It’s finally Christmas time, and you know what that means? Yep, my last post in the 12 Days of Anime. I’m giving my final spotlight to Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card. I only mentioned a few dozen times how Cardcaptor Sakura is one of my favorite animes. I also got pester a few times while it was airing what I thought about it from some fine folks. So now those folks can ignore this since they hate reading.
My thoughts on it Clear Card is pretty much the same as the general census from what I could gather. A lot of fans of Cardcaptor Sakura felt it didn’t amount to much. Reusing plot lines from the previous season with a just a new paint job. The comparison to the episodes being similar would have been easier to ignore too if the Clear Cards didn’t basically serve the same purpose as the Sakura Card. Feeling like I was watching a rehash instead of a continuation.
Personally I wouldn’t mind writing more harshly about Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, however it simply ain’t in me to do so. In all the flaws I found in the series I simply couldn’t find myself strongly disliking it. It provided me one thing I can’t find another anime; more time with the same cast of characters I grew to love. In how the spirit of Christmas is about spending time with friends, and families. I consider the cast of Cardcaptor Sakura like an extended family. So I welcome seeing these same characters, and how they were doing.
One bright spot of the series was easily seeing more of Sakura, and Sayoran together. I have a soft spot for these two when they’re together, and Clear Card provided some more cute moments with them. It warmed the essence of my cold, cynical, frozen heart. I also got a kicked out of Sayoran Engrish in the anime. That was a pleasant surprise.
Among other things I enjoyed was the return of Mei Ling. It was nice seeing her again in the series since she’s a anime original. So you could imagine how greatly I appreciate Madhouse for sticking to the anime canon. Meaning some of my favorite episodes are canon so nothing wrong there. The other aspect I appreciated was the animation. Sure it didn’t influence my enjoyment much, but I did enjoy how colorful, and nice it looked. I sound like I’m struggling to find ways to compliment this season.
Clear Card was also just a pleasant watch. I saw the characters grow in the first series so the lack of further development to these characters didn’t bother me as much as it would have. If I went into Clear Card without watching the original anime I likely would have been harsher on it.
For me, Clear Card is a disappointment that doesn’t hold a candle to the original anime, but it’s just like a family reunion for me. It’s not going to be pretty, it’s exhausting dragging back old memories, and once it all done no matter how much of a struggle it felt. I’m happy I went through it, and it’s simply worth all the endeavor to spend time those whom bring a smile to your face. Kinda hard not have a good time with an endearing character like Sakura Kinomoto.
Well that concludes my 12 Days of Anime posts. I’m glad I took part in this since I got to write about animes series I’ve didn’t get around too this year. There were also The Big O, and Full Metal Panic I didn’t get to write about, but there’ll be another chance for me to give those the spotlight. After participating in 12 Days of Anime I can’t wait get back into blogging leisurely. This is exactly what I needed to get my blogging groove back. I’m also happy got to participate in this. There were some ups, and down, definitely some hair tearing figuring things out, but it was a great time!
Depending when, and where you’re reading this; Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays from yours truly. Here’s looking to a wonderful 2019! Cheers!
On day 10, time to briefly go over the story of Dustin aka TheHyruleBard. This is the season of giving, and I can tell you Hyrule has more than earned his fare share of coal for Christmas. Enough in fact to last him his entire life. I’m also sure he also earned a spot on many people’s in the commentary, and anime community permanent shit list. On top of that, I’m making sure I post something about this since I’ve talked to the man himself, Hyrule, on rare occasions over DMs on Twitter. Not to further beat down on the guy, but to serve a personal reminder of the path I shouldn’t take regardless of the content I create.
I would start from the beginning, but it’s fuzzy in my head exactly when I subscribed to his channel. I do know for certain it was on a website called GeekJuiceMedia that I got my first exposure to Hyrule. His content was rough around the edges, but came across as a genuine guy. So I hit that subscribe button, but I did not smash that like button. If I were guess when this happened I would estimate probably around 2016, or late 2015. It was around that time I started watching AniTubers instead of just reading about anime.
My first interaction with Hyrule was when he uploaded a video about Scarlett Johansson casting in the live action Ghost In the Shell movie. I debated against someone who couldn’t phantom the fact I didn’t consider Scarlett Johansson casting as white washing. Since the video is deleted so is the walls upon walls of text of us going back, and forth. I’m not sure who won, but considering my opponent started throwing direct insults at me is kinda telling. Within this debate in the comment section he DM me on April of 2016. Oh, when looking to my Gmail I was shocked that I got email from Twitter about Hyrule DMing me in one day. Sadly, I only got his half of the conversation so forgive the spotty documentation in this blog.
So I know I am quite awkward when it comes to verbal communications, but I do my best in understanding some basics. One of those is building a bond between, and the person I’m speaking with. I doubt the other person would immediately want to hear all my life problems unless they were asked too. Our boy Dustin, first conversations brings on the heavy life problems.Why would you do this! Re-reading this conversation while doing editing to make it presentable reminding me of a moment in the comedy/drama movie 50/50. It was when Seth Rogen, and Joseph Gordon Levitt were going to a club, and JGL pick up line was “Sup! I got cancer”. That moment made me laugh. Just like how reading this conversation makes me further appreciate the more socially capable weirdos I know. Including that one Hentai artist whose said he would me to draw. Long story better saved for another time.
Now, this was our first direct interaction with each other, and he thought it would be a good idea to have a complete stranger join a random Skype calls of all his friends. It was depressing to say the least. I came across quite awkwardly since I was conversing with a group of total strangers about this topic. It got really political so I was out of my element. Thankfully my mic stopped working so I didn’t have to talk. The depressing part wasn’t how awkward I came across, but listening to some of these people terrible conditions. One of them still lived under his parents basement, and he sounded very depress.
After that very awkward incident I decided to never again engaged with him in Skype calls, or in any verbal communication other than text. Looking through these DMs this guy had so many plans, and committed to just about none of them. One of them being, and I kid you not, a collab lets play with him on Destiny.
So this guy barely knows me, and asked me to do a lets play of Destiny with him. I of course said yes since he’s a YouTuber, and I wanted the experience when I used to care about making video content one day. Of course it never happened. We go months without talking to each when he pops up out of nowhere he’s recently been diagnosed with Chronic Depression, and Bipolar disorder.
He goes on about some other things which at this point should tell he wants my pity. It could be the fact he understood I had a full time job, and stable living condition he thought I could help him out. I could, but unless you’re someone I can trust no dice on me helping you. I see dozen or content creators I like that I would love to support financially to some extent, but am unable too since it has to be a reasonable amount that it won’t hurt me. Hyrule is the only content creator I’ve ever interacted with where I never felt like supporting financially. He never came off to me as someone who I felt would do right with my money since the passion just wasn’t there. As opposed to other content creators I’ve engaged in small talked over the years their passion came across to me.
There was also the time I went through his content, and provided him feedback on how he could help his channel. He used the classic excuse of the algorithms of his channel. Reading that I’m just thinking Dustin not uploading content for months is helping his algorithm. Seriously, I told him to branch out if anime videos take him so long, but he was having none of it because that would require work!
