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.
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.
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.
Sometimes I struggle with the things I decide to put out. I tend to only cover a show when I have something I want to say about it. Most of the time that’s due to having an opinion that just goes against the majority. My ultimate goal, after all, is to get people to think about the shows they like and dislike and why. But I don’t want to have a reputation of always going against the grain, because then it looks like I’m doing it for the sake of it. That’s why I try to go in an alternating pattern with at least my longer videos: I started with a less than stellar Clannad review, then praised ToraDora, then laid out my issues with After Story.
But sometimes I have to put that worry aside and say the things I want to say regardless. Which is why I’m now going to explain through a review why I think people give SAO II too much shit.
Another year, another time to be unoriginal and do a top ten (or some degree thereof) post like everybody else in the universe. But they’re pretty fun to do, so it makes sense why everybody does them.
2014 was a pretty solid year for anime. I think I said the exact same thing about 2013, but this year was even better. When I make my list I go through all of the shows I watched that are eligible, and write down the ones that I think deserve a spot, then after I’m done I sort through the shows and decide which ones will actually make the Top 10. Sometimes I have just enough shows for the list, other times I don’t have enough and need to expand out a bit so I can have enough, and then there are times like this year where I have more than enough shows.
This wasn’t an easy list, I had an especially difficult time deciding the placements for the five through one spots, and if I could I would have given number one and two both the top spot in a heartbeat. But alas, there has to be one single winner.
Before getting into the list, I should explain which shows are eligible. The basic rule is that the show needs to have ended at some point in 2014. Doesn’t matter if it started in 2013 or even 2012, as long as the show ended in 2014, it qualifies. This means shows such as Your Lie in April, Parasyte, Magic Kaito, etc. that are still airing were not eligible.
Normally that would be the single rule of this, but now that split-cour shows are becoming a Thing, I’m adding a new one: split-cour shows where the second half doesn’t finish in the year are also not qualified. That means no JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works, or Aldnoah.Zero. I’m defining a split-cour show as one that’s clearly incomplete without its second half due to no real resolution, or has a blatant cliffhanger to lead into it. These are shows that are typically planned to be split-cour in the first place and announced as such.
Oh, and also obviously only shows I watched are eligible. If a show you think is great didn’t make my list, there’s a good possibility I either didn’t watch it or it just didn’t manage to make the cutoff. …Or I may have thought the show was shit, but the former are more likely.
With all that out of the way, let’s get down to business.