The Crazy Stupid Way I Select Anime to Watch (And Why I’m Content with It)

A recent award question got me rethinking about my anime watching patterns. The question in particular was what shows were I looking forward to watching in Spring 2018. I’ve been asked similar questions, which is not surprising because it’s a common question passed around the anime community. However, my response is almost always ‘Well, the way I select things to watch doesn’t lend me to catching the newest anime as they come out, so I don’t really have any lol’

I’ve explained my, for lack of a better term, “method” of selecting anime a couple of times to some people, but I’ve never really gone in-depth about it, mostly because it’s complicated and makes me look insane…..But I decided I’d share with you this tangled web of nonsense, because I think I actually have a point in here…..Probably not, but let’s see!

There is a method to my madness, I promise. I’ve just gone down a rabbit hole that I, myself, have dug and I can’t get out. If, at any time, you find me to be a nerdy psycho for selecting anime this way……Yes.

Let’s start at the nitty-gritty, which is my anime folders in my bookmarks. I have four different anime folders that arrange anime I’ve either stumbled upon, heard about, read about, randomly saw etc. (sometimes I’ll even scour anime sites and select at least one series by title from each letter of the alphabet.) I bookmark either the streaming page for it or an info page about it. The folders go by episode length. 1-13 eps, 14-26 eps, 27-51 eps and 52+ eps. These are categorized as such because these are the typical lengths shows usually extend out to

Next, I go to the first folder and either select the anime at the top of the list or flick the scroll bar up and down and blindly click on an entry. Then I do the same for the other folders. This becomes my ‘lineup’ so to speak. I will then watch the first episode of each show, probably do an Episode One-derland about each, then, if I like the show, I’ll put it in line for completion (which may or may not be a long line due to laziness and backlogs) or I just drop it. If I really like a show, I’ll bump it to the top of the line and complete it quickly.

Particularly long shows, usually ones in the 52+ folder, get more elbow room for watching since they’re usually just so long that I’d be sidelined for a while if I put too much focus on them at once. For these shows, I’ll watch an episode when I’m in the mood or have some extra time.

Now, currently, I’ve made a massive mess of things in my watch schedule. I have a bunch of stuff backlogged and I keep getting distracted by my other projects (SDCs, Shounen/Shoujo Step-by-Step, Dissecting the Disquels etc.).

To keep myself more organized, I have made up a watch schedule that continuously changes as I complete more shows and need material for my series. For instance, my current schedule now is to watch and review at least one episode of Cardfight!! Vanguard per day (if able), while completing my rewatch of Boogiepop Phantom (Almost done). Then I’ll do at least ten episodes of Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch for Shoujo Step-by-Step and then finish Death Parade (Also almost done). And so on and so forth.

All the while, this is peppered with stuff I need to update as I post more blogs. For example, I might throw in some Pokemon, an Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) episode, a western animated movie and some manga.

In essence, the way I watch anime is very sporadic. An organized mess, if you will.

I will admit, this is far from an efficient way to select or complete anime. By all means, I should drop it entirely and adopt something better. I have no clue when I even started doing this, because sometimes I get into weird obsessive modes and make up stuff like this only to forget why I structured it like that in the first place, but, like I said, I’m pretty deep into the rabbit hole I’ve dug for myself. I find the familiarity and wonky structure to work for me on some strange level. Plus, I think this method has more benefits than one might think.

I get to watch and learn about all sorts of anime from the dawn of the medium to today. I get to uncover old lost gems and even old fun garbage that I don’t think I ever would’ve considered otherwise. I also get exposed to a multitude of genres that I might not have ever delved into. I give nearly each and every thing I randomly select a fair shot instead of pigeon-holing myself into a few categories.

I also don’t have to suffer through any drama that might be spawning from a current series, writer, producer, studio etc. Or at least, if I do, I get to avoid the brunt of it.

The biggest sacrifice of this is that, yeah, I typically don’t get caught up on any newer shows unless I really really want to watch them (and even then, I sometimes falter. I’m only now watching Digimon Adventure Tri, for example). So I’ll never be on the front lines of anime news and kick myself in the butt when I finally manage to watch a really great newer show and wish I had watched it sooner.

