Some shows I’m doing here (September to December 2017)

Announcing three shows I will be watching here for Anime Solstice. On my column on OASG, I take a look at shows that come out in the latest season. I praise some, and I despair over others. And I sometimes drop some too. Here however, I’ll be taking a look at some out-of-season and classic shows.

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Scum’s Wish (available on Amazon)

Okay so this is a show that has eluded me for so long. I had planned to review this for OASG when it came out in the Winter 2017 season, but I hadn’t planned on getting Amazon back then. Now I do, I can finally check it out.

Hanabi is in love with old friend/homeroom teacher Narumi, but he has fallen for new music teacher Akane. After meeting Mugi (who is also in love with Akane), the two love-blind students decide to strike a deal and have a fake romantic relationship, to satisfy their loneliness from their unrequited loves.

I’m already watching a very interesting school romance show, Love and Lies (which, coincidentally, is also on Amazon), and romance shows that stray away from the ‘boy-meets-girl, two-fall-in-love, end-of-story’ norm get me suddenly interested in watching anime all over again.

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Gatchaman Crowds Insight (available on Crunchyroll & home video)

I love Gatchaman Crowds. I didn’t think a eccentric, crazy and leftfield show like this would exist, and that I’d warm to it straightaway. Set around a year after the events of season 1, the Japanese Prime Minister gives his official approval of the Gatchaman team, and as elections (which can now be done via smartphone) take place, an mysterious spaceship lands, leading to a arrival of a new Gatchaman, Tsubasa. And now Rui has stopped playing the true neutral character and joined the team, he is chasing up a lead on something called Red CROWDS.

It’ll be great to see Hajime in action again. Plus I will confess that I have a bit of a thing for girls who wear ties.

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Taisho Baseball Girls (available on home video)

1925. The Taisho era. After a baseball player declares that women should concentrate on being housewives instead of going to school, two schoolgirls set out to prove him wrong by forming their own baseball team.

Admittedly, I don’t know very much about the history of Japan in the 20th-century…some weeb I’m supposed to be. I know a show like this won’t portray everything, but I got this show for cheap, and I guess that’s another reason for me to check this out 🙂

I will also be reviewing Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine over on my OASG column.

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What killed off my Madoka Magica fandom?

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NB: This post contains spoilers for the Rebellion movie.

Whilst writing this post, I’ve had to go and do not just a lot of memory back-tracking, but a lot of self-reflection as an anime fan. Madoka Magica is one of the shows that has made me the kind of fan I am, but it is because of what the franchise has become now is why I must walk away from it. 6 years of fanart, fanfiction, outspoken posts about the numerous hidden metaphors in the show, bizarre rumours and a abnormally long wait for new material has made me walk away from Madoka, Homura, Mami, Sayaka and Kyouko (as well as everyone else) for good. And here are the reasons why…

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How to be a good senpai (…or enjoying anime while being older)

I turned 34 a couple of weeks ago.

I think it was only recently (in the last few months or so) when it occurred to me that I am no longer that young weeb I had been playing for the last 10 years, and that I should stop trying to act like I am. Is this called maturity? Is this the one thing that some weebs fear the most? I’m supposed to grow up when I reach 25 or something, and yet now, as I reach my mid-30s, it just hits me like a cannonball out of nowhere. I don’t know the hows or the whys, and I suppose it doesn’t matter really. What does matter is that acting like a young/reckless/rebellious weeb now just makes me look like an idiot.caitycomics_38_by_caityhallart-d9y4br4I grew up in the 90s. Back when I started on anime, Sailor Moon, Evangelion, NadesicoTenchi Muyo! and Pokemon ended up on my watch list. I felt weird liking Sailor Moon because as I was watching the original English dub (the DiC/Cloverway one), it was pictured as for-girls-only (of course I know it isn’t but I was just a young kid then). I tried to get the few friends I did have in high school into Evangelion until I realised that, truthfully, I really really hated it. Nadesico just happened to be sort-of popular in the UK, but I can no longer remember any of that now. Tenchi Muyo! was just this condensed piece of crap on Toonami that I felt obliged to watch as a new anime fan. And Pokemon was something that everyone was talking about at the time.

Between around 2006-2007 and now, I had been involved in a lot of things in the UK anime community. When I was at college, I had campaigned for years to build an anime/manga society, only to find there was not enough interest (it was only until a year or two after I graduated when one was finally set up). I had been doing volunteer work for about a dozen various industry and fan conventions across the country, only to just get tired of…well…not actually having any fun over that weekend. It just felt like a duty to me. I had been close to the committee of one fan convention, only to grow tired of going altogether because it seemed such a waste going sometimes (and that decision has nothing to do with the committee themselves btw; they are all amazing people that I wish I still had contact with). I’ve made a lot of friends. I’ve lost some too (in my total hardcore weeb years when I obsessed too much over shows). You see, because the UK community is not massive, that makes it rather tight-knit; most of us all know each other, and when someone is called out on a bad thing, pretty much the entire community will end up finding out about it. This definitely applies to the last 6 months (don’t want to go into too much detail on that, as I don’t want to get any more dragged into it than I have already become).

I know what you may be thinking. I might just be panicking that age has just suddenly caught up to me, that I’m beginning to think that I don’t deserve to be a part of this community which is, in all fairness, full of youngsters, and that I shouldn’t listen to that logical mini-me in my head and just not worry about it. Well I can’t help it; I just can’t.

