A Decade Under the Influence...of Anime

A sarcastic tale of mental illness and self discovery through the lens of Japanense pop culture.

Love, anime, and other delusions from 2012

I’ve always looked back fondly on 2012. It was a peak year for my creativity. More people were listening and interacting with my podcast than ever. I was collaborating with people on new projects. It was also when I started learning more about the sound equipment that I went into debt for.

But when I look at the year of anime, I’m grossly underwhelmed. For such an important year of an anime podcast, I expected more shows to stand out. My memory was so fuzzy that I had to turn on “English Titles” on AniChart before I started to recognize things.

In a way, this is a metaphor for how we interact with life. No matter how good the present is, we still find ourselves yearning for the past. Esteemed scholar and poet, Conor Oberst once said, “That summer never stopped, I still pretend I’m there.”

But we must be Grateful For This Day, because it’s time to look back at the anime of 2012.

Even when I sort the Winter season from alphabetical to release date, the first thing that jumps out at me is Another. It was based on a horror novel by Yukito Ayatsuji. Judging by his Anime News Network entry, the only other noteworthy thing he’s ever done is marry Fuyumi Ono, the author of The Twelve Kingdoms. However, she later went on to create Shiki, so I can only assume they’re divorced now.

Another was an easy sell for me. It’s a quick watch, it’s hyper-violent, and it doesn’t waste anytime fucking around. It’s like if Final Destination was a cute anime girl with a medical eyepatch. You could say I was predetermined to enjoy it.

That’s the only thing I remember watching this season.

I’m not sure if I was busy with college or suffering from anime burnout, but I’m struggling to find anything that left even a mild impression on me. Of course, Noel would never forgive me if I didn’t mention that Symphogear debuted this season, but I couldn’t tell you what that show was about if my life depended on it.

There was also a show called Listen to Me, Girls. I Am Your Father!, but after the nonsense that came out in 2011, I’m afraid to read the summary.

The Spring season was more of the same, except this time I didn’t watch more than a few episodes of anything.

Space Brothers happened. I guess. I really enjoyed what I saw, but got intimidated when the episode count jumped to 99 when I wasn’t paying attention.

Zetman probably should have left a bigger impact on the fandom after how well Tiger and Bunny was handled by the American publishers. Guess it’s back to drawing butts and jerking off to Batman for you, Masakazu Katsura. Actually, I might have those two things backwards.

Another show that should have set the world on fire was Kids on the Slope. After eight years of minimal directorial output, Shinichiro Wantanbe finally had a new show coming out. And it featured jazz prominently! Fans of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo rejoiced. The problem is that Kids on the Slope isn’t about people kicking ass to smooth jazz; it’s about people playing smooth jazz.

Spring was also when The Woman Called Fujiko Mine aired, a show that Sayo Yamamoto may or may not have made so she could masturbate to it later. My only experience with Fujiko Mine was when I blindly purchased it from Right Stuf, made an unboxing video — which is uncharacteristic for me — and sold it on eBay years later without having watched it.

And, of course, we can’t talk about Spring 2011 without mentioning Mysterious Girlfriend X, an anime about a guy obsessed with his girlfriend’s saliva, and Kuroko’s Basketball, an anime with a fan obsessed with sending the creator death threats.

My watching habits remained light in the Summer. But when the world gives you Humanity Has Declined, do you really need anything else? Despite being one of my favorite shows of the year, the only things I remember is that it features a bunch of asshole fairies and that a loaf of bread commits suicide in the first episode.

I also hate-watched was Kokoro Connect. The reason I did this is because I’m a masochist and I was reviewing it for Anime 3000. The premise was a frustrating combination of Freaky Friday and Bokurano, and I just wasn’t having it. There was an episode where a character tells his crush (while inhabiting here body) that he jerks off to her in an attempt to win an argument and prove that he’s in love with her. She gets mad at him, because who wouldn’t, and then admits that she also jerks off to him. I almost threw my laptop out a window.

Why does jerking off keep coming up in article?

I guess Sword Art Online also came out this season. The first episode was pretty cool and reminded me of .hack//SIGN, but I was warned that it gets really creepy after that so I dropped it and never turned back.

