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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Work of Lifetimes:

2014 is a testament to the quality of long shows.  When people put an entire lifetime into making just one story, it tends to be better than opponents who just dabble around.  This is true of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, George Lucas' Star Wars series, and J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series.  But it's also true when it comes to Japan.  A lot of what's coming out is this year is the fruit of decades worth of effort finally coming to fruition.

Hunter x Hunter, Naruto, and Bleach will all end this year.  These have been the flagships of shonen action series for over a decade.  There's no real replacement for any of them.

Da Capo III P2 will continue the story that began with Da Capo over a decade ago, continuing the greatest visual novel franchise of all time.

Tales of Xillia 2 will come out in English in 2014, as will the FFX/X2 remaster, marking the two greatest RPG series of all time's continued flourishing.

Happiness Charge Pretty Cure is celebrating the best anime series of all time's 10th anniversary season starting this Sunday.

Dragonball Kai is covering the Buu arc this year, finishing the anime adaption of the world's most famous manga after thirty years of waiting.

Little Busters Ecstasy is finally being adapted into an anime starting this winter and ending this summer, after six years of waiting.  Kud Wafter next?

The Angel Beats visual novel is finally coming out, the inevitable progression of an endless Key project that began with the anime but has been continuing ever since in the form of manga, light novels, etc.

One Piece's Dressrosa arc is continuing on strongly, just like it always has, in both the manga and anime, showing just how good shonen action series can be.

Sword Art Online's long-awaited second season will be starting soon, a light novel series that began in 2009.

The Sailor Moon remake will be starting soon.  This is a manga that began in 1992.

The Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Part 3 anime will be starting soon.  This is a manga that began in 1986.

Love Live! season 2 will be starting soon.  A series that began as only animated songs and dances in 2010 is now showing its true potential.

Monogatari is wrapping up its 'second season' in the anime with Hanamonogatari and Kizumonogatari and the light novel series is coming to a conclusion as well, a story that began in 2005.

Fate/Stay Night's remake begins Autumn 2014.  The visual novel that swept the world in 2004 continues to make waves into tomorrow.

Strike Witches continues with Operation Victory Arrow, a story that began in 2005.

2014 is a year about the long and hard efforts of people finally being rewarded, whether as creators or fans.  Like fine wines, the best stories come only through the investments of massive amounts of time.  With Sword Art Online and Little Busters! entering my top 10 anime rankings, it's clear that the modern day of anime can compete evenly with the greats of anime past, so perhaps when all these ancient projects end, some new creation will come in from nowhere and refill the empty places in our hearts.  But it's more likely that nothing will ever match the miracles we've just witnessed.  The only replacement for Naruto is rewatching Naruto.  The only replacement for Hunter x Hunter is rewatching Hunter x Hunter.  And so on.  Reflecting on these lifetimes of effort is something we owe in this especially poignant year of transition.  Even when all these projects come to their destined ends, we shouldn't forget them.  These are our world's artistic masterpieces, and it would be best if we celebrated them for the rest of human history.  The odds of any of them being replaced by anything strictly superior is slim to nil.

2014 is the end of the line in terms of creation, but in terms of appreciation, it should just be the beginning.

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