I also tend to take much longer finishing series than I’d like because so many series so little time.

It’s a trade-off, but I’m oddly content with it.

 

Anamorphosis no Meijuu (Manga) Review

Rating: 5/10

Plot: There’s a new game show that is supposedly causing real deaths. Contestants are invited to spend 48 hours in a building that is reported to be haunted by the spirit of an actor who died on set due to a tragic accident. His spirit appears to others in the form of a giant monster in the same design as a monster costume he was wearing at the time of his death. Is there really a spirit behind the scenes or is all just camera tricks?

…..Oh and the second half of the manga is pure mind-fuckery in the form of numerous short stories.

Breakdown: Warning – This manga’s content is extremely graphic. Thus, discussing it involves some more graphic language than usual. Reader discretion is advised.

…….I can’t remember what happiness feels like….I can taste my thoughts…..I can hear colors…….what the unholy hell….did I just read?

I started reading Anamorphosis no Meijuu around Halloween last year, but never got around to finishing it for Animating Halloween. Well, I picked it back up and…..read the words….and….looked at the pictures….and comprehended….some….things. Mostly I just feel dirty.

You might be thinking I’m overreacting a lot for a manga that I’m awarding a fairly decent score, but you have understand my reasoning with this.

This manga throws you for one hell of a loop. For one half of the manga, you’re reading a linear plotline about the above story. It’s intriguing, has a lot of great twists and ends on a confusing, but very creative and satisfactory note.

The second half of the manga is made up of short stories, which only take up about eight to ten pages each. Every short story is incredibly graphic in nearly every way. Sexual content, nudity, rape, bestiality, lots of gore, cannibalism, and just complete mind-fuckery.

To give you an idea, I will summarize each plot in one sentence. Spoilers.

Bishoujo Tentei Tentai Sagiri: A teenage detective tries to clear someone of murder charges by turning herself into an electromagnet by wrapping herself in electrical wiring and having someone put a metal dildo into her.

Rainy Girl: A girl who is cursed to bring rain wherever she goes, indoors or out, is kidnapped by a man who introduces her to a man with the same powers who rapes her over and over until they breed an army of rain-producing babies.

Small Present: A couple keeps getting leftovers given to them by their neighbor, and they keep eating them until it’s revealed that the neighbor is a serial killer who targets children, chops them up, and cooks them into meals.

Hikikomori: A girl investigates why all of the students in her school are shut-ins, only to find that all of them are insanely fat monsters who are so large they can have sex with each other over their balconies without moving from their bedrooms.

Behind: A girl has a surgical instrument left in her, and after it’s removed everyone starts finding their lost junk in her stomach cavity.

Previous Life: A girl and a spiritualist make a business out of turning people into various animals and occupations by telling their past lives to overhunt the specified animal or person. This is an extra sentence, but the spiritualist rapes his dog for absolutely no reason in this story.

Salesman: A girl cannot seem to save anyone attempting to commit suicide by jumping since she has the spirit of a sumo wrestler with her that keeps pushing these people, resulting in their deaths.

Changes: A girl wakes up one day and finds her nipple has been replaced with a mouth.

Weightlessness: Why the fuck is there an easily accessible button to open a window on a space station?

If I lead you to believe any of these aren’t that crazy, I am sorry. It is…trippy. It’s certainly an experience. I’m not sure what kind of experience, but it is one.

There are several positives that I can lend this manga. Despite shading issues and some craggy lines, the artwork is disgustingly detailed and done in a more realistic style to up the gross-out factor. If you’re going to do this type of story, you really need the artwork to back it up. While I think it could be polished more, it definitely gets the job done.

If anything, these stories are all very creative…..fucked up beyond belief sometimes, but very creative. This manga will never steer you into tropes or leave you with a feeling of predictability. It’s wondering if the turns you took ripped a part of your soul away that pays for that luxury.

