Category: Commentary

Top 10 Anime of the 2010s

Top 10 Anime of the 2010s

The 2010s were a major decade for myself personally and solidified my anime fandom as a permanent fixture in my life going into adulthood. Early in the decade I started this blog (and actually updated it), hosted a podcast, and got as deep into the fandom as I could stomach… and emotionally barely survived the experience. The second half of the decade I unfortunately pulled back on writing but dedicated myself to creating compelling content for anime conventions. Now moving into the 2020s I hope to continue my work on anime and the fandom in some way weather it is return to this blog,  finally start to create videos, or simply keep traveling to Japan and getting lost in the woods and eaten by a yokai; whatever form that takes, I’m happy that anime is an unshakable foundation of my life even as life takes me to unexpected places and my goals change over time. 

So here is my list of the Top 10 anime of the 2010s: 

10. Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011)

Madoka Magica exploded on the scene in 2011 to an unsuspecting audience. The animation was beautiful and the enemies, created using a cutout-craft style of art, were a refreshing change to the art style of Japanese animation at the start of the decade. Madoka Magica was a standard Magical Girl show with a slightly dark twist until the third episode where one of the main characters is brutally killed and the show truly begins. What was set up as a show about a magical girl destroying bad feelings starts to peel back the layers to reveal more and more of the secret world hiding just beyond our sight. Even the most veteran Magical Girls didn’t realize what their actions were truly contributing too and the most horrifying realization is that the system they are perpetuating is unchangeable. A powerful witch would appear. Our heroes will die. The powerful conclusion was delayed by the horrible Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster and when the show returned the sacrifices of Madoka and the hope she brought to a world on the brink of collapse was a welcome message after a natural disaster shook Japan to its very core. Many attempts have been made to emulate the series but few have come close to mirroring the elements that made the show a triumph. 

Continue reading “Top 10 Anime of the 2010s”
I wish Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory came out nine years ago

I wish Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory came out nine years ago

Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory comes about nine years too late. That isn’t to say the story isn’t compelling and that I don’t appreciate them finally picking up exactly where it left off. There is a lot of like about the new chapter of Full Metal Panic, especially as they detach from the formula established in the original and Segura goes off on his own. I’m thrilled that the show exists but I can’t help but wonder why it exists. The last Full Metal Panic! anime came out in 2005 and while there have been a steady stream of light novels and manga released in Japan the anime has all but fallen out of the mind of the American anime fan. Sitting here in the year 2018 where memes are passed around that claim “Kill la Kill” is old school, I find it hard to believe that fans younger than thirty are going to care about an anime that came out in 2002. So how large of an audience can the new Full Metal Panic have? At the time of posting Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory is sitting at about 54th on the Crunchyroll popularity ranking.

Continue reading “I wish Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory came out nine years ago”

On love and Ice Skating

On love and Ice Skating

Yuri on ice was an immediate hit last season for a lot of good reasons. The characters were empathic and well thought out, the ice skating animation was gorgeous, and hints at a homosexual relationship in an otherwise standard sports anime lit a fire inside fans eager to see that narrative played in something that wasn’t pornography or boys love. But Yuri on Ice goes beyond just a normal love story between two men. It’s about people passionate about the sport they have decided to dedicate every waking moment of their lives too.

The core of what Yuri on Ice is about can be seen in the very first episode, the catalyst of the story where Victor decides to drop everything and go to Japan to train Yuri. Yuri has been studying Victor for years, attempting to follow in his footsteps. He has followed his career and even got the same type of dog as Victor. Yuri very much has built his career as  a figure skater, his entire life, after Victor. screenshot-2017-01-22-12-35-19

When Victor saw Yuri skating he wasn’t just watching another skating copying one of his routines. He was watching someone who had studied that routine with passion and who was recreating it out of pure love for the art form and for the person who had developed it: Victor. Up to that point Yuri was a talented skater but he lacked a goal, he lacked passion. Yet when he wasn’t competing, when he performed alone for his friends on that ice rink he preformed a master level routine with elegance and style.

