Letter from the Editor is both a departure from the usual type of story published here and a return to form. You can think of it as a text version of a podcast. I know what you’re about to say — “This motherfucker thinks he invented blogging!” What I mean is that I wrote this with the same approach I use for extemporaneous speech but took the time to edit it afterward.

Similar to a podcast, this is not intended to be consumed in one session. At nearly 6000 words, it would take most people about 20 minutes to read. That is why I’m providing a table of contents with a summary of each section.

  1. My misguided pursuit of happiness by way of anime journalism
    An introspective essay on why I write about anime and the goals of this column.
  2. Where are the demons? Bring on the pain!
    This is the newsroom. This week’s topics include anime conventions risking closure, transphobic union-busters, offensively low wages for translators, cosplay copyright laws, and — ugh — Redo of Healer.
  3. You must be new here
    A look at the unprovoked hostility that anime fans show each other in online spaces.
  4. An unlikely addition to a dwindling collection
    A humorous story about my first anime purchase in over a year.
  5. The seasonal anime roundup
    A series of unorganized thoughts about the seasonal anime I’m watching. Shows that come up are EX-ARM, Otherside Picnic, Yashahime: Half-demon Princess, Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation, Skate-Leading Stars, and World Egg Priority, and Suppose a Kid From the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town.
  6. “Reborn” by Ryoko Aoyagi
    Last call! Finish your drink and get out of here.

My misguided pursuit of happiness by way of anime journalism

Writing is making me anxious. When I sit down to work, I’m overwhelmed with dread. Each sentence becomes a battle. Don’t use that word. That phrase is cliché. This headline is too generic. Using a word more than once in the same paragraph makes you sound like an idiot.

Everything I write feels homogenous and uninspired. How is it possible that I can watch four episodes of a show and struggle to convey my thoughts beyond “I liked this; it was good”?

I’ve been able to ignore this feeling for a while, chalking it up to being out of practice. However, the feeling that I didn’t know what I was doing only intensified the more I wrote. After three months of churning out boring news posts and editing contributor stories — trying to compete with websites I’ll never catch up to — I lost the plot.

GONZO.MOE was created because I was upset with the state of anime journalism. Now that I was falling into the same trappings, I had no one to blame but myself. People weren’t sharing my stories anymore because they weren’t worth sharing.

Traffic was increasing, but that’s only because there were more things to click on. Engagement was at an all-time low. My writing was no longer evoking the response I desired. Even if it were, it wouldn’t mean anything if I wasn’t happy. The party was over. What I was doing was no longer sustainable.

I considered giving up — leaving GONZO.MOE to burn in the pile of my failed attempts to be relevant in the anime community. This would have been the most efficient way to resolve the stress I was feeling. However, it wouldn’t have solved my problem.

Instead of taking the easy way out, I decided to take some time off to refocus and identify what I was trying to achieve. Do I truly enjoy writing, or am I just bored? Do I really want a team, or do I enjoy control?

What I realized is that I desperately miss podcasting. Written journalism is something that has always interested me, but speaking is my preferred format. If anime morning show host were a job, I would have had it by now. In some ways, I already did; I just didn’t get paid.

For a brief time in 2015, I hosted a live daily anime podcast on YouTube called Super Happy America Morning. It was some of the most fun I’ve ever had talking about anime. If it weren’t for the fact that my work schedule got in the way, I would still be doing it.

It was a strange premise with a limited demographic. There aren’t many people willing to tune into a daily anime podcast at 7am, but I still managed to attract a small audience each day. For a handful of people, I became part of their morning routine. I gave them a reason to get out of bed on time instead of hitting the snooze button.

The format was simple. I just talked about whatever happened in the news the day before. It was Last Night This Morning with Gary Piano. How I managed to stretch that to 45 minutes every day is anyone’s guess.

