Article Quick Information
|Title:||2004: Year in Review Part 1|
|Category:||End of year review|
|Published:||Fri, 31 Dec 2004|
2004 has proven to be, if nothing else, an exciting year for UK anime fans. We have sampled the highs of an increased number DVD releases (mostly courtesy of ADV and MVM) and the lows of acclaimed (and popular) anime series being regularly snubbed by British TV channels (probably in favour of yet another reality TV show).
Anime (in the UK) in 2004, while undoubtedly a small niche of interest for most in this country, has subtly begun to seeping into the British mainstream conscience. No one can argue with increased DVD sales and releases, a new (and mostly dedicated) anime magazine in NEO and the largest UK anime convention attendance (at AmeCon 2004) for a long time. This has been a year of slow but sure progress, spent building the foundations for the further success of anime in UK.
Our favourite 'sleeper' DVD release of 2004
Kino's Journey (released Autumn 2004 by ADV)
In terms of intellectually challenging, emotionally draining and highly philosophical anime- Kino's Journey has to be considered as amongst the best of '04. Released by ADV UK in late Autumn to little fanfare, this under valued series completely blew me away with its strange cast of a gender-bending protagonist and her talking (not to mention rather intelligent!) motorcycle. Kino's Journey is clever, emotionally draining and oft-surreal- the perfect tonic for a jaded anime fan looking for something a little different.
Apparently ADV UK had trouble selling this series' to the UK high-street shops, presumably because the DVD covers don't feature big breasted females wielding bazooka cannons.
- Azumanga Daioh
Bizarrely funny high school comedy.
Our biggest 'stinker' DVD release of 2004
Final Fantasy Unlimited (release Spring 2004 by ADV)
For a franchise so well respected in gaming circles, Final Fantasy sure does produce some underwhelming movie and TV spin-offs.
Really, FF Unlimited should have worked- backed by a large pile of money, produced by anime studio GONZO (famous for anime like Hellsing and Last Exile), directed by Mahiro Maeda (who is a proven director with the likes of fantastic Gankutsuou to his name) and supported by legions of devoted fans. But the fans, I suppose, is really where this series trips up- in attempting to please all, FF Unlimited comes off as an overly simplistic, watered down anime series that would rather pander to devoted fans than take a risk and try to do something new (or more importantly, challenging) with the franchise.
We wait with baited breath to see if the Final Fantasy name can redeem itself with the beautiful looking and much hyped FFVII: Advent Children.
- Najica Blitz Tactics
Unless you love your panty fan-service, why bother?
Our favourite DVD release of 2004
Fruits Basket (release Summer 2004 by MVM)
From the moment I caught a glimpse of the pretty artwork and cute-for-the-sake-of-it premise, I had Fruits Basket pegged down as a series I just wouldn't enjoy. But from the first episode onwards, I was completely in awe of this magnificent series.
Please don't let yourself be put off by the cute character designs and iffy premise, Fruits Basket is far from a trivial high school drama. Despite all the characters looking relatively young, their growing and constantly developing personalities pack a strong emotional punch.
Fruits Basket perfectly balances some great humour with dramatic situations and tragic, gritty personalities, making for a story that allows you to completely get to grips with the various larger-than-life personalities and to understand their (hidden) pain when certain situations arise.
- Serial Experiments Lain
Mind bending science fiction at its best.
Type the characters you see in the picture above.