The rest of the DMs I have aren’t interesting since it’s just minor back, and forth on life stuff. So, here’s a content maker on YouTube who tried for a decade to get somewhere in his career. He managed to get over 2k subs in that time on his anime channel. You might be wondering how it came crashing down. Simple, good old greed, and lying about having Lupus.
So he been caught, and has been exposed so what now. Well, Hyrule decided to some on Twitch personality name Tipster to do a interview. The full interview can be found on YouTube, and instead I’ll just post another video that condenses the trainwreck that turned out. Alongside some more scummy behavior from him.
In this detour what I’ll take away from my experience with Hyrule, and witnessing this scheme blow up in his face is you’re never entitled to success. Dustin simply couldn’t be content with everything he build up. Always wanting more without putting in the effort, nor remaining committed to whatever he pursued as a content creator. If something didn’t take off like he wanted he would quit, blame something for his lack of growth, and use other means to get what he wanted.
My intentions whenever I started posting reviews on Rotten Tomatoes in late 2011, and continuing to write posts online wherever infrequently I never had the intention of making this a career. From the start, I wanted to share my thoughts on movies, and eventually animes years later. Once I got over the fact I might not get any views I went back into writing, and kept coming back to sharing my thoughts. I do this for the fun of it. Sharing my experience, and thoughts on things that other people might interesting like I do. The number of so-so thing doesn’t matter to me as much as the experience itself.
In almost 8 years I’ve been a part of so many online film, and anime community that it amazes me the amount people I met. I might not have the huge following, or receive the same amount views I once did years ago. That’s because I’m way past that stage at the elderly age of 24 in making content. There’s just so much else to it that I rather engage with like interacting more in the community I’m with part off than anything else.
Thus end a 10 year career on YouTube where Hyrule felt he accomplished nothing. If meeting people in a community equally as passionate towards anime, movies, or whatever you’re into is a failure to him. He clearly he couldn’t see what success he had in front of him.
Well, that is the final negative post in my journey in the 12 Days of Anime. Hyrule more than deserves what he had coming to him. He said he would man up to it, and would let his action speak for him. Obviously, he deleted everything associated from the web hiding from responsibility. So I shall take his massive failure, and remind myself to not make the same mistakes he did.
On Day 9 in the 12 Days of Anime I shall write about an anime that did something important for me. Got me back into watching shonen anime. First thing though, I know Shonen is actually a demographic of young men between 12 – 18 in Japan, but the purpose of this post I’m just going to refer to anime based around Shonen Jump manga as just Shonen. A lot in of anime fans in the anime community already do so let’s get to it.
I think my fatigue with Shonen anime started with a little know vampire anime called Seraph of the End. During this time I was also getting fed up with 100 episodes of Fairy Tail power of friendship nonsense. So any Shonen I saw that wasn’t Fairy Tail at the time was an immediate improvement. Well half of it was true. From the first minute of Seraph of the End I knew it wasn’t going to be something I would I like. Once episode 1 was over I knew it certainly wasn’t going to be anything for me. You can chalk it up the fact that it reveals over 90 % of the human population has died, and yet still have students go to school. Way to eliminate urgency by acting everything is normal.
Seraph of the End also had similarities to Attack On Titan, but saying that Attack On Titan also had a lot of similarities to Knights of Sidonia. Only Attack On Titan I ended up like because it’s over the top presentation, and fantastically animated sequences kept me entertain. The writing was spotty, but how it told it story ensured I was hooked. Seraph of the End didn’t have the polish of Attack On Titan, but it did have the spotty writing so I didn’t find it as entertaining. However, even when I first finished I still thought for its intended demographic it might be enjoyable.
Than we come to Assassination Classroom which I started earlier than Seraph of the End, but got fed up reading subtitles to an anime I didn’t like so I waited for the English dub. Initially I did enjoy episodes from season 1. It was the longevity of the premise that ruined any semblance of suspense. There only two ways Assassination Classroom could have ended; Earth time-bomb Korosensei would either die, or he wouldn’t. I know that same logic can be applied to practically every single story ever made. That didn’t stop me from using that as a defense for calling the ending predictable whenever my Discord pals want to argue with me on it.
Season 1 of Assassination Classroom wasn’t to my liking, but I felt they tried to make something special. Season 2 of Assassination Classroom on the other hand completely phoned in! Ramp up the “we’ve come so far”, and “you’re such a great person” speeches you’ll have a inspirational anime that grates on me. It became so repetitive to a point I took days off from watching episodes just to build up my tolerance for it again. I hated it a lot, and don’t even get me started on the last three episodes which were the worst written episodes of the entire series!
Now we arrive with My Hero Academia season 1, and this is were all the damn Shonen tropes came together badly for me just to hate on it! I was unfortunate enough to watch season 1 dubbed so my first introduction to Deku was me wanting to choke the damn character. Episode, after episode it did things to aggregate me so much. Before season 1 was over I was dead set on the mindset this is the worst Shonen I’ve ever seen. It’s not MHA fault its mangaka is force to use these tropes. Considering I have some vague understanding how Shonen Jump Weekly is run I wouldn’t blame the mangaka for phoning it so he can make something he wants later on in his career.
We finally arrive at Black Clover, and MHA season 2. In the case of Black Clover everyone I knew was hyping Black Clover as the absolute worst Shonen ever made. Everyone I knew told me they despite it, and told me it would be the new low bar surpassing MHA. Watching a couple episodes of Black Clover I was disappointed my friends that watch anime overhyped how bad Black Clover actually. In the same way MHA is a collection of Shonen trope so was Black Clover. The difference why I can enjoy Black Clover moderately is that it plays it straight without deviation. MHA wants to deviate from the Shonen tropes into something better, but always goes back to them suffering as a result.
Around the time MHA season 3 was finishing concluding plenty of anime fans I talk too on different Discord servers started disliking more. They weren’t on the same level of me in terms of seething hatred for MHA, but slowly they were getting there. So as you would expect, when I sat to watch a few episodes of MHA season 2 I absolutely found season 2 a marginal improvement. Ironic considering the tournament arc is also a point some of MHA fans weren’t quite feeling it. Including some of the small Anitubbers I know that say season 2 tournament arc slow things to a crawl, and was worse overall. Me, I was happy I found it tolerable to a point where if I wanted I could watch multiple episodes of MHA, and not feel like my brain would explode.
Long introduction to basically say watching all these Shonen over the years I fatigue by it. None of the ones I’ve mentioned didn’t stand out in any way. Maybe I was simply too told in my 20s to appreciate anime aimed at 12 – 18 year old males. I was more than ready to check myself into a retirement home until one day me, and my brother recently finished watching the OVA Wounded Man. You already know how I feel about that OVA, and my brother hates it even more than me. So when we were deciding what exactly we should try to watch next in my anime collection I randomly chose Ushio & Tora on a whim. I’ve been wanting to watching it for a while, and after the travesty that was Wounded Man anything would be better.
I popped in the blu ray disc, saw the first episode, and it was actually enjoyable. From than on we just kept watching Ushio & Tora enjoy ourself. Before getting to a point in the middle of season 1 were episodes were starting to end on cliffhangers. We just kept binging episode after episode. It was a significant event since I can’t tell you the last time I binge a Shonen that wasn’t FMA related, or Death Note. This was due to the fact the plot was kept generally simple, the objective already set so it was a matter of going to it, and wasn’t bogged down by superficial drama.
