I think I’ve discovered what my aim for this year’s 12 Days of Anime will be; namely, to pick moments that were the “best” or the “most” or my “favorite” in some way. (Sorry, I couldn’t think of a fourth adjective to include, blame it on my public education.) These moments are something I’ve wanted to include in my yearly review of anime but haven’t because there’s just too much overlap. Hopefully, focusing on it this way will also spread the love around a bit more to series I wouldn’t include otherwise.
Further, I feel like covering something lighter (as opposed to say, the moment that was the biggest emotional gut punch of 2015, which will come at some point). So, for today, I’m picking the moment that I saw the best reference in an anime this year.
A good reference should be a bit surprising to see yet makes sense upon reflection; it should also be fairly unique. This disqualifies the steady stream of Shaft references including the above shot from Owarimonogatari which looks like a reference to the Eye of Sauron and the below shot which is a reference to M. C. Escher.
That also disqualifies this reference in Punchline to the critically-acclaimed Akira because it’s been done so many times. (See how I praise Akira without mentioning that I really didn’t like it.)
And disqualifies this reference in Himouto! Umaru-chan aka My Younger Sister is a Jerk and Stars In an Unfunny Comedy because who hasn’t done this reference by now.
As well as this reference to the Obari Pose found in Classroom Crisis because it kind of feels like the entire mecha genre is a reference to Obari.
I might have picked this next reference, had not a better one already occurred. This one was taken from Gatchaman Crowds insight and the reference is to the anime Tsuritama (a fondly remembered series whose MAL score I gave as 8 seems too low now – maybe, it needs a rewatch).
The winning reference is the below screenshot from Punchline. If you don’t get the reference, the genius inventor Meika is dressed as Douglas MacArthur. For those of you that don’t know the name, he was in charge of America’s forces in the Pacific during World War II and then was in charge of the occupation of Japan following the war including being the de facto ruler of Japan for the first few years.
I did a spit take when I first saw this. Douglas MacArthur fits the scene – one where an operation was being planned that would hopefully save the world – but it seemed rather weird and unexpected to see him show up in an anime. He’s a really cool guy but I can’t imagine any scenario where a foreign military leader who defeated the United States armed forces and then ran the country during an occupation would ever be so innocently referenced in an American show, even 70 years later. Therefore, for being so unique and memorable, this moment from Punchline earns today’s spotlight for containing the best reference in anime of 2015.