If you thought things couldn’t get worse in 2012, the Fall anime season would like to have a word with you. My Little Monster starts off with what seems like an innocent romance story about two unlikely best friends. Then, like an RKO out of nowhere, the male lead threatens to kidnap and rape his friend as a joke. Why the writers thought this was a good idea is anybody’s guess.

Things weren’t all bad, though. This is the same season that gave us Love, Chunibyo, & Other Delusions, a show that joins Madoka Magica as something my friends had to beg me to watch. Contrary to what Another may have you believe, I generally stay away from anime about cute girls wearing medical eye patches.

But I’m glad that I made this exception, because Chunibyo became my favorite show of the year. On the surface, it’s a silly show about pretending you’re an anime character and screaming out special moves while fighting in the park. But beneath the surface, it’s a touching look at how anxiety and loss can fuck a person up and stunt their growth. It’s beautifully animated, never failed to make me laugh, and has a character that’s obsessed with taking naps. What more could you ask for? It’s also responsible for me using the phrase “Dark Flame Master” in a professional setting more than once.

I’m a nerd. I know.

This was also the year that JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure finally saw mainstream success outside of Japan. It should come as no surprise that I still haven’t watched it.

Despite its anime roster, 2012 was a special year. It was when I got the courage to face reality and change majors from psychology to sound production. After spending most of my life recording and manipulating audio for fun, I decided that it was no longer just a hobby. This was something that I could do as a career. It started with taking a course on the fundamentals of radio, which lead to working as an intern at a low power station, and ultimately resulted in me going to a school that specialized in sound.

I wouldn’t see real success in my field until the end of the decade, but this is where I began to lay the groundwork for where I am today.

I don’t like you at all, anime from 2011

If you read my article on Anime That I Vaguely Remember from 2010, which, statically, you probably didn’t, you may have noticed that I never followed up with 2011. Did they stop making anime in 2011?

Yes.

Not maybe people talk about it anymore, but the prime minister at the time, Yoshihiko Noda, signed a bill canceling all anime that took affect on January 1, 2011. I’m not sure what collective hallucinations everyone on Twitter has been experiencing since then, but it’s been really uncomfortable to witness it transpire.

Anyway, here’s a mess of personal anecdotes of shows that may or may not have been produced in 2011.

The year comes in hot with a litany of shows I still tell myself that I’m going to finish. Dragon Crisis! is something that I liked enough to leave it on my Crunchyroll queue for a decade, but the only thing I remember is when the main character goes on a S.W.A.T. mission in his street clothes while everyone else is wearing tactical body armor.

Fractale was supposed to the next masterpiece from everyones favorite industry lunatic, Yutaka Yamamoto, but the only thing people remember about it is how it almost fucked up simulcasts before they were the norm when the show leaked prior to the first episode airing.

Wandering Son is the only show I can think of that explores gender identity from the perspective of teenagers. Even in 2020, a story like that is uncommon in anime. I never watched more than two episodes, so I can’t speak to its quality, but it was definitely ahead of its time.

The most popular show of the Winter season was Puella Magi Madoka Magica. I ignored it when it first aired because I hate Akiyuki Shinbo despite several friends encouraging me to overlook this fact. I finally decided to check it out, not because of their advice, but because of a spoiler-free review that Geek Nights did. 

I’m a bad friend.

Something I did watch with my friend Ryan, however, was Onii-chan no Koto nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne!! For those of you who don’t speak Japanese, which is probably all of you, the English title is I Don’t Like You at All, Big Brother. It’s an anime about a young girl that wants to fuck her big brother so badly that she throws out all of his non-incest porn. The excuse was that we were watching it for a podcast, but I think we both secretly liked it.

I kept things classy in 2011. What can I say?

Another show that I keep telling myself that I’m going to finish is Rio: Rainbow Gate! From what I recall it’s kind of like Yu-Gi-Oh. Except instead of a high school boy obsessed with Egyptian mythology, Yugi would be a pink haired anime girl with giant tits that sometimes dresses up as maid. I’ll let you confirm whether I’m lying on your own.

There were 39 new standard-length shows that aired in Spring. God damn, that a lot of anime! Who has time to watch all of that? No one. And you’re not supposed to, but this is around the time that people started taking pride in trying. Go figure why most people stop watching anime after two years.

The best thing to come out of the Spring season was Anohana. I don’t know why I watched Anohana. It’s not the type of show that would normally be on my radar, but for some reason I blindly purchased the NIS America boxset and watched it over the course of two days.

