I’ve watched a lot of anime in recent years that I’ve enjoyed quite a lot. Some were more low-key that I enjoyed on a personal level, usually because I got more out of them than I expected, like Chivalry of a Failed Knight. Others I loved for their character writing, like both seasons of Silver Spoon. Then there are the ones that fascinated me with their specific character arcs and themes, like both seasons of Tokyo Ghoul (though I seem to be the only person for that one).
But it’s been ages since I’ve seen a show that was so good at being a show, something that’s thrilling on a basic level. Re:Zero manages to be entertaining in a way that’s easy for a general audience to enjoy, but without sacrificing the depth and attention to detail that make it so good. I feel like it’s an approach that isn’t appreciated as much as it used to be, which is a shame. People are more than willing to praise shows that handle complicated themes, but for some reason it’s made people lose sight of how focusing on being entertaining is also an art. There’s a lot of nuance to almost any approach, the more quote-unquote “mature” shows are just easier to view as good because of the way they carry themselves.
So, as I am wont to do, I’ve decided to go over everything that makes Re:Zero stand out in meticulous, excessive, and probably annoying detail. Mainly because of the positive reception, surprisingly. I’m tired of seeing people say the show is great but then not actually backing it up with anything other than “it does neat things with Subaru and it’s dark”. I mean, yeah, it’s nice to see a protagonist that bucks the current trend of “I can do everything on my own because I’m the best at everything and the world rewards me for being that way” protagonists from light novels that are getting adapted lately and I’ll absolutely go over him when I get to that part, but that’s not what elevates the show so much. Subaru is just kind of a neat side show, he’s not being developed 24/7, it’s really only a few episodes that focus on it.
If you want to know my thoughts without being spoiled since you haven’t seen it yet, this intro should have already made my feelings obvious. Re:Zero is the perfect example of not only how to do a “stuck in a fantasy world” story the correct way, but is also a fantastic show in general. For everyone else, strap in because we’ve got a lot to go over. Feel free to take this in multiple sessions, I won’t be surprised if this ends up being absurdly long.
Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress ended last season, with the general consensus being that it was anywhere from mildly to extremely disappointing. When it ended, two of the bigger names in the Anime Youtube community put out videos on it. One was from Gigguk, which largely echoed the general issues people had with the show, primarily in the second half. The other was from Digibro, who questioned the argument that the second half was bad due to being dumb since the show had always been that way.
While my personal thoughts on the show align more with Gigguk’s, Digibro’s is the more interesting idea to talk about. Though that may just be because amusingly dumb shows are some of my favorite things to watch, and yet I hated Kabaneri.
My Teen Romantic Comedy Snafu is a bit of an odd duck. I don’t recall there being a whole lot of fanfare before the first season aired, but by the end it had managed to find a decent enough of an audience that it got some solid word-of-mouth and got a bit of a cult following. Then when the sequel aired almost two years later, that’s when the audience got really vocal about the show and how good it is.
From what I heard, I knew I wanted to check out the show at some point, but mostly just never had the time. But since it was voted for by you guys, it presented the perfect opportunity to finally check it out.
The way I’m going to do this is that I’m going to cover most of my thoughts on the first season, and then switch to the second one afterwards. Though as I talk about the first, I’ll probably make a few general statements about the second season. The idea is that if you’ve seen the first season but not the second, you’ll be able to hear my thoughts on that while still being able to go into the sequel mostly blind.
Maybe it’s just the small portion of the anime community that I’m capable of observing, but it seems like the show getting the most attention this season is Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress. I mean, I can’t say that’s too surprising seeing as it’s the Attack on Titan team and Tetsuro Araki’s staple over-the-top directing is natural at drawing people in, but I think there are plenty of other shows airing this season that deserve the attention more. One of those obviously being Re:Zero.
To be fair, Re:Zero is probably the second or third most talked about show this season, but it’s easily the best out of the approximately twenty shows I’m watching this season, and I want it to be the most talked about show, not the almost most talked about. So I’m going to give spoiler-free reasons for why you should watch the show if you aren’t, but also try to explain why it’s so good to those that are watching it or dropped it early on since they weren’t entirely convinced. Though I will explicitly mention some stuff from the first episode.
For reference to those who might see this late, I’m making this after having seen eight episodes of the show. So there could be even more reasons down the line I could give, but just haven’t seen them yet.
The Last: Naruto the Movie (commonly misread as “The Last Naruto Movie“) is not something I was expecting to do a review on. I’m not that into Naruto to begin with (I don’t really actively hate it, I’m mostly indifferent), but I knew I wanted to see this movie when I found out that it was going to be very largely about Hinata, because Hinata Best Girl. So I had an inkling I was probably going to like the movie since it was essentially built to cater to my preferences.
Here’s the thing though: after watching the movie, thinking about it, and then watching it again, I think the movie is actually pretty good even disregarding my biases. So I wanted to do a review to talk about some pretty neat things a Naruto movie did.
Never thought I’d say that sentence, but life is just full of surprises.
I should also mention that I’ve read a decent amount of the Naruto manga (mainly the ending arc to see how it all wrapped up), but there are bits and pieces that I missed, skipped, skimmed, etc. If I get anything wrong when I talk about the main series, feel free to correct me.
Another year, another batch of complaints that the just-finished year of anime was “bad” or “mediocre at best”. It never gets old, really.
I thought it was a pretty good year seeing as I was sweating and biting my nails over what would make my top ten this year. That tends to be a pretty good indication of a solid if not good year of anime.
But you know what, I’m going to do things a bit differently this time. Maybe part of the fueled negativity towards each year is leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths by ending these with the worst five shows that aired. I’m going to keep doing those because I still think balance is important, but from now on I’ll start with them, and then do the top ten after. Maybe ending on a positive note will help inspire more positive thoughts about each year from now on.
Before we start, here’s the rules as per usual: It doesn’t matter when the show aired, as long as it finished airing in 2015 it’s eligible. In turn, shows that did not finish airing before December 31st, 2015 are not eligible. That’s really about it. As for the worst list, I have to have completed the show in order for it to be eligible, or I need to have dropped the show for a reason other than boredom. Otherwise the list would just be full of shows that bored me to various degrees, which would make a really lame list. This also means if a show you think should have made either list isn’t there, I most likely either didn’t watch it or dropped it.
That’s it for the rules, let’s get this started.
I’m glad I’m finally getting around to covering this show. It’s already a thing of mine that I like to cover shows where I don’t agree with the majority opinion because it’s more likely to encourage thought and debate, but it’s even better when the show I get to cover is one I really, really like as opposed to one that I don’t.
Also, I was going to start this by covering how people perceive adaptations in order to maybe help manga-readers (of any series) who tend to be disappointed maybe understand why that’s the case, but it ended up being so fucking long that it can seriously make a post of its own. So I’ll just give the TL;DR (sort of) and we’ll jump into Tokyo Ghoul right after.