Thursday, May 31, 2018

Anime Roundup

I guess you can say I've been a fan of anime for a long time, although maybe not to the extent that some other people are. I've been watching Pokemon on and off since it started in the U.S. back in 1998, and I've been a casual viewer of various other series like Beyblade and Yo-kai Watch (I was - and still am - a HUGE fan of tokusatsu series like Kikaida and Kamen Rider, but those are live-action, so they don't count here).
Recently, however, because of a newfangled streaming service that shall remain nameless (hint: rhymes with "Getflix"), my interest in anime has leveled up dramatically. Thus, I decided that it was time to do an Anime Roundup post. Like my Movie Roundup posts, these are not really reviews, they're just my random thoughts about various shows that I've been watching. Unlike the Movie Roundup posts, however, these thoughts will be broken out into categories (with appropriate Japanese-style rankings), as you shall see below.

Category S: Loved Them So Much That Once I Got Going I Couldn't Stop Watching

Death Note
As I mentioned back in January, this is a show I had heard a lot about, so once I finally had access to it I decided to give it a shot. And boy, I was not disappointed. There was a little saggy part in the middle when I wondered where, exactly, the show was going, but then it got back on course pretty quickly and revved up to an amazing ending. I still rewatch the final episode every now and then because it's just that awesome.

Normally the little descriptive log lines for these shows don't really pique my interest all that much; I have to actually start watching the show itself before I can decide whether I'm into it or not. The log line for this show, however, hooked me right away: "Frustrated with her thankless office job, Retsuko the Red Panda copes with her daily struggles by belting out death metal karaoke after work." I mean, c'mon, how can anybody resist that? After breezing through Season 1 (I could barely tear myself away), this became not only my favorite anime of the moment, but one of my all-time favorite shows, period. I cannot wait for Season 2.

Category A: Didn't Love Them, But Liked Them Enough That I Managed To Finish Whatever Was Available

Devilman Crybaby
Like Death Note, this was another one I had heard a lot about. It had an interesting art style that took a little getting used to, and the raps were kind of weird, but it managed to hold my attention until the (mild spoiler alert) poignantly tragic ending. And boy, let me tell you, the whole series is definitely NOT kid-friendly.

Category B: Tried, Tried, Tried, To Get Into Them But Just Couldn't For Whatever Reason; Maybe Will Try Again Someday

Attack On Titan
Gasp, I know. I actually tried watching this one before I got Netflix, and I managed to make it through about ten episodes before the momentum just kind of petered out. I think maybe it had just a little too much unrelenting bleakness for my taste, kind of like The Walking Dead (another show that I had tried and failed to get into). Although I loved The Handmaid's Tale, so hmm.

Category C: Not Ranked Low Because I Don't Like Them, It's Just That I Haven't Finished Watching Enough Of Them Yet To Assign Them To A Firm Category

Fullmetal Alchemist
Highly recommended by Dan the Second Player Score bassist, this one was a little intimidating at first because of its extensive history and reputation. You take one look at its sprawling body of work and wonder, where do I even start? But like with Doctor Who or learning how to swim, you just have to plunge in and do it. The biggest upfront question for me was, do I watch "Fullmetal Alchemist" or "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood"? Dan suggested the first one, so that's what I did, and so far I'm through eleven episodes and enjoying it well enough. My guess is that this one will eventually end up in Category A.

One Punch Man
Just started this one but am already through the first five episodes. Lots of action, quirky humor, and post-credits scenes - kind of like the MCU! On a fast track to Category S.

Violet Evergarden, Gurren Lagann, Sword Art Online, Kill La Kill
Finished the first episode of each. Not bad so far. Too early to tell which category they'll eventually migrate to. Find out in future installments of Anime Roundup!

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