Simplicity is what Ushio & Tora first season was good at, and also a why it would be hard to get into. It has a monster of the week formula to it, and depending on how you like the two constantly bickering leads will determine where it falls for you. I enjoyed the bickering chemistry between Ushio & Tora so I always found it entertaining. While the action wasn’t exactly impressive it didn’t drag out. Something modern Shonen seems to be getting better at as a observation.
Ushio & Tora also fell on my good graces by not having a tournament arc! So whenever season 1 as unfocus as it was didn’t feel like it was making significant progress never did it feel like it was prolonging something from concluded. Things kept progressing which I like seeing in my Shonen, and here’s looking at you Yu Yu Hakusho for having a longer than necessary tournament arc.
With this praise towards it being fun, and seemingly cutting out the fluff from your average Shonen what about the characters. Well, that wouldn’t be capitalize on until the much more focused, and refined season 2 of Ushio & Tora. I kinda feel like season 1 of Ushio & Tora tried to emulate how Noragami first season perfectly setup the groundwork for everything to be expanded on in later seasons, but not quite as good. Season 1 changes objective from fighting monsters weekly to going to a location to find out more information to getting stronger until the big baddie comes. Enjoyable as it was it sure was messy getting to season 2.
An immediate improvement over season 1 is getting straight to the point of its story. With everything already set up it can conclude lingering plot points from season 1. Leading to plenty of great character moments, in particular for the duo the anime is named after. The interaction between Ushio & Tora doesn’t change one bit, but the meaning behind their interaction does. It’s done in a subtle way that it was refreshing to witness in a Shonen.
Surprisingly, Ushio & Tora got me to be invested in its cast. Nowhere near emotional, but I cared about their well being. Something I consider a great accomplishment since Tora is a dickhead to everyone for practically the entire series. So imagine when in season 2 he’s a given a dramatic moment with a friend of Ushio, and it settle in ultimate cost this final battle will potentially have. It was a surprisingly sad moment that I felt was rightfully earned as Tora grows, and seeing him fall to his lowest point.
Contrast this to Assassination Classroom for Korosensei where the character was presented as this great individual, and that wouldn’t be sad if something bad happened to him. 40 plus episodes of scenes like this eventually made me not care for the finale during season 2 of AssClass as I sighed in relief it was going to be over soon. Meanwhile, multiple characters tell Tora how they would like to just beat him up, or kill him. So when Tora gets this specific dramatic moment with Ushio friend in season 2 it feels more impactful. It didn’t create a series of good deeds for Tora to perform, point to it as a good thing, and told me what to feel. I naturally came to the conclusion this is surprisingly sad.
While not without it flaws aside from the messy structure of season 1. It does feel the need to make every character Ushio & Tora come across seems significant. Not a problem to solve if the anime was wasn’t a 39 episode long. Numerous character will disappear, and appear out nowhere at random points in the series. If they had more screen time than the final arc would have felt even more eventful than it already did.
Generally though, Ushio & Tora provided me something previous shonens I’ve mentioned couldn’t provide me consistently. All I ask for any form of media in general to do is either be entertaining, or engage me in the story it’s telling. Ushio & Tora manages to do both consistently throughout the series no matter how messy it gets. The lack of filler means the buildup to the final confrontation feels like a significant event instead of just another power scaling breaker. Most important of all, it’s likable characters, good drama in season 2, and overall just entertainment of watching Ushio & Tora made want to watch Shonen anime again. Reminding me of why I enjoy watching Shonen so much when they are done right.
This post came out twice as long as I expected. That what happens when I do things on a whim instead of plan them out. Either way, I celebrated Ushio & Tora for getting me back into watching Shonen anime. Even if I don’t something as good as it for a while. The viewing experience of it will stick with me for a long time. Tomorrow though, I’ll probably take another departure from the praises I’m handing for some criticism. Until that fateful day of tomorrow, sayanora!
On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me. Oh wait, I already did that opening. Well for day 8 in the 12 Days of Anime I’m going to celebrate Area 88 (OVA) by Studio Pierrot. Considering yesterday post went into spoiler territory I can see why some would want to skip this post over. Rest assure there won’t be any spoilers since Area 88 is also something I highly recommend any anime fan to watch. So here’s even more on why I like it so much.
War stories are difficult for me to engage with on a personal level. From all the war movies I’ve seen which is probably around 30 only one of them connected with me. It wasn’t Saving Private Ryan, but a 2004 Korean war movie called Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War. It did the usual of establishing why the country was at war, and of course the character building moments one would expect from these kind of movies. What helped it rise above the standard war movie was the focus on two brothers. Their personal conflict never took a back sit to the war itself, and instead used the war to escalate it. Through the course of the movie the brothers drifted apart resulting in a far more effective way to depict how war divides people through these brothers conflict.
Both Area 88, and Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War are the only times I ever cared about any character fictional, or not in a war story. They didn’t feel like puppets to deliver yet another anti-war message. Area 88 was more about showing the results of it on any ordinary person. Showing the progression of someone who values life can become at peace taking human life. War stories aren’t no strangers to these kind of things. Same with having a leading character killing out of survival, having the comrades talk about what they plan to do after the war, the dread of helplessness encroaching on them, and deliver a message.
Area 88, and Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War won’t do things uncommon for these kind of stories. What they do correctly is tell a story that feels complete. Too many times do I feel the backdrop, and the fact it’s an actual event take precedent in these stories. Being design to have no goal in sight other than just make you think. When the dozen of war movies I’ve seen end I don’t have a sense of closure from them. So while something might ask me to think, but if it can’t make me care the topic brought up it fades away from my mind.
Everything experience in war would be asking to much to ask out of a movie, and a three episode anime OVA to capture. So they don’t in favor of a smaller, more personal driven story with a bigger backdrop. Area 88 might also be famous for it’s stellar animation on the combat sequences, but has a three dimensional protagonist in Shin Kazuma so that it doesn’t come off glamorized. In the middle of this discussion related to war is the more relatable trait of Shin Kazuma longing to return to his love one. Adding more to Shin Kazuma journey to return home out of the dreadful war zone. Showing more concern humanizing the people involve before discussing the issues war brings.
Lastly, the reason I still think about Area 88 is how perfectly it tied up everything in its ending. There’s no loose ends, and all character arcs are completed. When I witness the final shot of the OVA I thought about it for a long time. It lingered on me months later because everything presented to me felt natural within the story. It didn’t tell me, or ask me to think about the effect of war once it was over. There was no final message about war is bad, but what was left were my own thoughts, and what the OVA showed me. What it showed me was even though I know these things happen it takes something more than it’s basis in reality to make you care about anything. It’s just so happen in Area 88 was about war, and the effect of it. Something that most entertainment media that tackle this subject fail to make me care about. That’s why I celebrate the accomplishments Area 88 on this day.
That concludes yet another post in the 12 Days of Anime. At this rate, I might actually complete the 12 Days of Anime! WOOHOO! I do feel like I better articulated myself on the greatness of Area 88 with my review of it, but like everything else I heap more praise on. I ain’t passing up the chance to celebrate it more. See you all tomorrow for day 9, and my quest to commit to the 12 Days of Anime!
