I Don’t Watch Any Ani-tubers

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I like video games. That’s why many of my subscriptions on Youtube are to those who deal with video games. I like films. That’s why many some of my subscriptions on Youtube are to those who deal with films. I like anime. I don’t watch any ani-tubers. Wait, why is that?

Thinking about it earlier today, I found it somewhat odd that I never latched onto any particular person on Youtube who does anime-type reviews or videos. At least, I don’t now, seeing as none of my subscriptions deal with anime in any capacity other than references (or adaptations based on video games). So I thought about it a little more, while also browsing Youtube for a short while, and I’ve come to document my thoughts on why I think I’m not taken by any particular ani-tuber at large, and why I may never be. But first, a little history between me and ani-tubers.

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I have only subscribed to three ani-tubers in my entire life. Those three being:

  1. ThatAnimeSnob
  2. BlackCriticGuy
  3. DouchebagChocolat

I’ve talked at some length about my history with ThatAnimeSnob. Despite the brutal takes and the general pessimism of his character, TAS was a symbol of my own cynical nature and how stupid I found the general anime fan’s opinions to be. Even now, I scoff at a lot of (generally) positive ratings for anime I find to be undeserving and credit it to an inexperienced or differently-prioritized mindset. Yet it wasn’t just the vicarious experience; I genuinely thought TAS had a lot of good insight about what makes an anime good or bad, and a lot of his “teachings” can be reflected in visual media in general, not just anime. I respected him as a valid critic, and despite the low-quality of all of his videos, I liked to watch his videos for his opinions alone.

BlackCriticGuy is a bit of an interesting story. I came about him by complete accident, and his name stuck out to me. “BlackCriticGuy…? That’s rather cut and dry.” He delves primarily into anime, but also reviews film as well. With film, I think he comes across a lot better as a critic and not just a semi-objective fan. That is to say, his taste in anime is… casual. I believe it was right after he gave Akame ga Kill a 10/10 that I thought, “Okay, this guy’s opinion clearly doesn’t align with my interests.” I have nothing against the man, as aside from some occasional cringe at the type of content he uploads, he seems like an incredibly nice person and genuinely loves what he does. I can only respect that type of attitude. His word is just not for me.

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Finally, the shining star of the bunch, DouchebagChocolat. His humor, his insight, and his video editing skills are all spectacular. He has so much talent in his critiquing skills that I would think he were actually employed as a critic. He is also the only youtuber to make me laugh on a consistent basis. Youtuber, not just ani-tuber. Not even Dunkey makes me laugh as consistently as “DEMO.” Tragically, DEMO has stopped making Youtube videos. I’m not completely sure of the primary reason, but I suspect it was the mounting pressure of his real life situation combined with the time it took to make such high-quality videos. He still streams quite often on Twitch, but it isn’t nearly as magical as what he can create with a video editor.

With three large paragraphs of filler out of the way, let’s get to the real shit of this passage:

Basically Everyone Does Episodic Reviews

With all the respect in the world to my comrades Karandi and Kindle-kun, I really can’t get into episodic reviews. It’s almost like when people rate something with points other than “5.” It feels too meticulous; I’m usually someone who likes to look at the big picture, so slicing it up episode by episode, constantly raising or lowering the expectations through mathematical combobulations of the feelings produced with each twenty-minute spurt of animation… it’s a little much. It’s one thing to say “Hey, this episode was okay/not okay,” but to dedicate an entire video to it, aside from being a more profitable manner of consistency, seems too much of a stretch. I’d probably draw the line at a “Halfway” video, then a full review once it’s over (depending on episode count). Ani-tubers, generally, do this and little else, so it’s hard for me to want to hit “subscribe” only to have my tab be flooded with a million people’s thoughts on Yuri!!! On Ice’s fifth episode.

