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!

Early Impressions: Made in Abyss

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Four episodes in, the atmosphere of adventure never fails.

My one true complaint, aside from being only a third of the way through the series and not knowing what it’s trying to establish, is that the pacing seems a little too quick. By the end of episode three, the whole world has been established, the camaraderie between characters is put to the test, and a number of plot devices are hinted at, resulting in a bloated opening act whose foundation isn’t completely stable. I suppose for those who just want to get on with the inevitable journey, this is no problem, but I enjoy retaining the taste that will lead unto what many refer to as “the good part.”

I lied, there’s one other complaint; I wish Made in Abyss delved more into the societal pressure of profit and competition, almost like an otherworldly capitalist culture. There are occasional hints said in dialogue and established through rules of the central town, but everyone just seems gung-ho and accepts it as non-conflicting. Aside from the adventure-esque nature of the anime and straightforward, yet not completely one-dimensional characters, there’s not much else to grasp onto. Again, this may be to blame of the quickened pace.

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However straightforward, Made in Abyss seems to draw inspiration from many olden tales of young rebels going forth on journeys of self-growth. Its art direction is wonderfully unique and eye-catching, leaving the more intricate details to the world it places its characters in. And wonderfully so is this accomplished, as everything surrounding the mystique of “The Abyss” is accentuated in a calm, mature manner. Overexplanatory by nature of the people who wish to discover its details—and a convenient characterization for the female lead—while also leaving the most weighted nuggets up to viewer interpretation. Through four episodes, I only spotted one sequence that looked clunky from an animation standpoint. Some shortcuts are taken in making the characters look less crisp, especially when shown from far away, but otherwise, I have no issue with artistic presentation.

Believe it or not, I tend to watch anime at a very quiet volume, inhibiting my ability to take in the soundtrack accompanied a lot of the time. Only recently was it that I found this to be something of a cardinal sin, as one should certainly be willing to listen to every detail as one would visually analyze every detail. Made in Abyss was a fantastic piece to hear, as a lot of the instrumentation is rather unique from the standard fare. It sounds almost jungle-like; tribalistic, I suppose. Reminding one of a rainforest setting with men in grass skirts and tiki masks hurling spears at prey. From what has been established, the technology is almost on par with that, and the fear of the unknown, ever-looming in plain sight, allows for more of that adventure-esque atmosphere to take hold of the viewer’s anticipation.

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Somewhat lingered upon above, characters are relatively straightforward in their beliefs and personality. Motivation and goals are more at play here, with the relationships built between one another already established prior to current events or behind the scenes (the first and third episodes have a two-month split). Why do people wish to explore The Abyss? What does it mean to them to become someone who explores The Abyss? Many, thus far, serve to aid with the two leads in their journey, with hardly any intention to make them more complex as characters. The leads themselves are more in it for personal reasons, ones typical of the types of characters they are. Should one want to find any positive attributes within, one should search for execution of base personality, which many are spirited enough. The stars are kids, after all. Kids are usually pretty upbeat, right?

This is a shining spot in a season already full of delectable choices (at least the ones I chose), so it goes without saying that I would recommend this without any true hesitation. Still, there are nine episodes left to change my mind, but I’m not one to cower before the unknown (in anime). Perhaps a spectacular tone and art palette will be enough to cruise past the finish line.

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!

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

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Would’ve done this a little sooner, but March of the Movies was still going on and I wanted to get a few anime reviews out of the way.

A giant thank you to Naja B. for nominating for this award. She recently released one of the lewdest things I’ve ever seen from her blog, so if you’re into hot bishies and BL/Yaoi visual novels (and the occasional Pokémon/Fangirl moments), she is the gold standard. Really, she is. She’s also the only person I follow who talks about the stuff, so my word is definitely safe and unbiased.

I’ve been nominated for this post before, so if you care to read more about the deep, dark secrets of my personal life, I welcome you to do so.

Rules:

1) Display Award
2) Thank the person who gave this award (and include a link to their blog)
3) Share seven things about yourself! (Anime Edition)
4) Nominate ten bloggers

I suppose I’ll continue along with this “Anime Edition” shtick. Makes things more interesting in the long run.

Seven Things About Me (Involving anime)

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1. My First Anime was Dragon Ball Z… I Think

Many have heard the age-old question: What was your first anime? Dragon Ball Z is a fairly common answer for people around my age who were exposed to a particular block on Cartoon Network called Toonami. However, I can’t say with certainty that it was the first anime I’ve ever watched, as there was another anime that I remember being fond of very early in my life.

Tenchi Muyou!.

I’ve been meaning to re-watch the show for a long, long time now, but have never taken the time to actually do so. Maybe I will tomorrow. Anyway, Tenchi Muyou! is somewhat infamous for being among the first attempts at a streamlined “Harem” anime. Imagine something like Love Hina or Nagasarete AirantouTenchi Muyo was almost like the forefather to these works. Thinking back on it, I don’t recall a lot of the show in general, but certain events stick out in my mind, particularly the little fuzzy thing turning into a spaceship and something about Tenchi pulling out a sword that harbored a space pirate’s dead soul… or something? I think I just liked it for the sci-fi-esque setting and goofy romance.

2. I Don’t Really Know “Why” I Watch Anime

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At first, the prospect of anime was interesting to me because it was so vastly different from American-standard television. I was engrossed with the possibilities that anime could entail with a multitude of genres and studios. Almost like American film companies, except they’re churning out anime. I suppose the feeling of “something new” (despite having experience with anime in the past) was so gravitating that once I watched Deadman Wonderland, I became addicted to wanting more.