Finally, this manga is, admittedly, downright entertaining, purely because of how insane and ridiculous it is. There are many parts that are hard to sit through, certain pages that are damn near nauseating, but I found myself oddly intrigued by how bat-shit this manga kept proving to be. I’m almost disappointed in the ending because it’s by far the most benign story.

If you have a stomach for extreme content and are, for some reason, intrigued by this manga after everything I’ve told you, by all means, give it a shot. It will be a roller coaster ride that will leave you with some bruising and mental trauma, but it’s definitely a ride.

If you’re not ready to fully bite the bullet, though, just read the first half of the manga. The content in that story really isn’t too bad and the story is more toned down, but still well-written and interesting.

If you’re squeamish or have any of that stuff called ‘innocence’, please run far away.

Additional Information and Notes:

Anamorphosis no Meijuu was written and drawn by Shintaro Kago.

Volumes: 1

Chapters: 10

Year: 2008 – 2010

Recommended Audience: About as graphic as you can get. Very detailed depictions of sex (genitalia included), rape, possible statutory rape, bestiality, birth, cannibalism, extreme gore including children and babies, swearing – you name it, they probably have it. 18+

Paranoia Agent Review

Rating: 9/10

Plot: A city is plagued by seemingly random attacks by Shounen Bat – a boy on golden rollerblades wielding a golden bent baseball bat. While hardly anyone pays attention to the first few attacks, the case continues to wrack up incidents as the true story behind Shounen Bat gets increasingly complicated and crazy.

Breakdown: Paranoia Agent is certainly one of the crazier and thought-provoking anime I’ve watched. The series is kinda set up in an episodic way as most episodes focus on the story of one or two characters who are the current targets for Shounen Bat. The only linear aspects to most of the series are the detectives working on the case and Shounen Bat himself.

The individual stories are really well-written and some of them get very dark with their subject matter. They range anywhere from a perfect kid at school getting suspected of being Shounen Bat to prostitution, dissociative personality disorder and pedophilia.

The story of Shounen Bat is the craziest of all and I’m still trying to make complete sense of it. I won’t spoil anything, but it’s definitely an aspect of the series that I’m still trying to figure out fully.

One of the most interesting aspects to me is the ending. I’ll try to explain this without spoiling it all, but in a world where every episode supposedly ends with ‘freeing’ the victim from something and giving their story a somewhat happy ending, the actual ending to the show is not happy for the main characters at all.

The final two episodes as a whole are a little hard to swallow, but I can honestly accept it in the world that has been presented to us – a mirror of our world while still allowing for events such as that. They’ve basically been doing the same thing to a lesser degree during the whole series.

Some of the episodes are intertwined and it’s really interesting to see what you believe to be two or three completely separate stories connect in some way at the end.

The characters are all very memorable. Not all are likable, but some of them you’re not supposed to like. They’re very realistic and interesting characters to follow through their different storylines.

Art and Animation: The art and animation are both very well done, expected from Madhouse. The animation in particular is very fluid and nice to watch.

Music: I love the soundtrack for this series. The opening is very unique, contrasting greatly with the average J-Pop we’re usually fed. The ED is very relaxing and I love the melody. I’d definitely put it on my list of favorite ED’s. The background music is also wonderful as it really set the tone for the series and created its own identity.

Voice Acting: Japanese – Everyone was good in their roles. I can’t think of anyone who annoyed me. Even cute little Maromi, with chibi cutesy characters almost always getting on my nerves, had a good voice that was fitting and nice to listen to. It would probably grate on me over time, but it never annoyed me during the series.

Bottomline: This is a very funny, weird, interesting and thought-provoking psychological drama/thriller. The only reason I deducted one point was because there was never a point that really wowed me in amazement. There’s still more than enough to enjoy in this series, and I highly recommend it.

Additional Information and Notes: Paranoia Agent was created and directed by Satoshi Kon, who was also the director of Perfect Blue, director and original writer of Millennium Actress, director and original writer of Tokyo Godfathers, and director of Paprika.

It was animated by Madhouse, and the English dub was done by Geneon, though the US license is now expired.

Episodes: 13

Year: 2004

Recommended Audience: Psychological series are already quite a bit above child territory but add on to that prostitution, sexual references, suggested pedophilia, animal death, no nudity oddly enough, and they don’t even show the attacks on screen, child death…..14-15+.