The goal of this column is to rekindle that passion. I want to write, but I’m tired of putting arbitrary restrictions on myself. Show me in the style guide the rule stating that I can’t talk about news and review something in the same article. If I only have two things to say about a show I’m watching, that’s all I’m going to say.

I’ve spent so much time stressing about word count and thesis statements that I stopped having fun. That’s what GONOZ.MOE is supposed to be about. If I’m not having fun, what’s the point?

Where are the demons? Bring on the pain!

Longtime followers of my shenanigans will recognize this phrase as the clip I would play before the news segment on my old podcast. Not the morning show — my very first podcast. It’s from Episode 3 of Rune Soldier, an only okay spinoff of Record of Lodoss War. I’m not sure why I chose it back then, but I will forever associate it with anime news.


With how poorly the United States is handling the COVID-19 pandemic, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that anime conventions have begun canceling their 2021 dates. Anime Detour, the convention that inspired me to host Anime Lockdown, was the first I noticed; however, AnimeCons.com lists 12 others, including Sakura-Con and Anime Milwaukee.

Choosing not to hold an anime convention during a pandemic may be the right choice from an ethical standpoint, but it’s not a decision that organizers can afford to take lightly. Many of these events are bound by multi-year contracts that require a minimum guarantee for the venue. Without a government-mandated ban on large gatherings, there’s little preventing the venues from enforcing these terms.

A large percentage of conventions make just enough money to cover their operating costs. Missing two years of revenue is not something most conventions can afford to do. When discussing the option of canceling the Providence Anime Conference over lack of badge sales, Co-Founder Patrick Delahanty said it was “actually less expensive to hold the convention even if nobody showed up than to cancel [their] contracts.”

This is the unfortunate reality for Otakon. Last Thursday, Otakorp, Inc. President Brooke Zerrlaut said in their newsletter that “in the next few months [they] will have to make a decision to continue planning for Otakon 2021, or potentially close [their] doors forever.”

COVID-19 shed light on the numerous cracks in our way of life. Most people can’t afford health care. Our employers put more value on productivity and profit margins than the safety of their workforce. A startling percentage of people choose to believe in conspiracy theories at the risk of their own lives. What I didn’t expect to learn is that an anime convention that regularly attracts 25,000 attendees is effectively living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Otakon risking permanent closure is a big problem — and not just because it’s one of my favorite conventions. If one of the largest anime conventions in the US can fail this easily, it almost guarantees the smaller shows will follow suit. If they do manage to survive, the business model needs to change moving forward.

The volunteer-run, non-profit way of doing things is honorable, but it’s not sustainable. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the larger cons are bailed out by anime companies. These events may have the purest of intentions, but you can’t ignore the fact that they double as mass marketing campaigns where fans do all of the work for free.

Look no further than the Dealer’s Room at Otakon or Anime NYC for proof. It’s a small city, and the only reason it exists is to sell you something. If the big anime conventions shut down for good, fans would survive. Anime companies, on the other hand, would lose a crucial revenue stream.

Otakon will probably be alright. They’re big enough that raising the money they need to cover the cost of canceling should be easy. Holding a convention of their size is still too risky. If smaller conventions like Anime Detour can do the right thing and wait another year, so can Otakon.

In other bad news, this week brought us two unsettling stories about labor. First up is Toei Animation refusing to cooperate with the Precariat Union, citing that the trans union representative handling the negotiations used a fake name on their paperwork.

I’ve seen people suggest that a legal name change would resolve the issue. Talk about missing the point. This isn’t about a lawyer concerned with a non-legal name potentially invalidating the contract. This is about people in power dehumanizing their employees. We are commodities to them, and they will stop at nothing to avoid paying us more, even if it means violating our identities.

So that was a lie.

Not to be outdone by Toei’s inhumane labor practices, manga localization company MediaBang was called out for offering a starting wage of $1/page to their translators. Instead of disputing this claim, they doubled down with the “you knew what you were getting yourself into” argument. This excuse is bullshit because it preys on newer translators that don’t know any better and veteran translators that may not have the leverage to negotiate a higher rate.

