On the final day of the year, as we prepare to usher in a brand new one, we often get a bit reflective. We review the good, the bad, and maybe the very worst the past year has brought many of us. Like any year it will have its ups and downs, and while I take stock in everything that has come before, I like to move into the new year with a measure of optimism. As we count down the hours until 2019 on this New Year’s Eve, here’s an overview of the past year and what I’m hoping for in 2019.
The long arduous journey of Okabe Rintaro and the dire consequences of time travel has been the focal point of the original Steins;Gate, and later revisited in this year’s Steins;Gate 0. Through the exploration of the beta world line, where Okabe fails to save Kurisu Makise from death, the latest anime goes to deep, dark places before a ray of hope emerges for our tortured hero. It has been quite the trip in Steins;Gate 0, which recently aired its final episode for the series.
The start of October immediately calls to mind a number of fall related events and things—Halloween, pumpkin spice, Oktober Fest, fall foliage, and much more. But in New York City, especially for the comic book enthusiasts, it also means Comic Con is back in town at the Javits Center. I continue my annual tradition of attending New York Comic Con on a single Saturday pass. Here’s a recap of what I saw, did, and bought at the largest attraction in the Big Apple.
With the advent of streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, summer has been the prime time to watch shows and movies during those months when major network shows are on break until the new season starts up again in September. Even though there’s now an overwhelming amount of options of shows and movies to add to our watch lists, I do like the accessibility and ease streaming sites give us to watch very specific genres at any time. This particularly applies to anime, and I’ve been using much of my summer to watch a handful in the past few months.
The recent release of the anime Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, the sequel to the beloved Cardcaptor Sakura series, has been a delight to watch from episode to episode. Clear Card has so far managed to effortlessly build upon what’s already established about the world and its characters, while giving fans a whole new story about gathering a new set of cards without it feeling contrived. The strength of the sequel lies mostly with its charming characters, both new and old, and continuing their development from where we last left them. One of the best ongoing character developments since Clear Card’s debut is Syaoran Li.
The year has been good for anime so far. Thanks to making a recent decision to upgrade to a paid Crunchyroll subscription, I’ve been able to take advantage of the many new series being simulcast with the Japanese broadcast. I watched or added a few series to my queue list, like How To Keep A Mummy and Persona 5. In addition to new anime, it has also been the year of sequels to beloved original series that have ended many years ago. Among those sequels have been Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card and the newly released Steins;Gate 0.
April is my favorite month for a number of reasons. It’s a time when the weather begins to get nicer. Flowers are starting to bloom all around the city. Outdoor events become more frequent. And April happens to be my birthday month! That last one will obviously make me particularly bias towards April being my number one, but there’s a lot of good things happening this month.
Every once in a while you’ll stumble upon an anime series completely by accident. Sometimes you won’t have much of a premise to go on other than some short clips from episodes you saw on your social media feed. It’s not often that I’ll choose to spend time watching an anime I know nothing about. But with a combination of select scenes being promoted on social media to having an overall weakness for anything cute and adorable, I spent one weekend afternoon watching How To Keep A Mummy and it’s the surprise gem of the year so far.
When a month is about to close out, I typically end with a video game progress report ever since I implemented my video game challenges a few years ago. I admittedly didn’t get much game time in as I thought I would. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t done some geeky stuff behind the scenes in January!
The year 2000 concluded the story of ten-year-old Sakura Kinomoto’s journey to capture the magical and mysterious Clow Cards and seal them back in the book she opened in her basement with the guardian of the cards Cerberus (Kero) guiding her along the way. CLAMP’s delightful Cardcaptor Sakura manga, from which the anime is based on, has enchanted fans all over since its release in 1996. Now almost 18 years later, CLAMP reopens the Clow Book once more in their new manga series Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card with a brand new anime to naturally go with it.