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Basically Everyone Is a Casual

Now, I’m not going to pretend I know every ani-tuber in existence, but from the experience I have with some of the bigger names like Arkada, GoatJesus, and The Anime Man, many of them have a generally-casual taste in anime that, while does not limit their opinion, doesn’t make them very interesting. Part of the appeal to TAS was that he was an outlier, someone who could back up their contrarian views with genuinely interesting insight and explanations. When I say these ani-tubers are casual, I somewhat mean they’re more inclined to enjoy something than not, something that makes TAS even more refreshing in comparison. Arkada has even come out and said (I believe it was in his ” 2016 RWoA” video) that whenever he releases a review, it’s a fair chance he’s going to like whatever the subject is. That’s so boring! I don’t always want to know why a series is good. I want to know why someone doesn’t like a series, why they prefer one series over another. What their priorities are, what they look for, what they cherish; if everything is good, nothing is!

No One Is as Charming as DouchebagChocolat

This one’s a little unfair, as Mr. Douchebag is an entity of his own. Still, it’s a dramatic shift between going from part shitposter-part reviewer to cookie-cutter ani-reviewer. Some people implement some visual effects to their whimsy and some add a little comedic flair to their videos. Yet after seeing the best of what’s to offer, it all feels so standard and uninteresting. Kind of like watching Toradora!, then trying to watch Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun and Ao Haru Ride. I was spoiled early, I suppose.

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I Hear Too Much Bad Press About People

This could almost be renamed to “I Hear Too Much Bad Press About Digibro.” Digibro seems a little more up my alley than most ani-tubers, as he’s more of an “Artsy-fartsy” kind of guy, something that’s immediately more interesting than someone reviewing just because they like anime. What scares me, however, is that I hear way more shit on him than any other ani-tuber. He’s a crybaby! He’s a hypocrite! His fans are tryhard bigots! (Fun fact: I have actually had a bad experience with a fan of his.) There’s just so much bad press on him that it’s hard to really find the desire to watch his stuff. Almost like the stigma surrounding TAS (which I feel is warranted). But it’s not just him. There’s plenty of others. When you put yourself out there—especially when you’ve released a lot of content—there’s bound to be people who find loopholes in your critiques that make assumptions of your character on that alone. What’s tricky, however, is whether or not the thing in question has any merit. Almost like the overload of sexual harassment allegations going on in Hollywood right now: regardless of if they’re true or not, the accusations hurt one’s status tremendously.

That’s all I got. Thanks for reading! Recommend me some ani-tubers that don’t match the filters above and I will reward you handsomely (with appreciation).

Harry Potter’s Final Scene Destroyed Me

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(Apologies for the slightly-clickbait title.)

Through the last month of two, I watched the entire Harry Potter franchise for the first time with my brother. Only Prisoner of Azkaban and Order of the Phoenix stood as films I’d consider above average; indeed, I did not care for this series. The writing always had this simplicity to it that was almost mocking of how dark and serious its tone wanted to be after the second film, along with random twists to add to the flavor of predictable narrative formula. But this post isn’t a critique on the Harry Potter franchise. It is the result of a powerful emotional response to the final scene in the last movie of the series, a response so sudden and overdramatic that it drove my brother to fits of giggles. Only fitting that a film franchise that left me with little emotional immersion would save its most fitting performance for last.

It was the shining star that guided me to demoting The Deathly Hallows Part 2 to an instant 1/10. Also, huge spoilers ahead.

19 years later

The above image made me scream. It made re-enact the worst scene in Star Wars Episode III. It made me leave the room mid-scene. I couldn’t stand it, I couldn’t help it, I couldn’t believe it. Hyperbole aside, it is among the most eye-roll-inducing ending scenarios to any story of all time… at least in my opinion. And I’ve encountered it many times, as I’m sure plenty of others have. The (normally) “Happily ever after” scenario that tells the viewers exactly what happens with all the characters and/or scenarios that matter and wraps everything up in a fancy little bow.

Harry Potter and co. have grown up, had kids, gotten married to one another, and are sending their kids (all conveniently the same age) off to Hogwarts for the first time. All is well and happy. Even Draco Malfoy, the giant dick in every film, is married and has a kid and looks relatively happy. Everything is happy. This happened to that guy, she is now this. We are given all the information we could possibly need, so dreaming and imagining the sorts of scenarios that occur after the fact are now dead.

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Trying to explain this to my brother proved moot, as he wasn’t able to comprehend why I felt this was so insatiably daft. It also would have helped if I wasn’t in a state of emotional unrest, as my explanation turned into a parade of full-on mocking bravado towards this scene and any other story that employed it. In my current self, one that is hot off the heels of seeing Lady Bird, I am clearly in a reasonable presence of mind, and am confident that I can accurately explain (to those willing enough to comprehend) why these kinds of endings make me shudder.