On the sixth day, on the sixth night, in the sixth celebration of the 12 Days of Anime I discovered some real magic. The magic of believing in magic. More accurately, Akko believing in herself being her own source of magic in the Little Witch Academia anime series. Cheesy as that might sound I ended up liking Akko because of this.
In My Little Witch Academia, Akko is taken aback by a magic show she sees as a kid perform by Shiny Chariot. This magic show captures the imagination of a young Akko. Transporting her to a realm of endless possibility which she wants to become a part off. Beginning her lifelong dream to become a witch like Shiny Chariot.At a young age, I too was wrapped up in the “magic” shown to me by magicians. Making things appear, and disappear out of thin air. It was almost like witchcraft. Unfortunately the more I looked into how to do “magic” tricks the more the allure faded from my young eyes. No longer was anything possible as a magician, but became more about carefully tricking the audience. That’s how I ended up seeing magic before I stopped caring for it entirely.
Magic might not exist in the real world, but it does in Little Witch Academia. A world where less, and less people start believing in magic. A brief tangent, I’m so happy a story of some kind of story bothered to do this. I can’t recall the last time a fantasy of any kind had people be critical of magic within its own world. It’s a breath of fresh air seeing that not everyone is onboard with magic instead preferring the advancement in technology. Very nice touch being a subtle way to tackle the theme of tradition versus the changing tides.
Back on track, Akko doesn’t stop believing in magic even with her countless failures. Could be because she’s excitable, impulsive, short tempered, and reckless. It’s also these traits that consistently gets her in trouble that makes up for her equally great determination to improve herself. Throughout the anime, Akko isn’t afraid to do things her own way. Outside of the strict rules, and bound to tradition that the head witches of Luna Nova are so dead set on. I would like to go over specific examples, but that would involve spoilers, and I don’t want to do that for a great anime like this.
Another aspect that made Akko an endearing character for me, other than her happy go lucky personality, is she grows without necessarily changing herself. A oxymoron when written like that, but it’s true. As short tempered, and impulsive as she gets she does care for the people around her. Going out of her way multiple times to help other she knows at Luna Nova. Akko will occasionally have moments of grandeur that far exceeds her actual skills as a witch. Choosing to accept that it’s okay to doubt yourself, and your beliefs from time to time. Pushing herself, and sometime those around her reluctantly forward.
Bringing me to lastly mention, as vaguely as possible, the Seven Words of Arcturus. Obviously I’m not going to say what the seven words are. They are direct in their meaning as these seven simple words are easy to understand, but witches Luna Nova easily take them for granted. Akko isn’t excluded from this as through trail, and tribulation does she truly end up grasping their meaning wholeheartedly. Following Akko on her journey to become a witch like Shiny Chariot she constantly shines as a character, and a witch. Doing some magical things both with, and without magic by believing in herself, and believing magic itself.
That concludes day six of the 12 Days of Anime. I know! Shocking this one is actually brief. Unlike my post on Kiyoi Mizushima from WIXOSS where the story around her wasn’t as good. Akko does have a good story surrounding her in Little Witch Academia, and seeing it for yourself where it goes is part of the magic of it. Now if only I could find someone infectiously happy as Akko where I live at. I too would further start believing in magic like I once did as a kid. Sayonara, and you tomorrow for day 7 folks!
On the fifth day of Christmas, my house’s lock gets frozen, and I can’t get in. Over the top cold days like this makes me fantasize about visiting a warmer place. Something where I can see the beauty of nature, a naval sea port, and do some farm work. You know, a far more simpler time than taking a blowtorch, and trying to melt a huge block of ice preventing me from opening my door. This got me to think about In This Corner of the World, and how it manages to convey the beauty of Hiroshima that I can’t recall anything else doing the same way. Funny what you’ll think about when melting ice.
Whenever I see a film depicting the city of Hiroshima in Japan. Often times it felt like an afterthought to tell some kind of anti-war story, or for the writer to vent out their frustration at the bombing of Hiroshima. I’m going to generalize why In This Corner of the World is so special as a drama, and a film about Hiroshima.
First up is the 2005 obscure anime movie Glass Rabbit (Glass no Usagi) which bares a bit of similarity too In This Corner of the World. Both focus on the family of the youth protagonist rather than a singular character. However, Glass Rabbit eventually becomes less about the family struggling through difficult times half through. Placing more importance on the message that war is bad. The reason I lacked any empathy towards the characters in Glass Rabbit is how it all felt artificial. I knew the good times where going to end eventually since the story is based in facts. Falling victim to expectations as the harsh times experience Toshiko (Glass Rabbit heroine) just kept piling on, and on.
It’s not like Glass Rabbit just tumble downward in the middle as the framing device is awkward. Toshiko granddaughter asks her mother where a glass rabbit came from, and tells her grandma life story. Not exactly riveting making this starting point unintentionally funny. There’s a mother telling her daughter the horror war when all her daughter asked about is where a glass rabbit came from.
Meanwhile In This Corner of the World, it starts out with Suzu doing her daily routine, and interacting with everyone in the city. Setting the atmosphere of a lovely town that is whimsical, and filled with beauty in Suzu eyes. Treating Hiroshima like a character of its own. Seeing it through different stages over the years. Changing alongside the characters as the city, and the people become torn up through the escalation of the war. Hiroshima isn’t simply a just a place where the story just happens to be in. It’s more like an extension of Suzu; maintaining a beautiful front front while being ravaged by US air raids for years.
If you were to watch both Glass Rabbit, and In This Corner of the World back to back it’s easy to see which one treats Hiroshima better. Glass Rabbit shows you a bit of it before the war, during the war, and briefly after the war. All this is expected in a film that tackles the bombing of Hiroshima so the checkbox development makes it detached from being emotional. I understand the sentiment of war is bad in this context, but a statement like that is meaningless without earnest emotion poured into it. Coming off disingenuous with the anti-war, love is peace message message.
The other film on Hiroshima I’ll compare it to is the even more obscure anime flick Beaten By Black Rain from 1984. Unlike the previous two movies, Beaten By Black Rain is more angry unleashing its pent up frustration. Being dreary, dark, and hateful in its themes. What makes this one difficult to criticize is even though it makes Americans cartoonishly evil. There’s a scene where a prostitute refuses to sleep with an American sex tourist because of the atomic bombings. The American than rapes her while screaming “America Strong! America always win!”. It does provide a different perspective on to view the aftermath of the bombing in Hiroshima. The hateful emotion feels real.
Where Beaten By Black Rain falls apart is simply drowning in its misery. It has a variety of characters some of which you’re meant to sympathize with, and other you’re clearly meant to dislike. The sympathetic ones only development is being unable to move past their own tragic incidents. Not exactly the kind of thing that’ll attract more viewers to check out the film. However, I feel that has more to do with the flat characters than the hateful intent in it.
In This Corner of the World takes a different of approach of having likable characters, and blind patriotism that changes over time. The characters have a lot more to them than simply being the victim of a greater force. This is best exemplified with how they developed the child character in their respective story. Beaten By Black Rain just hammers in the point a little kid has had a miserable life. There lies the problem of seeing, or not learning anything more about his life other than that. Making it feel like par for the course.
