If you missed it a couple years back, there was an anime that came out called Golden Kamuy, adapted from a historical fiction manga by the same name. I ended up missing out when it came around the anime circuit but at the behest of a friend, I decided to give the manga a shot. Boy howdy, am I glad I did. This series is a really interesting story set in a unique backdrop filled with history and intrigue.
Set after the Russo-Japanese War at the beginning of the 20th century, Golden Kamuy is about a Japanese veteran of the war, Saichi “Immortal” Sugimoto, meagerly getting by through gold panning when he stumbles across a secret story about a lost treasure. After finding a native Ainu girl, Asirpa, whose family was killed for the very same treasure, the two team up to find it, facing off against escaped convicts, soldiers, and many more to find the reward. The trouble is, the only “map” to their reward was split into multiple pieces, each one tattooed onto escaped convicts that need to be tracked down in order to solve the puzzle.
I’m not entirely sure why on a blog called “The Backloggers” it’s taken us a good five years or so to get a post series going about chipping away at our backlogs. Well, now we can’t say that we haven’t done it – this post marks the beginning of a series I’m dubbing “Backlog Busting,” where we, obviously, write about stuff on our backlog that we’ve recently knocked off the list (whether that means we completed it and loved it, ended up dropping it because it was surprisingly bad, or anything else in-between). As hilarious as it could have been to start this series out by talking about some hot garbage from deep in the backlog, I can pretty happily say that this post is about an absolute banger – Kamisama Kiss.
Okay, so Welcome to the N.H.K. might not have been the best choice for our last podcast, given the whole, you know, staying inside and existential dread thing. This time around, though, I don’t think we could have gotten a better show! We watched Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori, a heartwarming show about four dudes running a teahouse/cafe. If that sounds like a chill show with not much going on, you would be absolutely correct, and my god, did we need it.
Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori, having come out in 2018, is a show that all three of us didn’t even know existed, and we are here to atone for that crime. Even though the premise is simple and easy to digest, the show has a lot of layers, and we dig deep into them! Tofu gets in way too deep about food as narrative and narrative as food (it’s a show about a cafe, bro, chill), we have a surprisingly fruitful comparison of Rokuhoudou and Isekai Shokudou, and Kyle almost ends everyone by conjuring the ghostly image of a shonen food battle anime that uses Gatorade in all of its meals. Yeah, it’s a surprising amount of mileage on this one, so check it out!
It’s what I continuously say season after season when another discourse comes to light within the anime community. I don’t think it would necessarily be a problem if the discussions were fruitful and people were more understanding, a problem that I talked about back when responding to Irina’s article several months ago. That’s not to say that I think discourse is invalid or that I think that people shouldn’t be discussing how they feel about a particular show, but there’s a limit as to how you should do it and treating your debate partners with respect and understanding while doing so.
Okay, folks – it’s here. It’s week seven, and all shows have at this point finally hit the middle of their cour, which can only mean one thing. It’s time for a mid-season ranking post!
I want to treat this post a little differently than the ones I’ve put together so far – I’m going to be giving a look at each show that I’m still watching this season and rank them according to…criteria. Magic stuff. You know. We’ll start from the bottom and progressively work our way to the top of my list for this season. I hope you’re ready, because, uh, I’m not.
Putting together a ranking for the shows I’m still watching has proved to be a genuinely grueling task. While I initially felt that it would be a simple task, once I got past the bottom two, the reality of the situation set in pretty hard when I found my list constantly switching shows around to hugely different positions. I think, however, that I’ve finally hit a spot I’m comfortable with, so join me, won’t you?
Well, folks, here we are almost at the halfway point of the Summer 2020 season. This just feels…weird. The middle of a season always seems to creep up on me, and it always feels as though it gets here so much faster than anyone would really expect it to. And as a teacher, it took me by surprise even more than usual, since I’m preparing to be back in the classroom in a handful of days. However, I am pleased to say that everything I’ve stuck with has yet to really disappoint me, even this deep into the season. This week, as with last week, I’m going to highlight a few series that I want to give some special attention to. Check ‘em out!
I’ve never gotten into Super Sentai style shows and manga outside of Power Rangers as a kid, and Gatchaman Crowds’ wonderful story and absolutely brilliant theme song. However, of the ones I’ve happened to catch, this is one of my personal favorites. A twist on the Super Sentai-style genre, Hero-San and Former General-San is a story about two unlikely women falling in love. After defeating the hero, Rapid Rabbit, and forcing Rabbit to transform back into her regular self, Honjou Hayate, the evil Antinoid general sent to destroy humanity immediately gets the hots for her nemesis. Unwilling to kill Hayate, the general, Honey Trap, runs away back to base, upon which the evil leader X fires Honey for not doing her job and sends an assassin to finish her off. By happenstance, Hayate finds Honey and nurses her back to health. Falling deeper in love and pissed at being fired, the ex-general joins forces with the hero and fights against her old employer.
In the past two weeks of Re:Zero, we’ve seen two perspectives of confronting the past regarding how Subaru and Emilia handle their own issues. While we still don’t have the full details of Emilia’s situation (although we can make assumptions at this point with some of the backstories from the OVAs), there is no doubt that they’ve both had their own troubles and issues when it comes to how their past selves have handled particular situations.
Looking back to Season 1, we’ve had a large overview of Subaru’s mentality regarding how self-righteous and selfish he was when it came to trying to fulfill his own desires and wants, to the point where it took several episodes in order for him to get knocked out of that mentality due to the hardships he faced at the time. While we still see bits of that shine through Subaru’s personality now, he’s obviously undergone a full transformation thanks to those hardships as well. By looking at Episode 29, we can get a lot more context about Subaru’s past life before he was isekai’d off into the universe of Re:Zero as we know it.
Looking back on the rotation of shows we have on the docket for this podcast, it might not have been the best idea to watch Welcome to the N.H.K., a show about a hikikomori who can hardly leave his home due to crippling anxiety and depression, during a time where we can all hardly leave our homes, which is leading us to crippling anxiety and depression. Life comes at you fast, huh?
Despite the fact that the premise of Welcome to the N.H.K. is for sure a huge bummer, it’s a genuinely beautiful series that’s able to balance out its crushing moments of despair with some excellently punctuated comedy, and realistic, no-bs moments of genuine, heartwarming hope. There’s many reasons that people consider the show to be a masterpiece and a classic, and by the end of our discussion, we 100% agree. You might not want to watch it while we’re all quarantined and a little more on edge than normal, but then again, maybe this is the perfect time to watch it. Regardless of when, all we ask of you is that you absolutely do watch Welcome to the N.H.K. (And also listen to our podcast about it. You’re already here!)
I think we’ve lucked out in the seasonal anime department, y’all, because this is going to be another week where pretty much everything was rock-solid. While it would be fun as always to briefly highlight everything I watched, I think it would be more fun to switch things up a bit for this post, though, and focus on just a handful of shows that were really on point this week. So without further ado, let’s dig in!