This past anime season, counting holdovers from the Winter 2021 season, I watched 26 anime. Of those, I completed 22. Normally, we at the Backloggers would do an end-of-season podcast covering a select few shows in the hopes that we can get some good discussion for those handful of titles and not have a days-long episode on our hands. However, with our sort-of-official-but-not-really-announced two-month-long anti-burnout blog hiatus, we didn’t exactly have that structured outlet for putting our seasonal thoughts out in the open.
For everyone involved except for me, this was a mistake. Without the set three-to-five-ish shows per end-of-season podcast restriction holding me back, there is nothing that can stop me from talking about 26 anime from this season, which I will do, in no particular order, starting RIGHT NOW.
In the past month, I have experienced the events of Kentaro Miura’s Berserk’s most widely-adapted arc, “The Golden Age,” no less than four separate times through three entirely different adaptations of the series. You might ask, “hey Tofu, what the hell?”, to which I would also say, “yeah, I know, what the hell?” When it comes to media consumption, I’m not exactly a person who frequently revisits series that I love, and I don’t really fixate on thinking about them once I have finished them. I’ve watched what might arguably be my favorite anime, Yu Yu Hakusho, in its 112-episode entirety about three times, though each watchthrough was separated by a few years. I’ve done the same for Psycho-Pass, as well – many watches, but it’s a series that I come back to every now and then. For these and some of my other favorite series, I have watched them, loved them, and been satisfied with simply the experience of doing so. But, for some reason, Berserk is different. Ever since watching the 1997 anime adaptation a month ago, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it, and frankly, I doubt I will be able to any time soon.
Let’s just skip the preamble and get to the bottom line – Berserk is a masterpiece, and you owe it to yourself to experience the series for yourself.
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.
Well, it only took us four years of blogging to get picked up for a review. Go us!
In all seriousness, though, thanks to TriCoast Studios for reaching out to us about the opportunity to review Violence Voyager – it’s an awesome moment for us to have been asked to do this, and we’ve been pretty dang excited to oblige. I can pretty confidently say that Violence Voyager is entirely unlike anything we’ve seen before as a blogging collective (and you can get a sense of whether or not you’ve seen anything like it, too, by checking out the trailer here)!
It’s the end of 2018. The year is coming to a close, with a new year and new anime just on the horizon. As I scan over the Winter 2019 season’s offerings, I spy a show called W’z that stirs something within me – it looks a whole lot like Hand Shakers, a show that, no pun intended, shook me to the core almost two years ago. I find a trailer, and sure enough, it’s the same style, aesthetic, and even the jarring gear-looking weapons. I’m having minor heart palpitations. Surely Hand Shakers didn’t get a sequel greenlit – a show that was as consistently panned by critics and viewers alike couldn’t have been given the blessing, let alone the budget, for a season two. I talk to my co-host Owningmatt93, and I’m assured by him that “it’s just the style GoHands does, man. All of their stuff looks like this.” Looking at trailers for, for instance, K: Return of Kings, it does indeed look pretty much exactly the same, aside from a lesser emphasis on a mix of 2D and 3D animation. My fears assuaged somewhat, I continue on with my look at what’s in store for the next few months.
It’s 2019. A new year, a fresh start, and a new season ahead of us for anime. It’s 2019, and I get this message in The Backloggers Slack chat:
Synopsis: The anime Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (also known as My Little Monster) is a shoujo manga adaptation about understanding the relationship between Mizutani Shizuku, a hardworking student, and Yoshida Haru, a troublemaking delinquent.
As with all shoujo stories, romance and relationship-building are what drives the genre and finding a stand-out from the typical formula of two people meeting and slowly coming to realization of their feelings for each other is a rarity. Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun defies the conventional formula by starting out with the confession and working backwards. Because of this, we get to watch these characters handle romantic issues in a highly genre-breaking fashion. Shizuku and Haru struggle with each other and themselves to discover their own feelings for each other and what the concept of love truly means to them. While this likely isn’t the first instance of a shoujo story breaking the genre, genre-breakers are always interesting and are especially easy to draw people into watching.