Contrast that with In This Corner of the World, Suzu takes care of a child, plays with her, and the viewer see a bond form. When living becomes more difficult we see Suzu struggle to make ends meet for the entire family. By understanding her struggle to remain optimistic during harsh times. It’s easier to sympathize with a child character who doesn’t grasp the entire situation at hand. It’s not just happy moments than darkness, but the progression in seeing their life take a turn for the worse.
I think the ending also contributes to why neither Beaten By Black Rain, and Glass Rabbit are remembered by many. In particular Beaten By Black Rain that was created by Keiji Nakazawa who did the manga to Barefoot Gen. Speaking of which, the film adaptation of Barefoot Gen came out in 1983, and Beaten By Black Rain came out a year later so that says a lot. Back on point, the lasting impression both of these movies leave is emptiness. Glass Rabbit feels like it was a soulless advertisement for world peace, and Beaten By Black Rain was just concentrated hatred not refine enough to turn into a good story. They just feel patronizing instead of hopeful like In This Corner of the Wolrd ends up being.
The approach taken by director Sunao Katabuchi is one of great understanding, and warmth. MAPPA went the extra mile bringing Hiroshima to animation in a new light. Striving for accuracy to the point a single shot needed to be modify 20 times. Along with the subtle characters there’s the immense of amount of work recreate a Hiroshima before the atomic bomb was dropped. Seeing it, and remembering it a light that made it special for those who lived during this time. Showing the beauty of Hiroshima the way Suzu sees it. Attaching more to it than just a single tragedy.
This probably won’t be the last time I write about In This Corner of the World since there was a cut half an hour longer set to be released next year. If that cut ever gets released you bet I’m covering it in some capacity. Who knows, it might bump that 9 I gave it into a 10 if the new material is that good.
Bringing us to the end of Day 5 in the 12 Days of Anime. In all honesty, I feel like this wasn’t very focus. I would be stupid to let this opportunity let me pass to express some more thoughts on a anime I found great. If you haven’t already, do go check out In This Corner of the World. It certainly was one the best animes I’ve seen this year, and I look forward to the longer cut. Sayonora, and see on day 6 which I also haven’t planned.
On the fourth day to Christmas my true love gave to me…nothing at the moment. She’s still traveling from Existiert Nicht located all the way in Tucson, Canada. Traveling customs there are a pain from what she told me. Anyway, today I’m going to briefly (for real this time!) write about Kiyoi Mizushima. A supporting character from WIXOSS season 1 who went from being a one dimensional baddie into a dynamic protagonist by season 4.
Beginning at the end of Selector Spread WIXOSS (Season 2) my first thought was I enjoyed it. Other than the opening, and closing themes there wasn’t anything I felt that would stick with me after finishing it. Sure I liked the characters, but when my first thought is “Ruu Ruu is adorable” I ain’t got much to build on what makes them good characters.
When it comes to Kiyoi herself she was simply known as Piruluk in Selector Infected WIXOSS (season 1). She was an LRIG, a living being inside a card basically, who fought alongside Akira Aoi to help her become an eternal girl. By becoming an eternal girl, the selector (card player) can make their wish come true. At this point in the series, Kiyoi is simply a emotionless LRIG who wants to gain a body regardless the methods used. Being unsympathetic to her opponents when Akira mocks them.
Midway into season 1 it’s the end of Kiyoi, and she disappears until the end of season 2 in a epilogue for a brief appearance. It should also be noted that around the time season 1 was airing there a manga called Selector Infected WIXOSS: Peeping Analyse being published around the same time. This manga would later be adapted into an episode of Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS. All it did was show how Kiyoi went being a human into an LRIG. However, since I didn’t know there was even manga based around this series I didn’t read it.
Amidst seeing season 3, Lostorage Incited WIXOSS, Kiyoi makes her first appearance in the anime. During the opening animation for a few seconds showing a split downward image of her human self, and the other half being her LRIG self. Even having watched the recap movie beforehand I wasn’t much into her character. Obviously that changed as her part grew in season 3. Kiyoi motivation was given, and so was bits of her past in the second half. By doing this not only did it set the groundwork to create a dynamic character later on, but also served as a bridge to naturally connect all the seasons of WIXOSS.
Kiyoi was my favorite part of the less than stellar season 3 of WIXOSS. Sure part of it was because I might have a thing for stoic characters. There was also the strength that she wasn’t regressing like everything else in the series. Whereas season 1 & 2 tried to have some kind of grey morality for characters action. Season 3 does away with that by making it a simple good vs evil story. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but season 3 has half of the time to duplicate what made the previous seasons good turning out disappointing.
Kiyoi Mizushima came out unscathed from the downgrade. Her past wasn’t shrugged off, or blamed on her being in a dark place during that time. Nope, the series instead decided to make her go through a redemption. Living with the fact she torture so many Selectors as an LRIG, crushed many girls dreams, and now doing what she can to amend for what she did. Her motivation naturally came off more personal grasping the bigger picture of her situation. This came out of nowhere for me that I wished she was the protagonist of season 3 instead of Suzuko Homura who I didn’t care for!
Finally, in Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS (season 4, and currently the last season of WIXOSS) she got her chance to shine. Upgrading from a supporting role into a leading one the series made further good use of her. Delving even more into her past before she ever started playing WIXOSS. Showcasing the struggles she dealt with as a loner, and how the cruel game of WIXOSS warped into a bad person. Now in season 4, she’s actively trying to do the right thing to put the miserable cycle that WIXOSS causes. Everything surrounding Kiyoi remains static, but she just keeps growing as a character turning out a lot better than I expected her to be.
Seeing Kiyoi developed as much as she did makes me think J.C. Staff knew they had a good character whose potential was untapped, and they need to do her justice. They might be have been a slight a bit of retconning, but we’ll gloss over that. Without a doubt for me, whenever Kiyoi was given the spotlight is when WIXOSS was at it best during season 3 & 4. I cared about her ordeal, and seeing it through to the end. Seeing Kiyoi tackle everything head on every step of the way made me yearn for her to get a happy ending with everything she went through. I enjoyed seeing Kiyoi Mizushima grow so much that she alone made me want to follow Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS weekly. Thanks to her, Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS ended up being the only anime I actually finished while it was airing this year. While I wish the series around her was just as good. I am happy that Kiyoi Mizushima got her chance in the spotlight, and it wasn’t wasted.
I started off mentioning after finishing the first two seasons that there wasn’t anything outside of the opening, and ending themes that would stick with me. After finishing up Lostorage Incited WIXOSS, and Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS that certainly has changed. Kiyoi Mizushima is a character that I unexpectedly ending up liking a lot this year. Surpassing the series itself I feel in terms of quality. Without her, I do feel like season 3, and 4 of WIXOSS would have suffer greatly. Getting the opportunity to shine that many side characters don’t get, and for that I’m very grateful for.
So that concludes day 4 in my 12 Days of Anime questing. I’m leveling up my skill points, and have the drive to see this through to the end. See ya around tomorrow with hopefully some kind of complete post. Haven’t started that one though (panicking off screen). Sayonara folks!
