Anime fans, I feel, have this unrealistic expectation that they’ll be watching anime nigh infinitum. Or at the very least, to be able to constantly consume anime at a rate that an experienced weeb like myself would label as unsustainable. Animation is a medium I’ve felt strongly about ever since I was a child and I hope it continues long into a future and hopefully fixes it’s “working it’s staff to near death” problem along the way.
Nevertheless just like books, video games, social media, and the girlfriend you don’t have because you watch Japanese cartoons, anime is something you need a break from sooner or later. After so long of seeing the same anime tropes done except in a progressively shyte manner being jaded is closer to inevitability. It’s likely going to happen sooner or later. Going to recommend you watch Digibro’s The Asterisk War Sucks [Part 4] OR, What Are Cliche Characters? (and why do they suck?) if you want more insight to how someone might gradually grow distance and jaded to cliches after say two hundred to five hundred anime. Now Story Time With CherryBoy.
Recently, I got into Guilty Gear Xrd REVELATOR(RRRR) while simultaneously going on a random hatefest of Blazblue that I barely understood at the time. I don’t having anything Blazblue really. Other than that fact that next to Guilty Gear, Blazblue kinda looks like trash aesthetically in a side by side comparison. My weariness of anime had manifest in me determining that Blazblue looks like every anime ever made ever. Granted that’s just kinda what Arksys does and they’re schtick. So no hate for stick with there guns. But it was when this phenomenon of hate for a series that I was once in love with settled in my brain that I understood. My tastes had changed. I’ve grown from that one noob weeb into an analytical weeb. The same old thing wouldn’t do and that’s fine. I do understand that Blazblue’s more “anime-style” appearance is why it makes bank compared to Guilty Gear on the whole and is more popular. This is just a personal preference. I would like to compare Guilty Gear’s and Blazblue’s aesthetics in a different post, perhaps something to look forward too. Dunno, moving on.
To back up, you might be wondering how you can “get tired” of something you enjoy. Especially anime, the most influential medium on my, and many peoples, life. Well I’ve become one to not “zone out” on my anime. Taking an analytical perspective on anything requires a deal of comprehension. So breaking down the anime’s content as it’s being beamed into my head can make watching even something that was supposed to be fun into a chore. I’ve avoided shows I just started that I even like such as Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex because absorbing the content after working a overnight shift and then going to a second job two hours later might as well be classified as cerebral self flagellations. And if I’m going to be working my brain for something I’m growing increasingly tired of… well you get the point by know. There’s also the community aspect of anime involving the fans. (Pronouncing the word “community” with the same vitriol I pronounce Akame Ga Kill and Objective Criticism)
I’m not going to insinuate something as insulting as the phrase “Turn off your brain and enjoy” as that’s stupid. You’ll miss the point of what your watching entirely and every anime will just end up 10/10, 7/10, or 4/10. The only numbers MyAnimeList casuals seem to understand. However, here’s a list of shows that returned to every now and again that hit the spot and are easy to watch.
Granted, shows you’ve already seen are usually easy to watch anyway but whatever. Moving on.
Of Hip Hop and Dudes With Katanas:
I had, for quite the longest time, been under the impression that EVERY proclaimed western anime fan had seen or knew about the sakuga spectacle that is Afro Samurai. I was shocked and only mildly appalled to learn that this is not the case. “Filthy heathen casuals not watching on of the coolest things ever put to animation!” …Is what my soul wants to cry out. However, I’d be a hypocrite of the highest order. I also had forgotten I even own this four episode little gem on blu-ray until I looked over and noticed it was still in the plastic wrapping.
Afro Samurai was something I watched when I first discovered anime. Even after years of viewing it stuck with me as a what a story of true revenge looks like when fulfilled. Afro as a main protagonist is rather dull and not pleasant to really watch in contrast to maybe some other protagonists out there. So it’s understandable that people might not enjoy a story where a hunk of cardboard is being attempting to come off as human. However, Afro Samurai is something of a perfect concoction. Voice acting by Samuel L. Jackson and music by the RZA, Studio Gonzo went all in with this production. I can’t place my finger on it but Hip-Hop and Chanbara seem to always result in this perfect symphony of ‘freaking sweet’.
The main reason Afro Samurai stuck in my mind is that is one of those few anime with no wasted minutes. They say that “brevity is soul of wit” to pretentiously quote Shakespeare. Anime might as well be known for having powerful and poignant moments sandwiched between filler at every turn. Not that filler is incredibly damming if it’s being used to build context and such to further enhance the on coming payoff. It’s more in the vain of sometimes cutting that filler makes the story flow that much better.
Afro Samurai is at the perfect length it should be. Long enough to tell it’s story and short enough that I’m not mentally striking scenes from my memory. Right enough to hit that perfect spot for an action story and my “Hearing Samuel L Jackson’s voice” quota.
