Oh, hey! It’s been a while. The last couple years have been busy for me, and unfortunately I haven’t been able to get much writing done. Not for lack of trying, either! My drafts folder has piled up with all sorts of pieces that I never quite finished. So, I thought it would be nice to tackle something a little less daunting. Here’s a brief rundown of what media I’ve been getting into in the last month or so.
NOTE: This is a rewrite of something I did many years ago.
Barakamon is an easily endearing show. It’s a series brimming with warmth and passion, one that even people who don’t watch anime could easily get drawn into. It’s easy to gush over stories like these as a creator of any kind. One that connects with how many of us feel, brimming with self-doubt and constantly trying to get in touch with why we do what we do. Barakamon doesn’t always nail the full extent of these ideas, but it’s an immensely charming work that makes some wonderful statements.
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.
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.
Miss Kobayashi‘s Dragon Maid is a very silly show, and a very warm show. It’s easy to call things “comfort food” but no other animation studio can craft the endearing low-key stories that Kyoto Animation does. And while Dragon Maid may not have the versatility of K-ON! or A Silent Voice it most certainly has a lot of the heart. It’s like meeting a good friend, a friend who’s fun and trustworthy and always pleasing to be around. It has its quirks and issues but you’re glad you came to know them.
Here’s a post I did in early 2015 for my MLP Season 4 retrospective that never got published because why not. I’ve avoided editing because I wanted to keep it authentic to my old writing so it might be iffy, but I still think it’s good stuff. Enjoy!
Pinkie Apple Pie is the second episode in Season 4 to do something completely and utterly world-shaking, except unlike Daring Don’t it understands the weight of its own development and draws the line. Though it is suggested Pinkie is an extremely distant relative to Applejack, it’s never confirmed nor denied by the end of the episode, meaning it avoids both severely tampering with the series canon and existing simply as a narrative device to get a Pinkie Pie and Applejack episode.
NOTE: THERE ISN’T A NEW MY LITTLE PONY SERIES. THIS WAS A HYPOTHETICAL PIECE I WROTE FOR EQUESTRIA DAILY. BUT I THOUGHT IT MADE SOME NICE POINTS ABOUT THE ACTUAL STATE OF THE SERIES IN 2017 AND WAS WORTH MAKING PUBLIC.
Hasbro has announced in an investor call a spin off show of My Little Pony focused around a bat pony named Sweet Velvet and her friends. While set in same world, Velvet’s adventures take place outside the kingdom of Equestria. Hasbro hopes to target boys and girls equally with the show and impending toyline. Only this picture of Sweet Velvet was shared at the time of the call.
I used to be an avid defender of sorts for slice of life anime. Now I’m less enamored by most of them but they’re still an easy watch. If Kyoto Animation’s works stand as the peak of the genre then Doga Kobo would be the middle point, generally not hitting the craft or subtlety of a K-ON! but usually being competent at fun character animation and comedic timing. To that end the first season of New Game! is well up to par, a standard slice of life wrapped in a mellow workplace story with a few good laughs and some surprising sincerity.
‘Political correctness’ is an ugly term to a lot of people. To them it represents a threat our ability to speak honestly about challenging things, a silencing of dialogues that can help us become stronger and learn new things, a fear driven act of censorship even. Especially when it comes to comedy, people see it as a threat to creativity itself. But let me offer another idea: political correctness has the power to make comedy not only more creative but actually funnier.
And you know who agrees with me? Bojack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg. No kidding, you can read his exact words right here. You know who also agrees with me? Mr. Peanutbutter himself Paul F. Tompkins. So how does a dark gritty comedy like Bojack Horseman manage to be surrounded by such sensitive people? The short answer is that ‘political correctness’ isn’t about not saying things. It’s about questioning how and why you’re saying them. And Bojack Horseman is a stellar show when it comes to self-questioning.
Rick & Morty has been all the buzz lately. And that’s great because it truly deserves it, it’s an intricate and funny and moving series. Its third season has been its most profound yet, giving genuine introspection into the character of Rick Sanchez and how toxic and destructive a human being he truly is. But that’s not what my social media feeds have been interested in. They’ve been talking about the fandom, the would-be real life Ricks who find themselves in almost every online community spewing indulgent nihilistic hatred on everything they touch.
Some friends have even expressed being turned off the series by this, which just really sucks. On one hand I can’t blame them but on the other it’s really just not fair. It’s not fair that people find themselves unwilling to have new media experiences because of hostile fan culture, and it’s not fair on the creators of earnest good works that they need to be accountable for crappy people. So what should you do if something you want to get into has a rubbish fanbase?