12 Days of Something IV: A Ranking of Anime I Want to Watch But Would Probably Regret

horizon_header_gifThere are any number of shows that I really do want to watch, but for some reason I never get around to watching. These shows are invariably terrible, but there’s just something that draws me in, but not quite.

1. Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere
2. Golden Boy
3. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
4. Evangelion 2.0 (I actually have a copy that has been sitting unwatched on a bookshelf for almost 2 years)
5. Nozaki-kun
6. Baccano
7. Log Horizon
8. Yuruyuri Season 2
9. One Outs
10. Aria the Animation
11. Code Geass R2
12. Toradora
13. Getting Hit By a Car: The Animation


14. Kill La Kill
15. Space Dandy

12 Days of Something IV: Anime Burnout the 2nd Edition

Last year as part of this series, I ran a post where I decided to write about the experience of watching as many random shows as possible in a single day until I felt burned out. So once again I will be using a random number generator to go through the catalogue of a certain large streaming site where the number of available series has increased significantly over the past year. Instead of 269 to choose from it is now 478. That number will actually be fewer that that since I will not be watching anything I have already completed, and I will be picking up from the last episode after dropping it. I’m going to need a bit of help getting back after this.

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12 Days of Something IV: 12 Years and Finding Oneself

nourin12bThe 5th of June 2002, early morning Central Time, watching a sporting event half a world away more in hope than anything else. I was on summer break from school at that point so I could afford to be awake at whatever time I wanted. The event I was watching was the United States versus Portugal match to open group play at the World Cup from Suwon, South Korea. While it’s nice enough to talk about that particular match in the context of the result and how it came to pass, I’m going to take a different angle on this.

It’s been over 12 and a half years since the match was played. Of the 28 players who took part in it, only 2 can still be considered professional players. This particular post is inspired by the 2nd youngest player that day one Landon Donovan. At the time of the tournament he was pretty much unknown to me. He had burned out at German club Bayer Leverkusen before returning to the States in ignominy and San Jose Earthquakes were basically not on my radar. Yet he had so much promise with that shrug of his after his cross was turned in for an own goal in that Portugal match. Here was the future of the national team, his age would ensure that he would be around for at least the 2014 World Cup and 2018 at a push. To think that the lasting impression of him at a World Cup would be this moment four years ago:

Now that his career is presumably over, I think I want to talk about how we as a culture can fail to take into account the emotions of public figures. After that first World Cup, there were visions that he could become that world class player that would play for massive clubs. Then as time passed, he became known as soft, misunderstood, Landycakes, not willing to put in effort and probably the worst thing that could be said in some circles, content to be in his comfort zone.

At the end of the 2012 MLS season, he went on a sabbatical from playing. He embarked on a world tour just to do whatever he wanted to do for a few months without having to worry about being a professional athlete. Among the things he did was play another game barefoot in Cambodia with a group of locals. I think I started to understand him at least a little. He wanted to play the game because it was fun and not because it was a job. Even well paid people can hate their jobs too because it can sometimes be all that they know how to do.

The best example of this I could find in anime this year was in Nourin. That is a show about an idol who retires after really finding that she lacked passion for being an idol. She goes to attend a school in the countryside that is about as far away from the popular idol lifestyle as possible. By the end, she finds herself caring about crops and the small group of friends she makes at the school more than she ever really cared about the mass of idol fans. Sometimes it just takes a little time away to realize what a person really is. I think that’s something we as a society could definitely do better.

12 Days of Something IV: On Hate Blogging Anime

Trying to drink the substance that powers terribad anime straight from the tap.

This is how at least 80% of anime bloggers manage to make it through the shows they write about.

There’s a stereotype out there that if one blogs about anime they will eventually come to hate that which they watch. Paradoxically, this also makes them more popular with readers. Now I have been doing this blogging thing off-and-on for more than six years now and I can’t really say I’ve come to hate it any more than I did at the start. Does that also explain my perpetual lack of readership to this blog more than anything else?