In lighter but still troubling news, Japanese lawmakers are discussing whether cosplayers who generate income violate copyright law.

Cosplay is an important part of fan culture that should theoretically be protected by fair use. Most people that dress up are doing so as a celebration of their favorite characters. They aren’t doing it to make money. However, with the advent of social media and services like Patreon and OnlyFans, it’s becoming more commonplace for people to monetize their cosplay.

There’s no easy answer to this problem. It would be incredibly shitty for companies to attempt to collect damages from independent creators. Most would be forced to settle out of court to avoid drowning in legal costs.

However, there is an argument for protecting your brand. I don’t read or watch Jujutsu Kaisen because I have difficulty dissociating the series from its former translator, Stefan Koza. Ever since Koza was arrested for possession and distribution of child pornography, it’s the only thing I can think of when I see a picture of Kento Nanami.

I’m sure it’s a good series, but I just can’t.

Lastly, someone famous for writing a series of rape fetish novels is unsurprisingly unable to take no for an answer. Redo of Healer author, Rui Tsukiyo, revealed on Twitter that when he tried to publish his light novel in English, it was “refused by an overseas publisher.” He is encouraging English speaking fans to reach out to localization companies and ask them to change their minds. Irony is dead.

You must be new here

Despite actively participating in anime fandom for nearly 20 years, I often feel like an outsider in my own community. I’m never up to date with the latest trends, and I struggle to memorize obscure trivia. My knowledge of Gundam is limited to knowing that Yasuhiro Imagawa put a sombrero on a robot. Everything I can tell you about Neon Genesis Evangelion’s plot I learned from the YouTube video “MICHAEL BAY’S EVANGELION.”

This otherness that I feel is mostly self-inflicted. I’ve never been pushed away for not being a sentient anime encyclopedia. That’s because gatekeeping is often rooted in hatred towards marginalized groups. Spend enough time online and you’ll find people claiming that women only pretend to watch anime for attention or that black people should only cosplay black characters.

As a straight white male, my love of anime will seldom be called into question. That’s why it caught me off guard when it actually happened, and I’m embarrassed to admit that it bothered me as much as it did.

Where does this attitude come from? Why are members of geek communities so readily hostile towards strangers? Being an asshole has become a personality type. For some, it’s a brand.

Harassing each other over anime preferences has been monetized. YouTube personalities will conduct keyword searches and instigate fights with strangers. The sole purpose for this is so they can make highlight reels documenting how “triggered” people are about the topic of the week.

There’s a sense of depersonalization that comes with being in front of a computer screen. Because the people you’re talking to aren’t in front of you, they don’t feel real. That’s why it’s easy to hate them. Social media has inadvertently normalized sociopathic behavior. Sympathy is lost in online spaces, which only furthers to enable the problem. It’s the internet — what did you expect?

Some people are born cruel, and others are radicalized, but I’m not only talking about sadists and GameGate. Social media rewards obsession, narcissism, insincerity, and insensitivity — and we often don’t notice until it’s too late. We laugh at pranks on YouTube and TikTok, but the reality is that many of these “jokes” are people assaulting strangers?

It’s not only immoral people that act this way. Those who believe themselves to be just fall prey to this behavior, as well. Too often, I witness someone with a massive following publicly shaming a child over something benign. We join together in laughter. We share the tweet and move on our with our lives like nothing happened, never considering the consequences of our actions.

It doesn’t matter if Jimmy is wrong about Sailor Moon. He’s 12-years-old, and now 10,000 people are making fun of him. Dunking on someone’s bad take may seem harmless, but an experience like that can have lasting effects.

Deprogramming these tendencies can be difficult. The avatars on your timeline are real people with real feelings, and sometimes we need to be reminded of this. It’s also important to consider the power dynamic. Making a joke about a politician is different than making a joke about someone with 10 followers.

