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Friday, November 2, 2012

Shin Sekai Yori in, Gundam Out:

My rankings are very personal.  What matters most to me is if I liked the story or not.  Other considerations, like whether something was innovative, original, popular, acclaimed, etc, are always secondary.  I try to give some weight to series that are mega hits to others, but if I can't personally find much good in it, then the series has to go.  Gundam is the longest running anime of all time, and one of the best selling.  But it continues to be the only ranked series I haven't watched in full, much less rewatched.  Meanwhile I've watched everything else I've ranked in entirety, often rewatched said series, and for some series have rewatched them umpteen times.  Meanwhile Gundam is something I can barely stomach personally, and has been coasting on secondary qualities like how famous, old, and referred to by other shows it was.

That was fine until now, because I could afford to give up a slot to a bad show out of deference to the larger public.  But that's becoming increasingly impossible as the number of good shows in the world increases.  Shin Sekai Yori is simply too good to ignore anymore.  From a slow beginning, its become one of the most exciting, interesting, and thoughtful series of the season and indeed, the year.  To include Shin Sekai Yori in my rankings, I have to kick out something -- but Little Busters and Girls und Panzer are amazing, and Ginga E Kickoff won its place fair and square after producing 26 and counting quality episodes of its own.  It's time to kick something else out, and the only series that stands out like a sore thumb, the only series I don't even bother to watch much less collect and rewatch in my rankings, is Gundam.

It's not that I hate Gundam, Gundam 00, Gundam Wing, Gundam Age and Gundam 8th MS Squad were all decent.  It's just they're not good enough.  Not anymore.  Not when so many good shows are coming out every year, all of which are far beyond 'decent.'  It's time to be true to my heart and admit Gundam just doesn't fit into my rankings system.  If you want to rank a series by seniority, sales, ratings, etc, fine, by all means include Gundam.  But if it's just a matter of whether this series is truly great or not, and truly should be watched by the entire world or not, Gundam can't make the cut, but Shin Sekai Yori easily can.  If I'm this impressed by it in just six episodes, how will I feel about it after 24?

There's something very strange about Shin Sekai Yori.  It's the only show where, after the ending suddenly starts and I realize it's been thirty minutes, my sense of time only feels like it's been ten.  I am so absorbed in the story, so excited by what's happening, that I lose all track of time and my own consciousness simply disappears.  I can't think of anything but Shin Sekai Yori.  The world is simply the world on the screen, there is no other world.  For a series to involve me so far that I experience time dilation to not even be in my rankings is absurd.  Today fixes that.

