The 14th Day of Christmas - The Runners-Up

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"I have to wait how long before getting to rant about Myself;Yourself!?"
"And now, a sad violin song for those who didn't make it..."

The "12 Days of Christmas" series is was a joint feature by some members of the Anime Blogging Collective recognizing twelve moments, twelve series, or just twelve things about anime that we've enjoyed over the past year, that really make us enjoy loving what we do, and that is being an anime fan. As you may guess, I'm going to be dragging this feature out a while with a bunch of random lists. Hope you're still enjoying it.

Who left this thing running? Oh well, I'll just let it finish.

...if you are reading this post, then something terrible has befallen - oh, wait, that's next week's script. Here we go.

Thought it was over that time? Not quite. I've got a couple more series that didn't quite make the list; I'm too much of an Annoyingly Stereotypical Nice Guy to pick just twelve moments.

So why not have a few more, to top off this year (and then some) of anime?

(Spoilers: Tsukihime, Shuffle, Kaiji, Kanon.)

Clannad 03: Sunohara, you're in the future.
Clannad is really a promising show, not just because it's Key and I'm a 'sad girls in x' sucker but because it looks to blend the usual mix of drama with some ace humor this time as well. AIR had some funny moments, Kanon had the brilliant sarcastic Kyon'ichi and now in Clannad a lot of characters are firing on all funny cylinders.

The gullibility of Sunohara as Tomoya stretches a simple joke far beyond belief is really amusing - not only does Sunohara belive he's time-warped into the future, but he also believed that the world had ended, that Tomoya was a hologram - wait, make that a cyborg. There is a nice animation touch with a green, semi-futuristic overlay is on the screen for the time being while Sunohara is believing the illusion. Amusing stuff.

Clannad 04: Ryou is bi?
That can't be, the anime is prodding her as 'girl with mad crush on Tomoya', yet still she accepted Nagisa's 'feelings' so easily.

Maybe the reason Clannad is so funny is because it's full of gullible people and amusing masterminds willing to manipulate them. Tomoya's scheme to get people to sign up for Nagisa's theater club got out of hand, and the resulting 'confession' by Nagisa asking Ryou out to join the club was hilarious, from Sunohara's over-enthusiastic reaction, to Ryou's nervous, confused looks, to the not-quite-subtle spying on them by Kyou.

And of course, y'know, Ryou's "Yes...wait, what?". Ryou takes on all challengers!

Shana II 07: Just as (not) planned!
That's right, Shana II was cool this year! Sometimes it sounds like people have never seen filler episodes at the start of an anime before (although, it did get mildly out of hand).

Actually, the seventh episode of Shana was pretty filler as well, being an early visit to the amusement park trope, but it was a pretty amusing episode. Maybe because of the purposely over-dramatic aspect of it, or the two, three eyecatches, or maybe because Ike, as the resident over-planning glasses guy, doesn't get enough attention normally.

Ah, it's a simple love story episode with Ike being affected by Kazumi so easily, and it's amusing and relatable at the same time.

Kagetsu Tohya VN: Ganbatte, Ciel-Senpai!
The ultimate lampshade hanging for Tsukihime fans is this fourth-wall smashing, gut-busting side story in Kagetsu Tohya, complete with not-so-subtle pokes at pretty much every character in the story. It's a great bookend after such a serious, touching visual novel.

Shuffle! Memories 12: Kaede II: Boxcutter Boogaloo
A similarly funny parody of Kaede's yandere times, in the final episode of Shuffle! memories...which was, admittedly, the only new episode of the series.

Still, it was a relatively redeeming watch. Kaede's overly paranoid side, contrasting with increasingly-sane-looking Asa, was amusing, as the search Rin and his dissapearing harem took a turn for the hilariously serious. Kaede's slow, ominous knocking on the door, while holding a butcher knife in the other hand, was straight out of a horror movie...until she realizes the door opens side-to-side, instead of out, reverting her to Housewife Kaede. As such, a tip to remember next time you're running from a psycho killer: hide in a closet door. They'll be perplexed, if Kaede is a benchmark.