We aren’t saving lives when we watch My Hero Academia. No one is going to die if someone prefers to call it Boku no Hero Academia. Someone disliking your favorite show or having a different interpretation of the story is okay. It’s just anime, and the only experience that matters is your own.

Social media is a wonderful thing. It unites people from niche communities in ways that were once impossible. The entire world now fits in the palm of your hand, but god damn it, you’ve got to be kind.

An unlikely addition to a dwindling collection

When I moved to New York in 2017, I stopped buying anime. I don’t mean that I started pirating everything, only that I converted my viewing habits to a digital-only paradigm. My new living space was barely 1/6 of what I was used to in Minneapolis, which meant that I had to part with my home media collection.

Over a thousand anime discs and VHS tapes. Several dozen volumes of manga. A never-ending stack of anime magazines. Two decades’ worth of collecting, gone in an instant. Fortunately, more anime is available streaming than a person can watch in their lifetime, so the effect of this transition was only physical.

Streaming anime apps were a game-changer for me. Not only did it solve the problem of minimal real estate for my collection, but it reduced the financial investment involved in watching a show to almost nothing. I no longer had to worry about wasting money on something I didn’t like. If a show wasn’t doing it for me midway through the first episode – no big deal.

Turn it off. Watch something else.

It also made it easier for me to jump from show to show, something my ADHD demands during most viewing sessions. I work unusually long hours at my job, so my free time is precious. No longer having to deal with disc switching and unskippable menus shortened the time between episodes of different shows from minutes to seconds, allowing me to watch more anime.

The rush of serotonin that results from opening a new boxset can’t be denied. The sound of the Right Stuf branded cardboard packaging being torn apart. The way that light reflects off the glossy cover art. The excitement of successfully removing that pesky security tag in one move. It’s a feeling like no other. However, I still find myself opting to stream the series I own. Those boxsets collect dust on my shelf.

In spite of this behavior, the urge to buy anime when its put in front of me remains strong. That is probably why most of my recent purchases have been at anime conventions. This also explains why it’s been over a year since the last time I bought anything.

Because of the limited space I have, more thought goes into each purchase. Have I seen this before? Is it something I will actually watch? Does this title have sentimental value? These are questions that I ask myself when deciding to buy anime now. Almost as if each title must pass a test before I open my wallet.

Prior to last month, the last two shows that passed this test were Gurren Lagann and Cowboy Bebop — two series of great importance to me. The same cannot be said of my most recent purchase. All semblance of order and any system of checks and balances was tossed aside when, without a modicum of deliberation, I added Ninja Scroll The Series and Beast Fighter The Apocalypse to my Right Stuf shopping cart.

I can’t blame impulse either, because I did this more than once. Due to a complication with my debit card that arose from someone trying to steal my identity, I had to cancel my order and resubmit so I could pay with PayPal instead. During this experience, I learned that Right Stuf uses the Boogiepop Phantom soundtrack for their on-hold music. An unimportant detail in this story but still cool.

Something I didn’t learn during this experience is when to cut my losses and turn back. I still don’t have a good reason for why I resubmitted my order. An argument can be made for Ninja Scroll. The movie was the first anime DVD I had ever purchased and nearly my first DVD of any kind — beaten only by Boogeymen: The Killer Compilation and The Slim Shady Show.

I regret to inform you that Boogeymen is not a feature film starring “the scariest boogeymen to appear on film.” It’s a virtual museum full of trailers and trivia. I did not know that when I bought it.

Ninja Scroll has an important place in my history as a fan, setting the stage for my taste for years to come. I still have that DVD, as well as the Blu-ray release that Sentai Filmworks put out in 2012. I’d never seen the series, always avoiding it because I heard it wasn’t good. Discotek Media’s 2020 reissue was finally the kick in the ass I needed to investigate this claim for myself.