On the third day on my journey to Christmas, instead spending a few paragraphs writing about a single anime I don’t have a topic for I’ll do a listicle. My habit of spontaneously choosing random anime paid off this year. Ending up viewing way more anime I liked this year than I did in the past two years I’ve been watching anime. Here five of those that I didn’t expect much from, and manage to fall on my good side.
In around November, or December of 2017 I read the manga of Angelic Layer by Clamp since I wanted a good shoujo read. I liked the manga of Cardcaptor Sakura so why not do the reverse this time, and check out the manga first. Details about the manga escape me because it’s just that uneventful. The premise follows a little girl by the name of Misaki Suzuhara taking an interest in the battle dolls game Angelic Layer. After she learns the rope of playing it in the first couple of episodes it’s just a battle tournament for the entire series. Reading chapter after chapter made me bored since it was just a series of fights with little else going on.
The anime adaptation by Bones follow the general storyline of the manga, but attempts to flesh out the characters more. It’s an addition I don’t mind to the anime since it helped the romance side developed more naturally than it did in the manga. It also gave side character Kotarou, and Tamayo more to do than just being there to support Misakai. I liked how the anime gave them a conflict figuring out their feelings for each other which is something the manga didn’t have. There was much appreciated attempts to make the rise in Misakai skill appear more natural than just being godly like in the manga.
Another thing the anime did was have episodes dedicated outside of the tournament. In the manga it virtually just a series of tournament matches doesn’t make for a engaging read. I appreciated the detour the anime took, and the attempt made to provide more background to side characters. It was nice seeing the contestants outside of a tournament environment just to act like normal people instead of the obsessive Angelic Layer freaks they are! My favorite anime exclusive moment is a spoiler, but it’s on a Ferris Wheel with Ichiro, and Misakai mother. It was a sweet moment lacking in the manga, and also funny.
I would have prefer Bones taking more drastic measures in attempting to remedied some of the other issues with the manga. My biggest one being Misakai is overpowered, and despite being a newb goes through opponents one after the other. It minimizes the “stakes” of these matches when more experience players keep losing to the almighty newb Misakai Suzuhara. Although, I didn’t like the changed outcome in the final round. Sure it had different meanings in both tellings of the same story, but the outcome in the manga makes sense whereas in the anime it just doesn’t.
There’s also the absurd amount of love Angelic Layer gets within universe. It’s comes off very silly how seriously, and affectionate some of these people are to Angelic Layer. In spite of that silly aspect that’s also part of the charm the anime creates that the manga didn’t capture like it wanted. Also, Misaki Suzuhara is adorable. It gets an extra point for that.
Yes, I enjoyed Cross Ange. I know won’t hear the end of this on the many Discords I’ve been invited too. There’s scarcity of anime that fall into the so bad it’s good category. Almost every time I try to watch one of these type of animes they end up with me hating it Cross Ange ticks all the boxes in the same way something like Dark Cat, and Mad Bull 34 (I have make a post about that someday) did for me. They had portions of questionable writing that just had me bursting with laughter.
In the case with Cross Ange it was some of the dialogue. Oh boy, I can’t tell you how much me, and brother (who I saw this anime with) lost it in laughter when Embryo said “Abandoned everything, including your clothes!”. That’s a classic quote if I ever heard one. Another one I liked was from Ange telling Tusk “Loot at me, I’m filthy. I don’t deserve you!”. Ugh, I expect this kind of dialogue in crummy romance novels not a anime with Dragons, mechas, time travel, and lots of fanservice.
I wouldn’t call Cross Ange a good anime per se. At most, I would call it a solid series with a questionable fanservicey presentation going against many of its serious themes. The first half of the anime dedicates an entire episode to Hilda doing petty things like stealing Ange’s underwear for payback, and Hilda later on has a very dramatic episode meeting her mother in the first times in years. They just don’t mesh well together.
Don’t even get me started on the Dragons, time traveling, parallel dimensions, God, specicism, and mechas all of which varies in results. I do feel some of the writing in Cross Ange is competent like Salia accepting the fact that Ange is naturally better than her, and how she’s unable to accept that. Though me, and my brother refer to her as loser whenever we talk about this anime I did feel Salia was somewhat well handled. Unlike the character of Vivian who without warning got a bigger part in the series as it went on. Also, Vivian reuniting with her mother left me emotionally void for I felt nothing in that moment. Is it too much for Cross Ange to a breather on the amount things it tries to cram into 25 episodes.
One aspect that goes underappreciated is the music in this anime. It is surprisingly good My favorite is a insert song called “Towagatari Kaze no Uta” sung by Yui Horie. I liked it enough to have in my collection. It’s not for everyone just like the next entry.
Satellite Girl and Milk Cow
Yes it’s a Korean production, but if other anime list type sites consider it an anime so will I. The appeal of Satellite Girl, and Milk Cow won’t be it’s animation. It’s jenky with its 3D animation sticking out with the sometime good, and sometime bad 2D animation. What the average person will take away from this movie is how weird it is. So you have a Satellite who falls in love with a human, a dude who turns into a Cow because of a broken heart, and Merlin the magical talking toilet paper.
This odd mixture of jenky animation, strange characters, and a odd story come together to be charming in a way. From the onset, it’s clear the animators behind this are trying to entertain the audience as their sole goal. Be it with odd occurrence in the story like a Satellite kissing a talking Cow, or a Incinerator having a bout with a sentient toilet paper. Kinda hard for me to be bored with this kind stuff happening in the movie.
Other than being weird the story is decently handle. I feel like a slightly longer runtime would have helped flesh out the romance. The movie is barely over 81 minutes so it doesn’t exactly take things steady. However, that also mean the strange allure goes away before becoming distracting.
I can’t remember how, or when I discovered the shoujo comedy anime Ultra Maniac. I’m certainly glad I did though. Back in the beginning of the year when I started the first episode it left a strange impression on me. The animation looked dated, the English dub seemed off, the characters were pretty typical, and it technical aspects all seemed weird to me. However, I was taken aback by the ending of episode when out of nowhere Nina’s father appears shouting at Nina. This was so unexpected that I burst out laughing in confusion in what I just witness. It would have ended their, but I knew this first episode was something I needed to show my brother, and he too was fascinated by it oddity too.
As I continued to watch Ultra Maniac with my brother we never found ourself bored with the anime. Every time we checked it out every episode had something memorable in it. It didn’t matter how odd it was, but what matter to us was it shaping out to be something good. Like the last entry on this list, it tackle romance in a way its intended audience can relate to. Dealing with unrequited, how one’s emotion can reach whoever their affectionate for, all the while being a coming of age story. Progressing nicely in turning one dimensional characters like Maya who was initially just the rival character into someone with more to them.
The story sense of humor was easy for me to get into either because of the strange situations the cast would get into, or the supporting cast reaction to what strange thing was happening in the episode. I don’t feel Ultra Maniac does anything outstanding in any regard since its fluffy entertainment through and through. Sometimes a series like this that’s just filled with good intentions, and effort is all I need to unwind after a long day of work.
