This is a pretty good blog — and Twitter account — if you want to check out old records from Japan. It’s in Japanese, but the point here is really to look at the awesome collection of covers. Looks like they organize a lot of nice events too.
Here it is, my annual post (here are the ones for 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015) in which I list all of the media that I most liked in the past year. This is not meant to be a “best of” list. This is a highly subjective look back at the stuff that I experienced over the past year, and that tickled my fancy the most. I do it as a fun exercise to reflect back on what 2016 provided me in terms of entertainment, and hope that it serves also as list of recommendations. I restrict it to stuff that was released in 2016, and usually allow myself to do updates through the rest of December and into January, as the act of making this list usually makes me uncover things I missed out on. Each category is made up of an alphabetical top 5, followed by honorable mentions.
This is always a tough one, as there are so many games I want to play every year, and I can’t, or I try to be patient and wait a few months for sales — I wouldn’t be surprised if The Last Guardian ends up here (once I play it), or maybe even Final Fantasy XV, which I am still quite looking forward to playing. Also, I was debating whether to include it here as a game or not, but the NES Classic Edition is definitely one of my favorite game experiences I’ve had this year.
Honorable Mentions: Abzu (PS4), Bravely Second: End Layer (3DS), Far Cry Primal (PS4), My Nintendo Picross: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (3DS), Oxenfree (Mac), Ratchet & Clank (PS4), Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20th Anniversary Edition (PS4), Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC), The Witness (PS4), Tom Clancy’s The Division (PS4), Trials of the Blood Dragon (PC), Unravel (PS4), Watch Dogs 2 (PS4)
Favorite Mobile Games
Some years I include this category, some years I don’t. This year I found myself enjoying enough on mobile to warrant its return. And although I don’t include it because I lost interest in playing it fairly quickly, I must admit that for a few weeks, I was having a blast playing Pokémon Go outside with friends. I include a mention of the device that I mainly played the game on.
Honorable Mentions: Galaga Wars (iPhone), Hidden My Game by Mom (iPad), Reigns (iPhone), Triennale Game Collection (iPad)
This year, even more than before, I found myself very rarely watching a series that airs weekly, as it aired — the exceptions are all in my top 5. Instead, I prefer to watch a show once a season is over, at my own pace (and I do most of my TV watching on Netflix).
Honorable Mentions: Ali Wong: Baby Cobra, Black Mirror, GameCenter-CX, House of Cards, Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories, Saturday Night Live, Star Wars Rebels, The Get Down, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Seems like each year I find myself watching less and less current films, which means that I’m not including a lot of really good stuff that came out this year, but that I’ll probably end up watching in years to come. That said, I REALLY liked this top 5.
Honorable Mentions: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Branching Paths, Deadpool, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, The Magnificent Seven, We Are Twisted Fucking Sister
Despite the fact I’ve loved anime since I was a kid, this is the first time I include an anime category in my year-end list. I guess I’d taken a bit of a step back from regularly watching new stuff over the period that I started writing these (from 2010), but this year saw me get back into it in a pretty big way.
Honorable Mentions: Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, Ghost in the Shell: Arise – Alternative Architecture, Mob Psycho 100, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
When I was doing my Codex podcast, I’d also include a “Favorite Tracks” category, since I spent a lot of time selecting specific songs for the show, but since I haven’t been doing that, I’ll stick to favorite albums. Also, I feel like I didn’t really take in as much new music as I usually do. A lot of it had to do with me focusing on listening back to a lot of Japanese music from the 90s/2000s after I recovered some old archives, but also because I spend a lot of time listening to stuff from the “For You” page on Apple Music, which makes me happy because I’ve always had an issue where I don’t spend as much time as I’d like listening to older stuff (versus always being on the lookout for new music). I look forward to going through year-end “best of” lists and discovering albums I missed.
Honorable Mentions: Awake (Remixes) (Tycho), Cheetah EP (Aphex Twin), iii (Miike Snow), Epoch (Tycho), Motions (Best Killer Remixes and Produced Works by FPM) (Fantastic Plastic Machine), Skilled Mechanics (Tricky), The Hope Six Demolition Project (PJ Harvey), Puberty 2 (Mitski)
As with each year, my list tends to focus on the series I enjoyed the most throughout the year, and then at the end of the year I end up finding a lot of graphic novels I’d like to read based on the “best of” lists that pop up.