Writing about any sort of visual medium tends to break down into three different types in my opinion. First is the completely neutral factual approach. That would be taking the Wikipedia approach and saying something like “Sora no Method was created and written by Hisaya Naoki who also worked on Kanon while at Key.” Nothing controversial about that style, but it’s probably the most useful in general. Second is more of a constructive criticism approach along the lines of “Sora no Method is written by Hisaya Naoki and while promising at the beginning fails to live up to the standard of his past works.” That’s pretty straightforward as well, but it can seem a little too forgiving of a series where a reader might be looking for a black or white opinion. Finally, there’s the full on advocacy/hatred angle which would look like “Sora no Method is yet another fantastic show from former Key writer Hisaya Naoki that will appeal to everyone who has taste/Sora no Method is yet another crap work written by Hisaya Naoki since he learned from Satan incarnate Maeda Jun.” That last approach will appeal to a larger audience than any of the others for the simplicity. It also does not make it any less valid a way of making a point either. If a writer loves/hates/is mixed about a show, they can go whatever direction they want.

So when it comes to shows that have been covered by myself over the years, I’ve been largely neutral with a few exceptions. For instance, when I wrote about Koichoco a few years back, I really did not like the show by the end of it. I really wanted it to be better the whole time, but it let me down. I still felt that the experience of watching it and the fun challenge I had in writing one particular post left me feeling that I was a better viewer for having watched it. So I hedged a bit on the opinion and probably felt that I didn’t convey my thoughts on the whole show with a sufficient edge to reflect how much I did not like it after all.

To conclude this particular post, I will just answer my own questions. Do anime bloggers hate the anime they watch? A good number do and probably feel pressure to continue watching those shows because they get the most views/comments from readers. Does that make them more popular because they hate them? I would argue instead that they are better able to reflect an opinion that many people hold, so it draws readers to them. Does my lack of loving/hating certain anime make me less popular? It clearly does not since while I can start writing hate posts about Kill La Kill or Space Dandy all I want, my opinion does not hold much weight, nor am I really putting that much work into expressing a contrary opinion.

12 Days of Something IV: Ipswich Town and Hidden Power Levels

This was a long time ago and I once thought it could be a regular fixture.

This was a long time ago and I once thought it could be a regular fixture.

I’m a person who is generally in two different camps of fandom. For most people in the anime group, I think that ends up being anime and some form of gaming. For me seeing as the title of this blog is Lower Mid-Table, that has always been anime and football of the association variety. (Note: I generally just call it football on my own, but I let context of conversation determine whether I go for soccer or not. I’m not against calling it soccer by any means.) I’m going to date myself very heavily here and say that I really started getting into it around the turn of the millennium.

One of the things that really makes someone get into this particular sport is to pick a team. The English Premier League was about the only league that even had a highlights package airing in the US at the time, while MLS games at the time were played in sparsely attended giant stadiums with the exception of Columbus. With newly-promoted Ipswich Town  putting up a challenge for a Champions League place in 2000-01, they seemed like a fun team to choose. How I sometimes wish I had chosen differently!

What followed the next season was a few rounds in the then UEFA Cup, getting knocked out by Inter Milan, and ending the season in the bottom three. But you know what, I was invested in this fandom enough to want to really be involved anyway. Reading about winning the title in the club’s first ever season in the top flight, the FA and UEFA Cup wins, even being on the wrong end of the biggest defeat in the Premier League were facts I had to absorb.

All in all, it’s proven to be a decent conversation starter with people I’ve met from or in the UK, or why there would be a person at an anime convention wearing an Ipswich Town shirt. As the sport has become more popular over here, it’s become much easier to talk about with every day people. Being supported by major broadcasters at times of the day when people are normally wake helps with that thing. The only point of embarrassment that comes from talking about my own fandom is mentioning that the club I support has been stuck in the second tier for 13 years and having to explain promotion and relegation to some groups of new American supporters of clubs that will never be in danger of not playing in the Premier League.