30DAC – Day 18: Favorite Supporting Female Anime Character

This one was a bit harder as I find most of my favorite side characters are male, but after looking through some of the anime I’ve watched, I decided on Ed from Cowboy Bebop.

Ed would make a great supervillain, actually.

Ed is a crazy and random little kid, not to mention she looks like a boy with a red version of Tai’s haircut from Digimon, which I’m counting as a benefit for some reason, but she’s also a great technological genius and was even able to easily turn the Bebop into her own personal remote controlled space ship. Pfft. All I got as a kid was a remote controlled truck. 😦

To be fair, Toys R Us never stocked them.

In a show that can sometimes get really heavy in tone, Ed constantly brings a splash of humor and craziness to the Bebop crew, and she also helps them with their bounty hunting through hacking and research.

Her antics are some of my favorite moments in Cowboy Bebop and man I’d love to get ahold of those goggles. Wait….Tai haircut….goggles…..absolutely no other connection besides those two things! *gasp* :0

If she’s not the best supporting female character, she’s definitely the most radical. 😛

Honorable mentions: Agiri from Kill Me, Baby!, Hanji from Attack on Titan, Nice from Baccano!

30DAC – Day 6: Anime You Want to See But Haven’t Yet

I don’t keep up with new anime, and I hear great stuff about new shows all the time like Kill la Kill, Space Dandy etc. It’s not that I’m some anime hipster who refuses to watch new stuff, it’s just that my method of selection in terms of my watch list is almost entirely random so I can watch a good variety of shows both old and new.

There are both older shows and newer shows that I’m excited to watch, but I think the one I’m most looking forward to is Durarara!

WHAT DO YOU MEAN THERE’S NO ORANGE SODA?!

After enjoying Baccano! So much and knowing that this is both a spiritual successor and takes place in the same universe, I am really looking forward to watching it. Plus, the clips I have seen of it are just insanely awesome. The art is great and really stylized, the animation is very fluid and the characters look very interesting. Plus, it just looks like just as much crazy and dark fun as Baccano! Was, so I can’t wait until I finally get a chance to watch this. Plus, there’s a guy who seems to rip stuff like street signs and cars off the street like they’re pillows and fights with them.

I hate trying to park, too.

As some runners-up, I’d say Code Geass, even though practically all of the show’s been spoiled for me in one way or another, Kanon, Clannad and the Black Jack series.

Gakkatsu! Review

Rating: 8/10

Plot: In this Middle School, homeroom has no lessons. Homeroom is left up for open debate and discussion. Chiho, the class president, is the one to choose the day’s topics.

Breakdown: This is a series of incredibly short Flash animations (running at under five minutes per episode, including a 30 second intro.) Chiho picks a completely random topic (though sometimes it does have something vaguely to do with an opening scene. For example, when the school gets vandalized her topic for the day is “What do you call your mother?”….Watch and see.) and the class discusses it. Randomness and craziness ensue.

…..And….that’s it. There’s no real running storyline or character development, it’s just random shorts. The shorts, however, are very crazy and funny. The art style really adds a cartoon-y tone and is pretty unique.

The anime really only has one song to its name and it repeats in every episode. It’s fun to listen to and never got on my nerves, but some people may get annoyed by it.

Bottomline: If you have a few minutes to spare, you can always watch one of these shorts. it’s a funny and quick watch. At five minutes per episode with 25 episodes available, you can easily crack this out in two hours. Fans of the Zetsubou Sensei series would definitely like it.

Additional Information and Notes: Gakkatsu! was directed by Rareko, written by Kouta Fukihara, who seems to only have Gakkatsu! and its second season as his only credits, and was produced by Fanworks. It currently has no English license.

Episodes: 25

Year: 2012

Recommended Audience: I never saw anything really questionable. E for everyone!

FLCL Review

FLCL

Rating: 8.5/10

Plot: Naota lives in a boring town where nothing special ever happens. He spends his days simply going through the motions, going to school, spending time at home and sometimes playing baseball. He frequently spends time with his pseudo-girlfriend Mamimi – the girlfriend of his older brother who went to the States to play baseball.

