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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Favorite Anime Fandom Moments of 2013

Relevant photos be damned.
Have a random and very pretty Pet Girl of Sakurasou image!
I honestly don't finish enough anime series in a year to warrant any sort of 'top 5 anime' list, unlike other animanga bloggers who can polish off series on a monthly basis and have a great, diverse list. So I'm looking back at moments in anime fandom from 2013, where industry and otaku have come together to make everyone happy (or, in the case of moment number one, is just an event that made all otaku happier - and safer- because it happened).
Feel free to include your own favorite moments in the comments!

5. License Rescue Parade - Anime and Manga
Central Park Media. Tokyopop. Geneon. ADV Films. Iron Cat. CMX Comics. Anime and manga companies rise and fall with the years, like waves crashing upon the shore. And with their demise, their licenses are immediately lost, titles go out of print and become incredibly expensive, and readers are left wondering if they will ever read the rest of their favorite stories.
Last year, however, continued the growing trend of North American companies swooping in and saving licenses once thought dead to the world, from Vertical's save of Osamu Tezuka's Adolf to Funimation pretty much licensing every anime from Toonami's past line-ups. Everything old is new again and much more affordable than before, thank goodness.
(Ironically enough, Tokyopop has risen, slowly, from the dead. Its only manga at the moment is Hetalia, in a partnership with Right Stuf, and they are cranking out volumes at a snail's pace.)
4. Kickstarter Kicks Off Animation
2013 was the year of Kickstarter for anime. For campaigns like Kick-Heart and Little Witch Academia, the idea of crowdsourcing anime productions led to their successes and, for Kick-Heart, gobs and gobs of awards and screenings at film festivals (and Toonami!). Projects about irregular, atypical stories and art styles were finding the audience they couldn't find within the usual anime production system in Japan - the audience and the money, since even a 12-minute production like Kick-Heart takes serious cash.
It's not just animation, either - comic publisher Fantagraphics took to Kickstarter to fund their 2014 line, and projects such as a shojo comics anthology and a print version of the Anime News Nina webcomics have joined its ranks on KS.
Kickstarter didn't save anime, but it did fund it.
3. Anime Goes Streaming
Crunchyroll isn't new - it's been on the scene for a while. But Crunchyroll last year really kicked its simulcasting into high gear, joining several new sites that were specifically catering to watching anime online. It even expanded into manga, although whether or not that succeeds in battling the ongoing fight against illegal scanlations remains to be seen.
Then we had the advent of Viz's Neon Alley as well as AnimeSols, which combined streaming anime with crowdfunding into one winning business model. With YouTube, Crackle, Viki, Hulu, Funimation Channel, and Netflix among such legit places to watch anime streaming - in most instances, for free - it really is easier than ever to get into anime fandom.
2. #ToonamisBackBitches
What started as an April Fool's joke in 2012 has led to the revival of Toonami. In 2013, Toonami pretty much restored hope in the idea that anime can survive on American television and not be Pokemon or Digimon or Yu-Gi-Oh properties. Toonami showed feature length films, such as Rebuild of Evangelion and Summer Wars, and premiered fan favorites and titles new to their programming block, including Sword Art Online, Soul Eater, One Piece, Eureka Seven, and newcomer Space Dandy.
Since 2012, Toonami has been working hard to reinvent itself by staying true to its core appeal: awesome anime worth talking about and an entertaining robotic host who delivers quips and media reviews between breaks. A year later, with the late night programming block the spot to watch for American otaku yet again, it's clear that Toonami has succeeded.
Doujinshi cover by dj-ka bips-m.
1. The "Kuroko's Basketball" Crazy Is Caught
For what seemed like an eternity, an entire community of Japanese fans for Kuroko's Basketball were being held hostage by the actions of an unseen assailant. Poisons were found in Kuroko related edible products. Letters with dangerous substances were sent across the country, including to Kuroko's author, Tadatoshi Fujimaki. Otaku meetings with notoriously large crowds refused to house any Kuroko's Basketball-based events or fan-made media in case the mystery person harmed any attendees. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department were looking for someone who hated the basketball manga/anime so much as to threaten their fans and its manga-ka.
In the final weeks of December 2013, however, a miracle occurred. Asuspect was arrested and questioned by the police. Dangerous chemicals as well as copies of Kuroko's Basketball were found in his apartment. For the first time in over a year, KnB fans in Japan (as well as the KnB manga-ka themselves and its publisher) could breathe a little easier; the man who had irrationally targeted their beloved series was in police custody.

Some crazy guy trying to stop Kuroko doujinshi from being made and sold by hard-working doujin-ka? That's a pretty great way to end 2013. It's a shame we in North America still can't read the manga legally in English, though...
What great moments of anime fandom in 2013 did I miss?