[personal profile] jtniehof
Writing getting ahead of the posting again, I did want to put up the best of last year. If you skip the rest, do skim this one.

The best read this year, hands-down, was Asimov's Robot/Empire/Foundation saga. Not every volume is fantastic, but none is bad, and the sum is impressive. I admire Asimov's ability to grapple with big ideas while keeping a great story going, rarely degenerating into Philosophical Position as Character. Other standouts include Reading the Forested Landscape for nonfiction and The God Engines in really disturbing short form.

Best manga: A Town Where You Live. I don't know what nonsense keeps Crunchyroll from sharing the first eleven volumes, but it needs to be fixed. Volume 12 picks up after a huge turning point that's heartbreaking and makes everything following so much more significant. I keep harping, but it's both the high point of the series and an example of the greatness that permeates the entire: nothing's storybook perfect, but people find their way.

I couldn't call In Search of Lost Future the best anime of the year. But it got under my skin, and is particularly anime rather than a story that would work well in another medium or with a different cultural background. It's not quite a love-it-or-hate-it series, more of a love-it-or-meh, but man. It's the one I'd most recommend people give a chance if they're on the fence. And I've got to throw in Encouragement of Climb for simply making me smile every time a new episode came up. Really high honors as well to Space Brothers, Silver Spoon 2, Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, all three worth a watch. It was a very good year for anime (of course, I watch a lot, so there's bound to be good stuff in there somewhere.)

Wreck-it Ralph wins for movies on the makes-me-smile basis. It's funny, it's cute, it's heartwarming without being (too) smarmy, and yes I saw the twist a mile away but so what? Honorable mention to Argo for keeping me completely engrossed from start to finish.

Elementary Season 2 continued an excellent show. It's a remarkable balancing act: updating the character and situations, not simply copying the stories and premises, yet feeling true to the spirit of the original. And such, such good chemistry between Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu. I think it helps that both have stage experience. Archer gets an honorable mention for being so funny and making me inhale the whole series in very few days.

Video games are a short list again this year, so Metroid Prime 3: Corruption wins with little competition. The series is a great combination of exploration and shooter, with controls (on both platforms) that brought the console shooter to excellent refinement. I don't intend to replay, though, because of the occasional teeth-gnashing frustration.
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