In contrast, there’s anime fandom. One must always suppress power levels or whatever that bullshit is called. At least in the US, I would safely say that more people watch some anime than watch any soccer. Yet, the idea of liking it has this perception that it must be carefully revealed only to other fans. There’s at least 2.5% of the population here that is staying up late on Saturday nights to watch, but it seems to be stuck in only willing to be underground.

I say all of this because I really just want to be able to express who I really am in public. I don’t think the consequences of doing so will be terrible other than possibly losing my job, but even if that wasn’t a problem I probably would keep it hidden. It shouldn’t just be a realm of socially isolated college students and dicks who harass people on Twitter. I would like it more mainstream, that’s all.

On Fun After 6 Years

There haven’t been many posts by me recently. The main reason for that comes down to the whole idea of having fun. If I’m not having fun with whatever I’m watching it will definitely come through like that on the post. I will be perfectly honest in saying that I’m not having very much fun recently. This particular blog, like almost all of the things I am involved with in my everyday life has always been a solo project. I think all of that has really started to take a toll on me recently. Work hasn’t been fun1 and everything else has sort of felt like work. I keep telling myself “just get to the end of November and everything will be fine,” but will it?

Rather than wasting more of your time on personal issues that none of you care about2, I’m going to go the anime contrarian/hipster3 route and talk about some of the shows this season that you are not watching. Continue reading

The Problem of Meh

inobato02aI’ve run into a little problem with the current slate of shows and I can only really briefly describe it in this one sentence: Despite the crop of shows this season being considered to be solid by the vast majority of people I talk to, I cannot bring myself to say anything other than “meh” about this season. I’m well aware that it is early days yet, but having casually dismissed the most popular and well-received of this season’s shows has only led to yet another bout of questioning exactly where I am in terms of the medium.

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The Lost Backlog of Summer 2014 #13: Vividred Operation

vo02aSeeing as I had no confidence in the summer season, I decided to invent a backlog of shows to watch from one of three different areas. The thirteenth and final anime on this list was Vividred Operation, which aired in the winter of 2013. I had previously watched the first and sixth episodes of this anime before in the course of dropping it twice. I watched the show over a period of a week, and these are my thoughts on it.

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The Lost Backlog of Summer 2014 #12: Meganebu!

meganebu03aSeeing as I had no confidence in the summer season, I decided to invent a backlog of shows to watch from one of three different areas. The twelfth anime on this list was Meganebu!, which aired in the fall of 2013. I had previously watched the first two episodes of this anime before dropping it. I watched the show over a period of a two days, and these are my thoughts on it. Continue reading

The Lost Backlog of Summer 2014 #11: Mawaru Penguindrum

mpd03aSeeing as I had no confidence in the summer season, I decided to invent a backlog of shows to watch from one of three different areas. The eleventh anime on this list was Mawaru Penguindrum, which aired in the summer of 2011. I had previously watched the only the last episode back in a strange period for this blog. I watched the show over a period of a few days, and these are my thoughts on it.

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The Lost Backlog of Summer 2014 #10: Natsume Yuujinchou

By request, this week’s post will feature GIFs

Seeing as I had no confidence in the summer season, I decided to invent a backlog of shows to watch from one of three different areas. The tenth anime on this list was Natsume Yuujinchou, which aired in the summer of 2008. I had previously watched the first episode during last year’s random show watch. I marathoned the first season of the show, and these are my thoughts on it.

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The Lost Backlog of Summer 2014 #8: Chihayafuru

Chihayfuru25aSeeing as I had no confidence in the summer season, I decided to invent a backlog of shows to watch from one of three different areas. The eighth show on this list was Chihayafuru, a show that aired in the fall of 2011 and I dropped after viewing all of one episode of the series. I marathoned it, and these are my thoughts on the series.

