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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How Important are Openings and Ending Songs in Anime?

Anime openings and endings (commonly abbreviated as OPs and EDs respectively) have become a staple of most anime in modern days, so it makes sense that the discussion continues to resurface, as there continues to be more and more anime released every year, which in return means more and more openings and endings are released as well. This is a different sort of era than what anime used to be, even from a decade ago, with most anime having the same opening or ending song for more than one season of a show. Even before the 2000s years of anime, OP/EDs specifically were relatively scarce in shows and were vastly different than the ones that we encounter today in terms of song genres, types of openings they are (instrumental or vocal), and most obviously the types of animation processes used in these music clips as well.

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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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Doxing and Harassment – How Vtubers and More Suffer Online

A little over a month ago, the vtuber Mano Aloe quit her job after only a couple of weeks since her debut on YouTube.  While the timing seems surprisingly quick, the reason behind it was unfortunately not quite a surprise.  After weeks of harassment directed towards her and her family, not only online, but at her own home as well, Aloe terminated her contract with the company Hololive and left before she ever really was able to start.

Doxing, the act of intentionally searching for and exposing a person’s personal info, and harassment aren’t new to the Internet.  Historically, whether it was AOL creepers in the 90s, swatters of the mid 2010s, or stalkers now, people online have been subject to terrible and dangerous situations.  We usually think of these as outlier incidents.  However, every community has their stories.  One of the storyboard artists on Steven Universe was harassed into attempting suicide over hate from fans of the show.  Famous YouTuber Philip Defranco had an extreme fan bypass security and walk onto set during a recording of his show.  We as fans of various media and people get excited by the things we love but this can always go too far.  Vtubers are, unfortunately, the new crew that are dealing with this, in their own unique way, and they need help in a way that we can supply.

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The Toxicity of “Media Shaming” and Its Effects on Criticism in Anime

“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.

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The Beauty of the Haikyuu!! Dub – or, Why Dubs Matter Just as Much as Subs

This might be controversial to say, but whatever, here goes.

I love the Haikyuu!! dub. 

Until about two months ago, I hadn’t even touched Haikyuu!! as a series. As fate would have it, though, my partner stumbled upon a video of some highlights from the dub, and we collectively about pissed ourselves laughing – the script was just so good, and the voice actors really delivered. We basically took this as a good excuse to start watching the show – I had intended to watch it for a while now anyway, and she had wanted to catch up on it to be ready for the next cour coming in a few seasons, so after watching that video, we decided, hell, why not watch the first episode dubbed? The first episode went by, and then the next, and then the next, and suddenly, we’re at the end of season 2 and are scrambling to see who has the dub for season 3, because if it’s out there, it just wouldn’t feel right to not watch it dubbed, you know? What started as a “haha funny goof” turned pretty quickly into an unabashed admiration for this show’s dub. Somewhat unsurprisingly, given that the anime fandom is so often prone to “discussions” about subs versus dubs, a fair amount of people are of the opinion that the Haikyuu!! dub is some hot, steaming shit. And to that, I say “yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

This is not about to get into a subs versus dubs argument, because that shit is just tired, uninteresting, and, since it all stems from subjective viewpoints, pointless. What I do want to talk about, though, is the importance of great dubs, how subs and dubs are essentially serving the same purpose, but in different ways, and the need to axe the elitism inherent in subs vs dubs “debates”.

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The Missing Manga Platform

I’ve been reading online comics since they were probably a thing.  I loved catching up on Penny Arcade, Mega Tokyo, and XKCD, and have kept up the habit into award-winning series like Sunstone, Always Human, and Lore Olympus.  Obviously, the art and writing are why I continue to read, but the reason I’m able to pick these comics up in the first place is their accessibility.  While it was a little harder back in the day, free or low-cost access to a ton of comics online is an incredible achievement for independent artists and only doubly so in recent years with the start of various sites/apps like Webtoon, Tapas, etc., which not only host these comics and allow for more traffic, but also enable creators to get paid for their comics and make a living off of their art.  I’d never be able to find and keep track of all of these incredible international comics, whether from Korea, Australia, Europe or anywhere else, if it wasn’t for platforms like these.

So it’s odd to me that even with these platforms, I don’t see any indie Japanese comics internationally.

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Improving Tiresome Anime Debates — A Response to Irina

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.

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How Anime Can Help Us Survive Disastrous Times

Writing for The Backloggers has always been a unique experience. What started as, more or less, a way for some college friends to stay in touch by having a creative outlet to talk about anime has given us a pretty broad platform to dive deep into a lot of different shows that we love, and has largely motivated us to keep on top of things – what’s good this season? How does this new piece look at X thing? How does it perhaps relate to some great older series?

As much as I love writing those kinds of pieces (I actually had another one in the works before I started on this one, oops), we are worldwide in a pretty weird, unprecedented state of affairs. Looking just at the microcosm of anime as an industry, for instance, we are seeing delay after delay of many anime projects, with many studios and series not looking to resume until the summer. But obviously on a much grander scale, people are, as a whole, not doing great. And as I was sitting and working on a completely different post, I found myself wondering if that post was what would be best at this time.

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