Naota’s boring life is turned upside down when a crazy woman named Haruhara Haruko comes bursting into town (literally) on her moped and runs into Naota (again, literally.) After a quick smack to the head with her guitar, he later finds a robot springing forth from the wound. Haruko is really an alien that has used her guitar to open up an interdimensional portal in Naota’s head in order to find the thing she’s been looking for for a long time.

Breakdown:
In case you didn’t get it from the synopsis, this series has a very insane premise. But just because a show has an insane premise doesn’t mean it can’t work and FLCL shows this greatly.

The characters are all (for the most part) likable if not lovable, the story’s confusing as hell, but an insanely fun ride, the animation and art are unique and fun, the music’s amazing – it’s just great. It’s definitely one of my favorite anime.

Haruko also stands as being one of my favorite anime characters ever.

That being said, to be fair, I do have to point out some bad points.

For example, this may have been intentional, but the story’s very confusing and many things simply aren’t explained. I’ve watched the series several times over and I still don’t understand all of it.

Some of the characters aren’t entirely likable, like Ninamori and Mamimi. I don’t, by any stretch of the imagination, hate them or even really dislike them, but I could never like them in the same league as Naota, Haruko and the others.

Ninamori really just seems like Naota in girl form with slightly more passion and forwardness. Mamimi’s….gotta have mental problems. And not like 90% of this series’ cast has mental problems in in they’re crazy. I mean she spends half of the series in this deep depression that really drags everything down. She can be funny sometimes, but she’s really annoying during those last few episodes.

I also don’t like how she uses Naota as a replacement for Tasuku (The aforementioned brother) and leads Naota on. She’s constantly making out with him, groping him, jumping all over him, yet when he tries to insinuate that their feelings are mutual she looks at him like he grew a second head.

Another thing that bothered me is we never really learn of Amarao’s backstory. It’s hinted that he had a backstory very similar to Naota’s, and it’s obvious that Haruko has a past with him. However, details are never gone into.

From what I can gather, Haruko showed up in his life just like she did with Naota and tried to open a portal in his head, but was disappointed when the guitar she pulled out was tiny. (It’s also a semi-running gag that the size of the guitar = size of your penis) And I guess she just ditched him because she couldn’t get what she wanted from him.

Finally, there’s the length and ending. The show ends on a cliffhanger, for the most part, and is only 6 episodes long. I would’ve loved to have seen this go on for just a little longer.

Art: The art is perfect for this kind of show, and it’s great that they change up the artstyle every now and then. The animation is also very well done – it’s very fluid and pleasing to the eye during the action scenes.

Music:
This show has one of, if not is my most favorite anime soundtrack ever. Most (all?) of the music is done by the band The Pillows, and they are awesome and a perfect fit for this show. All of the songs seem perfectly placed, matched up well with the scenes and none of the songs get on your nerves after repeats.

Voice acting: English – Some of the greatest I’ve ever heard. Everyone does a great job and seems to really enjoy their roles, especially Haruko’s voice actress.

Bottomline – Despite being short and sometimes confusing, this is a wonderful, funny anime that I think everyone should watch at least once. You won’t regret it.

Additional Information and Notes: FLCL/Furi Kuri/Fooly Cooly was directed by Kazuya Tsurumaki, director of Nadia: Secret of Blue Water, His and Hers Circumstances and Rebuild of Evangelion. Written in collaboration between Yoji Enokido and Kazuya Tsurumaki. Produced by Gainax.

Episodes: 6

Year: 2000—2001

Recommended Audience – There is some sexual content in this series. Some characters, mostly Haruko, wear pretty risqué clothing several times and, despite being censored, Naota’s dad gets naked on some occasions during the manga scenes. I’ve found that the TV version shown on Adult Swim actually has this scene more heavily censored than the DVD version, but the DVD version really isn’t that bad. Furi Kuri in itself is supposed to be a sexual innuendo I think. There are a couple iffy scenes, but nothing really happens. 13+