New Year Rumble: Closing 2006 and Opening 2007

fei-wong
The final part of my end of year coverage, the New Year Rumble replaces this week’s Tuesday Rumble in order to look back at what last year taught us, and what to expect in the months ahead. I should probably say something pretentious here, like “everyone here at Azure Flame is committed to delivering the ultimate blog experience”, but aside from the fact that ‘everyone’ amounts to one person, the blog is more a case of ‘here’s what I’ve written, take it or leave it’.

Tuesday Rumble as you all know and love it will return next week.

Coming in 2007
For my very first Tuesday Rumble, I wrote a section about upcoming features on my blog; however, in subsequent weeks, such a section was never seen again. I have no intention of instating it as a regular, but what better time than the New Year to reveal some planned additions to my blog that may or may not ever come to pass?

  • Studio Reviews: It may just be an excuse to rant about Gonzo’s manga adaptations and Bee Train’s love of stills, but expect the odd studio review to pop up from time to time.
  • “Those were the Days” articles: No, I’m not going to start waxing lyrical over some fictitious ‘Golden Age’ filled with gory cyberpunk OVAs that are apparently better than the modern era of Mushishi and Aria. Instead, this will be a tongue-in-cheek look at the early years of a typical anime fan, when Beyblade and Yu-Gi-Oh seemed good (don’t bother to comment saying “…but I didn’t get into anime through those shows”, you can write your own articles).
  • Mai-Otome True Version: to prove to all that I am actually writing this, here is an extract.

“In Aswald, Reito, the country’s leader, goes to visit Midori at her research lab. He explains that the doctors have told him that his degenerative muscle disease is getting worse- in another year or so he may well end up confined to a wheelchair. Midori assures him that Yohko’s work at Garderobe will soon uncover a medical application for the nanomachines, but Reito tell her that won’t come fast enough. Thousands of his people are suffering from the same disease, and in desperation he has made a risky gamble- an alliance with Schwarz.”

  • Fate/Stay Night True Version: I’m currently a little too embarrassed by the pretentious opening I wrote for this to include an extract here, but rest assured that this will be completed no earlier than 2007.
  • RPG Maker: As well as finishing the HiME RPG, I hope to get back to my very first RPG, a spoof of classical RPGs entitled ‘Fantasy Legend Adventure’. After that, I have some other RPGs in mind, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves…
  • Still Standing Strong: Provided I have enough time this year, I plan to rewatch some of my old favourites and see if my opinion of them has changed- it should also help me decide if I really want to keep certain DVDs. While I am at it, I might as well review those titles as well.
  • Tuesday Rumble will be also be undergoing some improvements. Proposed new sections include Mini-Rants, Merchandise reviews, Harem of the Week and of course a HARD YURI corner to complement HARD GAY corner. 

And of course, all the regular features will remain intact, so expect more reviews, rants and parodies as par for the course.

What Anime taught us in 2006
2006 has left us with plenty of stock phrases, allusions and in-jokes to draw from, and so it only seems right to explore them all in this ‘what anime taught us’ section.

  • HARD GAY, HARD YURI, BI: Although they all existed before 2006, only in this year have HARD GAY, HARD YURI and BI become popularised by my parodies. Admit it, thanks to me, you now see them everywhere. The year has also introduced us to the most common weapons of HARD GAY- Sword, Gun, Bow, Pike and Lance. Hopefully 2007 will see the rise of Axe, Hammer and Cucumber.
  • Gwakaka: Ever since Niwe first uttered his irritating laugh in Uta, it has become the staple laugh for parody villains everywhere. Although some still stick with the softer ‘mwahaha’, ‘gwakaka’ shall be the laugh of choice for true evil.
  • House shots: Before Noein, did anyone ever imagine that a series could spend its entire animation budget on CG house shots? Now, however, it seems that the trained eye can detect house shots in any number of anime and manga series- are they just establishing shots, or is there some deeper and darker reason for the appearance of all these homesteads?
  • Mother died and Father disappeared: Have you heard about the Binbou Shimai Monogatari manga? In case you haven’t, the setting for the series is that Mother passed away and Father ran up gambling debts and disappeared. Oddly enough, for all the times it appeared in Binbou, that series does not have proprietary control over the phrase- the recap sections of the Lament of the Lamb manga begin with “My mother died and my father disappeared…”, whilst a similar thing happened to the twins of Busou Renkin, among others.
  • Sweet potato dango: Ever since that magic mushroom episode of Mai-Otome, I suspected that the problems with that series could be attributed to Sunrise’s intake of some kind of similar substance. It was only the Keroro Platoon’s visit to a dango-filled ‘Sunirase’ studio that gave the game away- these ‘special dango’ clearly contained a unique and not entirely legal ingredient. With the continual references to dango in later episodes, not to mention the existence of such series as Code Geass, it has become clear that Sunrise not only dabble in dango, they are utterly dependent on them.
  • Damn you!: Until I started watching ROTK, I never really noticed how many anime characters cry out “damn you!” at emotional points in the plot, yet now I seem to hear it all the time. Forget more explicit swearing, “Damn you!” is the new curse of choice. Usage: “Damn you, RPG Maker!”, “Damn you, WordPress!”, “Damn you, whoever ate the last chocolate biscuit!”.
  • Pizza Hut: Pizza Hut’s evil takeover plans went entirely beneath our notice for a long time, but now Code Geass has subtly highlighted their movements, enabling us to arrange countermeasures. All the time that they went unchecked has been to their advantage, so watch out for evil Pizza Hut schemes wherever you go.
  • Flashback Mode: We always knew about flashbacks, but it was only with the airing of Ginga Densetsu Weed that it was discovered they could be invoked during a special Flashback Mode. Most commonly used in the middle of a fight, Flashback Mode often serves to tell us just why a villain started down the path of evil. It is also an important budget-saving device for the animators.
  • Fat Cats: Once, The Admiral was the world’s premier fat cat, but Mai-Otome and Aria have brought their respective overweight felines to the fore, demonstrating what we always suspected- fat cats can improve a series simply by virtue of their presence.
  • Magic CCTV: A vital component in any villain’s castle of evil, the magic CCTV enables them to spy on the heroes without moving out of their chair. Unlike conventional CCTV, the feed can be received from anywhere without actually needing a camera on the transmitting end.
  • Ireland: Although some will argue that Ireland existed before 2006, no one really understood its true purpose before. Thanks to Lancer of Fate/Stay Night, however, we have learned that Ireland is a holding ground for characters that have been forgotten by the writers; in fact, if anything seems to have inexplicably disappeared, it is probably taking a short break on the Emerald Isle.
  • Apples: Like Ireland, apples have clearly been around for a while, but it is only recently that they have gained new importance in anime. From Death Note and NHK to Zegapain and Tokyo Mew Mew, no one can deny that apples have risen to a prime position in the animated world. Even bananas cannot match them.
  • Justice, Destiny and Friendship: Excluding the greatest of them all (the plot), these three powers have identified themselves as the driving forces behind generations of spiky-haired heroes and their companions.
  • Chaotic Times: In contrast, chaos is the antithesis of the above, seeking to plunge the world into evil and darkness. Beware its chaotic ways.
  • Generics: Thanks to Utawarerumono, generics have essentially evolved into a force of their own- a nameless and largely ineffective one, but nonetheless a power that cannot be denied.