It’s just, like, a creative handicap, man. I have always found that leaving things in the dark is a lot more fulfilling and impactful in a story than leaving everything out in the open. When everything is open and expected, the trail becomes familiar, obvious, self-indulgent. The wink from the author to the reader as though their word is the scripture with which the reader absorbs all happiness from. From my choice of words, it’s easy to digest that my disdain for this type of ending is a more personal quirk, rather than through a well-thought-out analysis of why it hampers a story. Aside from it being predictable or an easy-out. Even done in a more depressing way, dependent on how vague the future thus becomes, it still comes off as meandering to me. Or happily. I suppose the whole point is that I don’t want everything spelled out to me, like a soccer mom casually giving me hints of a surprise birthday party that I don’t want.

So maybe I’m too cynical about it. Maybe I was too expectant of a supposedly great writer in J.K. Rowling. Whatever the case, the otherwise monotonous franchise of Harry Potter ending on an incredibly sappy and conflict-less note made my skin crawl. And shriek. And produce the urge to murder—and rewrite Harry Potter in my own image, such that I can satisfy my own interpretation of what the Harry Potter franchise could explore if it wasn’t written for children. That, in and of itself, may have been the unintended consequence of an otherwise emotionally-gratifying final scene. It at least made me feel something.

Entries from the Dead: Jitsu wa Watashi wa

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[Dropped after 25 chapters.]

A manga as the subject this time around! Just look at how innovative I’m becoming in my absence.

With this long-running manga finally ending its run of Engish scanlation, I thought it would be appropriate to share my own story of trying to read, and eventually dropping, a story full of clichés and its almost parody-like execution of such. Initially intrigued by the distinct art style, a friend was also belly-deep into it and seemed to find it a decent read. That was all I needed, despite how lousy the anime adaptation was in terms of average score; after all, anime adaptations don’t necessarily correlate to its source’s success.

In this case, it kind of does.

Now, I haven’t seen the anime (nor do I want to), but if it’s anything like this manga, there’s little to be found here. After twenty-five chapters, twenty-five measly chapters of twenty to thirty-something pages of story, I was exhausted. The characters, the expressions, the way characters seem to dance merrily upon the misery of others… it was too much. Shoehorn in the typical interpretation of love, mythical creatures, and two teenagers sticking together for mutual interest only to find that they cherish one another in spite of that, and one has Jitsu wa Watashi wa: a manga that brings nothing new to the table.

One difference, besides zanier-looking expressions and art style, is the parody nature of the series. It reminds me almost of Baka-Test in everyone’s near-disregard for others’ safety and privacy and well-being. Things happen and get crazier and crazier; why? Because they can. Because the mangaka has to keep the ship afloat somehow, so let’s turn the ship into a plane that runs on cacti while escaping the depths of Jupiter’s fourth moon while Guns n’ Roses’ “Sweet Home Alabama” plays over the jungle gym placed neatly within the hair follicles of Ronald Reagan’s corpse. To top it off, serious emotional situations occur all the time, and seem to never leave the once quiet and shy male lead, who apparently cannot tell a lie… but manages to break that one distinction with nearly every chapter.

It tries too hard, frankly. To be funny, silly, serious, satirical, and impactful all at once. I adore innovation in any subject, but Jitsu wa Watashi wa is an example of trying to do too much with too much space available. If this entire post was just me talking about the kind of kooky situations I can come up with concerning the plane that runs on sunflower seeds that seeks out the ruby medallion hidden inside the outer region of the pupil of Lawrence Taylor’s neighbor’s subconscious, terrorized by the looming suspicion that Lawrence Taylor will evolve into a creature unknown to man and flash the neighborhood with its seventh appendage while simultaneously roaring like a savage horn beetle, would it be entertaining? To some, sure, but there is absolutely no coherency present, no reason to care about any of it. One is wasting their time reading my input on the plane that runs on red-colored origami found on the desert planet—

Don’t read it, unless chaos mixed with the clichés of typical high school romances tickles your fancy enough that it may provide some morsel of enthusiasm. Just don’t hope to make it past chapter twenty if you’re not totally committed to abandoning your expectations, while also holding onto them for dear life.