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Perhaps I should look at this dilemma/Catch-22/whatever you want to call it in another perspective. But in the weeb culture does age necessarily mean maturity? Just because you realise that you look a lot older than that Naruto cosplayer ordering his next beer at the bar at the con you’ve been going to for years doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re smarter. More experienced in the fandom, certainly, but not always smarter. Perhaps, as you read this, you could believe that being an older anime fan actually has its advantages…well it’s all the more often now that attending fan cons can make you stand out even more, especially when you’re surrounded by the 16-25 folk who just plan on getting drunk over the weekend (only because their parents aren’t around to ground them when they puke on their cardboard cosplay of…I dunno…Kirito…or Mikasa…).

 

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Or maybe I’m just feeling this way because of how I got into anime in the first place. As I said earlier, Sailor Moon, Evangelion, Nadesico, Tenchi Muyo! and Pokemon were on my TV set or in my VHS player (either bought or taped). Back then in the 90s, we didn’t have the luxuries of frequent fan conventions, anime streaming, Anitwitter or waifu/husbando culture…we were the outcasts, and it felt like we were doomed to be outcasts for as long as we ‘supposedly’ grew up, had nice careers, wife/husband and kids, and so on. But then, as time went by, nerd-dom became the cool thing. Movie and TV adaptations of comic books came out in their droves, Japanese-only games got licenses in the West, Spirited Away got its Oscar, movie channels began to show more anime movies, Hatsune Miku made her first appearance on a US talk show, e-sports arrived and exploded…

…I could go on.

I suppose I can just call myself a bitter person for being envious, because we didn’t have it like the millennial fans have it now. We had to work hard to both embrace our fandom and keep it hidden from the people who would torment us for liking it. My own family still see it all as just ‘crazy violent cartoons’, and so I no longer bother trying to reason with them now.

I will of course defend anime, because that is what I have always done. I’ve been a part of this dumb-ass community for over 20 years now. I will not quit. Even if I do end up turning to religion or take up golf or collect jazz records or something, I won’t turn my back on those ‘crazy violent cartoons’ that the media have (and still do) portray them as.

I’m hoping that this new reinvention of this dumb blog will show that I can now look at my fandom through the eyes of someone who has been a part of it for over 20 years, and try (emphasis on ‘try’) to look experienced/jaded/act-like-I-know-what-I’m-talking-about…and not feel any shame or disgust at the same time.

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Try to be a good senpai to these kouhai millennials and stuff…

Blogging is still a thing, I guess…

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Oh my fucking god. I still have this thing? Well I guess I do.

And will I be returning? I suppose so.

In the meantime, I have a column on OASG. I’m reviewing New Game!!, Love & Lies, Sakura Quest, and looking back at Squid Girl (whilst moaning about not having Splatoon 2 yet!). And I’ll be talking about the latest Monogatari outing when that comes out.

What I really REALLY hated about anime in 2016.

I think we all know that 2016 will be a year that we will just refuse to talk about in the future. It’ll be 2014, 2015, and then we’ll just skip straight to 2017. Some pretty bad things have happened this year, news-wise:

Donald Trump / Brexit / Growth of the Alt-Right movement / The sudden increase in racism, sexism, homophobia and Islamophobia as a result of the previous three / The continuing situation in Syria & Aleppo / David Bowie / Orlando shooting / Muhammad Ali / Prince / Flint still not having clean water / Zika virus / Leonard Cohen / Alan Rickman / Suicide Squad / Hurricane Matthew / Kids going all butt-hurt over this year’s Call of Duty / Cubs winning the World Series / Turkish coup / Gene Wilder / Bastille Day Attack in Nice / Charleston church shooting / Leicester City winning the Premier League / The UK going batshit crazy that The Great British Bake Off was leaving the BBC /  Murdoch now owning even more of the world’s media / Brussels airport bombing / Killer Clown craze in Halloween / North Korea still being an ass / England getting owned by Iceland in the European soccer tournaments in France

I also had to go to hospital in March after a series of violent seizures. My hyperactive nephew has hit puberty too, so that might be a pain in the ass. My favourite nightclub, Fabric, lost its license when a couple of kids OD’d on the dance floor (they got it back though). My nose unnaturally started to bleed in July, so that sucked. My first experience with a brony scarred me forever. Two of my favourite Formula 1 drivers retired (Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg). A cult got in touch with me when I wrote an article about some of their movies (not a bad thing…just bizarre…but I forgot to say thank you to them for reading the article, so in the off-chance that if they are reading this, The Golden Laws was actually pretty good, so thanks). You could even argue Pokemon Go had some role too in creating more of a dystopian society this year, even though it is a pretty cool game (despite it eating your data and phone battery).

And I’m still an unemployable piece of shit.

Anime and the general weeb culture wasn’t spotless either. Saying that though, it had its pretty damn fine moments: Final Fantasy XV and The Last Guardian finally came out after 9 or 10 years of development hell, Your Name, Hibike! Euphonium sequel, Overwatch, Hideo Kojima re-emerging after Konamigate with a pretty slick-looking game in the works, Stranger Things (hardly weeb but still a cool show), A Silent Voice (I didn’t like it, but so many people did), the news that Nintendo’s new console is coming out sooner than we think…

Last year I did a little piece over the worst things that anime did to us, which included Charlotte, the second season of Nisekoi (there was a sequel, in case you forgot, which you may have) and Gainax turning to product placement to make a mediocre magical girl show. Well time to do it all over again for this year; perhaps this year will be more significant considering all the other shit that happened.

(Remember: this is all personal opinion)

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