Kamisama Kiss Season 1
Okay, so this is a late addition to the post since I finished it recently so I’ll make my thoughts on it brief. I decided to check Kamisama Kiss after reading Karandi James of 100 Word Anime review for it. Unlike the rest of my entries, this one is actually a romance comedy, and does those two things better than everything else I mentioned. Seeing the relationship develop between Tomoe, and Nanami grow is the best part of it. Dealing with aspect of love in a way that doesn’t feel melodramatic. The progression of it as both Nanami, and Tomoe figure out how to exactly sort out the feelings they have for each other prevents the relationship from being stale. There’s something about Nanami being a god, and the responsibility of it, but that doesn’t play a significant in season 1. I’m not really one for romantic comedies, but this one very good to me!
Out of all these animes I would mostly recommend you check out Kamisama Kiss since it’s the best one here. However, you can’t go wrong with any of these other ones since I’m sure you’ll have some degree of fun with them.
Wow, this ended up a lot longer than I expected it to be! I only intended to have two brief paragraphs detailing what I liked about each of of these animes. Apparently I had more to say about some of them than I thought I did. Luckily the next couple of days in my journey to complete the 12 Days of Anime are more or less planned out in my head. I’m hoping I could finish these two character appreciation pieces I have in mind on time just to shake things up a bit. We’ll find out in the coming days if I can pull it off. Until that time arrives, see you around tomorrow!
In line with heroine Otome of The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl I chose to participate in the 12 Days of Anime on a whim. Chalk it up to the fact I haven’t felt motivated to do much writing due to some offline drama. However, knowing myself if I let this opportunity to participate in 12 Days of Anime pass me by I won’t get back into this blogging thing regularly again. So, just like how Senpai just jumps into whatever crazy shenanigans in the hopes of winning Otome heart. I too shall take note of his efforts, and just jump into this 12 Days of Anime to see how I come out in the end.
Months after I’ve first seen The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl the movie remains with me. I mentioned it in my review that there’s a lot to take away from it amidst the beautiful animated chaos. Out of everything from it discussion on believing in preordain love over love based on life experience, judging things by their own merits, Senpai preventing himself from going into stalker territory when trying to win the heart of his affection, and so much more. What drives these topics, among the rest of the movie, is the simple theme of that awkward transition from teenager into adulthood. It been years since I got out of that phase, but do recall it not being pretty at all.
My experience in becoming an adult I feel is wonderfully presented by this movie many crazy antics. Just like my first time I was watching this movie. I had no clue where I was going to end up at, but I was along for the ride. Seeing myself in both Otome, and Senpai is what makes it easily noteworthy out of the animes I’ve seen this year.
Otome rushes through one event after the other experience without a desire to see anyone in particular of all the people she makes friends with. This sort of thing I don’t see touch on often in media. Usually the message would be live in the moment assuming everything else is going well for you. Sometime I find myself at the mercy at life just longing for the moment of tedium to be over. I find neither an ideal way to approach life, but then again when I reflect on this idea it’s something very common with me.
As a teenager I moved around the United States living in California, than moving to Georgia, and then finally remaining in Kansas finishing up high school. Years later I’m still moving around these same places, but add Washington on that list, and (possibly) Florida around next year. Moving around so much so frequently, sometimes multiple times within the same year doesn’t let me soak in my environment, and the people I’m surrounded by. It’s typically the thought of not wanting to be homeless over taking my mind over seeing my friends, and family. This still fluctuate even today with it being at a stand still in managing my social life, and my responsibilities.
When it comes to Senpai my relation to him is more, or less getting the girl of his dream. Before I enter my 20s, I use to think if I did a certain amount of things I’ll eventually get the girl of my dream just like Senpai would. I grew out of that mindset when I decided it was too much leaving it up to chance. It was later on in high school that eventually I gave up on that silly stuff, and figured out it’s more, or less the effort I put into dating. Of course, when it comes to the crazy things I did in the name of love Senpai is more entertaining to watch with his reaction. In my corner I’ll just passively mention that one time I kiss a dude at a gay club so my friend would introduce to a girl I liked at the time. Instead of letting my whoever is listening to my story process what I told I just on the conversation quickly.
Senpai also never takes his obsession into something creepily questionable. There’s a brief moment in the movie where he is offer a file on Otome with plenty of information about her, but he refuses to look into it. It seems like a insignificant action in the grand scheme of things, but with the way social media is anyone on the vast world of the web. Anyone can find something about me if they look hard enough. I see so many people put so much of themselves on social media that I always have to remind myself to never share everything in one place. Under wrong hands, this can lead to something you would hope never happens. Take it from me, you don’t to know one day you have a green hair stalker with a black belt in taekwondo who is infatuated with you, and knows where you live. True story by the way.
Another thing I share in common with Senpai is overthinking my situations constantly. Today for instance I questioned whether, or not I should take part in 12 Days of Anime by blogging. I kept overthinking things like my posts won’t be as interesting as other bloggers, my heart won’t be entirely in it, I might rush a few just to stay track, and whatnot. Looking at my laptop multiple time in a situation I became too familiar with. Simply thinking, not acting on my desire to write no matter how it turns out. Out of all the thoughts I had in my head what won out in the end is just go for it. For once, just stop with the methodical thinking, and brainstorm ideas like I did when I was younger.
Quickly, getting back on topic to provide a good closing for this post. With everything I can take away from The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl. What will always stick with me from it is adulthood is never going to make complete sense to me. There’ll always be something I’m confused about, there will always be some reason I get myself in some strange situations like finding frozen sea monkeys in the freezer at my job, yearning for that affection of someone significant, and finally constantly balancing myself into a better person each day.
That’ll conclude my first day in the 12 Days of Anime. I have no clue what I intend to do for the remaining 11 days. I’ve heard rumors if I don’t my best to uphold my side on this that Santa Claus himself would come at my door. Do some kicks, flips, and jump kicks for partially destroying some of the balance in the Holiday spirits. Rumors are rumors so I won’t let that scare me. Next time I don’t know what I’ll have for you all. However, seeing the aniblogging community come together to take part in this made me want to join. My alter ego is telling the tire me offline who has currently been working seven days a week at his crummy job to be festive in the community, have fun, do your best, and let’s do this!
A majority of the time I watch anime alone, but on the off chance that I don’t have led to some, um, interesting experiences. Most of these happened on a Discord server that I use to visit frequently. Nowadays I make the occasional drop in, but not as frequently as I use too. I might expand on this down the line with something more coherent, but for now I shall ramble on about something related to anime.
I can’t remember exactly how the four of us came into this agreement, but me the lord of evil Lucifer, Gintoki the New Yorker, Josuke the Australian, and I’ll refer to the last person as Chill. Our obligatory female character who wouldn’t talk agreed to watch Rainbow by Madhouse together. Before the discovery of a site called Rabbit where it’s basically a site where you can watch things in group on a single screen. Me, and the other three folks had to find the episodes of Rainbow on our own, and then all start it at the same time. I saw it on my laptop so for me to check the Discord chat I would have to quickly go into another window to read what Chill said in the text chat said, and then quickly go back to the video player to make sure I read the subtitles quickly enough. Eventually I found an easier to do both.