Traveling Thoughts on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Goron City)

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A few disclaimers before we move forward:

  • Traveling Thoughts is a means of putting down my thoughts in a bit-by-bit process that will eventually lead up to a formal review of the overall subject. These posts will be more personal than objective, though one should expect a good amount of both as is my personality of habit.
  • These posts will absolutely contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

I would also like to state before continuing that this post will not cover the Divine Beast or the things pertaining to its conditions for entrance. I will dedicate an article to the Divine Beasts in general at some point in the future.

At this point, I had enough experience with the game to have some confidence in my ability to overcome any challenge. I knew how to cook stuff, effectively decimate any enemy, had full control of Link’s mannerisms and weapon abilities, and while it’s hard to explain to non-gamers, I just had that feeling of “This is my domain” while playing it. That sort of unsaid and often times unnoticed quality when a game simply becomes second nature, where one doesn’t have to remember how to do something or what that something does. After Zora’s Domain, I was deep enough in the adventure to have myself be comfortable with the road ahead, with little hesitance lurking within me.

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Funny that I happen to pick the volcano right after the luminous lake. Almost like going from Kyogre to Groudon. Yin and Yang. Of course, I knew that was where the Goron lied, and the Goron have always been one of my favorite LoZ species. The path to Goron City, or Death Mountain, was one I found to be even more perilous than the path to Zora’s Domain. Two major reasons for this: one being the heat, which requires a few bottles of heat-resistant potion to travel across safely (Pro tip: speaking to an inhabitant of a stable before the path’s start will net you three of these potions for a low cost). The other being that there is a Guardian walking around the path. Not the ones planted to the ground, but a fully functional, spider-like Guardian that will wreck your shit if you’re unprepared. I, like the unprepared player I was, avoided it at all costs, which I managed to do by exploiting the fact that Link can damn-near climb anything.

Otherwise, the road to Goron City is laced with lava pits, red Lizalfos, fire Keese bats, fire Chuchus, and fireballs that rain from the sky (easily avoidable and incredibly situational). Basically, fire, fire, and more fire. Wooden weapons are going to be one’s downfall and ice arrows will be your safe bet. Unlike with Zora’s Domain, one doesn’t even see a Goron (aside from a traveling merchant) until one is about a five-minute jog from their major capitol. It creates a sort of isolated distinction among the species that, while I found curious at the time, realized it’s kind of the same for every major species aside from Zora, so it’s not that interesting anymore. Speaking of not very interesting, here is where the bad starts to flow.

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The “Sidon” of Goron City is a weak, sniveling coward who is a direct descendant of Darunia (Remember him, Zelda fans???). His character is a by-the-numbers caricature of the “Weak coward eventually becomes stronger by overcoming adversity and showing courage in the appropriate manner” trope that has become so overdone by this point that I couldn’t help but despise him. It doesn’t help that his voice is horrendously annoying. It also doesn’t help that on top of the trope of “Weak coward becomes hero,” he also has the trope of “Weak coward is the direct descendant of a natural leader and species icon—ISN’T IT IRONIC???” At the very least, the conversations with Goron around the city don’t kick him while he’s down with gratuitous lines of “He should be more like his great grandpappy and stop bein’ such a puss!” That would’ve completed the cliché cannoli and ruined the experience almost altogether for me. Needless to say at this point, the narrative surrounding this particular area did not excite me all that much.

Here’s an embarrassing fun fact: this was the only part of the game (aside from near-end Shrine hunting) where I looked up a guide on how to progress through the game. It involves the process of boarding the Divine Beast, so I won’t go into much detail, but we’ll just say that my perception can be hilariously lacking in various moments. I’ve found in my lifetime that I can become so taken by the objective at hand that my peripheral vision becomes essentially moot, never piecing together the importance of various circumstances surrounding the objective unless I actively think about it from that perspective. I’ve found myself trying to think more outside the box from this instance alone, but it can still hamper me in puzzle games. But this has little to do with the topic at hand. The point was to show that this part of the game may be hard for those who can’t figure out context.

