Another year, another megadose of vitamin weeb. All thanks to an inexplicable desire to be the kind of man who has watched "too much" anime. As in a startling amount of anime. A quantity of anime that would elicit inquiries of clarification and gasps of horror and concern. I've only been at this the last three years though, so I couldn't stop now even if I wanted to. I don't even have all of the max level badges on MALgraph…
And I'm no premature quitter, unless you're talking about real-life obligations and professional work…because who's got time for that? Seriously.
Before I get too far into this, I want to mention that I've put together two playlists on Youtube: One for Anime Video Essays and one for my Favorite Anime Songs. Both lovingly curated to contain only the highest quality anime-centric ruminations and ear-tickling delights I've have the pleasure of experiencing.
I'm a big fan of the documentary and by extension the video essay. I love when a video can articulate things I hadn't thought about, or disentangle the jumbled thoughts I've had but couldn't unravel on my own. As I've gotten deeper into this anime quest I've grown more interested in seeking out videos about anime, hence the video essay playlist was born. Check it out, it's becoming quite the beast!
As for the music playlist, what can I say? My taste is impeccable. Enjoy these hot anime jams. You're welcome.
Oh, and it would be remiss of me to not mention the Anime Buttholes project! (also on Tumblr) Can't forget that. It's a collection of the finest posteriorly located + and x's I've thus far witnessed. Safe For Work, in case you were wondering. This ain't no smut stash, good heavens.
Anyway, About That Anime…
So, my first endeavor of the year was to watch all of Dragon Ball. Yes. That's 444 episodes between the original and Dragon Ball Z, 19 movies, and all but a handful of specials and other things. There were those who said I was crazy - CRAZY! - to watch the uncut DBZ with all of its protracted battles and filler, over the more sensibly-paced Dragon Ball Kai, but I wanted the authentic DBZ experience that everyone else got back in the day. Six-episode power-up sequences and all.
Overall I found the series enjoyable with the adventures of young Goku in Dragon Ball being my favorite part. It was by far the most interesting and the most fun, as everything was fresh and the growth in each characters fighting ability was clear. Things were simpler. A powerful attack didn't mean the planet - or the entire solar system - was going to be destroyed…just a car..or a house…or an arena…and everything around it…or maybe the moon. Several times it was the moon. And also whenever this music started playing I knew it was time to get hype. Bottom line: it was good and I'm ready to watch Dragon Ball Super now…once the English dub airs.
After DBZ I watched Naruto and Naruto Shippuden, but with these I opted to watch them sans-filler, since they're both nearly half filler. That's insane. There are basically entire seasons worth of filler. Years of filler. DBZ's 15% is meager by comparison. That aside, not much to say other than I really enjoyed the story in general and the fight scenes. There was a fluidity to the animation and a physicality to the moves that was great. And, particularly with Shippuden, it developed into quite the sweet and sentimental show, with plenty of strong emotional moments. It had a lot of heart and hope.
I also watched some Pokémon as planned in last year's anime update. Pokémon: Origins was…not good, to say the least. The whole concept of Pokémon just seems so weird. That's not why Origins was bad, but seriously, how is it that Team Rocket catching a Pokémon with a net is cruel, yet a kid fighting a Pokémon to physically weaken it so he can trap it in a ball totally fine? Or the idea that Giovanni and his Team Rocket henchmen would Pokébattle a child instead of just escorting him out of the building. He's a child. Also what are 11-year-olds doing backpacking it through forests, alone, in search of magical monsters? Not to mention all the property damage the kids cause and never have to deal with. Where are the police and parents during all this? Where's child protective services?
Oh and I also initiated the dark ritual that is watching my first idol anime, Love Live! A show where Dr.Drew Pinsky helps a group of high school girls with their relationship problems. No wait, a show about a group of high school girls becoming a pop singer group thinger. What I found out is that Love Live! is surprisingly funny. Funnier than I expected it to be, and with a good sense of comedic timing. Bottom Line: Love Live! is good. Well, the first season, at least.
