The 18th (and Final) Day of Christmas - Resolutions for 2008

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I'd like to hear a song put to the Eighteen Days of Christmas, especially with a random smorgasboard of themes like this.

Unfortunately, like all features, this one has to eventually come to an end, especially with a growing list of harem (among other) shows begging to be put to the microscope.

Oddly enough, blogging an average of 1,300 words a day for eighteen straight days has not been as incredibly exhausting as I imagined, partly because of the raw fanboy adrenaline that drives these posts. It's certainly been a fun experience to go over all the shows and moments of my first year of serious anime fandom, especially since I uncovered a few shows again that were beginning to fade into the mists of time. Hopefully it's been the same enjoyable, sentimental experience for the readers as well.

And now it's time to point the fancannon towards the future, as we take a look at what next year has in store - at least from the perspective of a relatively new romance/harem fan. There are promising shows from the fall season, the winter season, and even beyond, with intriguing releases on both sides of the Pacific.

No doubt, though, that some of the most interesting things to happen haven't been revealed yet - perhaps another random show will blindside its way to a top spot on the list, or maybe some exciting news involving an old favorite. You never know.

And so, here are some of my resolutions for the year 2008 in anime...

I resolve to figure out what the hell Byousoku 5cm, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, and Honey & Clover are, and why they are so awesome.
I'm pretty sure this one is self-explanatory. These three shows are romance-types that have been praised to heaven and back a few times, that I've just missed the boat on thanks to licensing. Indeed, I downloaded the first episode of H&C, and didn't even get to watch it before the license was announced. Such is the way of fansub fandom.

In any case, I don't plan on complaining about shelling out an extra hundred dollars or so blind for these shows combined if they turn out to be half as good as the hype. There's only one way to find out~

I resolve to fall into a seven-year coma over the sheer beauty that only sad girls on DVD can impart. (Kanon R1)
Kanon has, and will always be, my personal fanboy weak spot. I watched Kanon once streaming, watched it again on fansubs burned to DVD again, and now it looks like it's going to be the third time, except this time in real DVD quality on the big screen.

Rewatching a show has never been my thing, with so much new content still available, but given that Kanon just looks better every time I watch it (if you follow the progression above), and that it will appease my guilt about cheaping out on anime, I don't think I'll mind that much. After all, I did say on a forum that I would buy "any box with a picture of Shiori" on it...

(But they gave a cover to Kaori? Pfft.)

I resolve to believe in the fanbase that believes in the Gurren Lagann.
Similar to the triple threat above in the first resolution, Gurren Lagann has pierced the heavens with the praise heaped upon it by fans large and wide, and I figure with ADV going beyond the impossible and offering free streaming of the first few episodes, I should kick my reasoning to the curb and see what the hell Gurren Lagann thinks it is.

I'm not a mecha person personally, but I have been pleasantly surprised before (look down one resolution), and, well, if it has this many quotable phrases, I'm sold on it.

I resolve to figure out how to pronounce 'zawa zawa'. (Kaiji continues)
Seriously...it's not computing, no matter how many times they say it in the show - which, considering the situation Kaiji is getting to, is quite a lot. Kaiji has been probably the one shock show of the year for me; something with one token-appearance girl over thirteen episodes, with really ugly art, and a mere 50-second opening song wasn't going to end up on my watch list by any means of my own resolve, but I'll have to thank the Kaiji fans out there (Orion, among others) for tuning me on to this show.

It's mindgame central, with an anti-protagonist who alternates between incredibly stupid and ingenious fighting with a bunch of morally-ambigious characters in a yakuza-sanctioned last-chance 'gamble' for debtors. And from there, it only gets better, with an emotionally-intense rooftop tightwalking challenge that leaves everybody questioning themselves, and leaves the audience wondering and wanting more. It's a show with a real sense of danger and tension, and it's pretty intriguing to follow analytically as well too, at times. If you have even a hint of hair on your chest, or want some, drop whatever you're doing and watch Kaiji. Now. You won't regret it.

