2010 turned out to be a pretty nice one, both personally and for the site. Much of the first half of the year saw the realization of one of my biggest goals in covering the pattern of dark-skinned characters in anime that have been shot in the head. Aside from the lull in late-summer (writer's block?), everything went fairly well, and the discussion thread experiment, while not a total success (only the ANN one got going), proved interesting. Of course, I would have done a few things differently, but overall, given its scope and size, it went well.
The second half of the year was perhaps the most pivotal for HardDoor, to-date. A completely new design, an improved layout, the start of HD's Twitter page and its integration into the site (a big, big addition itself, begun a month to the day before, and in honor of, HD's fourth anniversary), the introduction of anime reviews, as well as a greater emphasis on using pictures in posts (first tested with "Blacks & Head Shots in Anime") have all been implemented for the blog, which have certainly helped in making the blog more accessible and looking nice, as well as raising its awareness.
Also doing better was the anime industry, which saw more US distributors--not named "FUNimation", by the way--willing to dub new properties (i.e. Bandai Ent. - Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, K-ON!; Sentai - Tears to Tiara, CLANNAD; Media Blasters - Queen's Blade, Kanokon), as well as a new outfit in Aniplex America/USA licensing and dubbing the big hit, Durarara!!. As is often the case, Japan pumped out some great and popular titles on the outset of the new decade, including the aforementioned series, Gundam Unicorn, Angel Beats!, Highschool of the Dead, Katanagatari, Shiki, and The Tatami Galaxy. In addition, digital distribution is continuing to grow as an ideal outlet for the latest works from the country. Though not everything is roses yet, the industry is at least looking on the up as of recent.
Boxing, on the other hand, has seen better years, thanks to fights being consistently pushed back or cancelled by injuries or contractual wranglings (all of which nearly did in the Super Six tournament multiple times). All said and done, some of the best was saved for last, as we got Khan-Maidana, Lopez-R. Marquez, Pacquiao-Margarito, J.M. Marquez-Katsidis (well, more for others than me), and Darchinyan-Mares, as well as Glen Johnson going lights-out on Allan Green and Sergio Martinez's amazing KO blast of Paul Williams.
So, what lies ahead in 2011? Last year's predictions were surprisingly close (not necessarily on target, but still…), so let's see what might go down this year!:
--Macross Frontier…uh, yeah…about that…
--Bakemonogatari stands a greater at getting picked up. Kodansha's asking price must be astronomic, but can you blame them with the record-breaking sales and popularity it enjoys? In order: FUNimation, Aniplex USA, Bandai Ent. (which must automatically mean that Sentai will get it… :P )
--I would not be surprised if Floyd Mayweather, Jr. serves jail time, probably more so if he didn't…
--If Juan Manuel Marquez moves up a weight class and Manny Pacquiao beats Shane Mosley, the latter's hand will probably be forced to take the lucrative rubber match (that Pacman says no one wants to see. HA!).
--In Terms of Possibility: A Katanagatari license? Eh… A Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt license? Heck yeah! Either FUNimation or Sentai will be all over it (and will have a field day with the dub)…
--A Sea Story (Umi Monogatari) license, pretty please (with cherries on top)?!
--Bernard Hopkins retires after one more fight this year. Pascal rematch on U.S. or neutral foreign soil? Thin chance, but you never know…
--In Terms of Possibility: Pacquiao-Mayweather? Eh… Martinez-Willaims III? Definitely. Hayes-Either Klitschko? Probably. Me anticipating a Chris Arreola fight? Not a chance.
--If it picks up enough steam and buzz during the limited release, Redline could be a major mainstream title…if Anchor Bay takes the chance. Don't hold your breath, though…
--Juan Manuel Marquez will get knocked down in a fight…
--FUNimation won't be hogging all of the licenses to themselves this year. Sentai will be biting into their share with some major grabs (at least 3?). Geneon returns?
--Biggest new thing in anime? Works making use of new 3D TV/Theater-capabilities.
--Biggest new thing in boxing? Promotions becoming their own self-contained boxing organizations (i.e. pseudo-UFCs). Oscar De La Hoya is well on his way in trying to make something like that a reality for Golden Boy Promotions, and Top Rank is already putting up the fences.
--Lucian Bute will become one of the biggest forces in boxing to reckon with and gain the top level of recognition he deserves. Best/easiest way of getting there? Beat the winner of the Super Six (and bring the tourney to a farcical conclusion only fitting of its unfortunate history).
--Same old, same old in anime? Violent tsunderes (well, which aren't?). Those poor, misunderstood souls that really like the main character/childhood friend who they have a crush on as much as they like to pulverize them out of embarrassment for their feelings or due to an unflattering situation. I'd say "moe", but that is on the way out, albeit slowly…
-- Catchweights: for whatever makes weight-class designations even more meaningless for a title match. (Pre-fight and fight-night weigh-ins, anyone?)
--Bandai Ent. will license one major title that will bring them some good capital. (OMGMACRO--just kidding…)
--Top Anime of 2011: Hoshi o Ou Kodomo (Children who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below), Hourou Musoko, Kimi ni Todoke 2nd Season, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Ao no Exorcist, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Stars of Milos, Gosick, A Channel, Deadman Wonderland, Moshidora, Denpa Onna no Seishun Otoko, and about five other shows that haven't even been announced yet.
[Dark Horses: Fractale, Steins;Gate, Level E, Appleseed XIII, Nichijou, Dantalian no Shoka, Sket Dance, Yumekui Merry, Infinite Stratos(?), Kizumonogatari--should it come out this year]
--Top Boxers of 2011: Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Lopez, Amir Khan, Lucian Bute, Marcos Maidana, Sergio Martinez (hopefully fighting more than once), Juan Manuel Marquez (in two Fight-of-the-Year candidates…), The Brothers Klitschko, Andre Ward, Abner Mares
[Dark Horses: Any Cuban boxer you can think of. I'll take Erislandy Lara, others will say Yuriorkis Gamboa, and perhaps Guillermo Rigondeaux, too.]
Have a Happy, Happy (and Safe) New Year!
EDIT [01/04/11]: Added the extra "s" in Steins;Gate, and also added Yumekui Merry and A Channel, two titles I forgot to mention earlier.