Before I begin, I need to warn our dear readers that this topic is not just Not Safe For Work, but delves into a depravity that is shocking. Were it not for the need for people to know of this, I wouldn’t even whisper a word of this degeneracy to the community. However, this needs to be known so as to prevent any further falling of humanity. Read on with caution.
Hand to Hand is very much what it seems and is unashamed of its filth, shoving it in our faces on even just the very first page.
I’m a bit of a repeatingrecord lately but there’s a lot to say about myth and magic. And sure, it’s fun to think about the classics but what about the here and now? Humanity didn’t stop making up stories when we stopped believing in the creatures in them. Even now, we spread around a lot of fun creatures and ideas, as well as plenty of unique ones. That’s something that In/Spectre seems to be tackling as their main arc this season: how an idea turns from creation, propagation, and then ultimately forms a fluid myth of its own that carries genuine power and weight.
Within the story of In/Spectre, Steel Lady Nanase is a ghost that was birthed not from the original dead idol that had tragically perished, but from a myth that her ghost had come back. Even her form isn’t that of the original woman, but of an artists’ representation of what an idol in her costume would look like carrying a heavy steel beam. Rather than a tragic incident birthing a dark creature, it was the thousands to millions of people that took that idea and fleshed out its mythos that caused a creature made from thought to come to life.
Ah, the classic love story. A shy, quiet girl of common birth falls in love with a prince, far above her reach. However, fate plays its part to bring these two together, though many troubles stand in their way. For instance, the jealous noblewoman, betrothed to the prince finds herself at odds with this common child who opposes the nobility. Spiteful and angry, she attempts to poison her nemesis’ love. However the nobleman and our common girl’s love for each other is too strong, and not only is the day saved but the heroine and prince are finally wed in happiness. The nobleman woman gets her just desserts and ends up destitute and dead.
Or should she? What was her deal, anyway? Was she really a rich bitch or was there more to this that a new perspective would uncover? That is where I’m a Villainous Daughter, so I’m Going to Keep the Last Boss comes in. While a technical isekai, this manga likes to play uniquely and so twists a few things on their head, including certain isekai tropes. Obviously, the story is about the jealous rival rather than the “protagonist” of the love story, who in finding out her fiance is actually in love with the protagonist and not her, finds herself suddenly remembering odd things she hadn’t before. Like, for instance, how this is all a game and because she’s played it to death in a previous life, she knows exactly how this story will play out…
Some of my favorite stories involve elements of what made classic fables so enthralling to me. Some aspects are easy to see, like the fantasy setting, but I also enjoy the darker world that’s mixed with a child-like innocence which tinges each story, allowing us to take in the horror aspects a little easier. Fairies and other creatures of myth are no joke, and the original stories attest to how devious they can be. However, we always see their pranks rather than their murderous rampages when we read those stories of old. Fables historically were made to teach a lesson and help to educate children on the dangers of life. So the palatability of a darker world that we only catch a glimpse of has always intrigued me.
Shadow House is very much a story like this. The story follows Emilyko, a “living doll” in a very dark and mysterious mansion, who serves Kate, a member of the Shadow Family, who owns the property. Emilyko spends most of her time taking care of Kate but also ponders on the behavior of the Shadows. The Shadows are creatures seemingly made up of some dark material that creates soot, as everything they touch is dirtied with it, along with their negative emotions causing them to release a black smoke that can cover the room in the same material. Added to this is the odd behavior that they have some physical control over the soot they produce and leave behind.
Starting the year off right with two of my favorite types of stories: Romance and Representation! I’m a sucker for a fun, no major bummers or big drama, kinda romance where two people can comfortably get to know each other. This is also the perfect way to positively represent various issues and types of lives while being respectful to both, so it becomes a great way to experience another person’s perspective while also getting all those warm feelings about people in love. Love and empathy! Great combo.
This has been one of the best times for anime and the sheer evolution of the industry over these 10 years is crazy to consider. Just looking back on the number of anime that came out in one season in 2010 compared to a season now shows an explosion of growth. And sure, there’s been plenty of sequels, reboots, and rehashes of old tropes. However, there also have been stand out hits that did something unique and were immediate loves of mine at first watch.
So for this list, I didn’t restrict myself to one per year, nor any limitation of trying to number one anime above another. Instead, I just wanted to share anime that had a big impact on me and, I think, also the industry. So given when this list is coming out, let’s celebrate the holidays in alphabetical order with something morbid: Death!
Bakemonogatari, and the Monogatari series as a whole, is a very unique beast. The anime spends as much time playing word games as it does going through its actual plot, and you may be surprised to learn that this is not just in its adaptation. The first novel in the series, Kizumonogatari spends the first chapter talking around a vampire instead of about them, making play-on-words and constant asides rather than actually detailing the character the narrator is supposed to, dancing around the subject until they finally give in… The following chapter.
And this is basically the essence of this series. Well, if you ignore the random outings into very yikes uncomfortable sexual scenarios and bouts with supernatural beasts.