I’ve been busy and a bit distracted lately but I didn’t want February to pass without wishing everyone a Merry Christmas in February. Since Christmas in February is a holiday that my family created 16 years ago I don’t expect most of those reading to even realize I was late in the first place :) .
For those reading that have never heard of Christmas in February, it’s pretty much what you’d guess it would be. The impetus to start came from the realization that there’s always Christmas cookies left over and normally a turkey (or ham or Cornish hens or some other holiday-type meat) that was bought cheaply during the holiday season still in the freezer and no real good way to finish them. So, for fun, my family started with picking a day in February and having a Christmas-style dinner but, as things normally go, we slowly increased what we did for Christmas in February – we got a small 2 foot artificial tree and started decorating it then my parents started buying a small, inexpensive gift for us all. Which snowballed into a bigger Christmas tree and the $5 dollar gifts have now gotten to be $15 dollar gifts and now we invite extended family members to come :) .
One of the nice things about Christmas in February is that we get to pick when in February we want to celebrate it – this year, it was on February 19th but next year might be the second Tuesday or the last Saturday of the month. Another nice thing is that it gives the dreary month of February a holiday that’s fun. There’s also a near 100% chance of having a white Christmas in February though this year was the first time we had a green Christmas in February. Also, since it’s not the official Christmas, it has all the nice parts of the holiday without any of the stress.
It’s been almost five years since I’ve last seen the anime blogosphere go so completely head-over-heals for an anime like what’s currently happening for Puella Magi Madoka Magica. That last time was for The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimiya and it pole vaulted everything from it’s voice actors to it’s animation studio into instant super-stardom. This time it’s the well-known combination of the Shaft animation studio and it’s super-director Akiyuki Shinbou. Which is a bit surprising, given the prolific nature of Shaft/Shinbou; there isn’t that blank slate to work their magic on which KyoAni had with Haruhi.
And much like Haruhi, the PM3 fascination is well warranted; even for this long time Shaft/Shinbou fan, I was astonished how quickly this anime become special. The logical next step for a blogger would to blog about it but did I really want to be the 89th person that pointed how just how creepy Kyubey is or how dark and twisted this world is or how Shinbou was deconstructing the magical girl genre. The answer probably should have been yes since the alternative – coming up with something slightly more unique – took more work.
I eventually thought of something and all I needed was to call on the power of graphing and Gurren Lagann and an idea that’s been bouncing around in my brain for awhile.
Everyone has one and there’s no surer way for other people to figure out loads of information about a person then from a person’s personal top 10 list. The genre of shows the person likes, the length the person has been a fan of anime, if the person is an elitist fan or a populist fan, what the person thinks about old anime being superior to new anime and vice-versa, if the person watches anime with fan-subs or dubs are just some of the things people can glean from a top 10 anime list. Even using some other number then 10 can be illuminating; a person doing their top 75 anime shows is saying something completely different then a person that only has a top 4 or top 6 list.
With the timing of Al Gore and the intelligence of Joe Biden, the recent rant by Bang Zoom’s President about the impending death of anime is so sad, it’s hilarious. If it was a well-written piece I might feel like I needed to write a rebuttal but it wasn’t, not by a long shot, which leads one to ask – “Why are you bringing up Mr. Sherman’s rambling rant?” Well, I’d answer, there are some things I wanted to mention related to issue at hand and this is as good of a time as any.
Around this time of the year I like to pretend that it’s still summer because I know when I stop pretending, the coming winter will just depress me. Of course, the falling leaves and cool temperatures make it hard to pretend it’s something other than autumn. This extends to anime as well, just today, I watched two of the new fall shows and I realized that I can’t be dragging my feet anymore – it’s time to award my summer seasonal anime awards.
This season turned out to be a very impressive one. Between the carry-over shows and the new shows, I think just about every genre had at least a couple shows to pick from and at least one of those shows were a winner. Nor was there any shortage of fuel to fan the flames of fandom. KyoAni took the title “Endless Eight” way too literally, at times Shaft/Shinbou couldn’t quite pull off doing two shows at the same time, Bones left some unhappy over the “scientific” Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, and the animators behind Phantom didn’t seem to mind that the ending of their show was rather “nice boaty”. So it was an all-around good season for anime, and now let’s head for the first group of awards the cast and character awards.