I resolve to fanboy 200% more over any humanoid interface with purple hair, yellow eyes, and glasses. (Haruhi II)

And now for the other end of the spectrum...the fourth book in the popular Haruhi Suzumiya light novel series, titled "The Dissaperance of Haruhi Suzumiya", is getting animated sometime in 2008 by Kyoto Animation. This book focuses on and develops the character of Yuki Nagato, a humanoid interface who shows little emotion on the inside but may harbor internal desires. Additionally, a mysteriously related girl, thought to be removed from the story, named Ryoko Asakura, returns, in a time-bending plot that will leave readers on the edge of their seats.

Is that enough sanity for you? I really want to go to town with the potential of this anime. (Can you take me to...mo~e town?! Can you take me to...) Nagato's my favorite character in Haruhi by leaps and bounds, and the fourth book was intriguing in its plot and head-hurty time travel aspects...not to mention, talking, blushing Nagato! (plus cold, rational Nagato for maximum fanboyism) Plus, the many potential side-stories KyoAni could throw in leaves the imagination wondering of the possibilities. It's easily one of my most anticipated anime of 2008, and I don't care if that makes me a slavering fanboy.

The only thing that worries me about this show is the stratospheric hype that people like me will pile on top of it. We'll see if KyoAni can clear the bar that has been set even higher than before.

I resolve to actually pick one consistent Shuffle! girl to fanboy this time around.
Well...first it was Nerine for a brief stint, then Mayumi, and now Sia resides in the spot of 'most adorably awesome Shuffle! character', but one thing's for sure...I'm looking forward to the R1 release of Shuffle.

It was probably one of the ecchi-er shows I watched this year but it more than redeemed itself with a gripping second half, with Sia's, Asa's, and Kaede's stories all resonating on different levels and making for great dramatic stuff. It's been a while since I've seen it in full (considering I couldn't even make it through Shuffle! Memories), and so I'll see if it stands up to the test of time. I certainly hope so - Shuffle! has both a stunning cast and storyline, definitely a good mixture.

I resolve to make the producers of Code-E's second season resolve to actually resolve the story this time.
Easy enough to understand. I think I may be one of a dozen or so English fans actually anticipating the remainder of this show, considering even the first season went over lukewarm, but apparently someone in Japan likes this show...or is threatening the studio.

It's kind of understandable why the first season of Code-E was so understated in terms of popularity - it was a very slow-paced, relaxed show, and didn't really offer a lot to grab viewers (not to mention the infamous lack of noses). But it was a slice-of-life with a fair amount of romance, and even a little bit of action and intrigue, and was a good show for kicking back - the pace was in-between Aria and KimiKiss, being relatively laid-back most of the time, but occasionally sitting up and doing something.

In any case, I look forward to the second season, as with the recent revelation of NanaDrops and sola as some of Japan's top 10 anime of 2007, Code-E might be left as my only show I've liked that I can trumpet as 'something not a lot of people have seen, but probably should.'

I resolve to figure out what the hell is with this whole 'dango' thing. (Clannad continues)
It's Clannad! What am I going to do, drop it? Unsuprisingly, dango fever has overtaken a lot of English blogs, with some affected more than others, and it seems overall that the third Key anime to be produced is being recieved a lot more warmly than Kanon or AIR. Perhaps this is due to the larger emphasis on comedy, and the surprisingly strong female lead that Nagisa is turning out to be. She's a character who's weak in emotion but strong in resolve, and has the feeling of being mostly believable with just a dash of escapism attached. The way I like it.

Kotomi's still a wildcard at this point as to how she's going to turn out, Tomoyo looks to be a lot of fun when her arc comes around, and Ryou and Kyou are comedic, awesome, and adorable all at once, and nearly threaten the Hisui and Kohaku deadlock on 'best twins in anime'. We'll see if Clannad can keep up this strong pace as it looks to head into some more of the supernatural, visual-novel-type stuff in its second half.

I resolve to be in despair again. (Zetsubou II)
Even though it lost a little steam (and a few fansubbers) near the end of its first season, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei was still a hilariously fresh comedy that was an entertaining blend of Monty Python, the anime reference database, and a couple thousand monkeys on typewriters.

That is, black humor, random parodies, and random...random, put in a blender, and set to awesome. Oh yeah, and add a dash of Shaft for maximum head-churning - certainly, with all the blackboard scribblings and references, I could see why it takes so long to translate - after all, it usually takes 30 to 35 minutes for me just to get through a 25-minute episode!