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Aesthetically, there’s a little less variety here than with Zora’s Domain. There’s Death Mountain—an active(-ish) volcano—and mountains that accompany it, lava streams, rocks… mines… Yeah. It’s just a big mountainous region with the glow of lava and a heated, semi-dusty atmosphere. I think it more than justified the feeling of heat, but didn’t do much for the immersiveness of the Goron like in prior games. The Goron themselves are definitely varied in appearance and personality, more so than the Zora, but the world around them becomes all the more dull. Aside from the mining area, there wasn’t much of a sense of the Goron interacting with their environment, with all of them being placed there for convenience. The world didn’t come alive, and became one of the least enjoyable places to revisit for me (until a certain other area I’ll get into later on).

I ended up a little disappointed after leaving the Goron zone. There wasn’t as much personality present as I would’ve expected from a fun-loving species. That, and the overabundance of clichés made me groan every time they attempted humor in conversations (Ha ha, the old guy’s back always hurts!). I wouldn’t say the majority was an overall negative experience, but being so ravished by Zora’s Domain, Goron City paled in comparison on almost every front. And with this environment conquered, I hoped I would be able to rekindle some of that potential for immersiveness as I felt with both Zora’s Domain and Kakariko Village. I also hoped I would escape the heat. That didn’t happen.

(All gameplay screenshots courtesy of, once again, MKIceAndFire.)

My Adoration of Expression Coupled with Anime

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Over the years, phrases such as “It’s too bland,” “It’s dull,” “It’s safe,” and “It’s formulaic” have been ingrained into the wordy musings of this blog. While I can’t speak for everyone, I can only assume that when I say these things, people think I mean they’re boring, bland, or formulaic in a general sense, when in reality, they’re all those things largely due to a single driving factor: expression (or sometimes referred to as “heart”). Now, something as vaguely termed as “expression” is a bit tricky to pin down in an objective sense, so as a small, yet effective example, simply look at the cute gif I have posted above of my favorite vampire waifu: Shinobu, from the Monogatari series. Notice the blended array of colors which supplants it out of its immediate reality, the emphasis on her allure being planted right on her face, and the almost cutesy representation of her original design that creates a distinct mood. This is what I like to call “expression,” something that exaggerates, defies, or simply heightens the norms of character exuberance and/or personality—which bleeds into other aspects of a creative work.

While this post is looking at anime, other art forms such as video games, manga, and films all work within a similar field, where expression can become a make-or-break factor in terms of my enjoyment towards it. Take a recently-crowned favorite manga of mine, Miman Renai, and the infinite amount of gush I wrote concerning its artistic chaos. Despite a simple story with inherently semi-problematic reasoning and characters who only briefly cross into territory that accentuates their complexity, the manner of expression and artistic freedom made me adore it to near-maximum levels. Silly faces, absurd observations, Egoraptor levels of emotional and physical overexaggeration, and an earnest atmosphere that coddled it all in a coherent space without (completely) destroying the confines of reality. This is by far the greatest spectacle of Miman Renai as an art form and a golden example of my love for “expression” in visual media.

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Taking into account my favorite anime, most of them have some form of expression to them, with the most vibrant of the bunch being Katanagatari (from the author of the Monogatari series, which isn’t shocking). Its entire aesthetic is bright and varied, with quirky character designs and a world with blown-up color. Best of all, its characters are hilariously one-dimensional, but in a way that screams parody rather than conforming to what sells.

However, my other favorites being Dennou CoilOokami to KoushinryouToradora!, and Shinsekai yori, someone reading my thoughts thus far wouldn’t be able to see what makes them so rife with expression in the way I’ve explained it to mean. And they would be right, because these other examples aren’t anywhere close to the absurdist levels of Katanagatari, but this is all surface-level stuff. These series’ expression is within the manner of their character progression and insight, such that they change gradually throughout the course of the series while still retaining the better parts of their core personality. Admittedly, Ookami to Koushinryou does not have a lot of what makes typical expression so infatuating, as it has a higher degree of focusing on an aloof narrative structure that simply embodies the relationship between its lead characters and THE POWER OF ECONOMY!!!