If the above show doesn’t satisfy your hip hop katana needs then I recommend supplementing it with another show I picked at over my “not quite a hiatus” Hiatus. Samurai Champloo is, in a small sense, the opposite to Afro Samurai. Whereas the latter could have lead a much more ideal and happy life by letting go of his revenge quest, the former is a story about the journey and not the end goal. Samurai Champloo is a tale of growing and letting go. Which stands in contrast to the character of Afro that couldn’t do either.
Champloo seems almost aimless until the end and sometimes embraces that aimless spirit. Which is a kind way to say that some people see the show as having fuck-all happening. Ultimately it just comes full circle and compliments the lesson Champloo offers to the viewer. Enjoy the journey not the destination.
I thought about adding Cowboy Bebop to this list of shows that helped me out. But surprise surprise Samurai Champloo is my preferred show of choice here just because the show and it lessons stuck with me better at this time of life. I do hope that Cowboy Bebop does eventually rise to my favorites list with repeat viewings. Cause lord knows I’ll be watching both for years to come.
Looking to Overcome A Challenge
Also known as the SHONEN TIME BABY GET HYPE GET HYPE.
Kuroko’s Basketball and My Hero Academia are the names and basketball/Superhero-ing(?) are the game. If you’ve been paying close attention to the anime reviewer/analysis scene Shonen anime has been defended recently. Between Digibro, Gigguk, Mother’s Basement, and Ninouh all standing up posed up like Jotaro to declare this anti-shonen sentiment is a load of toasty garbage.
Bit weird this is getting addressed now that Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is rapidly encroaching on critical hype mass, or maybe that has something to do with it…
Either way to my surprise I occasionally come across a comment that talking about how a person finding inspiration to tackle everyday challenges and overcome in a “genre” mostly about tackling challenges and overcoming. Huh imagine that. I snark but I was almost relieved to see this sentiment shared among other people. As a die hard shonen-tard I was starting to doubt my own tastes with the constant bashing and with the era of the Big 3 forgotten at this point. So down on my luck I doubled down on my need for an action kick and rewatched/read My Hero Academia.
My Hero Academia being the hot new show to embrace tropes of it’s predecessors and execute them to near perfection. Covered by our own Fifth Impact and Anthony McEachin no less, you’d almost call it a trend or something. I could go on about how well Boku no Hypeademia executes its plot but I won’t as its pretty apparent in the writing itself.
However what really gives Academia it’s spice is the core theme of practicality. This isn’t a story that features heroes, but rather covering every facet of how to be a hero. From your mindset right down on making sure your not overworking yourself simply because “you have to do it”. It offers a mature look on Shonen I haven’t really seen since Hunter x Hunter. This refreshing breath for a shonen-tard is welcome and then some. It speaks to the soul of exactly what made us fall in love with these stories to begin with. For me at least it was an instant classic and went straight to my very selective favorites list in a heartbeat.
On the other side of this spectrum. Sometimes you just wanna see dude’s playing sports with GODDAMN SUPER POWERS. So to that end Kuroko’s Basketball hits all my HYPE requirements. I won’t go on record saying Kuroko is the best sports anime that exists. You’ll likely find more to suit your particular needs in other sports anime. For me at least Kuroko is easily a favorite anime for just how it communicates how much passion the characters truly have for the sport they play. I’ll admit I tear up like a big stupid baby at the end of every game. It’s a series of straight passion and rollercoaster action I’ve always loved watched even just for that drip feed of minor nostalgia*.
*Animation quality will vary
Keeping it Alive
To wrap up this lengthy off kilter recommendation post. I wanted to mention what was probably the most impactful anime of the entire year and possible a cornerstone of my personal inspiration. Space Patrol Luluco.
I was unaware of this, as I am with anything that is the public opinion, but savior of anime Studio Trigger has developed a reputation of being “just a meme studio”.
I can’t say I don’t understand the meme part, but the “just a” part eludes me. I mean okay fair is fair. Kill la Kill’s message wasn’t very overt and Inferno Cop’s underlying story eluded me first time ’round. However with Space Patrol Luluco’s unbelievably straightforward and strong message I don’t see how people don’t understand that Hiroyuki Imaishi is one of the best at his craft.
Some of the things I said about the last few anime apply here. There’s no wasted minutes as it’s the perfect length it should be etcetera. But it’s Luluco’s message about taking pride in your feelings even when life comes along to tell you they’re worthless that solidified the shows place in my heart. Space Patrol Luluco is one of those simply strong stories that leaves little room for nitpicking flaws.
While no series is infallible if Luluco doesn’t win many anime of the year awards I will be deeply ashamed in humanity. Well, more so than usual.
My hope for this post was for someone to perhaps relate to what I said in this post and give one of these shows a look during an anime burnout. I’ve found that occasionally losing interest in something you had passion in can be worrying to say the least. Especially now that many of us fans are grappling with adulthood by the horns. Take it slow, take a breath, take a break, and remember the most important thing about anime.
“It’s not over till the handsome guy wins.”
-Johnny, Guilty Gear Xrd