Friday, February 10, 2012

Journey to the (So-Called) End of the World: From 2011 to 2012…

(NOTE: This was originally done and aimed to be posted in January, but Nisemonogatari and other circumstances have led to it being posted now. However, this turned out to be a blessing-in-disguise given the upheaval in the R1 anime industry: Bandai Ent.'s downsizing, Media Blaster's own downsizing and subsequent production issues, the potential nuclear winter that could be wrought by FUNimation and (Neo)-ADV Films lawsuit battle, and the rise of NIS America and Discotek in the wake of BEI's quasi-demise. So parts of this post had to be edited and altered a bit, but I still retained the "new year outlook" format of it and the predictions already made, In particular to the anime predictions, though I added a few more titles since January that have yet to air, I did not add any titles that are airing right now that I didn't add before, nor did I change their prediction category (see "Moretsu Space Pirates"), which would've been pretty cheap of me. ^^;; )

2011 has finally come to a close (a month ago), and with it came a year of contrasts in both anime and boxing. For anime, it truly was a banner year, one of the richest ones in some time. It's rare to find so many critcially-lauded and well-recieved shows appearing throughout a single year: AnoHana, STEINS;GATE, Hourou Musoko (Wandering Son), Usagi Drop/Bunny Drop, Nichijou/My Ordinary Life, The World Only God Knows, Hanasaku Iroha, Blue Exorcist, Denpa Onna To Seishun Otoko, Deadman Wonderman, Mawaru Penguindrum, [C] - CONTROL, TIGER & BUNNY, NO.6, (another season of) Natsume's Book of Friends, Moshidora (not so much a hit, but has received good marks), Hoshi o Ou Kodomo (Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below.), and the year's biggest blockbuster: Puella Magi Madoka Magica (and this isn't including other titles that are still airing, such as Chihayafuru, Fate/Zero, Persona 4 the Animation, and Mirai Nikki/The Future Diary). Industry-wise, things are a little shaky but also show signs of positive changes, while simulcasts are increasingly becoming an expectation rather than wishful thinking for new shows. Additionally, while FUNimation managed to strike a powerful new deal with Niconico, more companies are beginning to step up to take a bite out of their market share, such as Sentai Filmworks, Aniplex USA (particularily with major titles like Fate/Zero and Madoka Magica), and even Media Blasters (and that's only a good thing for the industry).

Boxing, on the other hand, is in a state of transition. HBO's stranglehold on the biggest matches and fighters waned with Showtime/CBS stepping their game up and staging a number of notable fights, themselves. Additionally, well-deserved scrutiny not only has shone on HBO's conduct of business, but also on that of the promoters, as the separation between good promotion and poor promotion (Bradley-Alexander) becomes increasingly clear. The good side effect to all of this is that the parties involved are beginning to catch on and try to host fights at locations either relevant to a particular fighter (ex. hometown, ethnic base) or ones hot on the boxing scene (i.e. Montreal, Toronto, European cities) and putting together the best fights that can be made, rather than what is dictated by some of the farcical rankings out there and mandatories. And, interestingly enough, some of the best fights were not the "big summit meetings" (Pacquiao-Mosley, Bradley-Alexander), but came from the most unlikely of sources (i.e. Wolak-Rodriguez I, Berto-Ortiz).

So what will 2012--which may or may not end on December 21 by RahXephon's hands--yield [well, the rest of it…]? Well, hmm, let us see…

--With Nisemonogatari's (glorious) licensing by Aniplex USA, Kodansha will finally pull the trigger and allow for Bakemonogatari's pick-up, though with the recent release of the new R2 BD+OST, it will be towards the end of the year…

--Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather will…not fight each other this year. Or they might. I'm so tired and annoyed of hearing about this fight, and between the simmering resentment on both sides from previous failed negotiations, Pacquiao's recent personal problems and Mayweather's own impeding jailtime, I don't have a great deal of trust over anything getting worked out. But perhaps the greatest irony would be that if   it did get made, it would be a clunker, a la Lewis-Tyson…

--Season breaks are the big thing in vogue in anime right now, but taking a siesta midway can sometimes kill a show's creative momentum. However, I'll go out on a limb and say that Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere will finish strong enough to garner a few decent reviews…

--Amir Khan will regress before he gets better towards the end of the year. He legitimately lost to Lamont Peterson last month and even in his fight prior to that one, his skills have become too relaxed and degraded. He's not too far off, though, and will probably have another not-so-smooth outing before he corrects himself (that is, if he fights more than once this year).

--To Be Licensed: Kamisama Dolls (Sentai), ZETMAN (Viz Media), HEROMAN (Viz Media), Nichijou/My Ordinary Life (Sentai or NIS America (if license is not too expensive, and I doubt that)), The Mystic Archives of Dantalian (FUNimation), Code Geass: Akito the Exiled (Bandai Ent., distro by FUNimation), Gundam AGE (Bandai Ent., distro by FUNimation (though Sentai seems to have a good relationship with Sunrise…)), Usagi Drop/Bunny Drop (Sentai), Sakamichi no Apollon (FUNimation), Eureka Seven Astral Ocean (Bandai Ent., distro by FUNimation (or FUNi altogether), Accel World (Sentai), Gyo (Sentai), Ano Natsu no Matteru (Sentai), AnoHana (Aniplex USA), Library War (Sentai), Kizumonogatari (Aniplex USA), Ristorante Paradiso (NIS America), Hanamaru Kindergarten (Sentai)

--To Be Licensed Prematurely: Far too many titles…

--To Lose: Paul Williams, Victor Ortiz, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., anyone facing the Klitschko Brothers, Miguel Cotto, Vic Darchinyan, anyone watching a (current) Roy Jones Jr. fight (and probably Roy Jones, too)

--Anime Trends of '12: Moe, dead/zombie girls, boys helping cute girls in solve supernatural mysteries, wish-fulfillment fantasies--with catches, CG companies getting near- or equal billing with main animation production companies following increased CGI use, out-of-the-ordinary mecha designs

--Boxing Trends of '12: Continued ignorance of weight class, slightly growing coverage on TV, continued negligence of the uppercut, nonstop talk of Mayweather-Pacquiao

--To Disappear: Media Blasters(?)

--To Emerge: NIS America, Aniplex USA, Viz Media (in order)

--Top Anime of 2012: Nisemonogatari, Kizumonogatari, Ano Natsu de Matteru, Another, another season of Natsume's Book of Friends, Code Geass: Akito the Exiled, Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo., Sakamichi no Apollon, Berserk film trilogy, Accel World, Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki (The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki), ZETMAN, BLOOD-C: The Last DarkTsuritama

[Dark HorsesMoretsu Pirates (Bodacious Space Pirates) (maybe…), Eureka Seven Astral Ocean (if E7 writer Dai Sato is involved in it), Uchuu KyoudaiSword Art Online, Ozuma, Gyo (perhaps…), Natsuiro Kiseki, Medaka Box, Nazo no Kanojo XSpace Battleship Yamato 2199 (Buchi~), Tibetan DogAKB0048 (just kidding)]

--Top Boxers of 2012: Sergio Martinez (…?), the Klitschko Brothers, Erislandy Lara, Manny Pacquiao (only if priorty and issues are straightened), Lucian Bute, Yuriorkis Gamboa(!)

And so, have a, uh, belated, great (rest of the) new year!


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