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Dennou Coil and Shinsekai yori, on the other hand, have another form of expression that aids in the development of both characters and narrative: artistic expression. Essentially, these series have “a point” they’re trying to make, or trying to envelop the viewer into a grandiose tale that one can empathize with and gather insight on various circumstances (i.e. loss of loved ones in Dennou Coil; social hierarchy in Shinsekai yori). The way the story is presented also plays a vital part in its retention of intrigue, which each series does splendidly enough to draw attention initially and reap rewards by the end; childlike adventure in a sci-fi setting with Dennou Coil, and the dangers of repeating the past in a fantasy setting full of telekinetic kids and anthropomorphic mole rats in Shinsekai yori. These stories with meaning are something that makes them intriguing to watch analytically as well as simply for pleasure. It also makes them more memorable for their inherent quirks as those without them. It’s part of the reason I gave mother! a good score despite not caring for it, and gave Mayoiga an average score despite its glaring technical flaws.

Yet not all is fine in dandy in the world of youthful naivety and cheeky children. Shounen anime are among the most exuberantly emotional anime on the planet, with episode after episode of monologues and screaming dialogue full of gusto and usually a lot of angst. This, in terms of what I’ve said, could qualify for an example of expression, and I would agree; however, with almost everything in life, execution is the name of the game. It is not expression alone that is what makes itself alluring, but the way it is the presented, the way it inflates itself with value, and the way it distinguishes itself from the crowd (or other ways that mean more to others than myself). Boku no Hero Academia is a great example of expression used in a very similar way to many other Shounen titles, but creates more meaning through focusing on characters by putting them in eventful situations and giving the viewer a reason to not treat them as background filler. The execution is not distinguishable at all, yet it works through tinkering—giving weight to one’s actions, and having that result in true character development. Because let’s face it, Boku no Hero Academia’s story is not nearly as captivating as its characters. Here, it works, while in other series where the focus is more driven towards narrative, it likely won’t work as well. Context is important, as one should be able to identify what a particular series is trying to do and why its type of expression works as well as it does.

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Which brings me to the obligatory “Trash all harem and trend-baiting series” section of the piece. Series such as Rosario + VampireNo Game No LifeBlend S, and Urara Meirochou all have a common fatal flaw: there’s no point to them. They indulge in what’s popular at the time for the sake of indulging in what’s popular at the time, putting no effort into any real stakes of human interest or conflict. While all are vibrant in their color palette, it doesn’t mean much when the execution is so derivative and void of impact. This isn’t to say these shows are (altogether) bad or that they can’t be entertaining to viewers (Lord knows No Game No Life is), but that they lack that sort of “oomph” (another word that mirrors “expression”) that keeps me interested long-term or invested in what’s happening onscreen. Their level of expression is fairly low in my eyes, which makes me immediately shy away from them if not for my allure to their easy-on-the-eyes design. And this applies to any anime that may or may not catch my interest in upcoming seasons. There’s a reason why I only watch two or three anime a season: the rest don’t scream, “Oh, yeah. That’ll be expressive and not super cliché.”

When it comes to anime, titles such as Ping Pong The AnimationKuuchuu Buranko, and Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita are going to be infinitely more interesting to me than Free!Hajimete no Gal, or Monster (Sorry, fans). Their uniqueness, expressiveness, and potential for meaningful content are what draws me in more than simple fan service or a super-realistic plot full of normal characters. Again, this isn’t to say the latter series can’t work, but it doesn’t do much for me personally. I am, or at least I am developing into, someone who enjoys a blend of “objective” solidity and artsy-fartsy development or imagery. URAHARA was a series I had high hopes for due to the artsy-fartsy discretion, but the “objective” side faltered fairly quickly. It doesn’t always works, with execution and situation playing as much of a role in its power than the power itself. When it works, you have a crowded mess of eights and above in your anime list. When it doesn’t, your average rating per series hovers around a 5/10.

That’s what being expressive means to me. What does it mean to you?

Quick Thoughts on Boku no Hero Academia 2

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Keeping this short and sweet. I mean it today. Genuinely pretty short.

Boku no Hero Academia 2 is a direct continuation of the first, so nothing about it has drastically changed, aside from the placement of the heroes within a school-like environment basically the whole season. What has increased, from my perspective, are two things: scope of characters and number of Shounen clichés.