Spring also brought us two shows that are probably good — Blue Exorcist and Tiger and Bunny. I say probably because I never finished them. Why didn’t I finish them? Because I was watching them both on Neon Alley, a linear anime programming channel that died shortly after its launch in 2012.

One time I wrote an article about how Neon Alley should come back but my blog was magically erased after I published it. I’m sure this was the work of the Anime Mafia.

Tiger and Bunny should have been the next big thing, but it took so long for Viz to release it in the US that when it finally came out the hype had worn off. If it had ran on Adult Swim back then, things probably would have gone differently.

You know what did run on Adult Swim? Deadman Wonderland, a show everyone pretended to like along with Casshern Sins when Toonami returned to the airwaves in 2012.

Hanasaku Iroha is something that existed. I never watched it, but it was such a hit that it attracted fans to the town that it takes place. In fact, tourism increased so much that a made up festival from the show became real .

Nichijou came out on my birthday. My only exposure to this series is the Nichijoint – My Ordinary Weed mashup. I consider this a birthday gift from the creators.

And how could anybody forget about Astarotte’s Toy! Not to be outdone by Seikon no Qwaser — which received a sequel this season — the premise of this show requires that our heroine drinks cum to fully mature. That’s ridiculous on its own, but when you take into consideration that she’s only ten, its anyones guess how this was released anywhere but the dark web.

In keeping with the theme of creep shit, Toriko also debuted this season. I really like Toriko. Like, a lot. The whole idea of traveling the world and battling for rare food will never get old to me. Unfortunately, another thing that didn’t get old was the manga-ka’s preferred age range of sex partners after he graduated high school. As much as I’d like to separate the creator from his work, it’s hard to get the bad taste out of your mouth once you know the truth.

On a lighter note, Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL came out this season. I didn’t watch it, but it’s worth mentioning if only because it features a shark made of sharks in an early episode.

And finally to wrap up Spring 2011 is a show that I waited seven years to watch — Steins;Gate. I’ve always been a sucker for shows about people traveling back in time to fix things. It’s also important to note that Seven Years by Saosin is a great song. It has nothing to do with Steins;Gate or time travel, but we’re 1000 word in and I haven’t made an emo joke yet.

Steins;Gate is the only anime brave enough to ask the question, “What if John Titor had giant anime tiddys.” It also warned us never to put bananas in the microwave. Not that people were doing that anyway. But most importantly, it taught us what to do if we ever find ourselves on a Chicken Bender .

Somehow I made through the Summer season only watching two shows. The first being Blood-C. I watched Blood: The Last Vampire in high school. And while it didn’t leave a huge impression on me, I remembered it being dark and gritty. So it came as a big surprise to find our main character, Saya, singing about how much she loved drinking coffee and playing with her friends in this sequel series.

I spent most of the first episode confused until the last five minutes when Saya dismembers a monster and bathes in it’s blood. This jarring tone shift was enough to keep me coming back. And I’m glad that I did. I don’t want to spoil the ending for people that haven’t seen it, but you’ll never look at bunnies the same way again.

The other anime I watched was Usagi Drop, a cute show about a guy raising his newly discovered half-sister. This was another show that I blindly bought from NIS America. Why did I keep doing that? I only ever watched two episodes. What I saw was nice, but I hear they bang at the end of the manga, which is disconcerting at best and child grooming at worst.

If this is the kind of stuff that was coming out back then, it’s no wonder our Twitter feeds were such a dumpster fire.

I also seemed to have watched very little from the Fall season. I’ve been telling myself for nine years to watch Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing. The Persona 4 anime came out, a show based on a game I will never finish. The first season of Chihayafuru also aired, which I haven’t seen, but I’ve heard Ink talk about it so much that I’m going to count it as a watch.

Two things I have seen — unsurprisingly, not in their entirety — are Ben-To and Future Diary. Both of these shows feature a large cast of high school students beating the shit out of each other. In Ben-To it’s for the privilege of paying half-price for dinner. In Future Diary it’s so they don’t die. They’re pretty much the same show.

2011 was a turning point for me. I was going on five years in college studying something I didn’t care about anymore. It’s when I met many of the people I still call friends. It’s also when I started doing panels at anime conventions.

