This is a post somewhat in the nostalgic schizophrenic manner of a Twelve Days of Anime post, which while not quite where the flying saucers are from is alien enough to me. Due to (my) laziness it is compacted into one post. (Also there aren’t twelve. Whatever.) Herein I list my favorite moments in anime from this year, and I should warn you that my tastes tend toward the sadistic. Most of these are in some way majorly depressing (in the context of the story or standalone), and of course contain massive spoilers.
5. Ookiku Furikabutte — Abe’s Injury
This one is cheating somewhat since I read the manga ahead of time. But I love this one anyway. It’s got everything you could want from a pivotal dramatic moment. There’s foreshadowing and buildup, and at the same time you know it was bound to happen sooner or later, and that, really, Abe’s getting injured or not wouldn’t have made a difference in the match’s outcome. They were going to lose, period. But that’s getting off topic a bit, I think.
What I love here the most is how Abe himself reacts to this. You can tell he’s hurting, but he won’t admit it. Whether from pure stubbornness or because of the promise he made to Mihashi, the looks of despairing determination on his face is just perfect. Then of course there are the others’ reactions (especially Mihashi’s). While their teammate’s injury does sadden them, they don’t (or try not to) let that affect their game.
4. House of Five Leaves — Ichi Flipping Out
Not very much happens in this show, action-wise. Mostly people just talk; sometimes there’s a kidnapping. But when it turns up the drama, it does it oh so well. In the last episode, there is a specific moment that really catches my attention. When Ichi is walking with Jin, right when Jin says the messenger’s name wasn’t Yaichi. Ichi’s reaction is just wonderfully subdued, yet poignant. You can see what he’s thinking by his facial expression (especially his eyes), without the writers having to telegraph them to you directly (like via the hated inner monologue). So when the normally reserved Ichi flips out, you understand.
But that one moment where you see Ichi just freeze is my favorite part.
3. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya — The Stabbity Part
As much as I enjoy Kyon’s earlier confrontation with Asakura, it’s the bit at the climax of the movie that really gets me. Everything just clicks together—the music, the animation, the story, everything. Especially the music makes the scene. But it wouldn’t be on this list without the proper reaction shot, and boy does Yuki’s rank up there. Asakura’s little impromptu dance bit adds its own charm. Seeing the quiet desolation on Yuki’s face, hearing Mikuru’s, it’s all so wonderfully glorious. I could (and do) watch it again and again.
2. Katanagatari — Bang
Much like Oofuri above, this is a wonderful combination of the inevitable and the dramatic, only with much higher stakes. Katanagatari doesn’t pull it’s punches like other shows might, and its characters act rationally in the interests of their goals. It’s so… rare. I wish it weren’t so, but in many shows, scenarios only seem to have consequences, or sacrifices/losses are just temporary. (Look at the most recent Bleach chapters for some of the latter.)
But, no, it sticks, and Togame dies. Subarashii.
And finally, there’s only one thing that can top all the rest:
1. Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt – Scanty and Kneesocks Walking down the Stairs
Episode six. The ghost factory. THOSE STAIRS. From the first syllable out of the demon sisters’ mouths this scene is the epitome of fuckmazing. There’s no other way to put it. Without a doubt this is the most dynamic walking-down-stairs sequence ever. I am not even joking. You don’t want to know how many times I have watched this one scene.
Here’s where I would wish you a Merry Christmas (too late), or a Happy Holidays (too generic), or a Happy New Year (too early). But, in a world post as screwed up as this, what is there left to say, except, “Poo-tee-weet”?