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Anime 2009

Another great year has gone by and we are here tallying up the hotties and notties of the 2009 anime scenario. Here's a quick review:

By Kokoro-chan

1. Aoi Bungaku
This reviewer's favourite by far. The series is an artful graphic adaptation of six classical Japanese literature pieces that include separate animated works by Takeshi Obata (Death Note, Hikaru no Go, Bakuman), Tito Kube (Bleach), Takeshi Konomi (Prince of Tennis) etc. The definite 'bang' of 2009, 'beyond awesome'-as many commented.

2. Inuyasha: The Final Act (Ongoing)
'The biggest anime of 2009' according to Animax, The final season of Inuyasha unravels into yet more exciting and 'wind-scarring' adventures of our favourite white-haired demon boy as he continues his old battle against the elusive villain Naraku. The stage is set and the show is on, fresh and spicy even after the long gap since 2004.

3. Tataku Shishou: The Book of Bantorra (Ongoing)
Another really interesting anime that simply hooks you up after a couple of episodes. Character design and animation aren't anything groundbreaking, but the over-all storytelling is worth one's time. People turning into sacred books after death couldn't get more intriguing.

Also Mentionable
1. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
2. Bakemonogatari
3. Tears to Tiara
4. Kämpfer
5. Cross Game, etc.

Sizzling Second Seasons
1. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (One of the most anticipated second seasons)
2. Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
3. Darker than Black
4. Hayate the Combat Butler
5. Spice and Wolf

Ongoing Giants
1. Naruto (Shippouden 3: Inheritors of the Will of Fire)
2. One Piece (Latest episode 432, December 27, 2009)
3. Bleach (Latest episode 251, December 22, 2009)

The Baddies
1. Umineko No Naku Koro Ni

If you happen to be an ardent fan of the Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni fame, boy do we have bad news for you. Umineko, despite its promising glossy looks and flashy mind-tricks, is a total nightmare. The storytelling often makes no sense, there are too many (too TOO many) twists in the plot and the male lead is a jerk. There goes disaster with a capital D.

2. Miracle Train
Probably the dumbest anime ever. Who wants to watch humanoid pretty-boy train stations strutting around and making lame excuses of helping 'damsels in distress'? And if somebody wants to know about Japanese train stations so badly why can't they just grab a guidebook or map or something? What was the age rating for this anime again? Damn, I never bothered to find out.

Poor story-telling, gloomy characters, almost non-existent music= DOGS went to the dogs. Amen.

Event: AFA09
One of the biggest and yummiest anime festivals took place in Singapore in November 2009. The two day long event included performances by Manga artists, Graphic Designers, Animators, Cosplayers, Gamers, Musicians and many more.

Well, that somewhat wraps up 2009 for us. Here's hoping for an even better and more fabulous 2010!

(Reference source: Internet. Opinions are the writer's own)


Box Office '09

By The Anarchist Kitten

With Batman, Bond and Indy, 2008 proved to be the year of vintage action heroes and popcorn muncher movies. Everybody was certain the void left by The Dark Knight could not be filled, at least not anytime soon. But did any hot new franchise truly step up to fill this space left by these colossal names? Or did viewers finally tune in for film inspired from a moving piece of literature instead of a theme park ride?

The beginning of 2009 saw remakes of classic 80's slasher flicks. Big B movie names such as My Bloody Valentine and Friday the 13th were remade with modern technology for superiorly visually enticing slashing, hacking and shallow nudity. My Bloody Valentine 3D, which as the name implies had specific visual effects going for it, garnered terrible reviews before it hit theatres, and the predictions proved to be correct. Friday the 13th was exhilarating, but while the film was decent, it was pointless nonetheless.

Famously in 2009, the fourth name in the franchise that inspired a million little traffic offences came out, but even die hard fans of The Fast and the Furious and all the formulaic titles that followed found this one disappointing and redundant. However, a franchise that didn't release a redundant movie was Underworld. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans was a captivating movie, and went a long way to explain the origins of the remorseless monsters of old. Another famous origins movie was Terminator: Salvation. The movie had mixed reviews from critics and fans alike, but at least it explained a lot about the franchise as a whole. Speaking of origins movies, how can one forget X-Men Origins: Wolverine? The movie had a few promising moments, but however much back story it cleared up about the loved character, the movie's plot being all over the place, corny acting and amateurish visuals ruined it somewhat. Around the same time we had a refreshing break in the form of a return to classical romantic comedy, The Proposal. The film pitted Ryan Reynolds against Sandra Bullock; eye candy aside, the film received decent reviews and was quite 'sweet', and far more tasteful compared to other recent romcom disasters (Bride Wars, anyone?).

We geared up for the big titles set to be released in summer and thereabouts. But we hadn't had the good sense to gear up for as many disappointments as came. G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra was a film embarrassing to associate oneself with, with its cartoonish visuals and a plethora of characters with back stories over compensating for plot. Funnily enough, one could replace the name G.I.Joe: Rise of Cobra in the previous sentence with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and not be too far off the mark. Add to that its famously annoying heroine Megan Fox and you have a film you wish history would not remember our lifetime for. But with as much of a box office hit as it was, we are out of luck.

The year also had its big names that were halfway decent and not complete failures as moving pictures, such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (over hype much?) and Public Enemies (pitting Johnny Depp against Christian Bale MADE us expect awesome). Another big name, however with a completely different formula for success behind it was Paranormal Activity. It turned out to be a movie about a couple being cute and occasionally getting scared of noises made by vengeful demons.

The most glorious moment of 2009 was Quentin Tarantino regaining his mastery with Inglourious Basterds. Tarantino returned with an eclectic cast and another one of his playful reinventions of 1970s genre cinema. This time he moved from the American underworld to World War II, with a team of Jewish-American special forces operating behind German lines, terminating Nazi commanders with extreme prejudice. Movie fans the world over were thrilled, as were fans of correct spelling.

So as to end the article on a positive note, yours truly shall discuss another great movie of the year- Watchmen. Alan Moore's superlative comic book reached the big screen. The ending had to be amended, but every scene remained slavishly faithful to Dave Gibbons's original drawings, with just a few costume tweaks to make Nite Owl look a little less ridiculous and Silk Spectre a little bit sexier. Add to that characters with depth and good acting, and we had us a great movie right here in 2009.

But 2009 is good and done and it's 2010 now. And what do we have in store for us this year? There is Up In The Air, in which George Clooney is in Oscar mode as a white-collar hit man who specializes in corporate 'lay-offs'; soon he faces a crisis of his own. This is recession drama with a romantic comedy polish for good measure. There's Edge of Darkness which is a remake of the 1985 British TV government conspiracy classic. In place of Bob Peck, the London setting and gloomy Thatcher critique comes Mel Gibson, Boston and fast-paced Hollywood action. In Shutter Island Martin Scorsese's homage to 1950s pulp has Leonardo DiCaprio investigating a sinister mental asylum with his own sanity at stake. In The Wolfman, Benicio Del Toro bares bloody fangs in Joe Johnston's traditional, 1890s-set werewolf thriller; Anthony Hopkins is a crazed hunter, while Hugo Weaving steals scenes as a detective fresh off the Ripper case. And this is only till February. Wait till we have a film schedule for the entire year of 2010.



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