Kanon 2002 13: Nayuki wins, if only for a second
Do I need to say it again. I need to say it again. Nayuki ending!

In all honesty I'd rather root for someone like Shiori or Mai, but as those two are side characters to the two main childhood friend contenders, Ayu and Nayu, I'm forced (and I use force in the loosest sense) to root for the blue-haired sleepy sensation.

And, having seen the 2006 version first, the closing moments of Kanon 2002 were certainly a shock. Nayuki got a lot 'farther' in this version, with both a confession and a kiss; certainly it's more apparent here that she's really being selfless and giving up her feelings. It's really touching, although I must admit that it was more of a 'VICTOLY!' moment than a 'aww' one for me.

Minami-ke 04: Ninomiya-kun!!
Easily the best 'show inside a show' this year, aside from maybe Lucky Channel. The soap-tastic adventures of Sensei and Ninomiya-kun are amusing in their own way - that 'how are they going to get hit by a car this time?' joke - and when they get turned into a video game, it's even better.

Kana and Chiaki play as Sensei and Ninomiya-kun as they travel through a bunch of different game parodies, including platformer, RPG, fighting, and horror games. The monotonic sounds of "SENSEI!" and "NINOMIYA-KUN!" are hilarious, not to mention the fact that, every time, the game somehow ends in a Bad End.

It's like a twisted, strung-out WarioWare. I'd buy it.

Doujin Work 03: Najimi made a what?
Misunderstandings are the birth of comedy, or something.

And birth is what was...not going on here. Apparently it's some Japanese word gag, in that Najimi talks a lot about making her first doujin comic, but enough words are left out for Tsuyuri to twist it to sounding like Najimi gave birth to a child.

For the extremely protective Justice, them's fighting words, and the gag grows greater in strength as Najimi refers to her 'customer'. Connect the dots. It's a funny joke on it's own, and it's only made better by Tsuyuri's full knowledge of the truth beforehand. Mmm, humorously manipulative characters are awesome.

Wangan Midnight 04: So a Ferrari, a GT-R, and a 240Z walk onto a highway...
If there's one thing that I don't think I ever saw in Initial D (speaking off manga experience), it was a three-way battle. One of Wangan Midnight's first was rather intense, and highlighted a lot of the things that I like about a show like this.

First off, the music was solid, and worked with the scene well, something that I've found to be the case in the WM games and anime. And secondly, there was a real sense of danger in this anime, as opposed to Initial D, where very few cars actually crashed.

I don't understand why a random Red Shirt Car could just step on the accelerator and waltz past the Testa and Devil Z, but like many cars before it in this series, it ended up sliding into a wall in spectacular fashion just the same. Nobody is safe in this intense, high-energy world of street racing.

Lucky Star 08: Track & Field
The sports festival was drop-dead funny start to finish, with nearly every character pulling off a different kind of funny, in a great show of Lucky Star's diversity.

There was Konata's demonstration of 'picturing' an event, as a 8-bit, NES-styled 100m sprint like that of Konami's old Track & Field game. It turns out she knows all the tricks, including rubbing a coin back and forth and using a ruler. Actually, I've never tried that last one. See, anime is educational!

Then there was Tsukasa, and her hilariously clumsy stumbling through the 110m hurdles. It's similar to Osaka's 'keep it together' in Azumanga, in that she focuses so hard on Miyuki's advice that she's never prepared for a hurdle when it comes up. Much hurdle smashing and cute panicking ensues. Tsukasa, you never fail us.

Miyuki's segment was great as well - it was a rare moment where we got to see the dramatically competitive side of her, complete with pumping Eurobeat music (from the Initial D parody scene 2 episodes ago), and it was a nice topper to a great scene.

