Thursday, December 31, 2009

So, That Was 2009...

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.

Friday, December 25, 2009

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Yawarakame


Official Sites: Japanese
Additional Links: ANN Entry, ANN Article
Video [Free]: BeeTV (See link above for viewing instructions)

This month's pick only comes around two week's after its announcement, and it's something of a personal pick. Yawarakame is a new ONA (original net anime) comedy that debuted on website of BeeTV, a Japanese mobile phone service (though it is accessible on any computer). It's the brainchild of Those Who Hunt Elves and Dokkoida?! mangaka Yu Yagami and ufotable, who animated the adaptation of the latter and whose profile has grown since producing the Kara no Kyoukai film series. Yawarakame is certainly in the vein of "Japanese cute/weird" (no surprise given Yagami's past work), but perhaps its most distinguishing characteristic is that Miyuki Sawashiro is handling all of the voices in the show. She's a very talented seiyuu and one of my favorites, so it was a gimme that it would get some sort of lip service here, along with ufotable's involvement.

Monday, December 21, 2009

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::12.21.09:: The Brave, The Bold...and The Buffoons

After two weeks of standout matches, the week after hit a lull, though the following proved to be a little more interesting...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::12.10.09:: More Breakouts, Beatdowns, and Bad Decisions

Now, the second part of today's earlier "Boxing Bits" installment, which was too lengthy to post as one single post. --HD

:boxing: Boxing Bits ::12.10.09:: Breakouts, Beatdowns, and Bad Decisions

This installment of "Boxing Bits", slated as one piece, is in two parts, thanks to my comments on the Willams-Martinez fight, among others. The second half will be posted later in the day. --HD

Unexpectedly good matches and inexplicable decisions permeated the last two weeks of boxing, as well as news that the camps of Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao are close to finalizing things to make way a megafight in March. I'd say I'm excited, but I'll just be hoping that the former doesn't all of the sudden have an "injury" and the fight gets pushed back towards the summer...