I don’t know if this is as much of a thing anymore, but back in the day there were a lot of people who really couldn’t stand Neon Genesis Evangelion’s religious imagery. People would call it pretentious, say director Hideaki Anno was a hack who was trying too hard to be deep, all around try to discredit it as a thing to be made fun of. Considering Evangelion is on its way to Netflix I figured it was a good time to talk about that subject.
EDIT: There’s some specific details with the animation and rendering of Sword and Shield that weren’t clarified or just weren’t known at the time of writing. My point still stands that creative labour on this scale requires hard work and difficult decisions, and if you think it doesn’t then… I don’t know what to tell you except that you’re wrong. Go play a video game you actually enjoy lol.
If you’ve been following the E3 coverage of Pokémon Sword and Shield you might have heard some disappointing news: The national dex has disappeared. Basically, we won’t be able to use any Pokémon not available in the new games’ regional dex because Game Freak wasn’t able to program all of them. That sucks, and if you’re bummed out like I am that’s pretty fair. But let’s make one thing clear: Game Freak aren’t lazy. The reason this happened isn’t because Masuda and co. couldn’t be bothered to press the magic Give The Fans What They Want button. It’s also not because they’re not capable or they hate you or whatever. Game development, like any other creative field, is complicated and difficult. It takes a lot of time and energy, and sometimes decisions have to be made.
We’re living in a pretty messy time. Through the alienation of the modern world we can’t help but question the limits of our good-natured selves. The Paddington films see this and suggest something extremely simple but bold: If we’re kind and polite, the world will be right. There’s plenty of stories that tell people to be good to others, but few capture the amazing power of kindness like the Paddington films do.
CONTENT WARNING: THIS PIECE TALKS ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH AND SEXUALITY. BE MINDFUL IN CASE YOU’RE NOT COMFORTABLE APPROACHING THESE TOPICS. ALSO I DEFINITELY RECOMMEND READING THIS IF YOU CAN, IT HAS A REALLY GOOD QUALITY OFFICIAL RELEASE YOU CAN GET HERE.
Nagata Kabi’s My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness got me. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to put my journey to self-compassion into words, then suddenly this manga did it better than I ever could. This silly messy adult manga about a lesbian woman going to an escort agency was one of the most touching things I’ve ever experienced. Yeah, I wasn’t expecting that. But Nagata Kabi is honest and vulnerable in a way that I wish I could be, and that’s what makes her tale so moving.
THIS ANALYSIS CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR BOTH UNDERTALE AND DELTARUNE. GO PLAY THOSE GAMES IF YOU HAVEN’T. OR DON’T. BUT PLEASE DO THEY’RE REALLY GOOD.
Undertale is probably my favourite game ever. Look, I don’t claim to be a Hardcore Gamer™ who’s played every good game in existence. Still, Undertale struck at what I think is the most meaningful quality of games: the ability to be curious. It’s fun to be curious about all the STUFF in Undertale. But at some point you ask yourself the same thing that Asriel asks: “Don’t you have anything better to do”? We want to find all the content in video games, we want to solve all the mysteries, we want to milk them until we have nothing left to obsess over. Undertale puts a lampshade on this instinct of gaming, and for that I think it’s brilliant.
Three years after the ridiculous success of Undertale Toby Fox is back at it with Deltarune Chapter 1. Deltarune also has plenty of little things to be curious about, but let’s be honest. Deltarune isn’t about having the most things, and it doesn’t have to be.
Back in January I did a post about the first ever women’s royal rumble match. I was worried that the push for better women’s wrestling was only about profit but I was mostly positive. Women actually getting to wrestle is a good thing. And now we have WWE Evolution, the company’s first ever pay per view dedicated to women’s wrestling. So has the state of women’s wrestling improved?
Anime can be questionable. Like, extremely questionable. It’s not always like that, but more than enough happens to be premium Don’t Show This To Your Parents content. To some being mindful of this comes with a sense of responsibility to condemn messy works. To see them as not only problematic, but also morally wrong. To tell people that they shouldn’t like the things they like if they do questionable things. So I guess we need to talk about why it’s okay to like anime despite all the crappy stuff it does.
So WWE just did their first ever women’s royal rumble match. It was mostly great but it left me with a lot to unpack. A lot of good stuff to unpack but also a lot of bad stuff.
Neon Genesis Evangelion is a dense and messy thing. But even at its most troubled it still hits the powerful truth that we all want to love and be loved. It’s the consistent thread holding together all of its character journeys, the thing that guides the lives and goals and decisions of its cast. Episode 9 may not be the most conventional place to look at this, but it’s the first time we really see the vulnerability that fuels two of Evangelion‘s most prominent relationships: the one between Shinji and Asuka, and the one between Misato and Kaji. Humans desire intimacy, and these four characters each struggle with it in different ways.
2017 has been a pretty good year for anime. Not a great year but one filled with plenty of shows that delivered. Funny shows, weird shows, touching shows and absolutely stunning shows. I didn’t find any all-time favourites but some shows got darn close, and a lot of the shows that didn’t reach that level were still satisfying and good at what they did. After a lot of marathoning and thinking and writing I put together a list of my ten favourite new anime, and here it is.
But first a few things to note. This is my list and everything here is my opinion. In case you wanted to know why I placed one show above another… it’s because I liked that show more. Secondly this is only a list for new anime. I’ll compile a list containing sequels in the future but shows like My Hero Academia and Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju won’t be featured here. And finally I obviously haven’t seen every single anime to come out this year so this isn’t a definitive list, it’s just my experience of new anime in 2017. If there’s a new series I haven’t included here please feel free to recommend! With that out of the way let’s talk about the new anime of 2017.