2009 has finally come to a close and along with it, the decade as well. Personally, the year itself has been an uneventful one overall, but I'm still looking forward to a great 2010 (not like it would take a whole lot to make it better than this year was). The same could be said for the anime industry, especially on the North American side, which is still in a state of reformation and self-correction. If your name wasn't "FUNimation", then you most likely saw yourself releasing a whole lot of sub-only releases and not conducting "business as usual". The face of the global financial crisis was in full view, and with the dramatic drop in dubbing, FUNi's apparent monopoly, and lower sales, it was not a good 2009 for many companies, but there were still silver linings to be found in the rapid proliferation of digital distribution, new business models (i.e. the former, season boxes for series), and the steady growth of anime's domestic awareness. And for all of the talk of boxing's "death", there has been a number of outstanding fights (Marquez-Diaz, Williams-Martinez), surprises (Margarito-Mosley, Cordoba-Dunne, Cotto-Pacquiao), and developments ("Super Six" shakeups, movement from belt system, "catchweight") over the past year, including the widespread recognition of a certain Filipino fighter. However, we also had the all-too-real and unfortunate demises of Alexis Arguello, Arturo Gatti, and Vernon Forrest, who passed away sooner and more tragically than anyone would have ever desired to see.
In both cases, I believe that 2010 will be a more positive year than people may think. As is customary around this time, I'll post a few of my predictions for what may come. Sometimes they're right and other times not quite, but it's all fun all around.
--Macross Frontier...will get licensed (Zero...perhaps, too). I know, I said that a year ago and found some interesting tidbits earlier this year that seemed to back that up further. But alas, it's been a rocky year for Bandai Ent. (my pick for distributor) and the costs and legal woes surrounding the Macross franchise certainly made any chances nil. However, it is still too lucrative a cash cow to avoid, so if Harmony Gold has any say over it, I would imagine that they won't hold out too long. Even without them, I still believe it will come overseas somehow, so the speculation machine remains a hummin'. I mean, that Big West "clue" and FUNimation being followed on Bandai Ent.'s Twitter page gotta mean something, right?
--Mayweather-Pacquiao will happen, be it March, May, or sometime in the fall. Like Macross Frontier, it's (way) too big of a payday to let go of for either fighter. Let all of this animosity and defamation stuff blow over and the definite PPV record-breaker will go down (and not in flames). And speaking of predictions, this whole mess sounds real familiar...
--FUNimation will license a whole bunch of stuff (...no duh). And as was the case around January 1st this year, they plan on kicking off this year with a boatload of new properties (and a few license rescues).
The number (over the year)? 20-24
The titles? Darker Than Black: Ryuusei no Gemeni, Trigun, Bakemonogatari (and dashing my hopes of an Ocean dub), Kobato., Nyan Koi, Ga-Rei Zero, To Aru Majutsu no Index (and the Railgun spinoff), KIDDY GiRL-AND, Kimi ni Todoke, Saki, Shangri-La, CANAAN, Hellsing (first version), Evangelion 2.0, Moyashimon, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, Kara no Kyoukai, NEEDLESS, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei series, BASQUASH!, K-ON!, Phantom (for DVD release), Rosario + Vampire
The dark horses? Shugo Chara, Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Dragonball Kai (too soon?), Kanokon (if they can get Strike Witches and Mnemosyne...), Chobits (Section23 pickup?), Michiko to Hatchin, R.O.D. -the TV-, Kemeko Deluxe!, Tenshi series, Strike Witches (2nd season), Sasameki Koto, Valkyrie Chronicles, Kampfer, RIDEBACK, and...Macross Frontier/Zero??? (co-license with Bandai Ent.???)
--Shane Mosley will fight the winner of Mayweather-Pacquiao in the fall or January of the following year (if their bout is moved to the late summer or fall).
--The new Code Geass project will piss off some fans. Whatever it is, after the R2 whining, will tick them off no matter what.
--Stretching things a bit, the Klitschko brothers will fight each other at the tail-end of this year. The talk and insinuation has always been subtle, but I actually do think that it will happen eventually, be it 2010 or January 2011, the very latest. Vitali doesn't have too long a career left, and neither have many options outside of Haye (a guaranteed match next year with one of them (or both if Haye is successful)), Arreola, or Valuev.
--Bandai Ent. will license around five titles and dub at least two of them (to-be-announced Haruhi S2 notwithstanding). Sub-only Shin Mazinger? VOTOMS rescue?(!)
--Bernard Hopkins retires by the end of the year. Fights?
Dawson? Maybe (Dawson, SD)
Green? Money woes aside, no way if a bigger fight is around (Hopkins, TKO8)
Adamek? Good chance (Hopkins, thin UD)
A Klitschko? Pipe dream, but a more interesting match-up than you'd think (Toss-up, but a tricky, engaging Hopkins could hold a victory by flustering and outhustling the more rigid, but quietly versatile champs)
--Seikon no Qwaser and Dance in the Vampire Bund are going to be the two most totally f***** up, most discussed shows of the young, new decade (but that goes without saying...though I just did).
--Amir Khan will have a breakout year...and decade (*hint hint*). Freddie Roach should have a field day with him.
--Summer Wars is most likely already licensed (Bandai Ent. or FUNimation (or BOTH...j/k)), but Sea Story (Umi Monogatari)? Given they have all of ARIA, another Junichi Sato-directed work, it should one be up Nozomi Ent.'s alley. Or at the very least, I so hope so... (alright, so that was more like a "wish" than a "prediction"...)
--"Decade's Best" 2010 Early Predictions:
Anime: Bakemonogatari (depending on which decade I list it in), Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, Katanagatari, Durarara!!, The Vanishment of Haruhi Suzumiya, Dance in the Vampire Bund (surprise!)
Boxing: Manny Pacquiao, Shane Mosley, Amir Khan, Wladamir/Vitali Klitschko (or both), Edwin Valero (if he wins a big fight against a tough opponent), Paul Williams/Sergio Martinez (if they have a competitive rematch and/or beats Kelly Pavlik, who is also in the running if he defeats either/both), Bernard Hopkins (if he fights a meaningful opponent, and wins)
Of course, not everything above is a given (though a few things are), but this coming year holds a lot of promise and intrigue in both anime and boxing. And for HardDoor, maybe a few surprises--and a little bit of randomness--along the way (and hopefully a laptop, too, 'cause I could surely use one...).
Have a Happy New Year (and Decade)!