However, I didn’t wake up that morning with the urge to buy Ninja Scroll The Series. In fact, Ninja Scroll was the impulse purchase. I only added it to my cart to meet the minimum requirement for free shipping — something I didn’t qualify for in the end because when I resubmitted my order, I separated it into two orders on account of BoBoBo-Bo Bo-BoBo being out of stock.

Beast Fighter The Apocalypse is what brought me to Right Stuf that afternoon. It’s an obscure series from 2003 based on a manga by Ken Ishikawa that I learned about after half-listening to the Anime World Order review. Seeing the DVD cover, which is a picture of a shirtless man with wings and what I assume is a bear’s head instead of abs, was enough to solidify my purchase

I’m not sure I understand why they made a Ninja Scroll TV series. I’d always heard that the film performed poorly in Japan. That’s why we never got a sequel. Maybe it was produced with an American audience in mind like with Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust.

So far, Ninja Scroll The Series is a poor imitation of the film I love. I’m at the halfway point, and I still don’t really know what’s going on. It has the core parts of Ninja Scroll down — Jubei fights weird ninjas with superpowers — but the execution is lacking. It’s also full of weird allusions to Trigun, possibly due to Takahiro Yoshimatsu being the character designer for both shows.

Ninja Scroll The Series (left) and Trigun (right) character comparison. I refuse to believe this was a coincidence.

When the late Zac Bertschy reviewed Ninja Scroll The Series in 2005, he remarked that it was obvious that “a lot of money was dumped into this production.” Ultimately, our opinions align in that we both agree that this show is so ridiculous that you can’t help but enjoy it. However, if this was considered high budget when it came out, it may be time to clean my rose-tinted glasses.

While the world Ninja Scroll is a strange one, it’s honestly pretty tame when compared to Beast Fighter The Apocalypse, which is a torrent of incomprehensibility.

The hero of Beast Fighter, Shinichi, can shoot lions out of his hand and does so with alarming regularity. This, of course, is so he can fend off the many and varied dinosaur people who wish to take his life.

Beast Fighter is the kind of show where the surreality of it sneaks up on you. It lures you into a false sense of security with awkward dialog and a cheery soundtrack. Once your guard is down, that’s when a talking dinosaur gores a homeless child to death.

There’s no turning back after something like that happens. You begin to notice all the biblical references. Is Shinichi going to fight God? Is he God? Why did only part of Japan experience the apocalypse? Why does that dinosaur have tits?

I’m only three episodes in, but I get the impression that Beast Fighter The Apocalypse is not concerned with answering those questions. I’m okay with that.

The seasonal anime roundup

It seems like I’m the only person not gleefully riding the Egg Train. World Egg Priority has my Twitter timeline on fire each week. I get it. It’s a beautiful show, but the story continues to put me in a state of discomfort.

As if it wasn’t obvious enough, I’ve struggled with mental illness and existential panic for the better part of my life. So watching everyone get excited for the new episode of the suicide show rubs me the wrong way.

The audience reaction reminds me of when I left work early one day and went straight to the doctor because I was suffering from a crippling episode of depression and anxiety. My boss did his best to understand, but I knew he didn’t get it. He attempted to comfort me by saying, “I know what it’s like to be sad sometimes. You’ll feel better tomorrow.” He suggested that a night out with The Boys might help.

World Egg Priority has yet to convince me that it can handle its subject matter with the delicacy it requires. So far, it feels like it’s heading towards a redemption arc for people that bullied others into suicide, and I’m just not here for that.

Speaking of shows with an uncomfortable premise, I watched more Redo of Healer. Why did I watch the second episode? Why are other people watching it? I understand there’s a certain subsection of people watching it in protest against an imaginary SJW boogieman. They want Redo of Healer to be as gross and offending as possible.

However, most of the second episode is censored. Anything even remotely sexual is obscured by darkness or played offscreen. Presumably, Sentai Filmworks will put the uncut version on home video, but most people will have moved on by then. My heart goes out to the voice actors who will inevitably have to dub this nightmare.

