I’ve Been Nominated for the Unique Blogger Award (Again)

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My thanks to Keiko for the nomination! She’s primarily an anime reviewer, dealing with the standard episodic reviews while occasionally delving into whole series. She’ll also talk at some length about music as a subject, which is an interesting differentiation from the typical aniblogger. A follower of my blog for about half a year (though I could’ve sworn she was around longer than that), I appreciate her taking the time to continue with my output.

The Rules:

1. Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.

2. Answer the questions.

3. In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award.

4. Ask them 3 questions.

Keiko’s Questions:

If you were stuck in an anime universe, which would it be and why? 

I’ve never been good at answering this question, because a lot of variously absurd and intriguing anime universes have tremendous drawbacks. Dragon Ball Z has constant threats of alien invaders. Pokémon has terrorist groups running amok every couple of years. And with the abundance of high school anime, there’s nothing to really draw inspiration from aside from appealing characters.

If I really had to choose, based on the way I could use it to play out my own narcissistic fantasies, I’d probably go with the hot hand and say Boku no Hero Academia. The idea of collecting one’s own superpower, and having it be commonplace, is something that’s really easy to get excited about. I’ll also admit that I’ve thought at length about the kind of power I would have (think Todoroki except electricity instead of fire), and it’s really fun to be so imaginative about it. Again, constant threats of opposing villains would be a solid nuisance, but I can’t pass up superpowers being the norm and the fascination that brings.

What anime left the biggest impression on you? 

Oh, that’s easy. Toradora!. It was the anime that really got me into anime—past the stereotypical mainstream of shounen/action titles and rambunctious emotional appeals. It revealed to me what anime could be apart from what was naturally assumed of the medium, and was the “gateway drug” into the many different varying types of anime. Before Toradora!, I really did have the mindset that most anime are the absolute same. It wasn’t until I got my feet in the door that I realized its scope and overwhelming quantity.

I was also a sucker for romantic comedies back in the day (still enjoy the genre now, but not nearly as much), and having an anime actually show characters being intimate after years of having it only be implied or teased was mind-blowing. Had I watched the series now, I very likely wouldn’t have found it so amazing, but it came at the right time for me. And that’s part of the reason it’s my favorite anime.

If you were an animal, what would you be? 

Angry Rabbit (New)

Nominations:

Anyone who has read my award posts in the past know that I don’t really care to nominate a wide variety of people (I only follow, like, ten people on this whole site). So, once again, I’ll refrain from nominating anywhere near 8-13 people, and instead will ask people to look at my recommended ani-bloggers list and discover those I feel are good for those interested in anime-esque criticism and fascination. That being said, I won’t ask any questions.

Just kidding. I will ask questions.

Questions:

“Wait, who are you askin—”

You. I’m asking you, the reader, to answer my questions. Of course, you don’t have to, but it’d be pretty rude of you to outright ignore me, right? You wouldn’t just ignore someone asking you a potentially personal question in real life, would you? No, but seriously, if people wish to discuss my questions in the comments, I’d be more than happy to take part.

  1. If you were to direct an anime film, what aspect would you most likely prioritize over others? It can be the traditional story, characters, art; but could also be as direct as character interaction, detailed animation, or a certain tone.
  2. How would you try to attract the attention of a male (or female) harem protagonist? Asking under the assumption that said protagonist actually deserves your attention. No “Nothing—harem protagonists suck” answers.
  3. What would be more intriguing as an anime adaptation: Super Mario or Legend of Zelda?

Thanks again to Keiko and for those who continue to read my blog. Until the next time!

A Casual End of Year Update

School is back in session. I’ve recently started a new job. These two things combined have taken quite a bit out of me, so my normal schedule of posting may seem a tad lax in the future, at least until I can get myself comfortable with my now semi-busy schedule.

This serves as both an update and filler, for those who care to know the circumstances behind the rapidity of my posting. And with the now slower-than-normal frequency in which I watch anime, many posts will likely concern outside topics such as video games or films, but I will try to squeeze in some weeb culture here and there, for the sake of the majority of my “audience.”

Thank you for reading and for staying with me.

What I Learned from the 2017 Summer of Anime

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Now that it’s come and gone, I find myself pondering the process, the execution, and the things I could change about this year’s Summer of Anime. What better way to collect my thoughts than to share a post to the world about my overall impressions from the torture experiences I had to face since June 1st, as well as some tidbits that could prove interesting to onlookers and newcomers alike. I could very well title this post “Thoughts on …,” but for the sake of variety, I’ll make this particular entry a little more academic.

