

        So here’s the Digimon fanart and here’s the Pokemon one~

        Also, the artist for the new D.gray-man fanart requires permission, haha…;;

      • December 17, 2012 at 1:46 amKiseki

      • December 17, 2012 at 1:30 pmverdant

        Thanks for the Saucenao suggestion, I was only using Tineye and reverse Google Image search for the pictures and didn’t have much luck.

  • December 16, 2012 at 4:17 amf4ctfinder

    Great post. Nostalgia flowed in like finely woven words rippling the pond of my laptop’s screen. Alright, Pokemon. My childhood. Gah, that Christmas when I first got my Pokemon game Q_Q

  • December 16, 2012 at 6:20 amSeishun Otoko

    Superb post Mochi, your anime journey certainly seems like a very rewarding one and anime fans, both old and new, will be pleased with the shout-outs to some of the best classics out there. One of the things that delighted me almost immediately when I saw your post was the mention of Tsuritama as your “Why”. Your words captured all the charm that endeared me to Tsuritama so well and it’s gratifying to know you enjoyed the show as much as I did. Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas!

    PS: Is there a reason why Tsuritama is the only show which doesn’t have a picture representation?
    PPS: Your presence in IRC is greatly missed, hope to see you around when you’re not as busy ;)

  • December 16, 2012 at 7:01 amStereoman

    I enjoyed reading this post a lot. It was a great read, and it made me look back to my childhood. I remember the days when I woke up extra early to watch Digimon on TV… Ah, those were the days.
    Oh, btw, I love D.Gray-Man too, and I still read it! :]
    Really amazing post, Mochi

  • December 16, 2012 at 10:13 amKingofConquerors

    More people should watch Tsuritama…definitely the most underrated series of the year, alongside Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita

    I hope it will get a nod in some category in the upcoming “Best of The Year” post (which i anxiously wait)

    brilliant post, Bakamochi!!

  • December 16, 2012 at 2:18 pmChloesong

    Wow, this post really resonated with me, especially the shout out to D. Grayman, and the nostalgic call back to Digimon and Pokemon.

    I love D. gray-man and it’s characters too, I still read it. For some reason, it’s one of the few manga/anime I just can’t quit despite it’s haphazard schedule, maybe because of how most of the main cast and plot is STILL shrouded in mystery after all these years. To me, there’s just some intangible quality to the cast that makes them unforgettable.
    (Personally I’ve never been involved with the D.Gray-man fandom though, but I’ll make a shout out here to the fandoms that influence my anime watching history: Fullmetal Alchemist and Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles)

    Everything you said for Pokemon is spot on. Digimon and 02 holds a nostalgic spot in my heart too. And the Digimon dub is actually really good. When I was in elementary school, I used to wake up early on Saturday morning just to watch Pokemon, Digimon, (and Cardcaptor Sakura). And like other people on this thread, I also rewatched Digimon in sub after I rediscovered anime.

    It’s difficult to describe the effect Pokemon/Digmon had on me, but I think, your words magical, charming, the idea of limitless adventure, and possible friendships really hit the nail on the head.

    Beautiful post.

  • December 16, 2012 at 7:42 pmkotobuki

    I used to think that KuroBasu was pure and not purposely going out of their way to cater to a certain audience, until I saw that episode where there were many fanservice scenes of Momo in her swimsuit. I still highly regard KuroBasu, just not as much as before.

  • December 19, 2012 at 11:58 amAni_BEE

    Nostalgia.

    Samurai Pizza Cats/Kyatto Ninden Teyandee … Omitsu/Lucille need I say more.
    Sailor Moon this is the gateway drug of anime for my generation.(Feel my excitement of the Managa version of the anime coming out this summer… feel it!)
    Gundam Wing (or in my family God DAMN Wing!)

    These series however would be painful to watch all over again.

    Series I will love regardless of when I read/watch them:
    Yami no Matsuei
    D.Gray-Man
    Kuroshitsuji
    Pandora Hearts
    Natsume Yūjin-chō
    Count Cain/Godchild

    ^ For me I know it’s good when I can’t seem sell them off like so many other tittles I’ve been doing flee markets the past few years.

    My love for these series is probably in how character driven stories they are over plot devises and form. They all feel more fleshed out and organic to me rather then amazing but forced.

    • December 19, 2012 at 12:08 pmAni_BEE

      Actually it would be fun to list your favorite typical bad boy or the first bad boy.

      For me my first was Squall Leonhart, yes I know I hear the growns of displeasure from peanut gallery of rabbit FF fans about how much the hate FF8.

      But yes Squall Leonhart although at times I wanted to punch to time for begin a ass but his character grew on me. He definitely Man-Up during the course of the game/story and definitely more badass then any glitter vampire out there.