When reading through all the end of the year lists posted on various sites, I noticed that so many of them were negative. “10 Biggest Disappointments” was something that caught my eye, and while funny, I really felt like it was important to end the year on a positive note. You see, 2007 has been a great year. It really has. The best things about it to me, are probably unimportant to you though, so I’m going to stick with materialistic objects of the year that made my eyes pop out of my skull.
I know, it’s oh so shallow of me, but I’m a gadget girl. Get over it.
10. Heavenly Sword
This game, unlike so many PS3 titles before it really showed me that buying this console was completely worth it. While short, Heavenly Sword uses the sixaxis controller for all its worth. It seamlessly guides you through standard controls, while taking full advantage of the motion control, and another first for me, was the use of full motion video during real time game play. Yes, it’s picture in picture, but so what? Watching a scene out of the corner of your eye, while you’re busy bashing tables and clearing space for a good fight is well worth it.
9. The Wacom Bamboo Fun Tablet
This tablet is the least expensive tablet I have seen come on the market. While The Gimp has it’s issues with it under Windows (apparently pointing devices in windows are treated as a single item, under linux they are individual peripherals with their own settings), it works seamlessly with Adobe Photoshop 5.5 and even under Windows Vista itself. This tablet deserves mention on this list, primarily due to price. Prior to this, it was difficult to find a worthy tablet for less than 100$. I truly believe that Wacom has struck gold with this device, allowing itself to cut into a market of the curious and tablet noobs, which allows them to later sell the higher end Intuos to people who find themselves really using the hell out of this thing. I may upgrade eventually, but for now, the bamboo fun really is just that, fun. It’s so rare to find a product that actually is what it says it is.
8. Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad
This anime lands itself on my list of favorite anime of all time, and Funimation’s release of this title has been excellent. From the awesome menus, down to maintaining the original Japanese credits, they have treated this title with the respect and love that it deserves. I have yet to see the pivotal episode 23, during which Koyuki spends the end and most of the following episode singing the same Beatles’ tune, but I have high hopes that it was not replaced in the Japanese dub, even if it was replaced in the English dub. We’ll see when I pick up that volume. Regardless, the release quality on this series has made me sit back in awe of Funimation due to the sheer amount of respect that they had in maintaining the integrity of the show. Well done Funimation. Well done.
7. Transformers: Live Action
Michael Bay, what can I say to you? Words escape me.
You rock man!
While Transformers wasn’t everything I wanted it to be, it was everything that I hoped for. I walked into that theater expecting to see giant robots throwing helicopters around like they were toys and what did I get? I got giant robots throwing helicopters around like toys! You even managed to give us back the real Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen, for the uninitiated), who had been absent from the transformers universe for so long that it drove us to tears of agony and despair. Everything that I loved about the cartoon series in my childhood was here, absolutely everything. For 144 minutes, I was ten years old again. Nothing I have
seen this year made me feel that way, nothing. Thank you Mr. Bay, for giving me back my childhood magic.
6. In Rainbows – Radiohead
The innovative pricing scheme aside, this is just a damned good album. It is not the best Radiohead album that I’ve heard, but it was well worth the price I chose to pay for it. The music here is reflective and thoughtful. Fabulous for wandering around outside while you’re taking a walk and taking time out to just… think. The pricing scheme is another matter entirely, which I thought was terribly clever, though Radiohead, I do wish you would release your actual sales numbers. I know that I had to try for three days straight to get into the site to buy my copy of the album, and finally I logged onto it in the middle of the afternoon and managed to get my download to go through, so you must have made something!Thank you for a great album, and for presenting the world with a new way of thinking about music distribution.
5. Heroes: Season 1 on DVD
I rented the first DVD of this series on Netflix, and was so enamored with the show, that I went out and bought the DVD’s the following week. I had to watch all of this as soon as humanly possible. Forget the fact that it was just a cool premise, with actors that were so great that I was impressed that this ran on NBC. It was the fact that this was finally a show that I could watch with my teenagers that was grown up, thought provoking and fun that did not embarrass the holy crap out of me with comments that I had to explain when an episode was over. There were shouts of “Su-pa Hi-ro!” as we ran to the basement to watch this series on the big screen and all of us loved it, every single second. Sadly, the writer’s strike has taken the second season away from us, and from what I’ve heard so far, it sounds like it was a good thing. Rumor has it, season 2 sucks. Also, NBC, you’re twits. If this had been available on blu-ray, I would have bought it on blu-ray. Alas, it was not meant to be.
4. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3
I know, this is the second video game to make this list, but hear me out. This isn’t a ps3 title. This game is totally last gen. No, no one can watch you play this game and understand the draw that it has for you, but as one reviewer said, when you are sitting down, away from your console and controller, planning out your schedule for the week in the game, you know you’re hooked. SMT: Persona 3 gave us a unique perspective on gaming. It was both a slice of life title, and a traditional RPG at once. No game I have played before or since has taken me to two completely different worlds and blended them so seamlessly, with a story that was so engaging that it was worth sitting in front of the ps2 for over 100 hours to get to the final scene of the game. This is definitely my personal favorite game of the year.
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Okay, so this list has revealed me to be the geek that I truly am beneath all the glitter and shine. So what? This book was awesome. This was the culmination of the Harry Potter series, that had not only captured the imaginations of my children, but also myself and my husband and everyone that I know that bothers to pick up books on occasion. I won’t spoil it by telling you what I loved about the book, I will only say that I went to the midnight release party and by the following morning, I’d finished it and passed it on to my son, who finished it the morning after that. I know that I only slept when I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore, and I’m pretty sure that my son didn’t sleep at all.
2. Fruits Basket 18.
Yeah, more with my anime/manga fandom, but again I plead for tolerance. This volume is by far the most poignant of the entire series to date, and the only one that left me crying. Not just near tears, I was crying like the girl that I am. I won’t spoil the story for fans, but if you aren’t reading Fruits Basket, and you’re a girl… I just have to ask, “What’s stopping you?” Sure, manga is an expensive habit, but some series are worth it. Fruits Basket tops the list of worth it. I won’t expect males to understand Fruits Basket. The story is centered around a female main character who is more than a little ditzy, and would fall flat and uninteresting to those who have never been a teenage girl and truly understood the girl that you knew (or the self that you left behind) that had such a big heart, that it was all she could do to not wrap the entire world up in it.
1. My family
Okay, okay, I know that I said this list would be materialistic, but I really think it’s important for you to understand that at the end of the day, everything that is on this list is something that I love because I shared it with the people that are important to me. My husband sat behind me for the entire time that I played Persona 3. My entire family sits next to me on the couch when I break out Heavenly Sword. My kids went to the theater with me to see Transformers. My daughter got a Wacom Bamboo Fun tablet for Christmas and we spent time together while I showed her how to use it with photoshop. My son and I have always shared our love of Harry Potter and we talked about the books for hours after finishing each installment. My husband found Beck and we spent many a Friday night watching the show in the basement, laughing and crying together. Heroes was also a family activity which gave us a lot of togetherness. Music is also not something I keep to myself, and I have shared the Radiohead CD with my entire family and talked to them about the album. I’ve even shared Fruits Basket with my children. The important part about this year, and what made these things things that I loved, was who I shared them with. At the end of the day, family is what matters.