Sure, 2009 was, in all fairness, a pretty crappy year, primarily due to all that bad economic crap that went down, however, there were actually a lot of great things about this 2009, lets take a look shall we?
Team B’s 4th Stage “Idol no Yoake”
Team B once again proved they are the best team in AKB48 (who says I’m biased :) ) with their 2nd original Stage, Idol no Yoake. This stage has a bit of everything in it, rock, pop, nice ballads, and that’s why I think it stands as one of AKB48′s best stages yet. Its also the last stage for the original Team B, so its a bit bittersweet as well. Kinda sad that the original Team B only got TWO original stages, whereas A and K got 5. That’s hardly fair.
Iwake Maybe was a breath of Fresh air in regards to AKB singles. The previous single, Namida Suprise, ranks up there with crappy singles like Baby!Baby!Baby! and Aitakatta (sorry, I just CANNOT stand that song), so Iwake was a nice followup. I think for me, having a similar sound to Oogoe Diamond really is what makes it a favorite of mine. You all know how much I love OD, so Iwake having a similar sound and feel just works for me. The other thing that makes this a great single is the fact that for once, the B-side is actually…good. I haven’t been a fan of too many of AKB’s b-sides (a majority of them being familiar stage songs and nothing really new) so an equally awesome original b-side song was also nice. This single has also introduced the concept of having separate groups for both songs, something I see them sticking with for future singles (just PLEASE ditch that whole Undergirls name)
River is, without a doubt, the best AKB48 single at the moment. Its got just a badass rock sound to it, and is defenitly a unique single compared to past singles. The whole military theme is also pretty awesome. Nice to see its not just another school-girl themed single. The only downside to this single would be that they used Hikoukigumo as an accompanying song. Its just not that good, nor is it an original song. But that aside, everything else about RIVER is awesome, and it is defenitly AKB48′s best single of the year, and the sales will back up that statement.
Team S’s 2nd Stage “Te wo Tsunaginagara”
I originally didn’t like this stage, but that’s what you get when you listen to crappy previews of only a few of the songs. After listening to this stage in full, I came to one conclusion. SKE48 Team S fucking kicks ass! For their first original stage, Team S debuted with a bang. This stage has a mix of everything, which for me is great, as it means your not sticking to one style of song all the way through, which gets tedious and boring FAST (much like A1, A2 and A3 did, and is the reason I don’t care for those stages much). This stage also has a very different feel to it than AKB48 stages. I can’t pin-point it exactly, but I really like SKE’s style so far. Its just…different, and it works.
Team S’s 3rd Stage “Seifuku no Me”
While I haven’t heard all the songs for this stage as of yet, I can already tell this stage is going to be even better than S2. It seems to be carrying on with that distinctive SKE sound, and it also seems to be expanding on it as well. I will obviously have more on this stage once we have more of it (like an LoD performance…please?) So stay tuned. So far, though, its looking awesome!
SKE48′s Debut single “Tsuyokimono yo”
Let me get this out of the way first; AKB48 had 2 horrible debut singles. Their indie release, Sakura no Hanabiritachi, is just outright boring, and not my thing. Their official debut single, Aitakatta, is just plain bad and horribly annoying. One of the few AKB songs I REFUSE to listen too. SKE48 fared a whole lot better. Tsuyokimono yo is an outright baddass, awesome song. Now this is what I call a debut. If this is what we can expect from SKE48 regarding their singles, we are in for some awesome songs.
Team K’s 5th Stage “Saka Agari”
Yeah, I really don’t care for Team K’s latest stage. Its got a couple of gems, but overall, its lackluster and a complete disappointment. I can’t really say anything else about this stage. Its just not my cup of tea I guess. Though I seem to be in the minority about K5. Everyone else seems to love it (or it could be that Team K fans just can’t stop talking about it…I don’t know…), but I just can’t get over how bland it is.
This is likely the biggest news in regards to AKB48 this year, and likely in the groups entire 4 year history. At the time of the announcement was when I was taking my little break from the group, and even then it hit pretty hard. Now, the fandom has begun to cool off about the news and is slowly coming around to accepting it (face it, its happening) and I for one am excited to see the new stages with the new teams. However, one thing I am not looking forward too is more new girls getting pushed to the front because of this shuffle. A lot of former research students have been promoted to full team members, and already people are talking about them being front girls.
No thank you, not until some of the less popular girls (especially ones who have the talent and DESERVE to be in front) have their time to shine. And even then, these new girls shouldn’t be put to the front because their new and fresh. That unfair to the girls who have been there far longer and have yet to have their chance in the spotlight. Heck, I’m already pissed about a certain new Team B member being promoted at all, when she obviously has a lack of talent and stage presence, and she seems to be promoted a lot lately.
World of Warcraft
Secrets of Ulduar, Call of the Crusade and Fall of the Lich King
This year along, we have had treated to the 3 main content patches of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Patch 3.1, Secrets of Ulduar brought us the awesomeness that is the Ulduar Raid. I myself have never fully completed the raid, but I have experienced a bit of it, and of what I did go through, I loved ever minute of it. The beginning vehicular battle through the gauntlet is very fun to play through, and having a boss ( The Flame Leviathan) you fight while in said vehicles is actually a rather intense, yet enjoyable and manageable fight. The lore behind the raid is deep and exciting, especially when you finally come face to face with the man himself (or rather the mouth himself), the old god Yogg-Saron. Call of the Crusade was somewhat of a letdown when compared to Ulduar ( in regards to the raid instance), but it did introduce some great things; new five man instance, new daily quests and corresponding rewards, new loot, etc. The final WOTLK patch, Fall of the Lich King, is due out anyway day now and is bringing even more big things, among them a totally revamped Dungeon Finder system, which will make it much easier to find groups for raids and dungeons. Also coming, of course are new instances; a new 3-part 5 man dungeon and of course, the Icecrown Citadel raid, which will culminate in the final showdown with Arthas. A ton of other small but useful changes are coming as well. Of all the 3 patches for this expansion, this one has me excited the most.
Constant whiners and complainers – Every single day it seems like more and more people come out and complain about SOMETHING about WoW. Its something new everyday; “its too easy to get gear now”. “my class keeps getting nerfed”..blah blah blah…its annoying. Seriously, can these people not realize that its a game? If you don’t like what Blizzard is doing, stop playing the game. That way those of us who enjoy it can be rid of you and your constant bitching. It gets infuriating to read some of the various WoW forums and see nothing but complaint after complaint after complaint. I think Blizzard is doing a phenomenal job with WoW, but I guess there are those people who will never be satisfied until the game is exactly the way THEY want it. Again, all I can say is that if you don’t like it, don’t play it, its that freaking simple.
Announcements of the Gundam 00 Movie and Gundam Unicorn OVA series
So yes, while these are not technically “out” yet, they were announced this year, and its the hot topic of the Gundam community at the moment. 2010 is not only giving us the hotly anticipated Gundam Unicorn OVA, its also giving us a Gundam 00 movie. How awesome is that? I’m highly anticipating both of these. Gundam Unicorn will be the first animated UC series of any form in quite some time, and its nice to return to the Gundam universe that started it all, and its nice to finally see the immediate aftermath of Char’s Counterattack. And a Gundam 00 movie is just the icing on the cake. 00 is likely my favorite AU series and one of my top fav series of all time, and I’m curious to see where the movie will take it.
Too much merchandise, not enough money
Yup, thats my only complaint about Gundam this year. So many awesome new model kits, DVD’s figures, etc have been released this year, and its too much for my poor wallet to handle. Ease up on the merchandise Bandai…please?