“Here we go again.”
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.
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.
As I scroll down my Twitter feed during any given season, I’m always curious to see what the current “discourse” is about any given show. Usually, this results in me reading a lot of points about shows that don’t necessarily agree with, but I can empathize with the reasoning in some way or another.
This season, that show is Rent-A-Girlfriend. While the majority of people that I’ve discussed the show with are in love with the show, mostly for its scream-inducing moments and absurd rom-com elements, others aren’t necessarily into how Kazuya acts during the anime. While I feel that without Kazuya being like this, the show’s conflicts and discussions about different relationship dynamics wouldn’t be able to be had, I still respect the opinions of others not being able to stomach that behavior for 24 minutes each week.
Nothing is more surprising than when an anime throws a curveball at you within the first few episodes of a show.
It’s not uncommon within shows to do this when they begin to ramp up its story into something larger than life or want to increase the scale of their plotline to emphasize their thematic point. Occasionally though, this does happen early on in the show as we see with this week’s’ episode of Deca-Dence, proving the reason that the “three-episode rule” mantra of many people’s seasonal habits exists for shows such as these.
The first week of the Summer 2020 anime season has now fully concluded, and despite the lack in number of shows that the season has to offer us, there’s still plenty of great shows to partake in for our viewing pleasure. Since the season has such a small, awesome selection of shows, I figure this was a good chance to spice up the Seasonal Showcase posts by doing something a little different than the previous seasons.
This time, I will be trying a different approach to the posts in selecting an individual show that I find interesting and focusing on that instead of lumping them all together in one post midway through the season. Think of this more as a weekly selective focus on a particular show than a general overview, although I also recommend checking out General Tofu’s new weekly seasonal check-in posts if you want that sort of content instead!
Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy the seasonal anime adventure we’re about to set out upon!
In the past five years of being a blogger and almost eight years of being an anime watcher, I’ve personally seen a lot of discourse and discussion over a variety of topics from plenty of angles – opinionated and factual alike. There are always those debates, though, that continuously circle back around after some time again and again, almost as if they are scheduled to appear once a few months have passed. There’s never really any reason for them to re-appear sometimes, nor is there really anything new to add to the discussion, but they reappear anyway and suddenly they become the hot topic of whatever your preferred social media platform is. It’s akin to watching some horrible rendition of Re:Zero where instead of watching Subaru trying his best to reach his goal and making several mistakes that result in his death instead, it’s watching people you know engage in futile discussions until they’ve either said their piece or become a completely different person than you once knew.
This is why when I found that fellow blogger Irina posted an article about this sort of phenomena that occurs so frequently, I was curious to see what sort of community debate overlap or dissonance we were experiencing within the anime community. I found some of these topics discussed in the post lined up pretty well with what I had noticed from the community and definitely shared some of those same sentiments. While I could also add many other topics to the list, I wanted to take some time to focus on what Irina is talking about in the post itself: the nature of how these debates are no longer “interesting” to have.
This season has led me to two major realizations within the space of seasonal anime and how we perceive it, as viewers and fans of anime.
1) With a lot of shows delayed until this crisis is over, I was initially disappointed by the lack of my “main” shows such as Re:Zero and OreGairu S3 and wasn’t sure how I was going to fill the “anime void” left in my heart. However, I think this also has been ground-breaking and intriguing in its own way. Having an anime season happen that has negated a lot of the “hype” surrounding series such as these has left a lot of space for lesser-known series to make their own name based on their own merits, and likely more people have given them a chance because of this.
2) It’s not necessarily the name or popularity of shows that make them desirable as shows; it’s because of the animation quality and emotion delivered with each released episode. It’s so powerful that these shows can stand on their own, without needing any of the advertising frills or gimmicks to really sell the shows for them; they don’t need any of that. This may seem rather basic, but it can be hard to realize when giant anime companies constantly try to force their own interests into your social media, inbox, or in-person merchandise.
While I don’t think my picks of the season necessarily have all the relations to either category, I think these are things we should be considering when watching seasonal anime. Thinking about “why” we watch anime to begin can be interesting at times, and I think that these shows below capture what I think is “interesting” within anime. I hope that you can find the same sort of shows for yourself within this season as well!
Anime has come so far from the days of having to watch subbed episodes of Evangelion on bootleg video tapes and trying to find any anime streaming site worth its salt that just wasn’t clustered with ads. One thing that I appreciate about modern anime streaming services and availability is being able to just sit down and watch a series when I want to without having to go through the hassle of worrying about where I’m going to find the episode or when the next episode will be subbed and released before I can watch it. It’s something that only now I can appreciate, looking back upon what I would have considered the “golden days” of anime (and I’m sure many others consider it those as well in certain regards).
There’s no question about it; the anime streaming industry has become such an integral staple of everyone’s watching and consumption of anime these days. Crunchyroll, Funimation, and many others (yes, even Netflix…) have created their own sort of anime accessibility bubble that burst when these sites became popular. They’ve popularized a lot of shows that may have been considered “niche” years ago and allowed everyone to enjoy great shows that lots of people had never heard of before, which is fantastic for the medium at large.
Since the winter season’s been in full swing for several weeks, everyone’s likely chosen what anime they want to watch from the seasonal pool of shows. We’ve got all of these Great Winter Anime this season, and honestly it’s probably one of the best Winter seasons we’ve had in recent years. It may be so good, though, that narrowing down what shows to watch can be a huge issue, as it has been for us at The Backloggers.
Well, that’s where the Seasonal Showcase comes in! Perhaps you’re looking for some hidden gems or overlooked shows from this season, or maybe you’re just trying to find a new interesting show to try? In either case, you’ve come to the right section of Anime Town™, where I discuss some of the dark horse picks of the season that are interesting in their own way and may be worth a second (or perhaps first) shot. Anyway, let’s jump right into it!
So, it’s my turn now, huh? I don’t think the world is ready for my Anime of the Decade list, but here we are!
Just like the other two, I’ve chosen shows that I enjoyed the most and found the most interesting throughout the decade. No gimmicks; no “one anime from each year”; no rankings or any of that. These are solely shows that I most enjoyed from 2010 to 2019 in the order that I first watched them. That’s it; nothing fancy. I like to think of it as a sort of journey through my anime life, I suppose.
Anyway, I won’t hold back on the content in the picks themselves, so let’s jump into some of my favorite anime of the decade, hooray!