2016 was a great year for anime movies, but the last time we took a look the calendar, we are already close to the end of the first season of 2017 and already in spring, at least according to the lunar calendar!
Kimi no na wa, one of the films that led the charts last year, continues to run in more than 350 theaters across Japan, and it’s doing great overseas as well. It has become the magnum opus of Director Makoto Shinkai, but for many of us his signature work is still 5 Centimeters Per Second. I still remember the theme song One more time, One more chance with it’s famous line ‘Can’t help but look for you everywhere’, a line that illustrates the growing distance between a boy and a girl who were attracted to each other.
The movie was released exactly a decade ago in March 2007. How about we go back in anime time and see what else happened in that otaku year?
The NikoNico Douga Boom
2007 was the year of the ‘NicoNico Douga’ boom. Lucky Star glued the audience to the screen with it’s catchy opening Motteke! Sailor Fuku (Take it! Sailor uniform). The various parodies in the series appealed to a lot of viewers. One of the locations depicted in the show, Saginomiya Shrine, received 170,000 visitors during the 2008 New Year’s holidays, a date that many count as a milestone for the Anime Pilgrimage trend.
Bokurano: Ours with its tear-shedding theme song Uninstall perfectly framed its story development. Bamboo Blade and his ending theme Star Rise still echo in our ears. And who can forget School Days with its super-popular meme ‘Nice boat’ which was used as replacement footage due to the show’s cancellation and its sensational unedited final?
2007 is also famous for Minami-ke where the VAs’ passionate acting made the characters particularly special, and Kodomo no Jikan with its cute dance during the ending credits. These were the shows that became popular thanks to NicoNico Douga.
Moreover, Hayate the Combat Butler, The Familiar of Zero: Knight of the Twin Moons, and Shakugan no Shana Second all had a tsundere character as heroine voiced by Rie Kugimiya. It helped spread the ‘Kugimiya syndrome’!
The OVA series and movie of Genesis of Aquarion were also released in 2007, and collaborated with some companies that used the series for commercials. They used the song Aquarion and its catchphrase ‘Anata to gattai shitai (I want to merge with you)’ gained so much popularity that it was even known outside the internet.
That One Famous Line
There were many anime series that became popular thanks to that ‘one famous line’ in 2007:
- In Gurren Lagann where Kamiya passionately screams, ‘Believe in me who believes in you!’
- In Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei Nozomu Itoshiki says, ‘Zetsubou shita! (I’m in despair!).’
- My Bride is a Mermaid had Sun Seto always mention the similarity of ‘ninkyou’ (chivalry) and ‘ningyo’ (mermaid) in Japanese (Honor among thieves is honor under the seas in the Funimation release).
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00 had Setsuna F. Seisei always say, ‘I am Gundam.’
- The microorganism in Moyashimon: Tale of Agriculture always threatened the protagonist with ‘kamosuzo,’ which has a double meaning: ‘brewing’ and ‘bringing forth’ in Japanese.
- In Gyakkyou Brai Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor there was a line spoken in human voice and Fumihiko Tachiki’s vivid narration: ‘zawa… zawa…’
All of these had a strong impact to the viewers and were the signature of each show!
It’s a fact that in 2007 a lot of good anime series came out. It’s been a decade and many of them are still popular. Dennou Coil was a story about a group of children being influenced by internet-connected augmented reality eyeglasses and visors. Baccano! had a smart opening that showed shattered pieces of the future which slowly start to make sense. Big Windup! delved into the sport of baseball in great detail and explained the players’ state of mind. All these and many more are still talked about and recommended by many anime fans. CLANNAD by Key had a lot of enthusiastic fans who valued the anime as much as their own life. Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit and Summer Days with Coo (film) also have enthusiastic support from their fans because of their amazing quality. Mononoke and Oh! Edo Rocket were filled with exotic scenes influenced by Japanese culture, and their unique world-building impressed fans with their harmony.
And last but not least, the first movie in the Rebuild of Evangelion film series, Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone, was released for Eva’s 10th anniversary.
A Toast to Anime
2007 was an amazing year for anime, but the truth is that every year has titles we cherish and love. Winter 2017 already has a few works that may run for anime of a year, and it remains to be seen how the rest of the anime year will treat us!