Although SZS did take a turn for the repetitive and fanservicey toward the final episodes of its first run, the characters are great twists on the norm, and I look forward to seeing Itoshiki and his anti-harem pull off some amusing antics again in winter 2007/8.

I resolve to learn how to manipulate people to cross-dress. (Minami-ke II)
Minami-ke is the second comedy sequel in the winter 2007/8 season, and it's also got my attention, with an equally vast and hilarious cast of characters, from the romantic stalkers, to the countless traps, to the scheming sisters behind the whole slice-of-life show. Certainly I was counting on only Chiaki being the manipulative one, but with the advent of Banchou Haruka and the revealing of Kana to be much brighter than she looks (when she chooses, anyway), it seems all the characters have a lot of potential for having 'fun' with the others, intentionally or not.

The nature of this Minami-ke confuses me however, as I'm not sure whether it's a second season, a remake, an alternate retelling, or all of the above, but if it stays close to the adapted formula used in the anime, it should be plenty good.

I resolve to get back in touch with my Dark (and Krad) side. (DNAngel manga continues)
Some interesting news that nearly slipped by the radar near the end of this year was the quiet announcement that the DNAngel manga was to continue serialization soon. Having stalled out for few years, the hype for a popular fantasy-romance manga like this has probably subsided a bit, but it's enough for me to still raise at least one eyebrow.

I enjoyed the DNAngel anime and what existed of the manga in my early years of anime watching, and although I've moved on to much bigger and better romances and adaptations, I still look forward to seeing this - hopefully - finish, or at least progress. An unfinished story is one of the things I detest the most, even more than a sloppily finished one.

Which, incidentally, probably means I should finish watching To Heart 2 (nine months in the watchlist, and six episodes still to go) ... but it's not interesting enough at this point to deserve a resolution in itself.

I resolve to continue watching shows targeted at an audience younger than the anime itself...and female. (Marmalade Boy)
Marmalade Boy was another blast-from-the-past manga I re-encountered this year, in the form of a 4-DVD boxset in the public library. It's vintage 1994, and it shows in every form, from the different character design, to the purely animated (no CG) graphics, to the old-school music, to the lack of...well...moe.

It's really a pure shoujo romance, right down to the sparkly pan shots of the blond-hair bishonen, and yet it's still not too bad. I can't determine whether it's the sentimental factor of the manga, of old anime in general, or just my tastes in romance overall, but it's still a fun watch, and one I'm hoping I'll get to stumble across more of in the next year. And hopefully soon - with roughly 50 episodes to go, there's a lot left...

I resolve to say something interesting about KimiKiss, and why I'm going to keep watching it. KimiKiss is a tough show to crack funny about, if only because it is rather, almost plain at times - but you know what else is plain? Vanilla ice cream. You know what vanilla ice cream is? Awesome.

KimiKiss is refreshing in its take on visual novel romance in many ways - the first, hinted at above, is that it's very down-to-earth, simple in a way compared to the other starfish-carving, memory-erasing, house-burning dramatic visual-novel anime featured recently. And secondly, there are three, maybe four threads going at the same time - it's not just everyone loves one guy, but rather, Kouichi and Kazuki, the main guys, have two potential characters each, Mao has Kai and maybe Kouichi, and even the third guy, the film club president, and High-Class Girl Voiced By Mamiko Noto (considering Kotomi and Konoe, that narrows it down, doesn't it?) might factor in. The ways in which the many independant threads of KimiKiss could intertwine, are certainly intriguing.

I resolve to double my yandere view-count. (Higurashi R1)
Higurashi is another anime that's somehow passed me by, and with Geneon in trouble, the window for me to watch this show without shelling out hundreds may be shrinking into the distance.

Still, I hope someone manages to pick up this show, if only because I've heard many interesting things about this show; it's a visual novel adaptation and it's got cute girls that are apparently ALL yanderes, and that sounds like a good enough reason to keep me on the edge of my seat. Also, I've got the first ten seconds of the "Auau~" song stuck in my head.

I resolve to say "Magical Beretta" with a straight face. (School Days OVA)
Seriously, what the hell? That's all I can say about this.

