Article Quick Information
|Title:||2004: Year in Review Part 3|
|Category:||End of year review|
|Published:||Fri, 31 Dec 2004|
2004's fansub highlights
Naruto (100+ episodes, unlicensed)
Throughout 2004, Naruto's fansub following has exploded into the tens of thousands and transformed the show into undoubtedly the most wanted anime outside of Japan.
It's not hard to see why; this is an action-packed ninja anime full of quirky, interesting characters who show realistic development of the course of the story. Being set in a fantastical universe where almost anything is possible, Naruto somehow continues to surprise its viewers even after 100+ episodes. I love this show, it's one of, if not the, most exciting series' I have ever had the pleasure of watching.
Full Metal Alchemist (51 episodes, coming to UK in March '04)Studio BONES' Full Metal Alchemist took the fansub scene by storm back in early 2004; an epic story about two brothers (Ed and Al Elric) attempting to put wrong things right in their own little universe using a strange form of magic known as alchemy.
Many claim this to be the 'greatest anime of all time' and to be honest, most will struggle to argue with such a statement. Full Metal Alchemist somehow manages to be both an epic, country spanning adventure and a personal, rather tragic journey concerning the meaning and value of life. J.R.R Tolkien would be proud of such a story.
Gankutsuou a.k.a The Count of Monte Cristo (26 episodes?, unlicensed)
Based on the famous book of revenge by Alexandre Dumas, Gankutsuou is by far and away the most visually striking and original anime TV series to appear in 2004. Most won't be surprised then that this is a project helmed by the famous studio GONZO (Hellsing, Last Exile); however unlike many other pretty-but-dumb GONZO series- Gankutsuou is far more than just eye candy. Indeed, the word 'thriller' would be to an injustice to the sheer intrigue and excitement each episode of this fantastic series leaves you feeling. The story weaves an impossibly complex thread of deceit and revenge and successfully combines its beautiful aesthetics with an eclectic, Victorian influenced soundtrack.
Gankutsuou is quickly becoming by favourite anime of 2004.
- Kurau: Phantom Memory
Studio BONES do it again with this heart-filled sci-fi adventure series.
A cut above the rest in terms of conspiracy and thrilling mystery; Monster is one of the most atmospheric and just plain scary anime of the year
2004's favourite UK anime websites
Along with the increasing proliferation of anime DVDs, 2004 has seen the (online) UK anime community explode with a number of new (and really quite excellent) websites.
Alongside regular staples like UK-Anime.net and UKAnime.com, websites like aNIme and Eye On Anime came to real prominence in 2004; proving to us that not only are they committed for the long run, but that they have valid, well thought-out opinions on a number of issues that have cropped up over this last year.
Orient Express emerged as an inspiration for many in terms of their quality and well structured reviews, while the chaps over at Anime Boredom impress with their hardcore dedication and seemingly in-human quantity of regularly added new reviews. Otaku News, created by the well-known Joe Curzon, appeared on the scene around early autumn and has since gone on to provide us with many a detailed and interesting news report.
One hopes that in 2005, not only will more UK dedicated anime websites appear- but that such websites work closer together. Right now, the UK online scene is rather fractured, with webmasters more or less happy to stick to their own little corners of interest. Simple things such as an affiliation with other UK websites will go a long way to helping others become aware that not only does a UK anime internet scene exist, but that it's healthy and thriving
Looking ahead to 2005
2005, much like 2004, promises to be a ground breaking year for UK anime. Not only do the likes of MVM, ADV UK and BEEZ have massive DVD release plans, but the monthly 'mainstream magazine' releases of NEO and (potentially) the biggest ever UK anime convention in AyaCon '05 make 2005 worth getting excited about.
One obviously hopes that 2005 will see at least some decent anime TV exposure (I'm sorry; a completely mutilated version of One Piece doesn't count), but lately I've stopped getting my hopes too high (at the risk of them being dashed a few days later). The only way I can see it happening is if ADV or MVM do a cheap deal with a really low-budget digital TV channel or if we basically get a dedicated anime TV channel (and what's the likelihood of that happening?).
MVM have stolen my heart with their DVD release plans for 2005- they seem to be systematically licensing every anime series I love- from the mafia warfare of GunGrave, to the exciting yet disturbing adventures in Full Metal Alchemist (not to forget the technological nightmare of Texhnolyze); they just seem to have a jaw dropping year lined up for us.
ADV UK is of course planning the inevitably popular February debut of Evangelion: Platinum Edition, while BEEZ are promising us a lot- to name but a few; Cowboy Bebop, Wolf's Rain and Gundam SEED.
You see, 2005 really is looking damn fine and seems at least to me, to be full of endless possibilities. I hope you have enjoyed this article and visiting this website over the last year, it sounds cheesy but I have genuinely enjoyed maintaining it.
Have fun and the best of luck in 2005.
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