Continue reading “On love and Ice Skating”

Two years later

Two years later

I started my Anime blog in 2010 for a couple reasons. I had run a few blogs over the last couple years but I wanted to focus on write longer pieces and try to build an audience around it. I choose anime because that was one of my consistent hobbies for ten years previously. I set up the website, I looked for people on twitter to follow, and I made a big deal about entering the aniblogging space.

Otaku in review was never a huge success but I got reactions from the right people. People I respected in the anime community came out and complimented my work. I became a known quantity in the space. I started to collaborate with some of the biggest names in Anime blogging. I mark the work I did at the time as the highlight of my professional career, despite never earning a dime from any of it. I cherish every single episode of the podcast and every single blog post I ever wrote. Then I stopped. One day I just said that it was enough. I put everything on the shelf and I walked away.

yuri-on-ice-new-trailer.pngThere are many reasons why I walked away. Most don’t have to do with any negative experience that I had. Simply put, I was completely burnt out on anime. At the time new anime had entered a dry period after an extreme high point. I was getting tired of just writing and talking about anime. As I started to feel burned out I started to spend time on other hobbies, such as American cartoons and comics. I didn’t feel like I could write about those things on the site I created. Finally, I wanted more free time because my job took up a lot of time and energy. I wanted to enjoy my hobbies without having to critique them.

Continue reading “Two years later”

I must destroy that which I love

Honestly, when I started my anime blog and podcast in 2010 I really didn’t know what to expect. I thought I would write about Cartoons, then talk about them on the Podcast. I figured people who liked anime would listen, everyone would get along great. It was extremely quickly that I realized that it wasn’t that simple.

There is an underlying problem in anime fandom: There is so much anime. I’ve written about this a hundred times but I keep coming back to it because it remains a barrier to new fans who attempt to come into the medium. Fans looking for an action show, they get turned off by the fans who watch high school romances. Fans of high school romances quickly get turned off by the people who are obsessed with science fiction. The fans who skirt the line and try to be “anime fans,” fans of the medium at large, are few and far between. I remain one of those fans, I simply watch the things that look interesting to me. I go from Kill la Kill, to Cowboy Bebop, and back to Toradora. I did not expect the in fighting and drama that followed.

The biggest was the complete paranoia of Moe fans who, at the time, were just coming up as the most vocal group in the fandom and many of them fight attacked from anime fans who didn’t like little girl cartoons. There were thousands of words written about how Anime News Network was a biased cesspool that wanted to destroy Moe because they prefer other shows.

Continue reading “I must destroy that which I love”

Food Wars: Why can’t anime be accessible?

I decided to watch the first two episodes while on the treadmill in the gym. I thought it would be safe, an anime that I might not be embarrassed to watch in public. But the trend of shocking the audience to grip them with the first episode has entered an exaggerated stage with Food Wars. Only a few minutes into the episode Soma offers a disgusting dish he created, Peanut Butter octopus, to one of his friends. The visual representation the show uses to describe the feeling is the woman girl being raped by tentacles. Almost immediately a show that’s presence should help break into mainstream made itself completely inaccessible. It took minutes.

Continue reading “Food Wars: Why can’t anime be accessible?”

The Problem with Fandom: Cultural Echo Chamber

Culture is a word I haven’t used much when talking about media, which is odd because no better word exists when discussing art and entertainment. We are all consumers of culture. We all give back to culture. Culture is defined by what people choose to consume and what they choose to ignore. It is used to define groups of people who consume a certain type of media that detracts from the mainstream: sub-culture. These are cultures that exist inside the larger cultural body. They are in ways isolated from normal culture but what they consume and create also gives back to the main culture as a whole.

Members of subcultures become blind to the fact that they are part of a subculture. There are a couple of key factors that lead into this kind of thinking. The chief among them is they start spending so much time and energy living in the subculture that they start to believe that everyone else thinks like they do. This happens, especially in the age of the internet, because the deeper they dive into the subculture the more they find and interact with people who think the way they do. This cements them into the subculture, gives them a feeling that they belong, and establishes a world view based around the subculture. Giving people a sense of community is great! But what this breeds is group think; the community becomes an echo chamber because the members of the community are surrounded by the people most likely to agree with them.

Continue reading “The Problem with Fandom: Cultural Echo Chamber”