Apparently School Days is cashing in on its popularity just like Makoto seemed to have done within the show, with not one but two OVAs being produced in the near future for it, and with 0verflow's reaction to the end of the anime (here's a hint: they're selling "Nice Items" at Comiket) there's no bounds as to where these OVAs could end up going. Especially since this one's adapted from an essential April Fool's Joke. It's going to be - what's the word - interesting...

I resolve to say something eye-catching about Shira Oka, a true English-produced school-life visual novel.
I believe this is what they in the business call "name-dropping".

This is something I've got an eye on with that enthusiasm that only an anime fan could have: I'm not sure if this visual novel will sell, or even avoid becoming vaporware, but with the powers of hope I look forward to this product, just to see what could become of the possibilities.

Additionally, I have a vested interest in this company, Okashi Studios, because they're California-based, so there you go. Apaprently this game has been going around a while, making shows at some anime conventions, so we'll see what comes of it.

I resolve to actually watch through Shugo Chara's transformation scenes, at least once.
Shugo Chara was the show that made me wonder where I'd been without my magical girl fix. The answer was probably Nanatsuiro Drops, but these two shows really piqued my interest in the 'pure magical girl' genre again. They offer an interesting blend of slice-of-life and romance, and don't always devolve into the cutesy pink-fests that many believe this kind of shows to be.

Rather, Shugo Chara has a large amount of intriguing characters for both genders; Amu herself is a character with realistic fears, hopes, and struggles, and Ikuto is an interesting flirt with that slight touch of rebellious character. The plot has promise of becoming something in-depth, instead of monster-of-the-week as well.

One thing I have to say from the spoilers, though, is: Nadeshiko, say it's not so. I don't care what you take from me. My dignity, my pride, my sense of sanity, anything, just tell me this isn't true. It can't be, it won't be, it'll never be. I'll never accept it, never, ever! Never I tell you!

I resolve to power through ef in a 15-hour span, lest I forget about it.
I think that was how the plot went, in any case. Although I usually watch shows one-episode-per-night, I might have to step up the pace, since between all the other shows, the disjointed Shaft style of ef, combined with the dual plots, makes it very hard to watch.

Which really bugs me, since everyone is heralding it as a true work of genius, and so far I can see why. I really like a lot of it, from the touching story of the main heroines, to the motto of the male leads wanting to be the 'knight in shining armor for someone', and I can't wait to see how it all ties together. I just hope I can make sense of it.

I resolve to fall in love with Sakura and Syaoran falling in love all over again.
This is something that's a long time coming. A Cardcaptor Sakura rewatch is something I've been meaning to do one of these days as a blog mini-special, with a little episode recap blurb, maybe a half, quarter size of a normal post, on each episode of Cardcaptor Sakura. Just because I want to see if my fanboyism for this show knows any bounds - and to see if it's still as gold as it first was.

It may not happen the beginning of the year, it may not finish before 2009 - but I just have to find the drive, and the time. Rest assured, it WILL happen. Long live hanyaa~n.


Sacchin waves bye-bye to 2007.

(Wow, I sound like an old crochety anime fan with all my ridiculous passion for old shows like Marmalade Boy, Cardcaptor Sakura, and DNAngel. Even my harping for Code-E, who knows.)

(Oh my God, nearly 3300 words. This pips at the post by a dozen words or so the fall 2007 mid-season review post as the longest post ever on Eternity - yes, without this addendum. Hope you haven't fallen asleep during reading this. Happy New Year, and here's to another great year of anime~)


Well, it's been a pleasure reading your extra-long Days of Christmas.

From what I've read, the second minami-ke is an alternate retelling. In the anglophone otakusphere the prognosis is not good, though the proof of the pudding will no doubt be in the eating.

Oh, and I reckon you owe it to yourself to watch at least the first eight episodes of Gurren Lagann before making up your mind.

I remain a Clannad recusant.

Thanks. :)

And I hereby dub you, IKnight, Educated Sounding Words Man, for first teaching me 'paean' back in the Kanon post (yes, I'm still getting around to replying to those), and now for all the stuff in this post. "Anglophone otakusphere", I like it.

Re Minami-ke though: I'm assuming everyone is worried about the fact that 1) it's done by a different studio, 2) it's right on the heels on the original, and 2.5) the hair colors are different? I wonder, if the anime turns out to be just more of the same, if that will be enough to satisfy people. It's a solid formula so far.

