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It is that time of the year again. I thought I’d have more works on this list because I felt I read a lot of manga this year, but a lot of it was the sort of mediocre library manga you forget right after you return the book.
The Lego Movie An ordinary dumbass Lego minifigure becomes the Chosen one and must save the world. I was so sure I wouldn't watch this one because the trailers were so stupid, but it kept getting so good reviews that I had to check it out, and boy what a good decision that was. Hilarious movie but also managed to be surprisingly smart, something I wouldn't expect I'd say about a movie about Lego minifigures. And on top it all, it managed to avoid the worst pitfalls of the "be yourself, it’s all about you, you’re the special unique snowflake" morale like half of the animated films from America force down our throats. Only the token romance was almost good but ended up awful, but other than that, what a great film.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 Dragon riders end up in a war against an evil dragon rider, also family reunion. I had quite high expectations for this one, which were actually met. A good continuation that answers the question “what happened after the events of the previous movie?” well and introduced plenty of new stuff so it wasn't just a rehash of the predecessor. Villain was a little weak though. Also, props for handling Toothless so well. He got his own thing to do in the story so he wasn't just Hiccup’s accessory, but what he did was still fit for an animal so he didn't come across as some Disney-esque super smart cartoon animal.
The Legend of Princess Kaguya A poor man finds a princess and gold inside a bamboo shoot. He does his best to give the princess a fancy life, but the princess herself would prefer a less restricted poor lifestyle. Didn't care too much of the thing itself but more about how different it was from every other movie I had seen. Obviously it looked very different, but also in the story department. I don’t remember seeing an ending like that in any movie from the West, or Japan for that matter, and the angle of seeing the “overcome a quest and get the princess” story from the princesses point of view was interesting.
The Legend of Korra The final two seasons of Avatar Korra's antics. Bye bye Avatar franchise! Luckily the quality picked up significantly from the second season which I think I'll rather forget save for the Varrick parts. He is my favourite character of the Korra franchise. Lin, Su and Tenzin are up there too. Even Korra got a pretty good arc and while the first two seasons did so much damage to her that I couldn’t be bothered to care about her nearly as much as what a main character should expect she was still fairly okay towards the end. Also I couldn’t care less who she ends up with.
Kill la Kill High school girl is trying to avenge her father's murder, and gets ridiculous clothes that give her superpowers to aid in cool battles against the student council and other foes. This rivals the Lego Movie in the dumbest premise of the year. I wasn't going to give it a second thought due to the fanservicey super outfits giving the impression that the show wasn't even trying to do anything but show skin, but it kept getting praise for its other content and the character designs were interesting, so I gave it a go. The story got even dumber as it went on, and it was awesome.
I wasn't in the target audience for the fanservice so it bothered me a lot, but seeing how the story revolved around wearing or not wearing clothes it was at least somewhat justified by the plot so there's little room for me to complain. And how can you not laugh at an organisation being named "Nudist Beach"?
Free! The swimming club of some high school guys. The Swimming Anime. Nice animation and lots of muscles, but little else to offer. Everything felt just shallow fujoshi fanservice and the characters seemed little more than obligatory tropes to get the cash from the fans of different character archtypes. I was hoping for a stormy bromance between the main guy and the jerk from the rivalling team, but even that didn't properly start until the last moments, and the main guy was insufferable anyway. Ending theme was cool I guess.
Happiness Charge Precure! Magical girls fight bad guys in a kids' show. Only 14 episodes in so far. I ended up watching this because I love magical girls and the blue girl was so darn cute. She is the best character and quite a pleasure, but unfortunately I pretty much hate the pink and yellow girls. Show itself has been more or less what you'd expect from a Toei toy commercial.
House of Five Leaves A shy samurai becomes involved with a kidnapping gang. Best thing of the year, hands down. The fangasm has calmed down a little since summer when I found the series, but the love has not. The anime was awesome and the original manga was even more so, and I can't remember any manga experience being more intensive than the last two HoFL volumes. A surprisingly calm and quiet series about criminals, there's not much fighting and most of the drama comes from the characters' relationships. Really good writing for the two main characters. Also, lonely people finding a family in each other is one of my favourite tropes and you can’t go too wrong with that one.