1. YOU ALL HAVE SHIT TASTE

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Just kidding.

Still, it’s astounding to see all the average to below-average series rated for this year’s batch of anime titles. Out of thirty completed anime, only nine have a “B-” or higher in either score category. That’s not even a third of the list. Initially, I thought this was incredibly alarming… until I looked back on previous years and discovered that I haven’t fared much better picking my own titles. While this year is technically a low point for anime, my Summer of Manga back in 2015 produced the same results: only nine of thirty manga received a “B-” or higher in either score category. Really, we all have pretty shit taste, don’t we?

2. Anime over Two-Cour Are a Death Sentence

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I did not do well with big chunks.

NANA and the ‘Aria’ series. Those are the only two series recommended to me that are longer than two-cour that did not have a negative impression left by either a tough, uphill battle or time constraints. Strangely enough, they’re also two of the better series I watched this year! The rest festered within the restraints that I placed upon them (and myself), with finishes ranging between decent (Code Geass) and horrid (Fate/kaleid), if they weren’t dropped outright.

Blood+ (50 episodes), Hikaru no Go (75 episodes), and Ghost in the Shell (52 episodes) were all dropped due to time constraints. Eureka Seven (50 episodes) started out alright, but eventually feel prey to its own undoing, making the last fifteen episodes or so a complete drag; dropping it would mean having to face another longer series, so I put up with it. Code Geass (50 episodes) and Fate/kaleid (42 episodes) were both fairly early on, so the rush for time wasn’t as prevalent, though their quality didn’t make them a breeze to go through, either.

If I ever do this again, two-cour will be the limit.

3. (Most) Anime Within the Top 100 Were Enjoyable

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Out of the thirty anime recommended, six (and a not-quite seventh) anime are ranked within the top 100 on MyAnimeList. Out of those six, five got a rating of “B-” or higher in the “Personal Score” category. The lone loser? Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso. Everything else is recommendable (to whatever extent).

Why is this important? For the sake of formulating theories.

Back in 2014, I intentionally ended that year’s Summer with five titles from MyAnimeList’s top 100. Sure enough, four out of five got a Personal Score of “B-” or higher, and the fifth got a “C+.” The message on display is that while a number of anime are overhyped, it’s really to what extent, as many anime I’ve seen ranked within the top 100 are, at the least, decent shows. It was no different this year, as five of the six anime qualified are anime I would recommend most from this Summer—most specifically NANASamurai Champloo, and the ‘Aria’ series.

So, when looking for a new series to watch, if you really want a bang for your buck, it’s probably better to go with a series with an overall rank of 200 than 2,000. Don’t take that to heart, though.

4. I’m Never Exceeding Twenty-Five Anime Again

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I’ll admit outright that I did not expect to receive so many recommendations for this year’s special condition (I brought this slightly on myself). Not wanting to let anyone down, I pushed the envelope further and further until everyone’s picks got equal chance to be included, to the point where I was pushing myself past my limits. At first, I was ready to take on the extra load. By Eureka Seven, I was looking quite a bit like Oreki up there.

This year was rough. By the end, I was crawling to the finish line, resorting to ashamedly sprinting through the path that took the least amount of effort (strategic drops). I certainly had enough motivation to do thirty series in the beginning, though with all garbage I had to wade through, my tolerance wore thin quickly. Of the last ten anime I watched, only two had a “B-” or higher in either score category. Six of them had a “C-” or lower.

For any future event similar to this, two things will be set in stone: only two recommendations per person and the total count is twenty-five. I’m not sure I could do this again without resorting to dirty tactics (which, admittedly, I did near the end of this year).

5. I Had Fun

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Yeah, sure, by the end I was praying for sweet death and cursing myself for being so hardheaded, but despite it all, it was a worthwhile Summer. For the first time, I was doing the Summer not just for myself, but for the people who continue to read and support my blog. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for taking part this year. This is both my most and least favorite year so far.

I’m glad I got such a diverse selection of titles to sink my teeth into, as well as opportunities to watch things I had been putting off for years. These fun concepts wouldn’t be possible without the help of you readers, so thank you, again. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I only hope next time I won’t have to show my cynicism by smashing everyone’s choices.

Until next year!

I’ve Been Nominated for the Entertainer Blogger Award

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Many thanks to the not-always-so-lethargic Lethargic Rambles for the nominating me as a suitable entertainer. Chances are, if anyone reading this enjoys the content on this blog, whether it be anime reviews or thoughts on various video games, you’ll also adore LR’s styling of fighting back against the trolls of anime and delivering heartfelt odes to all things Nintendo. In all seriousness, while his posts are somewhat infrequent, most of his posts are ones I would willing recommend to anyone looking for a dependable and knowledgeable source on anime to go to.

The Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Add these rules to your post.
  • Answer all the questions below.
  • Display the award picture in your post.
  • Nominate 12 other bloggers who are funny, inspiring, and most important of all entertaining.

I was somewhat confused by the rule “Answer all the questions below,” as there are no questions actually provided, unless they’re just in the original post and no one bothered to copy/paste them. I’ll just go ahead and answer whatever anyone else answered.

Also, I’m removing the unnecessary u’s to these questions because I’m AMERICAN and we don’t need them got’dam u’s!

Questions:

1. Why did you start a blog in the first place?

My answer isn’t very interesting compared to most others. While many respond with “I wanted to interact with the community” or “I wanted to voice my opinion,” my response boils down to simple boredom. I made my blog, primarily, because I was bored, and I saw a MAL friend had one and thought, “Hey. That looks cool.” Thus, Criticism and Thoughts was born.

What some may not know is that I created this blog back in 2013. I’ve had this place for nearly four years now. I never really took it all that seriously, as I used it as a dumping grounds for thoughts I would already put down in the comment sections for individual anime on MyAnimeList. The first time I even thought of putting pictures into my blog posts was in June of 2015, and I didn’t start advertising my work on Twitter until 2016. That’s why if one were to dig really deep into my blog’s past, they would see a lot of picture-less pages with loads of text and no likes or comments. Experimental times, back in the day…

Now, I see my blog as a sort of catalyst for my dream job, which is to be a critic of visual media. It’s not much, but I adore the feedback I get for each post and, when I eventually find the time/motivation/courage to expand further, I hope to make something out of what was, initially, a hasty and thoughtless nothing.

2. What is your favorite book?

Not much of a book-reader, but I have a huge fondness for Suzanne Collins’s Underland Chronicles. She’s much more famous for her work with The Hunger Games, but I fell in love with her storytelling years before then. Even now, I clamor for some sort of media acknowledgement of her other books by means of film adaptations or otherwise. Gregor the Overlander as a film would be fucking great… if handled correctly.

3. What do you dislike the most?

I’m not sure how anyone could really like the mainstream media. I’m not usually very political online, nor do I make the effort to show my affiliations, but if there’s one thing about the mainstream media I despise is their subtle use of cherry-picking, framing words and sentences, and biased attitude. It’s much more prevalent online than not, but many, many, many news sites are filled to the brim with “holier-than-thou” writers who cannot help themselves and spew their political garbage whether it pertains to the article at hand or not. Furthermore, whatever’s popular is what gets written about, so imagine my absolute glee when I get to see headline after headline, image after image, late-night TV-show host after host, bitching about Donald Trump at every, little, miniscule, cell-sized opportunity, just so they can feel relevant, feel better, or advance their own status. It’s absolutely disgusting, and I get so unbelievably sick of this click-first, think-later mentality.

[Removes tin-foil hat.]

4. What is your favorite food?

Pizza. Any kind, really. Bread with marinara sauce and cheese melted on top. All I need. If I didn’t get fat immediately upon eating it, I’d have it at every meal.

5. What is your favorite past time?

Very likely football (Americano). Anime and video games are also both up there, but there’s something about football that get me so riled up every time I watch it. The players, the positions, the strategy, the organization, the coaches, the drama, the history, the execution, the [insert everything else here]. Football is so multi-faceted that it becomes more and more interesting the further one gets into it. Even the offseason is exhilarating with all the upcoming events like the Scouting Combine and the Draft and Free Agency. It’s kind of a lot to take in, but man, I love football with all of my soul. Wish I was fit enough to play it.

Nominations:

Not going to recommend anyone specifically, but I would like to encourage any reader to check out my Recommended Ani-Bloggers list for people within the aniblogging community who I, personally, find to be the best people to follow. While I’m not tagging anyone for this award, if anyone there would be willing to do so, by all means, have at it. They’re all pretty cool people, too. Definitely have a look-see.

Thanks again to LR for the nominations and thanks for the continued support!

Commencing ‘Summer of Anime 2017’

It’s that time of year.

First off, a huge thank you to everyone who participated in recommending me anime to watch! You all will aid my Summer in being as diverse and long as possible! This year will be a tad different, so I’ll go over a few things.

In case you weren’t aware, I raised the roof from 25 entries to 30 entries, while also increasing my drop count from 5 to 10. This was because so many people recommended me anime. I underestimated your potential, dear reader! Since this was the case, I threw in some extra loopholes to make the event more memorable.

