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.
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.
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!
To intercept any potential issues about it – no, the Winter 2020 season is not bad. We say every time that we’re surprised with how good the Winter season is, but no more! Winter seasons are pretty much always good, and this one is no exception.
We have a lot to offer this time around: we discuss the totally real Room Camp/Magia Record collab with TripAdvisor, we introduce Eizouken as “the anime that doesn’t have anything to do with stabbing”, we get really real with Kyle’s fear of mind control and the hilarious amount of shows that dip into it this season, Zack gets one last verbal rant about Babylon, and among all that weirdness, we have a lot of really solid recommendations for y’all! Get in while the getting’s good!
“Everyone, have you heard of the trolley problem?”
Over the last few years, I recall numerous times seeing folks on Twitter crying for politics, social issues, and “SJW”s to be kept out of anime. Comments and sentiments like these have been around for quite some time, even though they may not use the same language or platform to disseminate those ideas. Hilariously enough, however, one can easily look back to some of the oldest anime we have, or some of the anime considered to be in the canon of the medium, and see that there is a solid history of series that have worked to discuss issues that are deeply important and relevant to the human condition. So when I hear people complaining about the so-called “tainting” of their entertainment media, I can only think about how many shows have worked over the years to actually be about something, even if it isn’t right in your face, and how the medium has always, in some ways, been political or about real-world ideas.
With that being said, I think that it is important to consider how shows actually work to approach more serious concepts. While a lot of shows might want to be about some loftier or more important ideas, the inclusion and handling of them might not always be handled well, which honestly may be worse than not talking about them at all. Considering this, I have a small selection of shows from the current and previous anime seasons that I feel highlight the two different extremes of this concept – shows like Stars Align and The Case Files of Jeweler Richard, which effectively highlight current social and cultural issues that don’t get much attention in anime, as well as shows like Babylon, which try and fail miserably to be about mature moral and political issues.
Every season, it feels like we get closer and closer to that perfect moment where every show we watched be a solid pick. This season was unfortunately not it.
That being said, we’ve still compiled a couple of fantastic shows that you should definitely check out, whether you’re into future cop crime thrillers, furry shenanigans, or a comedy about flowers, and baseball, and hoses, and the sun, and a Bench (I think?). We’ve even got the hot gossip (i.e., public outcry) about a certain soft tennis anime’s untimely end, so we’ve for sure got something in this batch that’ll interest you!
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!
When I was constructing this list, I have to confess that I really had no idea for any kind of structure whatsoever. I just started pulling entries from my list of completed anime, and before I knew it, I had accidentally pulled shows that were all from different years of the decade. So, I figured, why not just keep up the trend until I have one from each year? While I tried my best to keep the list to just one show per year, there were a few instances where I had to bend that rule just a little bit. Thus, we have the list you are looking at now.
Since I constructed this as a list of shows from each year, it almost felt weird to rank them, and as such, I have opted not to do so. Instead of, say, a battle royale of sorts to determine which is the single best anime of the decade, which seems like a silly effort to try to tackle in the space of a post like this, I have instead opted to have this post function as a showcase of sorts to show that there are shows that I believe should absolutely be watched from every year this past decade.
Each show is going to be on this list for different reasons, and none of these entries are perfect (honestly, what show is?). However, I do believe wholeheartedly that each entry deserves to be on this list and should be watched for different reasons. I’m going to try to be as detailed as I can for my picks with each entry here, but for the sake of space on this thing, each entry is confined to just a few paragraphs. A few entries have redirects to other articles done for The Backloggers, so you can follow those for some additional details, if you wish.
I think that’s all we really need to say at this point, so let’s get a move-on!
Hey y’all, it’s ya bois from The Backloggers here.
As y’all know, it’s nearing the end of 2019 (thank god, am I right?) and with the end of 2019 comes the end of the decade). Anime has undergone some pretty drastic changes since the beginning of the decade as well, in terms of amount and style. Seasonal anime has become a larger thing than ever in recent years, and the anime community has grown to a size that I never would have expected. There have been plenty of revolutionary shows in the meantime as well, some even being large game-changers of the medium as a whole.
Zaregoto was a total surprise to us – when we picked it, none of us even knew the show existed. Suffice to say, we can pretty easily say now that we’re glad we do now. Join us as we talk about Zaregoto – Nisioisin’s murder mystery set on a secluded island – and get into some of the show’s finer points, like characters talking about nonsense, signature styles of shows and authors, and whether or not you should use a headless body as a stepping stool!