Dr. Stone still fucks. Not that I was worried. Dr. Stone is special to me for the same reason Weather Report Girl is special to me. The first season reminded me of why I love anime. To paraphrase Senku, it got me excited.

I was in a rut. My job was killing me. Every workday was 16 hours long, and the turnaround was short enough that I was lucky to get five hours of sleep between most shifts. It wasn’t just that I didn’t want to watch anime. I didn’t want to do anything. I just drank and complained.

I found Dr. Stone during a rare night where I actually had time to have fun before bed. My job that week was out of town, so I was in a hotel with my laptop as the only form of entertainment. Dr. Stone caught my attention because of Senku’s ridiculous hair. It was my first anime in nearly half a year.

Senku looks like if Farfetch’d was a person.

I’ve made a concerted effort not to read the manga. This type of story works really as an anime, so I want it to keep surprising me each week. We’re three episodes into the second season and it’s maintained the momentum of the first, so I expect that to keep happening.

Science class bored me in high school, so I would have never imagined finding a series like Dr. Stone so entertaining. I’m definitely not retaining any of the lessons it’s trying to teach me, but I’m having a blast watching Senku and his team puzzle their way through the post-apocalypse.

Skate-Leading Stars is a show I didn’t think I would still be watching after everything else premiered. I’m still not convinced I’ll make it to the end, but the premise of “but seriously — fuck that guy” still makes me chuckle.

Continuing with the trend of “fuck that guy,” I’m also watching Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation. Rudy is not a good person. He’s a good mage, but he’s a garbage human being.

You can try to handwave some of his behavior because he was bullied his entire life. I probably wouldn’t be very nice either if everyone treated me like shit. However, that doesn’t excuse his pedophilic tendencies and inability to understand basic consent. Every time that bastard opens his mouth, it brings the narrative to a halt. It’s the moments in-between that keeps me coming back.

The sequence in Episode 1 where Rudy learns how to cast water magic is an excellent example of how to tell a compelling story with a simple premise and minimal dialog. It’s like watching a short film.

His struggle with social anxiety is also something that I relate to, so it’s gratifying to see him work through those issues. So why the fuck does the writer have to ruin everything by having him sexually assault every friend he makes‽

Rudy’s obscene tendencies aren’t even necessarily what bothers me about the series. Yes, I don’t want to watch a show about a sex-crazed child, but people will write whatever they want to write. Stories that I find personally offensive will always exist. I can always choose not to engage with them.

What I don’t understand is why the writer chose to characterize Rudy in this way. He could still be a lame 40-year-old reborn as a kid without being a creep. The horny parts (to put it lightly) of Jobless Reincarnation always feel out of place in an otherwise competent fantasy story.

Rudy could just be chilling and practicing his magic and then walk in on someone masturbating in the hallway. For no reason. It doesn’t make sense in the context of the scene. It’s never brought up again. It just happens, and we move on.

His parents are also always aggressively fucking off-camera. Why?

Is it too much to ask for a non-NSFW show about a kid disrupting the system with unprecedented magical power and mending the relationship between humans and elf people? Statistically, that kid probably jerks off once and a while, but we don’t need to write a whole chapter about it. I would say that scenes like this hold the series back, but Jobless Reincarnation is one of the most popular light novels of all time, so fuck me, I guess.

Note: Episode 4 of Jobless Reincarnation had not been released when I wrote this. I will discuss the problematic elements of that episode next time.

I’ve watched four episodes of Otherside Picnic, and I still don’t know how to put words to my feelings about it. The first episode was unusual and disquieting. It only featured two characters, and I found that fun. It almost felt like an experiment in storytelling.

I’m not familiar with its source material, but I get the vibe that it’s more sinister than it’s leading on. It feels like it’s exploring many of the same ideas as World Egg Priority, but in a more subtle way. Characters are battling with grief and codependence, and many of the monsters they fight seem to represent something that they don’t like about themselves.