Kaiji 11: I MUST PUSH!
Kaiji has always struck me as an anime that has a lot of raw emotion in it, especially compared to a lot of the romance / ren'ai stuff I usually watch. When I mentioned this to a fellow anime viewer, he replied "Isn't Kaiji just all despair though?"

Which was true, but in that case, Kaiji does a good job at conveying a lot that raw despair. The narrator's constant explanations of Kaiji's thought processes, combined with Kaiji's own intense monologues, really do a lot for making him a sympathetic character, and as such it's really powerful, in a dramatic way. Kaiji's battle between conscience and greed in the Brave Men Road segment, as such, was really something to watch. It really is turning out to be the stunning surprise show of the season.

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei 4: Meru Meru
Maybe it's a fault of the slow release schedule of the show, but SZS, despite being a scathingly funny show at times, with all the British, off-color, and referential humor, hasn't really had a lot of memorable moments to it. The show as a whole is very enjoyable...there's just no parts that stick out incredibly. Whether that's good or bad, I don't know.

Still, the character introduction segment for Meru, the quiet text-messaging troll, was one of the better parts of the show that I could think of. Maybe it's because I could totally see myself underestimating a seemingly cute, shy girl like Nozomu did, or maybe it was because of all the amusing flames Meru tossed out (not to mention the Rambo-style cell-phone reload, followed by "You saw them. Pay up."), or maybe the clincher with Kafuka beating the living crap out of Meru with a oversized cross. But either way, it was a great example of SZS's unique brand of humor.

Tsukihime 12: Roa vs. Shiki
It exists. Believe it.

Music is one of the strong points of Lunar Legend Tsukihime, with a fully instrumental soundtrack with a lot of great uses of slow, moody music. One exception is the 'Justice' theme, an energetic violin slash some-other-stuff (that's where the music knowledge ends, kids) song which is great battle music.

It's synced quite well with the climatic fight of the anime, of Shiki facing off versus the real Shiki Tohno (slash Roa), which was actually one of the series' better battles, although still a bit confusing in places (i.e. why didn't Roa/Shiki finish off Shiki? Evil villain complex?).

Although most of the Tsukihime anime was substandard, at least when compared to the visual novel, there were some good points to the show, and I'm sure that if I didn't know of the original, it would hold up quite well on its own.


Hmmm...Melty Blood anime...


Episode 8 of Lucky Star was such an awesome episode. :D

I'm with you on the Kaiji and the Doujin Work (though my personal favourite scene in DW is the beginning of the second ep).

Incidentally, thanks for continuing the gratuitous listage. After being fed a constant stream of '12 days' posts before Christmas, I need to come down from my reader's high gradually.

Orion: I agree with your agreeing with me, although in retrospect I'd like to throw the Haruhi parody in Episode 14 on this list now as well, just because it was ridiculous, awesome, and awesomely ridiculous.

IKnight: Went back into the vault to check out the scene you were referring to - that was the 'young lady, you dropped your ero-hon' one, right? Good stuff. Tsuyuri really is too entertaining of a character.

And if I'm bringing you down from a reader's high, does that mean I should gradually wean down the amount of content I'm putting into these posts as well? XD Ah well, we'll see how it goes in the next few days.

I will now commence to spam your blog with my comments since I didn't get around to reading them over the holidays, sudden hiatus and whatnot. :x

Clannad 04: Surely you meant "Kyou is bi"? They were talking about the joke on IRC so I had it spoiled to some extent, but that doesn't change how hilarious I found it to be. Good thing the joke survived the translation.

Shana II 07: Wow, so there's someone else out there in the world who liked this episode as much as I did. It was a great episode for all its "ALMOST AS PLANNED" moments -- as if it was Lelouch in love, or something.

That Minami-ke joke you mentioned has also got to be one of the longest laughs I'd ever had in 2007, right up there with the silent dramatic car crash/argument scene in Bamboo Blade 09.

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