Annual Rankings
Not just awards for 2006 series, merely the state of the overall rankings at the end of one year and the beginning of the next.

Anime genres
I know I’ve missed out some genres, but that’s because there didn’t seem to be a worthy selection of series (that I’ve watched) for those genres. Apart from YKK, manga is generally missed out- simply because I find it even harder to rank.

Slice of Life

  1. Aria
  2. Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou
  3. Honey and Clover season 1

Sci-Fi

  1. Kurau: Phantom Memory
  2. Texhnolyze
  3. Planetes

High School Comedy

  1. School Rumble season 1
  2. Azumanga Daioh
  3. Pani Poni Dash

Other Comedy

  1. NieA_7
  2. Rune Soldier

‘Classical’ Fantasy

  1. Scrapped Princess
  2. Tactics

Magical Girl

  1. Mahou Shoujotai
  2. Shrine of the Morning Mist
  3. Otogi-jushi Akazukin OVA

Non-SJ Action

  1. Elemental Gelade
  2. Mai-HiME

Historical

  1. Le Chevalier d’Eon
  2. Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto
  3. Victorian Romance Emma

Supernatural

  1. Zettai Shounen
  2. Boogiepop Phantom
  3. Paranoia Agent

Mystery

  1. Monster
  2. Spiral

Shounen Jump

  1. Hikaru no Go
  2. Hunter X Hunter
  3. Rurouni Kenshin

Mecha

  1. Sousei no Aquarion
  2. RahXephon
  3. Big O

H-Game Adaptation

  1. Kimi ga Nozomu Eien
  2. Air

Non-H Dating Sim Adaptation

  1. Meine Liebe

Girls with Guns

  1. Gunslinger Girl
  2. Noir

Musical

  1. Beck
  2. Triangle Heart
  3. La Corda d’Oro

End of the World

  1. Wolf’s Rain
  2. Now and Then, Here and There
  3. Saikano

Harem: Light Entertainment

  1. Futakoi
  2. Tenchi OVAs 1-2 

Crazy

  1. Futakoi Alternative
  2. Pani Poni Dash
  3. Excel Saga

Other series worthy of note that I couldn’t find an excuse to include: Kino’s Journey; Haibane Renmei; Kare Kano; Last Exile; Iriya no Sora, UFO no Natsu; Someday’s Dreamers; Twin Spica.

Everything Else

Best Currently Airing

  1. Saiunkoku Monogatari
  2. Le Chevalier d’Eon
  3. Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto

Best of 2006

  1. Aria the Natural
  2. Mushishi
  3. Saiunkoku Monogatari

Fat Cats

  1. President Aria (Aria)
  2. Mikoto (Mai-Otome)
  3. The Admiral (Stratos 4)

Other Cats

  1. Daniel (Shinigami no Ballad)
  2. Okaka-baba (Zettai Shounen)

Dogs

  1. Potato (Air)
  2. Baron (Noein)
  3. Menchi (Excel Saga)

Other Mascot/Animal

  1. Moo-chan (Tactics)
  2. Black Mokona (xxxHOLiC)
  3. Grunty (.hack)

Non Azure Flame Parody

  1. Abridged Yu-Gi-Oh: So hilarious I wish I’d written it myself.
  2. Texhnolyze dub ‘outtakes’.

Anime OSTs

  1. .hack//SIGN+Liminality
  2. Sousei no Aquarion
  3. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

Game OSTs

  1. Chrono Cross
  2. Final Fantasy IX
  3. Arc: Twilight of the Spirits

Bishies

  1. Ludwig (Meine Liebe)
  2. Haruka (Tactics)
  3. Balmung (.hack)

2 thoughts on “New Year Rumble: Closing 2006 and Opening 2007

  1. Just wondering you’ve watched 12 kingdoms, x-tv, or count of Monti Cristo. I glad there is a second season of Emma coming this spring.

  2. X TV probably needed a mention, but I always end up passing over it because it needed to be at least twice as long to do the manga justice. The other two are on my to watch list for 2007.

    Don’t take the rankings too seriously, it’s just a bit of fun and I invariably forget to include something.

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