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The Lost Backlog of Summer 2014 #7: Black Bullet

bbullet13aSeeing as I had no confidence in the summer season, I decided to invent a backlog of shows to watch from one of three different areas. The seventh show on this list was Black Bullet a show that began airing this past spring and that I had never attempted to watch because I thought I would drop it. I marathoned it, and these are my thoughts on the series.

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The Lost Backlog of Summer 2014 #5: Nurarihyon no Mago

nnm14aSeeing as I had no confidence in the summer season, I decided to invent a backlog of shows to watch from one of three different areas. The fifth show on this list was Nurarihyon no Mago (or given the terribad licensed title of Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan…really?!) a show that aired in the summer of 2010 and dropped after viewing all of one episode of the series. I marathoned it, and these are my thoughts on the series.

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The Lost Backlog of Summer 2014 #3: The Severing Crime Edge

crimeedge05aSeeing as I had no confidence in the summer season, I decided to invent a backlog of shows to watch from one of three different areas. The third show on this list was The Severing Crime Edge a show that aired in the spring of 2013, and was a show that I had previously dropped. I went back and marathoned it, and these are my thoughts on it.

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The Lost Backlog of Summer 2014 #2: Paradise Kiss

parakiss03aSeeing as I had no confidence in the summer season, I decided to invent a backlog of shows to watch from one of three different areas. Second on this list was Paradise Kiss a show that aired in the fall of 2005 on Noitamina, and was a show that I had previously dropped. I went back and marathoned it, and these are my thoughts on it.

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The Lost Backlog of Summer 2014 #1: Simoun

simoun26aSeeing as I had no confidence in the summer season, I decided to invent a backlog of shows to watch from one of three different areas. First up is Simoun, a series that aired back in the spring and summer of 2006, and was a show that I had previously dropped. I went back and marathoned it, and these are my thoughts on it.

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The Summer Anime Season Preview That Embraces Nihilism

This guy also saw the Summer anime lineup.

I’m about finished with all of the spring shows and I can’t help but feel I’m witnessing the slow death of the medium. Maybe I’m just getting to familiar with shows doing the same stuff over and over again. Then I finally got around to glancing at the shows that will be airing in the summer. I now believe there is no intrinsic value in the modern world.

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No Game No Life and the Social Contract

ngnl08a

In watching recent episodes of No Game No Life, I’ve come to understand a component of the series as a different sort of thought exercise than I imagined it could possibly present going in. In my mind, the series has become a much bigger social commentary than one would expect about a pair of NEET siblings who happen to be unstoppable at any sort of game. At the center is one basic question: how much should the social contract that holds society together be valued?

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Pointless Debate #41: The Joy of Quitting: When It’s Time to Cut Your Losses and Move On

 

Actual animation in anime is overrated

Actual animation in anime is overrated

Back in January with the sole purpose of expressing just how much I did not like the first episode of Space Dandy, I thought it would be funny if I could go through the entire calendar year with that being the only show I dropped. That was a terrible idea, and as one who tends to lack perspective on most things I needed a reminder. Fortunately, Freakonomics Radio chose to re-broadcast their episode on quitting. Which reminded me of how I made this terrible mistake to begin with. I got caught up in trying to make a dumb point about a show I didn’t like.

The name of this post (minus the Pointless Debate portion obviously) was derived from an idea for a panel I had for conventions. Now, the whole idea of me standing in front of a bunch of people telling them to not watch something in the middle of a commercial event devoted to people who watch it seemed rather absurd. Also, knowing how Baka-Raptor’s attempt at stand-up comedy at the closest thing to a local convention for me went, I just couldn’t pull the trigger. So instead, you get a blog post with a sample of some things I would have hypothetically said in front of the 3 people who went to my panel so they could use a room to eat on a Sunday afternoon before the organizers pulled the plug on me for spreading propaganda.

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