Ages ago, Matt added White Album 2 to our pool of randomly-picked shows to watch, and after years of sitting on the list, we finally rolled it. I struggle to say that this was entirely a good thing, because my god, White Album 2 HURTS.
In fact, White Album 2 hurts so much that Matt and Zack end up spending close to an hour talking almost exclusively about the sheer agony of watching it! We aren’t even kidding. If you think you’re ready for White Album 2, then trust us – you’re not. But hey, you can at least swing in here and help us work our way through it! That would be really kind of you.
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.
Hey folks, there’s a whole dang lot of anime in the Winter 2021 anime season. And I mean a LOT of anime. It’s almost as if the Winter season is consistently and objectively the best anime for seasonal shows, year after year (editor’s note: It is!).
Since we’ve been blessed with another season chock-full of bangers, Zack and Matt have a whole lot to geek out about in this installment. Whether it’s the incredible sequels such as Attack on Titan’s Final Season, Re:Zero Season 2 Part 2, or a whole slew of newcomers like Sk8 the Infinity, Horimiya, and Wonder Egg Priority, we’ve got you covered on all of the must-watch shows of the season. Fortunately, we also have you covered on what you should absolutely *not* be watching (I’m looking at you, Ex-Arm). It’s an absolute smorgasbord of great anime, so hop on in and see what’s up in our fireside chat!
The Fall 2020 anime season, and 2020 as a whole, has finally come to an end (to our displeasure and our delight, respectively). As was the case with the beginning of the season podcast, we came to the conclusion that there was STILL too much anime! That said, it was a blessing, and we took some time to chat about the highs and lows of the season, as well as the hits of the whole year.
Kyle was unfortunately not with us for this recording, but that didn’t stop us from slamming this cast full of stuff. Our highlights include gems like Zack cackling over Matt’s trip into the pit of Hypnosis Mic (easily one of the best shows of the year, fight me), coming down from a heavy-ish discussion about Wandering Witch by way of Love Live!, some legitimate (maybe?) hot takes about some of of the hits(?) of the season, and reassessing some of our takes from the beginning of Fall 2020 cast. There’s a bunch to see, and we had a blast with this one, so hop on in!
Wow! It’s not 2020 anymore, and we’re still here! We hope that you’re still here too!
Let’s be honest, it’s been a rough year for all of us due to the various amounts of things going on in the real world, but that doesn’t mean that it was all bad either. We hope that you’ve at least had some good moments that have stuck out in your memory which will hopefully push some of the worst things out of your mind when looking back upon the year.
Unlike the past anniversary posts and in the same spirit as last years (which I will get into more detail about shortly), this one will be brief and condensed, sort of showcasing what will be upcoming throughout the year, celebrating some successes, and throwing out some announcements as well.
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!
Recently, I’ve been on the vtuber train and saw the release of a new Hololive vtuber named Pavolia Reine. Something in her 2D anime-inspired design was exceedingly familiar but I didn’t quite remember until she revealed the artist who made her look was IIDA Pochi. This particular mangaka has a specific style that I knew well from her manga series Ara Naru Mono or The Demon Who Became My Sister, and it reminded me that I hadn’t talked about this series before on here. So why not now?
While Ara Naru Mono is a slice of life, it definitely has an undercurrent that makes it feel much darker. The series follows Yuu, a 14-year-old boy who grows up orphaned from his parents who passed away while he was young, and being constantly tossed from one relative to the next, as his family despises him as an outsider. Yuu finally finds himself being taken care of by his unsociable but generally amiable uncle before said uncle mysteriously falls into a coma and is hospitalized. Upon checking his uncle’s things, Yuu finds a summoning circle and accidentally releases an eldritch demon who grants him a wish in return. Never knowing a loving family, Yuu wishes for the demon to be his older sister and thus begins their life together.
As another selection from the Mystery Garbage pool, we ended up watching We Rent Tsukumogami, a slice-of-life historical mystery show. If you haven’t heard of it before and don’t know what a Tsukumogami is, then you’re exactly in the same boat as we were.
This show packs a lot of decent surprises, in that not only is the show pretty well-done for what it’s made out to be, but it also does a serviceable job at providing a lot of decent storylines and integrating its characters into the story without making the show boring or uninteresting to watch. Plus, you get to see a talking comb! Who doesn’t love that?!
We ended up enjoying the show rather a lot and hope that you might give We Rent Tsukumogami a chance after listening to our discussion of it!
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.
So initially, Tofu added Romeo x Juliet to our rotation because the opening theme is a redone version of “You Raise Me Up” and it was one of the funniest things imaginable. Imagine our surprise when it turns out to actually be a pretty freakin’ great show (unless you’re Matt)!
There’s a lot to talk about with an anime adaptation of Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet – how it plays around with the source material in interesting ways, how it sets itself apart from the original, how the language you watch the show in changes the entire feel of the series – and man, do we talk about it. We had some words about the show (and each other’s opinions about the show), so trust us when we say that this is an episode well worth listening to.