Honorable Mentions: Briggs Land, Detective Comics, Green Valley, James Bond (written by Warren Ellis), Lake of Fire, Motor Crush, Old Man Logan, Outcast, Seven to Eternity, Southern Bastards, Southern Cross, Violent Love
Feels weird writing up this category and not including Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, which I’ve loved and followed for years, but this year found me taking a step back, only listening to a few episodes here and there — I still quite enjoy the interviews I do listen to, but still don’t end up listening to it regularly.
Honorable Mentions: CAGcast, Designer Notes, Glixel Podcast, Polygon’s Quality Control, Shall We Play a Game?
And so here it is, the final part of David‘s massive Pizzicato Five discography review series. The fact that I’ve highlighted every part here probably gives away that I so love that David took the time to do this, and it was fun to read along and listen again to a lot of these records. I first met David through a Pizzicato Five mailing list (P5ML) during the years leading up to my move to Tokyo in 1998 (after visiting in 1997) and it’s great to be celebrating this stuff again together almost 20 years later.
I’ve mentioned in a few posts already that David was working on an exhaustive review of the complete Pizzicato Five discography, and it’s now ready. Head over to Neojaponisme for an intro post, and then check in throughout the week as he shares his reviews over 4 posts, each covering a particular era. The intro also goes ahead and gives you his top 5 P5 records — I’m sure mine would be similar, but I’d need to revisit their discography myself to make sure.
For some reason I’ve always avoided doing year-end lists of favorite things — I don’t really know why — but I just felt like doing one this year, and so here goes. Now, of course, this is all based on what I’ve actually seen/played/used/listened to, and so consider this a personal compilation of the favorite things I experienced this year in the world of media (it’s not a “best of” thing) — and note that it is limited to things that were released in 2010. Two categories that may be conspicuous by their absence are books and magazines — I just don’t feel like I read enough books to justify a proper list, and for magazines, I don’t have five truly favorites that come to mind.
So here then is my highly unscientific, truly subjective list of favorite media obsessions of 2010. Each category includes five items in alphabetical order (I think it’s silly to rank them in order), and I’ve occasionally included a few honorable mentions, things that I really wanted to have in those favorite fives.
As you’ll see, my favorite genre tends to be RPGs (with a strong emphasis on action RPGs), and then racing games too. I could probably have done a separate downloadable game category as well, but decided to just put them all together.
Honorable Mentions: Costume Quest, Fable III, Limbo, Heavy Rain, Split/Second
Favorite iPad Apps
There are many more apps that I really like, but these are the ones that I use the most, that I have in my dock. I decided to only list iPad apps and not iPhone apps (same for games), since I do really spend a lot more time on my iPad, and my iPhone is just something I pull out when I’m bored waiting somewhere (most used apps on that would be Twitter, Instapaper, Camera, and listening to podcasts).
Honorable Mention: Air Video
Favorite iPad Games
I’ve kept this to real iPad versions of games only — I did play a hell of a lot of DoDonPachi Resurrection on my iPad, but it’s really just an iPhone release.
Honorable Mentions: Highborn HD, Small Worlds, Space Invaders Infinity Gene, Canabalt, Puzzle Agent HD
This year was absolutely amazing for TV, and you’ll see that my tastes are definitely on the cable series side of things (Community is the only network show to be included) — that fact that you can be truly mature is one thing, and the shorter seasons (and so more focused storylines) is another.
Honorable Mentions: Community, Treme, The Walking Dead, Louie, How to Make It in America, Bored to Death
This was difficult because I obviously haven’t seen a ton of movies that came out in theaters in recent months in North America, so my list could honestly have included movies that came out towards the end of 2009 as well. I know the two Mesrine films originally came out in France in 2008, but I felt like I could include them since they came out in North America this year.
Honorable Mentions: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Kick-Ass, The Social Network, Exit Through the Exit Shop
Music is also very difficult, since I listen to so much of it, and to such a variety — which is one of the reasons I started Codex — but I think I was still able to come up with a list of favorites, in part based on the “most played” count in iTunes.
Honorable Mentions: The Social Network Soundtrack (Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross), King of the Beach (Wavves), Not Music (Stereolab)
Again, these are mostly based on the “most played” count in iTunes.
Honorable Mentions: “King of the Beach” (Wavves), “Rococo” (The Arcade Fire)
This was the hardest category for me, because I read A LOT of comics, and so it was hard to narrow it down to just five — and these five are basically the things that I could remember really liking — and the reason I don’t even include any honorable mentions is because it would be ridiculously long.