Triumphs and trials filled the year in anime


POSTED: Tuesday, December 22, 2009

With a week and a few days to go before the end of 2009, it's time for a look back at some of the highlights and dimmer moments in the anime industry this year.

» Funimation and Crunchyroll surge ahead: The other industry players in a nutshell: Bandai promoted a few titles including “;Kurokami,”; “;Kannagi”; and “;Hayate the Combat Butler.”; Viz tended to its two-headed “;Naruto”;/ “;Bleach”; juggernaut and added “;Monster,”; “;Nana”; and “;Honey and Clover.”; Nozomi Entertainment picked up “;Junjo Romantica”; and “;Antique Bakery”; and released “;Rental Magic”; and more “;Aria.”; AnimEigo lived for another year, which is always nice. Media Blasters' biggest move was to pick up “;Queen's Blade,”; otherwise known as “;that series where all the characters are buxom females and one of them actually shoots acid from her chest.”;

Funimation and Crunchyroll are on a completely different level. They picked up and released so many anime series this year that to list them all would take up the rest of this column. Funimation all but owns the DVD market right now, and online simulcasts are largely a two-horse race between Funimation and Crunchyroll.

» ADV, meet “;Komm, Susser Tod”;: The movie “;End of Evangelion”; had a song called “;Komm, Susser Tod,”; which includes the line, “;It all returns to nothing ... it all comes tumbling down, tumbling down, tumbling down.”; By sad coincidence, that line describes exactly what happened in September to ADV Films, a publisher known for its release of the original “;Neon Genesis Evangelion”; TV series and many other series in its 17-year history. While ADV's remaining anime catalog will be picked up by Sentai Filmworks with distribution by Section23 Films, the ADV name itself is dead.

» Now playing in theaters: ani-meh: The live-action “;Dragonball Evolution”; was panned not only by anime fans, but fans of decent movies in general. No one really hated the computer-animated “;Astro Boy”; in October, but no one really loved it, either, and that disappeared rather quickly as well. Some people were even disappointed with the year's most anticipated film with anime ties, “;Ponyo”; from Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. (Others simply complained in online forums when “;Ponyo”; wasn't among the five nominees for best animated feature film for the 2010 Golden Globe Awards.)

Not that all was bad at the movies — Honolulu did get to see a few “;Death Note”; movies, the “;Eureka Seven”; movie, both “;Evangelion”; remakes to date, a collection of Osamu Tezuka short films and the “;20th Century Boys”; trilogy. And the “;Cel Shaded”; that drew the most comments online this year was one with a film link, a January piece where I talked about Keanu Reeves being attached to a live-action “;Cowboy Bebop”; movie.



Next week's “;Cel Shaded”; was supposed to be my “;year in manga”; column, but plans for that changed when I got an e-mail from Kawaii Kon founder and co-director Stan Dahlin listing the first guests for next year's convention. Expect that to appear first in “;Otaku Ohana”; on Christmas Day — the same day as the convention's official announcement — then right here next Tuesday.

“;Drawn & Quartered”; in the Sunday Star-Bulletin will now play host to my manga roundup, where I'll answer the questions: Which publishers shone? Which ones could use some help? What were the hot trends and series? And will I manage to slip in yet another mention of “;The Rough Guide to Manga,”; my book published this year that was a big deal for me?


Jason S. Yadao is the author of Rough Guides' “;The Rough Guide to Manga,”; now available. For more anime and manga news and commentary, check out “;Otaku Ohana”; at blogs.starbulletin.com/otakuohana. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jsyadao or e-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).