The next few years were bumpy for me, both financially and emotionally. I made a lot of mistakes that I’m still cleaning up. But you don’t learn anything if you don’t fuck up once in a while.

See you next year!

Anime from 2010 can’t possibly be this cute

With 2020 around the corner, I wanted to do something that every other hack anime blogger is going to do — write about the last decade of anime. The key difference with my series of articles is that it’s named after an emo song, which makes it objectively better.

Before I get started, I want to make something abundantly clear — this is not meant to be a comprehensive portrait of the last ten year. This is how I experienced anime over the decade; not the fandom as a whole.

I will also not be covering every major news story that happened. If I remember something, I’ll bring it up. But this will mostly be about the shows that came out and my reaction to them. You can skim the Anime News Network archive on your own time.

In 2010, I had already been podcasting about anime for two years. Before 2008, I had never attempted criticism outside of homework assignments. After a few years of poor audio quality and awkward pauses, I was finally getting comfortable.

Nothing demonstrated this more than my jump into written content in 2009. I primarily wrote content for my own website, but I also contributed to three now-defunct blogs — Anime 3000, Pop-Droid, and Geek Party.

Anime 3000 is going to come up a lot.

Anime started out strong in 2010. Probably. Durarara!! had it’s first season. I wrote a positive episode one review for Anime 3000, but never continued watching because that’s what I do.

I did the same thing for Cobra the Animation, a show where a man with a gun arm smokes a cigar underwater.

Dance in the Vampire Bund also came out that season. When it was streamed online for the American audience, some underage-girl-in-thong-underwear shots were censored. This made a lot of nerds mad. I wrote an article for my site making fun of them that no one read until years later when they commented that I was a moron.

Arguably the best thing to come out of the controversy was the Urban Dictionary definition submitted by Zoe Miller of Friends from the Internet which states that to “dance in the vampire bund” means to “perform anal sex without sufficient lubrication, thus causing bleeding.”

Ladies verus Butlers is a show that I’ve never seen, but my friend Ryan has. I still make fun of him for this fact.

Seikon no Qwaser was first aired on January 10, 2010. That’s four years before January 10, 2014, which is a song from The World is a Beautiful Place & I’m No Longer Afraid to Die about Diana, Hunter of Bus Drivers. Seikon no Qwaser has nothing to do with her. After all, Diana didn’t execute her first bus driver until 2013. Instead it’s a show where people need to drink breast milk to use super powers.

Close enough.

Chris Beveridge gave the series a B-, which makes him a bad person. Theron Martin gave it a C+, which makes him a slightly better person, but still suspicious.

Fans of Seikon no Qwaser seem to dance around the breastmilk part by calling it Soma. This is a made up word that means breastmilk. Nevertheless, the Seikon no Qwaser fanwiki has a painstakingly crafted page on the art of breastfeeding.

Did I just write three paragraphs about a show I’ve never seen? Yes. This is going to be a long ride, kids. You should have packed a lunch.

Have you ever wanted to watch an anime girl sleep for 40-minutes? No? Well, someone did, because in February 2010 we got Sleeping With Hinako. This is one of the strangest OVAs I’ve ever seen, and I’m including Apocalypse Zero on that list.

Sure, Apocalypse Zero features a geriatric man attacking someone with his dick — his dick turns into a dragon, by the way — but jerking off to someone while they sleep is a line that should never be crossed (I’m looking at you Evangelion fans). What’s that you say? You didn’t jerk off when you watched Sleeping with Hinako. That makes you even weirder, buddy.

The Spring 2010 Anime Season had a lot going on. The biggest title for me was Trigun: Badlands Rumble. I don’t know how this got made. When Trigun aired in Japan in 1998, it didn’t hit. It was much more popular in America when it ran on Adult Swim, but that was back in 2003. I read an Anime Insider article about the movie being in production in 2004.

How did this take so long?

I enjoyed the movie, but I’m confused about why it was made. Why didn’t this get released during the height of Trigun’s popularity in America? Why wait seven years to make what amounts to a throwaway film?

For everyone else, the big title was the K-ON! sequel. The most impact K-ON! ever had in my life was that time I started an internet fight with some kid in the comment section of Funimation’s blog. I purported that Basquash! was better than K-ON! It still is. And we argued publicly about this for an hour before taking it private via email.