So during our viewing of Rainbow I, and Josuke were in the indifferent party, and we had Gintoki, and Chill who enjoyed the first episode of Rainbow. So as we continued viewing Rainbow, we became more relaxed with each other, and openly mocked some things in the series. Like in episode 2 making fun of the fact of how easy it was for the prisoners to escape from prison. Me, and Josuke also gave silly reaction when seeing this one elderly character at an orphanage. She had the face that would turn a broken mirror into dust. Gintoki then told us a bit about his background, and how he could relate to the character living in a orphanage. Something like that, can’t remember to be honest. While he’s opening up to the entire group, in the back of my mind I’m thinking “Where did this come from! I thought we were just watching anime”.
What got me, Josuke, and Gintoki the most was in a later episode of Rainbow reading the line “I’ll rape the fuck out of her”, and the three of us burst out laughing! We still quote that line whenever we bring up terrible writing in anime. Despite all this negativity surrounding her, Chill acted like the fan girl, and loved every minute of Rainbow. Yes, even the “I’ll rape the fuck out of her” line made her hate the character Ishihara (who says that line) that much more. Also during that episode, we had Naruto (his nickname) pop in one day to see what we were watching even though he had no idea what was going on. He liked the episode enough to check out the series, and it become one of his favorites. Something I still poke fun of, alongside everyone constantly bringing up a certain anime I hate.
For the first half of the anime it would basically be 50/50 in terms of what we thought. It wouldn’t be until the second half where I warmed up a little bit to it. We started not making fun of Rainbow as much for a little bit. It was strange going from poking fun of it, to taking it seriously, and then all of us, except Chill, being bored with it. Another thing we sometime did after each episode is talk about what we saw, and than babble on about random stuff. It didn’t matter how serious the anime was since the group was pretty casual with each other.
When we finally finished Rainbow, two of us didn’t like it (one of them being me), the other one thought it was alright, and finally Chill thought it was amazing. 11/10, better than water material we’re talking about here. Something this group watch provided for me is the discussion part of it. Instead of waiting for someone to eventually talk about an anime I watched either searching on a forum post, or a comment section. It was instantly there in the watchalong group, and the conversations typically ended up being more enjoyable than watching the anime themselves at times.
The watchalongs, as they were called, eventually got bigger on the Discord server, and suddenly many others wanted to join. It got messy so instead of their being one massive watchalong group there’s a couple smaller ones. I would occasionally join on some of them before everyone got busy with their personal lives. Gintoki is still busy doing New York stuff, and Josuke is finding his inner artist learning the finest painting technique to paint a mural of Australia greatest person, Crocodile Dundee. As for Chill, she’s getting some kind of degree. It would be like a few months I think before I joined in on another watchalong group because my job didn’t want to give me a day off. They love working me 8 days a week.
The next series I saw with a group was Serial Experiment Lain. In the first episode of Serial Experiment Lain, in a Rabbit group watch there was a viewer, who I’ll refer to as Naruto (he likes it a lot). Naruto had to close his eyes, and stare away from the scream because he didn’t want to see a fictional character jumping off a roof. Needless to say it trigger hims seeing that. I would have asked Naruto if he was sure if he wanted to watch the anime, but the group just continued on with it. The experience was different since everyone was talking during the damn English dub! Making it impossible to catch important details when constantly hearing “This is boring” in a chat room.
The Serial Experiment Lain watchalong wasn’t quite as fun as Rainbow, but there were a few highlights. I decided to get the series on blu-ray, and watch it at home with my bro so I knew what was going to happen before anyone else. I took joy in seeing the group’s reaction to a number of things that transpire in the series. Especially Chill shocked reaction when hearing one of the characters played with herself.
Another highlight in that watchalong would be someone who I’ll refer to as Diamond Guy who makes the comment that Lain Iwakura was ugly out of nowhere. So I blurted, or typed out the first thing that came to mind that he was checking out a little girl. I, along with some other, picked on him for that as long as we kept watching Serial Experiment Lain. The reaction, as you would expect with a group who just talked over the English dub of an anime, is that they didn’t like it, or understood it. There was a also a discussion, and the rating we would give the series afterwards. There was this one elitist wannabe who just tried too hard to trash it by having little to back himself with. Granted, I did prefer the discussion I had with my brother after watching Lain since we went pretty deep into it themes, but the discussion was fun regardless.
Another thing I saw with this same group was King of Thorn. It’s an anime movie from 2009 by studio Sunrise, and it’s about something. The story was told in a confusing manner, and what better way to experience a sloppily told story than having people talk over it. Once again, we had that one guy trying to be an elitist, and saying things aren’t making sense when he talked over dialogue explaining things he was complaining about. Like barely realizing around 20 something minutes into the movie the main character has a sister.
This viewing stands out to me all because Naruto made a brief serious remark when I said I liked a character name Katherine because she was crazy, and slapped a kid. It started with him saying “Dude, that ain’t cool”. The only response I had to that was the kid was being annoying, and that woman made him silent through that slap. It brought me great joy. However, later on in the movie when Katherine started to become more crazy I referred to her as Psycho Bitch. I jokingly kept calling her Psycho Bitch, and saying she was my favorite character in the movie for being crazy. Long story short, Naruto says “Dude, making fun of people with mental disorder ain’t cool” in a serious tone. All I could think of is “You’re taking my comment way too seriously”.
Luckily that didn’t kill the mood, and everything went back to normal. Especially me referring to Katherine as Psycho Bitch. When the movie ended everyone came to the agreement that it was a pretty mad movie, especially the clusterfuck of the climax that threw a bunch of nonsense at you. Like before, the group talked about the anime, and than simply had fun on talking about whatever came to mind. These watchalongs helped me make closer connection to these online friends I wouldn’t have otherwise. Of course it did cost me plenty of hours I could have spent sleeping, but then again I’m good enough at my job that even on a sick day I still perform better than a majority of my co-workers.
I would continue watching anime in different groups, and eventually learning more about the people who joined in. Finally receiving character development beyond one trait I recognize them for. So, where am I going with all this rambling about watching anime with other people? I really can’t say I just babbled on about random things that happened. Things at a certain point just all became a blur for me after a whilw. Maybe thinking about it in hindsight it’s anime that brought me, and other people on that Discord server together, regardless were we stand on anime.
Where did it lead me now exactly? Well, whenever possible I still chat, and check in on several people on that Discord server from time to time. Being more like a group of friends who know each other pretty well besides the fact we all like anime. My interactions in the Discord servers also led me to get invited into like over 10 Discord servers, only two of which I actually bother keeping up with. It also led me to appear in an episode of a friend’s podcast (I’m the dude with the jacket) on the Channel Gyre Media. Speaking of which, go check out his channel. He’s a pretty cool guy, with a cooler beard. He loves his My Hero Academia body pillow.
Talking, and watching anime was the introduction to meeting several of these people on Discord, and it got to a point where we can talk about anything now with each other, sometimes not even bringing up anime. It also led me to having a voice chat that went on for about 8 hours with dozens of people coming in, and leaving because of how chaotic it got. Anime, like any other form of medium, can be more than just a piece of entertainment you consume. It could be a way to make some good friends online, and offline.
Well, I guess that’s all I have to say in this series of jumble thoughts. I discarded this post three previous times because no matter what I did it didn’t come on out right to me. Felt too impersonal in a way. This post has no organization to it, but it’s more to true to how I would about talk about this with someone. I should actually end this before I go even further. So, um, keep watching anime, and talking about it. Especially that bad line of dialogue in Rainbow. Always remember that!