2009 A.D.

A brand new year is among us and it's amazing how one little date can exude so much rejuvenating motivation. Always tagging along with this revived spirit is a genuine look at the major milestones of the past year. Life proves again that in any attempt at defining it, "a rollercoaster ride" full of ups and downs, is always an accurate part of that description.

Quickly glancing at my 2008 posts provides a tiny snapshot of this past year. The economy has been anything but kind to us, but we are hanging in there. The biggest highlights of my year were all thanks to a slew of events, where I made wonderful friends. Early in the year, there was the JAPAN! Culture + Hyperculture event at the Kennedy Center, where I was privledged to be part of the "Genius Party" premiere and where I got to meet the one and only Shinichiro Watanabe (and Maywa Denki). Not to mention my good friend and contributor, Reza's fateful meeting with Hideo Kojima. And I certaintly can't forget seeing Yoshitaka Amano and Hideyuki Kikuchi at the New York Anime Festival, let alone celebrating Kikuchi's b-day with him, Kevin Leahy, and a handful of lucky Vampire Hunter D fans. Also scheduled to be present, Amano unfortunately couldn't make it to the dinner, but sent us all a sketch which I will always treasure. I got to see an incredible performance by Versailles Philharmonic at Anime USA.

Plenty of great anime and video game titles, too many to list, graced 2008. These include Vampire Knight, True Tears, Shigofumi, Kuroshitsuji, and more in the anime realm and Resistance 2, Rock Band 2, Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core, God of War Chains of Olympus, Prince of Persia, Silent Hill Homecoming, LittleBigPlanet, and more in the video games realm. And of course, what I, like many would have to dub the 2008 Game of the Year, Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.

On that note, it's time for me to end this post as I am off to start a new year the right way, at MAGFest VII, a video games convention. I'd like to thank all my readers and look forward to a new year with you.

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