What’s more ridiculous than the fact that I did this, is that Anime 3000 published the transcript of our fight in its entirety.

Stan Lee made an anime! Bet you didn’t know that. I watched the first episode of Heroman on the same day that I watched Demon King Daimao. They both left a similar impression on me.

Did anyone watch Nightraid 1931? I sure didn’t. I bought the Bluray when it came out because I liked the cover art. It sat on my shelf for years next to all of the other shows I would “eventually get around to.”

Rainbow is another show like that, but it never received a home video release. To this day, I tell myself that I will watch Rainbow because the description reminds me of the movie Sleepers, a film about torturing children that I watched sight-unseen when I was 13.

If there was an award for Best Movie About Torturing Children, Sleepers would be a top contender.

Tatami Galaxy first aired April 23, 2010. Tony Bowe would spend the next nine years of his life asking why it never got released on Bluray. Until it did.

House of Five Leaves also came out in Spring. It’s an excruciatingly slow show about samurai. I think. I reviewed it for Anime 3000, but the only things I remember is that the characters have scary eyes and the opening slaps.

Finally, the second Eden of the East movie was released. I watched the series and the first film with my girlfriend at the time. I watched the second film without her because I’m an asshole.

In the Summer, we got High School of the Dead. This was maybe a good show, but it will forever be remembered as having a slow-motion sequence where an anime girl’s breast dodge a bullet. The only thing that tops that is the slow-motion sequence from Drive Angry where Nicholas Cage kills a group of assassins while having sex with a waitress he met that night.

You know what else came out in the Summer? Fucking Shiki! I’ve been riding the Shiki Hate Train since day one. I got my first taste of Shiki when it was streaming. Why did I watch it? I’m sure somebody that hates me told me it was good. It’s not.

You can imagine my delight when Anime 3000 sent me the box set to review years later.

A big reason why I hate Shiki is because it’s ugly. Is that petty? Yes. But fuck me if that doctor doesn’t shave his stupid beard. Who let him into medical school with facial hair like that? Maybe that’s why it takes him so long to realize that VAMPIRES are killing all the villagers and not some mysterious disease. You fucking asshole!

In 2011, Funimation went on record saying that sales for When They Cry – Higurashi were so bad that they’d never again release a series “that bears even a minor resemblance.” I still laugh about that quote because it was already too late for them to backtrack on their Shiki responsibilities.

Something that was good — Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail. At least, I assume it was good. I still haven’t watched it. I bought the Bluray when it came out and never opened it. This is a reoccurring problem in my life.

The last thing worth mentioning from Summer is an anime I did watch called Colorful. No, not the sex comedy that the late Ryutara Nakamura directed. That’s show is also awesome. This Colorful is kind of like a super serious feature length version of the first episode of Yu Yu Hakusho.

The Fall 2010 Anime Season gave us another show that I never watched but always meant to. Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt was the last thing that Hiroyuki Imaishi for Gainax before leaving to start Studio Trigger.

It took longer than usual for Panty and Stocking to sit on my shelf. The Blu-ray release was delayed in America because of Japan’s reverse importation fears. You know what else is scary? Japanese anime prices.

Star Driver gave me a case of Acute Anime Burnout. The person that told me to watch Star Driver had the audacity to compare it to Gurren Lagann. This was probably the same asshole that told me Shiki was good. I’ve erased all memories of this show from my mind, but I know that it was months before I was ready to watch anime again.

Mazinkaiser SKL was my Anime Secret Santa pick for 2011. I have a surprise for you — I never finished watching it. Inexplicably, because I fucking love the original Mazinkaiser.

You wanna know something I did watch that came out in 2010? It wasn’t until 2012, but I watched the fuck out of it. And I liked it.

Motherfucking Oreimo!

That’s right! I watched Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai, a title sometimes tranlated as My Little Sister Can’t Possibly Be This Cute. I wonder why they opted to go with Oreimo when it came out in America.

I don’t have an excuse for this. I was alone. It was unprovoked. No one told me to watch it. I just did. And I’m not sorry.

2010 was a special time. Podcasting and writing was still new to me, so everything I produced had a weight to it. In a few years, I would find my voice, but I would also become jaded. The content I produce now is of a higher quality, but god damn if I wasn’t having more fun back then.