First of all, the total anime count I received via recommendations was stopped at 39 anime titles. This was because I wanted to introduce a concept that will probably end up not being used. I call it the “Get Out of Jail Free” pick. Basically, with 39 of 40 possible entries, I decided my final anime within my 10 reserved drop list will end up being my own choice. My very last drop will be something I get to choose, as a last resort, as something to look forward to before knowing I can no longer drop any more titles. Again, it’s not likely it’ll get to this point, but who knows?

That being said, all 39 anime titles are accounted for, but only 30 of them will go onto the official Summer of Anime 2017 list. The last nine will go onto a reserve list, which will serve as my go-to list in the case I ever drop any anime from the main list. If I drop, say, Steins;Gate from my main list, I will have to watch the first anime in my reserve list. Once I finish that, I go back to what then proceeded Steins;Gate on the list. If I drop a reserve title, I go on to the next reserve title, and so on and so forth.

The deadline was left somewhat ambiguous in past years, but the deadline for this year (especially due to the giant increase in episode count) will be my birthday, August 20th. Scores will be based upon an A-F rating scale for both personal and critical attributes, and I will give a shout out at the beginning of each post to the person who recommended me the anime of the post.

I am also allowed to watch ongoing anime, as well as OVA’s, films, and specials, during the Summer. For titles that may take me a while to finish, I will prepare various, likely unrelated posts to ensure this blog doesn’t get lonely. For example, I will have a post on Nadia: Secret of the Blue Water tomorrow ready to go before the first entry on the SoA list. I will start first thing tomorrow morning, June 1st.

The full list will be available to see momentarily within my Summer of Anime Archive. With that said, here’s to a successful Summer!

Summer of Anime 2017? You Decide! [Closed]

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Nine days before the 2017 Summer of Anime officially opens, I’ve decided to let the floodgates open.

I want you, the reader of this post, to tell me what I should watch.

Now, this is a bit of a risky move, because I have no idea how many people will actually choose to participate in this and there’s no control over what I could be watching in the end! I could just watch 25 Shounen titles and cry myself to sleep every night!

In all seriousness, there are a few stipulations I’d like to put in place before I give people the key to my anime summer.

  • Limit of three titles per person! I want to fill up my slots, but I don’t want to have to be super choosy by experiment’s end. If it does end up that people recommend me more than 25 slots allotted for the SoA, I’ll pick and choose to my own discretion, but will keep some noted in case I drop anything throughout the event. If you don’t want to recommend three, you’re more than welcome to just recommend one or two!
  • I will be open to rewatching titles! These titles also don’t have to be things I’ve watched from previous SoA’s, they can be anything! If people want me to rewatch Koi Koi 7 or One Punch Man, that’s fair game. I’ll leave a link to MyAnimeList for those who wish to see what I have and haven’t watched before making a recommendation.
  • Rules of previous Summer of Anime’s still apply, so please don’t recommend anything shorter than six episodes of standard-length runtime! Alternatively, please don’t recommend anything with episodes spanning triple-digits! I’m not going to spend my entire Summer marathoning Naruto, Bleach, and Fairy Tail. Also, no currently-airing anime, OVA’s, specials or films!
  • Note that when you’re recommending a series to me, I will watch every season of said show! If you’re going to recommend my rewatching of Zero no Tsukaima, I’m going to watch every season of it. For the sake of clarification, if you want to spare me want me to only watch a certain season of an anime, note in within the recommendation. Otherwise, I’m marathoning the whole series.

As an added touch, I’ll note whoever recommended me a certain anime at the beginning of each post dedicated to their choice. The public should know whoever loves me enough to put me through human torture. Teehee!

I’ll leave this post open for the next nine days for anyone to comment below with recommendations. In that time, I’ll jot down whatever titles I receive and eventually add them to the Summer of Anime Archive in whatever order I choose. Until then, thanks in advance to all who give me something to watch, and have a great summer!

Second Blog Announcement

Short post announcing that I’ve created a second blog dedicated purely to football posts (NFL, AFL, CFL, etc.) I’m taking the liberty of moving a few posts already located on this blog to there, but won’t delete the original posts. They’ll remain in place for “historical purposes.” (Some of them still garner traffic and I don’t care to disrupt that.)

While I know 99% of my followers don’t follow me for football, I simply wanted to affirm that with the creation of this new blog, I will not be writing any more football-related posts on this blog. Not that I wrote many anyway, but still. Criticism and Thoughts will strictly cover anything outside of football from this point on.

For anyone interested, my new site can be found at Criticism and Football (Continuity for the win).