1. Clannad (2007-2009) 
2. Pretty Cure (2004-2012+)
3. One Piece (1999-2012+)
4. Code Geass (2006-20012+)
5. Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha/Triangle Hearts (2000-2012)
6. Naruto (2002-2012+)
7. Fairy Tail (2009-2012+)
8. K-On! (2009-2011)
9. Seikai no Monshou/Senki/Danshou (1999-2005)
10. Dragonball (1986-2011+)
11. Higurashi/Umineko no Naku Koro Ni (2006-2012)
12. Kanon (2002-2007)
13. Haruhi Suzumiya (2006-2010)
14. To Aru Majutsu no Index/Kagaku no Railgun (2008-2011+)
15. Angel Beats (2010)
16. Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011-2012+)
17. Da Capo (2003-2011+)
18. Katanagatari (2010)
19. The Idolm@ster (2007-2012+)
20. Full Metal Panic! (2002-2006)
21. Bakuman (2010-2012+)
22. Kobato (2009-2012)
23. Working! (2010-2012)
24. Record of Lodoss War (1990-1998)
25. The World God Only Knows (2010-2012+)
26. Hayate no Gotoku (2007-2012+)
27. Sora no Woto (2010)
28. Toradora! (2008-2011)
29. Basilisk (2005)
30. Saki (2009-2012+)
31. Galaxy Angel (2001-2006)
32. Major (2004-2012)
33. Vandread (2000-2001)
34. Inuyasha (2000-2010)
35. Ranma 1/2 (1989-2008)
36. Sailor Moon (1992-1997+)
37. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (2007-2009)
38. Air (2005)
39. Evangelion (1995-2009+)
40. Prince of Tennis (2001-2012)
41. Hanasaku Iroha (2011+)
42. Usagi Drop (2011-2012)
43. Rurouni Kenshin (1996-2012+)
44. Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)
45. Ef (2007-2008)
46. Ore no Immouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai (2010-2011+)
47. Uuchuu no Stellvia (2003)
48. Utawarerumono (2006-2010)
49. Summer Wars (2009)
50. Papa no Iukoto wo Kikinasai (2012)
51. Angelic Layer (2001)
52. Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu (2010-2012)
53. Cowboy Bebop (1998-2001)
54. Battle Athletes (1997-1998)
55. Bleach (2004-2012)
56. Bake-(etc)-monogatari (2009-2012+)
57. 12 Kingdoms (2002-2003)
58. Strike Witches (2007-2012)
59. AKB0048 (2012+)
60. Nichijou (2011-2012)
61. Hunter x Hunter (1999-2012+)
62. Fate/Stay/Etc (2006-2012+)
63. Claymore (2007)
64. Macross (1982-2012)
65. Amagami SS (2010-2012)
66. Sora no Otoshimono (2009-2012+)
67. Card Captor Sakura/Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle (1998-2009)
68. Shakugan no Shana (2005-2012)
69. Boku ha Tomodachi ga Sukunai (2011-2012+) 
70. Mononoke Hime (1997)
71. Berserk (1997-2012+)
72. Valkyria Chronicles (2009-2011)
73. Samurai Champloo (2004-2005)
74. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (2011+)
75. Martian Successor Nadesico (1996-1998)
76. Natsuiro Kiseki (2012)
77. Hyouka (2012+)  
78. Sword Art Online (2012+)
79. Break Blade (2010-2011)
80. Kimi ni Todoke (2009-2011)
81. Spice and Wolf (2008-2009)
82. To Heart (1999-2012)
83. Bastard! (1992)
84. Mahoromatic (2001-2009)
85. Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka (2008-2009)  
86. Azumanga Daioh (2002)
87. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
88. Scrapped Princess (2003)
89. Steins;Gate (2011-2012+)
90. Ghost in the Shell (1995-2011)
91. Shinryaku! Ika Musume (2010-2012)
92. Zero no Tsukaima (2006-2012)
93. Tamayura (2010-2012+)
94. Baccano (2007-2008)
95. High School of the Dead (2010-2011)
96. Hikaru no Go (2001-2004)
97. Tari Tari (2012)
98. Yuru Yuri (2011-2012)
99. Spirited Away (2001)
100. Girls und Panzer (2012+)
101. Little Buseters (2012+)
102. Shin Sekai Yori (2012+)
103. Flame of Recca (1997-1998)
104.  Lucky Star (2007-2008)
105. Gunbuster (1988-2012)
106. Shamanic Princess (1996-1998)
107. Soul Eater (2008-2009)
108. Moshidora (2011)
109. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
110. Gosick (2011)
111. Akira (1988)
112. Guyver (1986-2006)
113. Ginga E Kickoff (2012+)
114. Fatal Fury (1992-1994)
115. Iria: Zeiram the Animation (1994)
116. Alien Nine (2001-2002)
117. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 (2009)
118. Death Note (2006-2008)
119. School Days (2007-2008)
120. Ninja Scroll (1993-2003)

These new rankings take into account all the new episodes since the beginning of the new fall season, including my reassessments of old series/movies based on having rewatched them recently, as well as changes of pure whimsy.  Better series went up and worse series went down, to sum things up.

 Meanwhile, my last remaining hope, Nodoka Haramura, lost to Onjouji Toki in the semifinals.  The Saimoe Finals are Toki vs. Kuro, who handily beat Hisa on the other side.  Of the two I'll cheer for Kuro, but I have to admit my total defeat first.  Not a single girl I hoped or expected to win won.  My last hope died in the quarterfinals and my last expectation died in the semifinals, leaving the finals totally bereft of my inclinations.  Even so, since the contest began with hundreds of girls, I feel I did pretty well with my 'picks,' despite losing out in the end.  My view of the prettiest anime girl of the year wasn't far astray from most of Japan's.  Tomorrow we'll find out who the ultimate winner was.  ((Onjouji Toki won by a small vote margin today.  Congratulations Toki, you lost the mahjong match against Teru but at least you're the prettiest girl in anime!))

Also, a new Star Wars trilogy has been announced.  Since I wrote a scathing post about the previous six Star Wars movies before, I can't say more Star Wars is much to look forward to.  Even so, I am a little excited about a return to that universe.  I feel like the Star Wars universe has a lot of untapped potential, and with the proper writing of a script (no JarJar Binks, no annoying prisoner taking of people who should be trying to kill each other, etc), the series could become as great as it was always supposed to be.  Now that George Lucas is out of the way, perhaps the story can become more serious and realistic, as well as visually and musically appealing like it's always been.

The election should be pretty fun to watch, especially if Romney pulls off the upset win.  The drama should be equal to any super bowl game, whichever way the cookie crumbles.  So between a dead-even election, new Star Wars, a Saimoe final, and a great fall anime season with the newly ranked series Shin Sekai Yori, it's a good week in the world of entertainment.

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