It is absolutely amazing to me how well this series pays attention to its characters. There are close to twenty student characters alone, without taking into account the number of teachers, villains, and miscellaneous characters, that are established commodities. Ochaco, Mineta, Midoriya, Bakugo, Todoroki, Yaoyorozu, Iida, Tsui, Tokoyami, and others all have their merits as both heroes and characters, and it’s such a heartwarming acknowledgment to know that the series isn’t playing favorites (at least not extensively). I think this is where most of the series’s charm comes from; characters taking the forefront and distinguishing themselves from their peers in terms of personality, powers, or motivations. Amazing as this is to say, I don’t hate any characters in this series. I don’t like all of the characters, but I don’t find any of them useless, irritating, or bland. On top of that, the characters I do like, I really like.

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On the negative side, tropes are abundantly increased as the pressure is poured on. A lot more monologues, stupid resolutions, and sweeping conceptually uninteresting shit under the rug for the sake of moving things along are much more prevalent here than in the first season (outside of the first season’s last three episodes). There’s also more filler, with one example being Tsui getting her own episode seemingly out of nowhere. It’s probably the worst episode in the whole season. Still, it isn’t enough to trample a story that, despite the overuse of superheroes in pop culture now-a-days, is intriguing enough to follow from both a newbie and veteran standpoint. Todoroki gets substantial growth as a character this time around, as does Iida and others in smaller doses. These two names probably wouldn’t have progressed so smoothly if the story was half-assed fanfiction.

Otherwise, second verse, same as the first. Boku no Hero Academia remains a consistently entertaining and endearing series, and one of the first Shounen series I’ve found myself immersed with in a very long time. I only hope the third season continues to build upon the greatest strengths of the second season without destroying itself with overly cliché villain battles and deus ex machinas—or, dare I say, self-sacrifices.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

Quick Thoughts on Tokyo Godfathers

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You know that feeling when you’re sifting through new anime to watch, and you continue to come across synopses that go something like “Oh, no! Blahblah Blahblah is an average guy, but then Sparklebutt Cutiepatootie invites him to her club and then shenanigans happen”? I have that feeling all the time, and it makes me question why I still watch anime. Imagine my surprise when, out of desperation, I go through some of Satoshi Kon’s library and see a film by him with a synopsis that reads “A transwoman, belligerent hobo, and runaway teen find an abandoned baby in the trash on Christmas, and then shenanigans happen!” What the fuck?! How come anime isn’t this absurd anymore?! It’s so great! Needless to say, I watched it immediately.

It was good, not “so great!”

More than anything, I liked the heart at the center of all the drama… which conveniently slips in and out of view as the film pushes itself along. Despite the stupidity of the realism present, the at-times skimmy animation, and forced happily-ever-after scenarios, I can feel Kon’s love of filmmaking present here. I like the focus on “trash,” the worth of a life thrown away by society. The parallelisms between characters and their situations, despite their situations being so different, all have a common thread that makes their interactions so heartwarming, their banter so sweet. All anyone really wants is to be loved and accepted, even those who don’t look the part.

I’ll say, too, the animation, while choppy in bits, was wonderfully expressive and humorous. Realistic? Only occasionally. The moodiness of characters, their emotions so present, their outbursts so theatrical; it all makes the film more fun than it really is. Lighthearted takes on serious developments that involve kidnapping and murder, it’s not something that hits the viewer’s head at full strength every chance it gets. At times, it doesn’t even try at all! What’s present is an occasionally moving piece of art that goes for entertainment along with some vague message. Corny messages, but impactful nonetheless. Tokyo Godfathers represents the rare positive execution of THE POWER OF EMOTIONS!!!.

I would wholly recommend this for Christmas. Because it takes place around Christmas? Partly—more because it evokes the spirit of Christmas through supporting and loving everyone, not just those within society that are in plain view. Now, this isn’t a vote of confidence that we should all be helping out any hobo on the street for the sake of it, but it’s nice that anime makes this a focal point to build upon, rather than absolutely nothing; sadly, the norm. Yet, as cold cynicism takes over, don’t expect a masterpiece from this recommendation. Tokyo Godfathers is a feel-good piece that occasionally oversteps its bounds in terms of sappiness. It is also a tremendous triumph of distinctive personality and charm, courtesy of a phenomenal director and writer.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.