Now-a-days, I feel all anime has a base potential of being average.

Many can go to my MAL page and look at my horrible 5.3 average rating for 300-something anime viewed, but I can’t really help that. At this point, I feel I know just about everything I really need to know from the medium. And once that sinks in, anime becomes a lot like the American television I originally wished to shy away from. It becomes too ordinary, too predictable. For me to still be watching anime at the rate that I do, despite my lukewarm impression of it in its entirety, likely boils down to one thing: it’s what I know. I’ve had a few hiatuses and/or breaks in the past, but I still come back.

3. I Think Most Mainstream Anime Are Overrated

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Anyone who knows me even in the slightest knows this already, but just for those who aren’t completely sure of it, I’m a pretty cynical dude.

Now, let it be known that I haven’t seen many of the more popular Shounen titles, a la One PieceBleach, and/or Naruto because they’re so damn long and I’d rather better my schedule with shorter series. I also haven’t seen every mainstream show ever, but the ones that I have are generally met with either dismay or base enthusiasm. Titles such as Code GeassHetaliaSword Art OnlineShingeki no KyojinAngel Beats!No Game No LifeOne Punch Man, and most recently, Yuri!!! on Ice. Popularity isn’t an indicator of quality to me, and extended hype for any particular anime makes me more motivated to look at it as sharply as my critiquing eyes can possibly muster. That sounds jaded, though I assure anyone reading I’d rather enjoy something than trash it… usually.

It’s not that I go after popular titles to preach of their inadequacy, it’s just a lot more reassuring to know of my own impressions of something I’m constantly told is God’s gift to anime. Sometimes I only watch popular anime just to ascertain my own opinion of them. And usually, they turn out opposite of God’s gift to anime. I’m just a stick in the mud, I suppose.

4. My Favorite Anime Has Been Decided, and It Will Never Change

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What exactly does this say about me? How about loyalty? …Okay, it’s more like stubbornness. My favorite anime of all time has already been seen, and I saw it very early, being only the third anime I viewed since coming back to anime. Those 300-something anime titles on my MAL? Toradora! was number three.

It has this special magic and—you know what? I’ve already explained this before, like, twenty times, so I’ll keep it short and sweet. Toradora! is the best anime I’ve ever seen. Not because it’s the most objectively sound anime out there, but because it came at a time in my life that simply blew away all of my expectations and essentially ruined all anime (romance in particular) to come after it. Toradora! is a personal testament to what got me hooked into the anime world, hitting all the right buttons I didn’t even know I had. Even after seeing it three times, it remains as magically poignant to me as it’s ever been. So as presumptuous as it may be, Toradora! is my favorite anime, and it will never not be.

5. I Loathe Shounen in General

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Some may see this as harsh. Unfortunately, it’s happened too many times in the past to ignore. If not for Harem, Shounen would be my least favorite genre in anime. Coincidentally, a lot of mainstream anime are Shounen. Interesting.

For me, Shounen typically coincides with everything about anime I tend to roll my eyes at: loose writing, one-dimensional characters, overuse of magic powers, THE POWER OF EMOTIONS!!!, and sappy moral sugar-coating. Not all do this; frankly, I haven’t seen enough to confirm how many actually do. All I know is that when I see “Shounen” as a tag for an anime or manga, I hesitate.

Reminds me of when I tried to watch Fairy Tail… Yeesh.

6. I Don’t Rate Anything I Don’t Finish

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I can have predicted or tentative scores, but nothing is concrete if I haven’t observed every second. It’s easy to rate something based on what one has seen up to. For me, I feel that’s a little unfair. I can’t help but wonder what could’ve been. Perhaps the last half of the anime is worse or better? If I never find out, I’d rather just leave it up in the air.

There’s not much more to say on the subject.

7. I Once Looked Up to ThatAnimeSnob

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Who’s your favorite ani-tuber? Gigguk? Glass Reflections? Demo? Digibro? For a time, mine was none other than ThatAnimeSnob, also known as Roriconfan.

For those unaware, ThatAnimeSnob is notorious for being incredibly snide and cynical about anime, especially modern ones. His shtick continuously made fun of “filthy casuals” as he spit poison at anyone who didn’t believe in his standard. For the record, Legend of the Galactic Heroes is objectively the greatest anime of all time. No objections. While this turned off just about anyone with any shred of empathy, there’s evidence that shows Mr. Snob takes his character very seriously, constantly bombarding popular ani-tubers’ comment sections/anime discussion boards with his “correct” opinion and how everyone else is wrong. I’ve seen it firsthand. He even highlights his behavior through his Youtube channel.

Despite his controversial persona, his “teachings” actually make sense. They do to me, anyway. Not all, but there are a number of things that he’s preached that I’ve noticed have some correlation with anime. One of the most memorable “Anime truths” to me was the “It Never Gets Better” claim, where he argues that anime never gets better than the first few episodes. It can only stay the same or get worse. I actually still kind of believe in this, as most anime I watch usually don’t get better with time.

I haven’t watched a video of his in a good while, but he’s still going strong. He’s resorted to reaction videos now-a-days, which really turns me off. Honestly speaking, I think he’s worth a follow simply for how different he is from all other anime critiquers. Not “follow follow,” per se, but… watch some of his videos. He’s like an endangered species.

Nominations

Not too many this time, as I don’t follow anyone I don’t feel like nominating people I’ve already nominated. I’ll simply nominate a few people I feel deserve a little recognition.

Thanks again to Naja, and thanks to anyone who read through all of this! Have a good night!