Spring 2021 in Review

This past anime season, counting holdovers from the Winter 2021 season, I watched 26 anime. Of those, I completed 22. Normally, we at the Backloggers would do an end-of-season podcast covering a select few shows in the hopes that we can get some good discussion for those handful of titles and not have a days-long episode on our hands. However, with our sort-of-official-but-not-really-announced two-month-long anti-burnout blog hiatus, we didn’t exactly have that structured outlet for putting our seasonal thoughts out in the open.

For everyone involved except for me, this was a mistake. Without the set three-to-five-ish shows per end-of-season podcast restriction holding me back, there is nothing that can stop me from talking about 26 anime from this season, which I will do, in no particular order, starting RIGHT NOW.

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Berserk (1997) is a Masterpiece

In the past month, I have experienced the events of Kentaro Miura’s Berserk’s most widely-adapted arc, “The Golden Age,” no less than four separate times through three entirely different adaptations of the series. You might ask, “hey Tofu, what the hell?”, to which I would also say, “yeah, I know, what the hell?” When it comes to media consumption, I’m not exactly a person who frequently revisits series that I love, and I don’t really fixate on thinking about them once I have finished them. I’ve watched what might arguably be my favorite anime, Yu Yu Hakusho, in its 112-episode entirety about three times, though each watchthrough was separated by a few years. I’ve done the same for Psycho-Pass, as well – many watches, but it’s a series that I come back to every now and then. For these and some of my other favorite series, I have watched them, loved them, and been satisfied with simply the experience of doing so. But, for some reason, Berserk is different. Ever since watching the 1997 anime adaptation a month ago, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it, and frankly, I doubt I will be able to any time soon.

Let’s just skip the preamble and get to the bottom line – Berserk is a masterpiece, and you owe it to yourself to experience the series for yourself.

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Please, Please Don’t Watch Scar on the Praeter (or, Writing a Scathing Review of Ex-Arm Would Have Been So Much Easier)

After five or so years of working on projects as part of The Backloggers, I think I can, with full confidence, say that I’m cursed. When you hear “cursed,” you likely aren’t thinking of it in relation to an anime blog or blogger. Sure, maybe a blogger is reviewing some “cursed” content, or maybe the content being put out by the blog is “cursed,” but that’s all in the fun, jokey, colloquial use of “cursed.” It’s never, you know, the “you got on a witch or demon or whatever’s bad side” bad cursed.

Folks, I mean I am the bad cursed. And it’s all because of fucking Hand Shakers.

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20 Recommended Shows From 2020

Okay, so here’s the thing: this was initially supposed to be a “Top 10 Anime of 2020” post. I had every intention of doing that, but then someone made a dumb joke about 2020 and 20 anime and I am also dumb, so I resonated with that and ran with it. So here we are now. You have made it to General Tofu’s list of 20 great anime series from 2020 – congratulations!

I was absolutely not about to rank 20 different series, so what I have instead done is that I have organized them by the season that they initially released in. I have also not necessarily organized this as a list of only the absolute best anime – there are definitely shows that I watching this year that I have rated higher score-wise than some shows that appear on this list. I am quite sure that plenty of the shows that did not make the cut for this list have been talked about to death on other end-of-year posts, so y’all probably don’t need to hear about some of them again on this one. Instead, I focused on picking shows that I would readily watch again, because I felt that that would be a more enjoyable list to compile, honestly. The list is pretty beefy already, so for the sake of brevity, let’s get this show on the road!

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Trash Your Backlog: or, the Joy of Not Choosing

I have an anime problem.

Specifically, I have a problem with watching anime from my backlog. Years ago, when I had just gotten back into watching anime in earnest, anime felt like a wide open world, filled to the brim with all sorts of series that I would jump at the opportunity to watch. Now, years later, the situation is exactly the same – there’s tons of shows out I would love to watch, and the list only continues to grow. That, unfortunately, is where the anime problem comes in. Unsurprisingly, as part of the Backloggers, I do have a bit of a backlog of anime that I would like to watch at some point in time. I’ve been able to chip away at it, to be sure, but recently, I’ve encountered this issue where I look at my backlog, and I internally just grind to a screeching halt. What do I even watch from this list? What do I dedicate my time to? How can I possibly choose something from all of this?

That, friends, is where my secret weapon comes in. What’s the best way to choose a show and chip away at your backlog? 

Don’t.

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Backlog Busting – Kamisama Kiss

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.

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Summer 2020 Mid-Season Rankings! (Week 7 Check-in)

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?

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No, this is not Fate – Summer 2020 Week 6 Check-in

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!

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Growth, Beating It, and Despair – Summer 2020 Week 5 Check-In

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!

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Kicking Things into Gear — Summer 2020 Week 4 Check-In

I always love week 4 in a seasonal rotation. We’re really starting to get into the meat of the shows, I’ve dropped what I’m going to drop by this point, and things are generally going at a pretty solid pace. Well, that’s true for many shows, but given the slew of series that we have here, most of them just kicked pretty hard into overdrive this week. That, and we see the return of two favorites from last season that got delayed, so I really don’t know how any week could possibly be better than this one. Let’s do it!

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