Well, I've probably ruined myself for marria- uh, Gurren Lagann watching, since I know why you say eight episodes instead of four, three, or twenty-seven. We'll see if I can still make things work despite having been spoiled in that regard and having learned all the catchphrases already.

Also, enjoy your stay of leave from the Key works (AIR, Kanon, Clannad) while you can; I think the fervor will only get louder as Clannad continues and Kanon hits the States. ^^

I'm with you all the way on that last one! I'll be rewatching CCS probably in three parts this year (maybe spaced out a few months per set of episodes). Too bad these will be Japanese DVDs, so I can't watch them on the humongous TV at my house (region one DVD player), which is a shame. At least it'll give me a chance to remind myself how little Japanese I know (no English subtitles!), and to pick up more verbs. Hm, I should put in a resolution of number of Japanese verbs, etc. to learn this year...

The Girl Who Lept Through Time is definately something I'd check out too, given all the praise I've heard about it and considering the fact that it's now licensed.

Minami-ke will have... different hair colors? Sounds like Yu-Gi-Oh1...

I've also heard about the mangaka picking up on DNAngel again. I watched the anime, and while it wasn't THAT good, at least it got a proper ending unlike the manga. Sad really how that turns out, the inferior anime adaption gets a proper ending while the manga left fans hanging for... what? About 3 years? What a horrible way to throw away your fans.

LOL I found a way to keep my CCS fanboyism under bars without actually watching Sakura and Syaoran fall in love "again", rather, watching a different interpretation of that by... watching/reading Tsubasa Chronicle. Of course, if the whole fantasy/dimension crossing thing isn't your cup of tea, then I suggest to stay away from it. :P Look forward to you doing those write ups on CCS... eventually.

Why use one syllable when seven will do? (Also, paean is one of those words which just begs to be worked into everyday conversations.)

Believe me, when others are blogging about Kanon I'll likely be curled up with my hands over my ears, muttering 'Not listening. Not listening. Not listening.' Or maybe I'll be tempted to turn to the dark side . . .

Looks like I'm not the only one planning to rewatch CCS again this year XD It has somehow become a tradition with me to re-watch/re-read it at least twice a year. I can never seem to get bored of it.

1.3k words per day for 18 days (3.3k in this post!) in a row is more than I can handle. That's really a feat *bows*

I really can't wait for Haruhi to start showing again, and with Code Geass and a possible 4th season of Full Metal Panic, 2008 is going to be another great year for anime IMO :D

As for Minami-ke, from what I know Chiaki-sama and Kana switched place, with Chiaki-sama becoming the 2nd sister and Kana the youngest. It will be chaotic for sure, but I'm hoping that it will be good chaos and not tarnish the great name of Minami-ke.

Why can't we have a proper second season for it anyway :/

When is H&C going to be released, anyway? If I'm not mistaken it's been ages since its licensing, yet there's been no sound nor sight. Between it and TokiKake, which I've yet to see, and Byousoku, I'd think you're in good hands. H&C, being josei and not seinen, is what I'd call "realistic Key", if Key decided that the whole moe/supernatural thing was past them.

re Haruhi 2: Assuming that the entire season, 1 or 2 cours, takes up the span of a meagre novel, do you think KyoAni's going to continue animating it ad infinitum? I mean, they're up to what- 14 novels, now? It's practically their cash cow for all purposes, so I figured they would, but I don't read the novels, so eh.

Kimikiss: (as quoted from a comment I meant to leave at usagijen's but couldn't due to technical restrictions:) This is a first in that I've never really been equally divided in terms of which girl (or guy, if it's shoujo, but that one's rather rare) a protagonist should go after, but kimikiss has done a great job in making the ordinary things seem extraordinary, and this one is no exception. I would be happy regardless of who ends up with who in the end, yet sad to see that the other choice was left out.

I think kimikiss has proven that the harem genre still has some life left in it yet -- aside from how typically unharem this show has been, it's also proven that you can have numerous girls and still have character development that's far from two-dimensional.

Keep us updated on the Shira Oka thing!

Also, regarding Nadeshiko: habeeb it. Or not. They might be cutting down on the kid-unfriendly elements, or they might not bother. This is Japan, after all. Amu's shocked face will be worth it.

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