In an attempt to get more sports anime into my system I watched the Initial D and all of the subsequent D's. It's no secret, but still, that series has some of the derpiest faces I've ever seen. The whole cast just looks so weird. In the face area, specifically. It's a whole cast of minimally-animated nightmares. Still it's a fantastic series and highly watchable. It's the sort of show that begs to be binge-watched. I'm sure the Eurobeat soundtrack is a big part of that, it just fits so well, and has the right amount of energy.
I also branched out from the Japanime and watched some stuff from Korea and China. Specifically Daisy: A Hen Into The Wild, There She Is!!, Water Brain, and One Hundred Thousand Bad Jokes, with Daisy being my favorite of the bunch. The imitation End of Evangelion ending song in 100,000 Bad Jokes was a delight, I must say.
And back over in the things from Japan bucket, I need to mention You Are Umasou, which was the cutest. No really, the cutest.
Fighting In The Danger:
Sometime around the start of August I decided it was time to watch anime like it's 1999 and put together a special list of older OVAS and movies. Particularly those that reveled in dark and violent themes. There are some real gore flicks in the list; I'm talkin' limbs severed, heads exploded, eyeballs expelled from their sockets, intestines squeezed out of orifices, and boobs being torn off and eaten like a snack. Yeesh.
Not to mention an abundance of tits, an obsession with psychokinesis, seizure-inducing light flashes, naked knife fights, mouth lasers, and teeth found in places you aren't supposed to have teeth. It's basically what teenage Hamst3r's anime list would have looked like if I had more interest in and better access to anime at the time.
I dubbed this my VHS playlist.
It's a mixed list, featuring plenty of revered series like Bubblegum Crisis, The Guyver, and Devilman, but also some reviled ones, such as Apocalypse Zero, Dark Cat, and Butt Attack Punisher Girl. Of particular note I'd like to mention that Dagger of Kamui is hella boss, Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle & Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture are way better than they have any right to be, and Crying Freeman is so stupid it's awesome.
There's certainly a lot of enjoyment to be found in this period of anime, so I'll certainly be adding more to the VHS List as I dig through the anime archives.
Ending In The Third Dimension:
Is everybody ready? Do you all have your…3-D GLASSES!? *
* 3D glasses not available in all areas
To finish up here, I'd like to say that I think 3D CG animation is A-OK. It's true. I'm even okay with very low-budget "It looks like a Flash animation" style anime, but that's a different topic. To clarify, when I say 3D CG I don't just mean shows where they've rendered the guns, or cars, or background characters in CG, although I'm okay with that too. I mean the entire show - or at least most of it - is rendered. I'm truly excited to see the improvements in visual quality and animation techniques as, presumably, more shows get made this way. So I'm going to wrap this shit up with a few 3D CG anime recommendations:
Tesagure! Bukatsumono. A good show that I think is wildly under-appreciated. It's your usual high school kids sitting around in a high school club setting, but the thing that sets it apart are the genuinely funny ad-libbed dialogue segments. About halfway through any episode you'll hear this Law & Order gavel sound, at which point the girls' discussion become distinctly more realistic in its flow. It's like you're suddenly listening to a Japanese podcast. Perhaps the best way to demonstrate this is to share a clip:
On top of that are some of the best recap episodes I've ever seen in a show. Like, episode 2 of season 3 where they reenact the events of prior seasons as musical numbers, and the results are fantastic.
There's also Ajin: Demi-Human and Knights of Sidonia from Polygon Pictures, both enjoyable shows in my book. As well as the 2012-2013 movie adaptations of Berserk, which honestly I enjoyed just as much as the 1997 series. The 3rd movie, "The Advent" even surpassing the series in my book.