One Piece Pirates still searching for the legendary treasure and meeting various friends and foes on the way. The long-runner continues. I'm not the biggest fan of the current Dressrosa arc; it feels like there's too much stuff going on, too little focus on anything, I don't really care for every side character getting a fight, and Rebecca sucks. Doflamingo is a cool villain though, and against all odds Law went from my least favourite character (generic stoic pretty boy with hax powers and too much screen time) to an actually likeable one with a sympathetic flashback. Rocinante is the best character of the year, Bartolomeo's gag is funny no matter how many times I see it, and Usopp's sniping moment was awesome.
Oyasumi Punpun Coming-of-an-age story of one Japanese boy I guess. The What The Hell of the year. I'm very glad I read it, but I don’t think I'll ever want to touch it again.
Best…. Music - Kill la Kill, especially Blumenkranz (even with the silly German pronunciations) - Honorable mentions to Flying with Mother from HtTYD2, Wally's theme from Pokemon ORAS and Everything Is Awesome from the Lego Movie (...). Animation/visuals - Princess Kaguya cranks up the awesome during the running scene. - Honorable mention to Madoka Rebellion movie. Art - Kaoru Mori continues to deliver with Otoyomegatari - Honorable mention to Yuusuke Murata's One Punch Man and Yana Toboso's Kuroshitsuji. Laughs - The Lego Movie overall - Honorable mentions to Bartolomeo's fangirl gag from One Piece, Thermae Romae, Silver Spoon and anything Varrick does in Korra. Dress-uppability - I really want to make a Happiness Charge Precure character creator. - Honorable mention to Kill la Kill which is likely to sneak into the cosplay sections of other dress ups and Shiemi with her pwetty kimonos from Blue Exorcist. Moment - The ending of House of Five Leaves manga - Honorable mention to the HoFL anime ending, and plenty of other moments from the manga, the beginning of Kill la Kill's ultimate transformation, Yotsuba's (Yotsuba&!) grandmother finally appearing and the Punch from One Punch Man's space invasion saga. Romance (the least uninteresting) - Varrick & Zhu Li from Legend of Korra. Do the thing! - Honorable mention to… I don't know, I ship so little. Sai & Baby5 from One Piece was funny and brief I guess. Relationship (non-romantic) - Masa & Yaichi from Five Leaves - Honorable mention to Kill la Kill and HtTDY2's focus on family. Male character - Either Masa or Yaichi - Honorable mentions to Varrick from Korra, Rocinante from One Piece and Gamagoori from Kill la Kill. Female character - Hime from Precure is best girl. Dem eyebrows. - Honorable mentions to Lin & Su from Korra, Satsuki from Kill la Kill and Alice from Shokugeki no Souma.
Who am I kidding House of Five Leaves was best at everything
I love "the Worst" lists, but it’s harder to think of one off the top of my head. And a lot of bad manga is just so dull that there's little motivation to complain while I watch so little anime that when I do it's something I expect to be good. What comes to my mind right now is that I hate Megumi from Precure (very much of current interest right now) and the precocious little brat from Kuroshitsuji has harmed the current arc but luckily not irreparably so. Hikaru from Magic Knight Rayearth is also pretty unbearable and I've never liked Shokugeki no Souma's Erina.
Plans for 2015: - When Marnie Was Here should come to Finland next year hopefully maybe. - Little Witch Academia 2 - Shokugeki no Souma anime - Digimon Adventure reboot! Nade Nade! - New Pretty Cure season maybe, if I survive this one. - Pixar has not one but two movies coming next year? - I plan to pick up Pandora Hearts, NaruTaru and Millenium Snow on the manga front. - And maybe finally watch Evangelion (original) and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann on the anime side.
Favorite moviesPorco RossoFavorite bands / musical artistsSonata Arctica, YöFavorite writersThat would be Markus KajoFavorite gamesOld Super Mario gamesFavorite gaming platformOld 8 bit Nintendo, Nintendo DSTools of the TradePencils, Flash, PhotoshopOther InterestsReading, drawing, squirrels, One piece