Yasahhime: Half-demon Princess is a case study in how to fuck up a well-known property and get away with it. It didn’t bother me so much when they started doing Yokai-of-the-Week. Inuyasha used this formula to great success, but those demons ostensibly served a purpose. They were fighting on behalf of Naraku, intending to steal Inuyasha and Kagome’s jewel shards.

The enemies that the heroes in Yashahime face are always in the wrong place at the wrong time. They’re unrelated to the plot and defeated with ease, so there’s never any tension. My biggest problem is that they sprinkle plot-relevant information during seemingly unimportant moments, so the execution always feels weightless.

After 13 episodes of generic nonsense, your attention begins to waver. When they finally reveal the identity of the demon responsible for causing the fire that separated Towa and Setsuna as children, you don’t care anymore.

The episode — subtlely titled “The One Behind the Forest Fire” — had me too distracted by the fact that the arsonist was an incel and a pedophile to consider the implications of what he did in the past. It turns out that it doesn’t matter because this information has no impact on the plot moving forward. He also kills himself after the big reveal, eliminating any opportunity for our heroes to get revenge.

There’s also the part about Rin being Sesshomaru’s wife. It’s gross, but I’m not as bothered by it as the rest of the internet. We all knew she was the mom when the Yashahime was announced. It doesn’t make it okay, but I think people are upset because they convinced themselves that it wasn’t possible.

Some people hoped that Kagura would be their mother instead, which doesn’t make sense because Towa and Setsuna are half-demons. Sesshomaru is a demon, so his partner would have to be human. She also died in Inuyasha!

Considering Yashahime is uninterested in exploring any of the other plot threads it’s presented, it’s curious that they didn’t leave their mother’s identity a mystery. It’s almost as if they’re trying to hurt us on purpose.

One of the funnier moments last week came from EX-ARM when they censored a kiss between two women. While some initially speculated that this was due to homophobia, a more likely explanation is that the animators were unable to animate two characters kissing. They weren’t censoring the kiss; they were censoring their ineptitude.

God, this show is a fucking mess.

What’s the terminal velocity of someone launching themselves into an aggressive public blowjob? Suppose a Kid From the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town attempted to answer that question in Episode 3. It left me wondering what this show could possible do next.

I don’t know what to tell you.

The answer was to conclude a storyline that would take most light novel adaptations an entire season. A lot of anime has trouble with pacing, so this is a welcoming approach. Re:ZERO – Starting Life in Another World – took so long to get to the point that I had to give up. Last Dungeon Boonies, on the other hand, adapted the entire first light novel in four episodes. It really goes to show just how light these novels are when it comes to the story.

“Reborn” by Ryoko Aoyagi

If you’ve listened to any podcast that I’ve produced in the last 12 years, there’s a near-100 chance that it closed with me talking over the ending theme from the first season of Grappler Baki. Because that’s trickier to accomplish in this format, I’m going to need you to pick up some slack and cue the music yourself.

This has been one of the most intensive pieces I’ve ever written. It’s nearly 30 double-spaced pages long in Microsoft Word when using Times New Roman at 12-point font. That’s three times the length of the final paper I had to write for a 400-level clinical psychology class. It’s also the most fun I’ve had writing in years.

It’s a big ask to expect someone to read a sub-6000 word anime article, so I’m a little concerned that no one will. I did my best to keep things interesting by covering a wide variety of topics and breaking them up into more digestible sections.

If you read it all — or even just a chunk — I would appreciate it if you left a comment letting me know what you thought. It’s okay if we disagree. My goal was to spark discussion. I also want to know if anyone survives climbing this ridiculous anime mountain.

I want to make this column a regular thing. It probably won’t always be this long, but I’m not making any promises. So until next time…

Gary Piano
GONZO.MOE Editor-in-chief