Lastly, a quick shout out for Wooser's Hand-to-Mouth Life. Not only does Wooser have some sick ass dance moves, but his voice is pretty sexy too. That's really the only criteria I judge my yellow rabbit-like creatures by.
Anyway, this post could go on for hours, but it's probably best kept short. This isn't a dissertation. With that, let's close this blog out with some numbers!
Some stats from my 2016 anime rampage:
- 68 TV Series.
- 51 Movies.
- 78 OVA.
- 05 ONA.
- 24 Specials.
- 00 Music.
First of the Year: Rurouni Kenshin: Trust and Betrayal
Last of the Year: Art of Fighting
Longest series: Dragon Ball series (444 episodes, 19 movies, 5 specials, 2 OVAs) *
* It would be the Naruto series if I didn't skip the filler.
- · Gintama° (2015)
- · Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma
- · Initial D (First - Fifth Stage)
- · Fist of the North Star 2
- · Pokemon: Origins
- · Bananya
- · She and Her Cat
- · Sekkou Boys
Tearjerkers / Made Me Cry The Most:
- · Gintama° (2015)
- · You Are Umasou
- · Daisy: A Hen into the Wild
- · Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
Biggest Surprises / Didn't Think I'd Like That:
- · Love Live!
- · Dragon Ball
- · Chi's Sweet Home
Most Disappointing / The Hype Is A Lie:
- · Eureka Seven
- · KonoSuba: God's Blessing on This Wonderful World!
- · Casshern Sins
Started but not finished in 2016:
- · Chi's Sweet Home 2016
- · Haikyuu!!
- · MILPOM
- · Naruto Shippuden (Watched up to ep. 479)
- · Nyanbo!
- · Onara Gorou
- · Seitokai Yakuindomo (SYD)
- · Ushio and Tora
I Watched It Because I Heard It Was Bad:
- · Armageddon
- · Art of Fighting
- · Apocalypse Zero
- · Battle Arena Toshinden
- · Black Lion
- · Butt Attack Punisher Girl
- · California Crisis
- · Genocyber
- · Legend of Lemnear
- · MD Geist
- · Ninja Gaiden
- · Ninja Resurrection
- · Psycho Diver
- · Tekken
- · Violence Jack
I also watched some great Not-Anime:
- · Voltron: Legendary Defender
- · Bojack Horseman: Season 3
- · Gravity Falls: Season 2
- · World of Tomorrow (which is good, but seriously watch It's Such A Beautiful Day)
- · Kubo and the Two Strings
- · The Little Prince
Series of Particular Note / Did You Watch ____________?! (this year)
Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad
Birdy The Mighty Decode
Cyber City Oedo 808
Dagger of Kamui
Dominion Tank Police
Dragon Ball (So much Dragon Ball…)
Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works - Season 2
Ghost Stories (dub)
Goku: Midnight Eye 1 & 2
Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable
Mad Bull 34
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit
Psycho-Pass 2 + Psycho-Pass Movie
Space Patrol Luluco
The Guyver (1989 + 1991)
The Seven Deadly Sins
The Swiss Family Robinson
Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou
Twilight of the Dark Master
You're Being Summoned, Azazel Z
Yuki Yuna is a Hero
Full list here: Hamst3r's MyAnimeList
So that's it, my anime viewing experience of 2016. What's next? I guess I should probably watch more Haikyuu. Those Kizumonogatari movies. The Aria series. Space Brothers. One Piece. Kingdom. Girls und Panzer. Soul Eater.
As well as more of them older shows such as the World Masterpiece Theater stuff, Galaxy Express 999, Space Pirate Captain Harlock, Slam Dunk, Macross, and Gundam. Speaking of which, I did in fact watch the first 3 Gundam movies and thought they were alright.
Man, there's still so much anime out there, and I need to go watch one that starts with a Q, one that starts with an X, and one that starts with a Z now, so I'll see you next January!
P.S. This fan-made Evangelion trailer is pretty great: