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Iaboo, Youaboo, Weallaboo for Anime!


The Shogun of Harlem
I'm eventually gonna write an Effort Post™ about HxH now that I'm done with it (I was kinda going through the Election bit slowly but finished it a few days ago), but for now just know that I've had the full version of Departure stuck in my head for like 3 days


What's Shenmue?
Hey, I put way too much work in my top 10 of the year list. I took a while writing this and suspect would probably drop half of #10 if I could do it again but still stand by this overall.
Great write-ups. I haven't seen all of these, and frankly a lot of them just don't seem up my alley, but I enjoyed reading your thoughts on them all the same. I was very pleasantly surprise to see Japan Sinks 2020 atop the pile; that show seems to have gone under the radar, or maybe just left no impression on people, but I really enjoyed it. For all that the premise is a little hokey and melodramatic, it wrings some real emotion and pathos out of it, to the point that even when you can see where it's going it still manages to be devastating. I loved the ending, too.
that show seems to have gone under the radar, or maybe just left no impression on people, but I really enjoyed it
The reception of Netflix shows are hard to gauge because the nature of how they publish stuff. It just kinda appears, all at once, with zero advertisement or fanfare. And it takes time for people to watch it themselves, and everyone does at their own pace, so internet discussions of them don't readily crystalize. Places like r/anime have bots that post regular discussion threads for each new episode of a show that comes out, but they still have no idea how to effectively handle discussions for a Netflix show that just poops out all at once. Because by the time people actually watch it, the discussion threads have long slid off the front page. Your show has to really stand out in the crowd to gain any kind of traction whatsoever in this publishing model, which IMO does a disservice to the medium in general.

From the anecdotes I read, the show seemed fairly polarizing. Some people really enjoyed it like you guys have, but most opinions were, at best, conflicted or had an abundance of critiques. Which is pretty unusual for Masaaki Yuasa shows that normally receive almost universal acclaim. Coupling that uncertainty, with the bleak nature of the show, and how much I disliked the similar apocalyptic stylings of Devilman Crybaby, I steered clear of Japan Sinks 2020 and haven't looked back since. I'm mildly curious how good or bad it could be, and normally the Yuasa/Science Saru pedigree would be all I needed to jump head-first in. I also know that Yuasa abruptly quit his own studio in the middle of production of this show, so I wonder how much burnout affected the final product. But none of that is enough to overcome my strong indifference and need to avoid anything that is closely aligned thematically with Devilman Crybaby.


lofi posts to relax/study to
Mrs. ThornGhost heard some stuff about Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto and wanted to give it a watch, so we've been doing that. I am...enjoying this show. It's got some big One Punch Man energy with this untouchable character, but his powers lie in the social sphere rather than pure physicality. It's very good.


Recently, when i was reading the Broken Earth trilogy, i was curious to why i'm on board with how the characters are handled in Devilman Crybaby, but not in The Fifth Season/etc, in particularly
in relation to the fact that in both stories awful things happen to characters i like, which serves a thematic purpose.
I think it has to do with length. Devilman Crybaby is a ten episode show, and The Broken Earth trilogy has close to 1500 pages. But i don't know. I enjoyed Devilman Crybaby a lot, anyway (it might be my favorite Yuasa show).

Just a random DC commentary, i guess.

Johnny Unusual

Some other odds and ends of opinion before I leave the year behind for good.

Show that just went for it:
ID: Invaded – This is a weird little under the radar show that looked hecka good and was a unique and creative show. The premise is that there’s a machine that goes into serial killer’s mind palaces where a detective must unravel the meaning behind the symbolism within. It leads to a lot of fantastic visuals within the show and it doesn’t hurt that the animation is very nice. Its not perfect: its pretty easy to predict the main villain and a lot of the large cast doesn’t have time to develop. The science, even for this kind of show, is silly but I don’t mind because I feel it works thematically and the show is a real trip.

Show with weirdest structure:
In/Spectre – So far it seems like the first Crunchyroll original is the best. The premise is a young woman is abducted by yokai and when she returns has some body parts removed in exchange for a special gift: the ability to see and talk to yokai and act as an intermediary between the human world and the spiritual one. This seems promising but a little basic. It is talky in a way that quickly reveals it is, in fact, based on a novel series. But then there’s a story where a guardian snake spirit asks the lead to tell her about the nature of a murder near her house. And she doesn’t solve the mystery so much as conjecture A LOT for an episode and a half and then there’s a three-year time jump. The whole conjecture aspect seems bizarre but it soon becomes apparent that it is actually locked into the thesis of the show: that stories and myths are how people try to figure their shit out and might be more important to people than reality. The story culminates with the lead heroine essentially trying to hi-jack a tulpa created by many people but using it as a segueway to a different, sexier narrative until the original doesn’t matter as much. Overall, I ended up being kind of iffy on the whole show. On paper that sounds really interesting but in actuality I found it far too slow paced and felt that a lot of conclusion jumping was necessary in the construction of the new narrative. But I am interested in what a second season could do.

Song Lyrics That Hurt My Brain Every Time I See Them:
Moriarty the Patriot

I… can someone make heads or tales of it? I think I get the intent of it based on what the show is about but… huh?

Quality First Episode to Last Episode complete inversion:
Look, God of High School was never going to be conventionally “good” but it looked like it was a stupid fun action series where wacky teens beat the shit out of each other. But then they decided to have a “mythology” that continually makes less and less sense as the series builds to its first and hopefully only series climax. Good animation in favour of a the fever dream of a Shounen geek that I couldn’t make heads or tales of even in a fun way.

Show I noped out of the quickest after the first episode
Here’s a show with an interesting premise: In an alternate reality, people are born with numbers on their bodies representing some sort of task or achievement and if the number goes to zero, they are dragged to Hell. OK, interesting. Then the show immediately pushed in my face the concept that sexual assault from the main character is hilarious. Fuck you, TV show.

Best show that would have fit in really well on a Saturday morning animation block:
Like, there are a couple of slight moments that would have been edited out, like elements of the last big fight, but BNA was just a fun, poppy show that hit me in the right ways. A fun and mostly episodic show with an adventure of the week format until the end of the season. Like Beastars and Zootopia, its probably a show that falters a bit under one-to-one scrutiny of its metaphors but like those things it doesn’t stop them from being great. If Beastars is Zootopia by way of adult soap opera, then BNA is Zootopia by way of 90s/2000s superhero cartoon.

Show that doesn’t need “cliffhangers” as much as it thinks it does
Asteroid in Love
As a yuri cute girls doing cute things show, I have NO idea why this sleepy low-stakes show needs to have cliffhangers. I’m pretty sure one is the announcement of a party next week. And that’s one thing but then the narrating main character has to ask “A party? Next week? With my friends? What will happen next?” I’m pretty sure while this isn’t ver betim, it is the weird tenor the show felt the need to take on when they could have ended most episodes on the lead character saying “I like my friends.”

Show I liked despite questionable metaphor
Drifting Dragons
There’s no getting around, unless you are being willfully ignorant, that Drifting Dragons isn’t romanticizing the whaling days of yore. Seeing how cruel it is in the modern age, its something I’m not really in favour of. The show even acknowledges them being made of rare species within the series. But beyond that, its cast of characters and very pretty animation make for a great slice of life with some adventure fantasy series set in a world of docile dragons being hunted by our heroes for resources. I suspect the original manga has some beautiful looking art, as well.

Happiest Post-COVID Delay Returns
Though neither made my end of the both year list, Appare-Ranman and Millionaire Detective are both delights. Both are mid-tier shows: good animation, plotting, characters, etc. Not particularly deep or nuanced but with such a sense of fun, they were both great shows to look forward to week after week. Their comebacks also aligned with me and JBear finally able to hang out again, so that probably helped.

OK show whose ending made me mad
Sing Yesterday For Me
It was a perfectly OK show but I wasn’t expecting it setting up the 20 something main characters leave each other (fine) for the younger “just turned 18” people who have been pining for them. Neither of these seem like good relationships though the woman who is dating the her dead BF’s little bro who is kind of a creep is bad. Even not considering the actual ages of the characters, in borh relationships one character is much more in every way mature in both relationship that seems unhealthy.

This was also nice to watch
With a Cat and a Dog, Every Day is Fun
Each episode is a minute and a half (including 9 seconds of end credits) and is basically a manga-ka saying “cats and dogs, boy are they different.” Still, while I wouldn’t put it in my favourite of the year, it is a pleasant show to watch. Always like it.

EDIT: Almost forgot

Show I'm glad I gave a chance
The Day I Became a God
Don't take this as a complete recommendation. It's a C show, I think. But I found the first episode extremely annoying in its "shouty comedy" and only kept watching because it got a bit funnier at the end with a potentially interesting hook. The hook didn't plan out as interestingly as I hoped but it turned into a show that didn't quite annoy me, mostly, as much as the first episode. Sometimes the humour falls flat (like the Mah Jong episode) and they also introduce an adult TV host who tries to coerce the under 18 main character into sex, which is played for laughs and then keep her around as the main characters friend despite... THAT. But its not a bad show and weirdly oscillates between kind of sad and "wacky" and also some sci-fi stuff. Again, I won't go to bat for it but despite its failings, it is interesting.

The Gymnastics Samurai

I will never trust bigbird and the second I lose sight of him, I'm scared. Also, this show takes place in the real world (specifically 2002) except this thing. My working theory is its Danny Devito in a costume and he's in too deep to admit it.
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Johnny Unusual

Mrs. ThornGhost heard some stuff about Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto and wanted to give it a watch, so we've been doing that. I am...enjoying this show. It's got some big One Punch Man energy with this untouchable character, but his powers lie in the social sphere rather than pure physicality. It's very good.
Sakamoto was a delight. The only misstep is the final episode is 50% a clips show, if I remember correctly. The other is early on, Sakamoto says something to his chubby friend with crazy hair that seems a little less nice than basically how the character presents thereafter, which is that he's not only cool in the most superficial ways but also his heart and compassion are also really, really cool. Also, he may or may not be completely oblivious to how awesome he is and in his way may be very dumb.
I watched the show one year ago, and it is still the most satisfying thing I have seen in the whole show. It just felt so goooood.
Biggest fistpump from me and JBear. Not only did a long absent character return but he also punched that asshole. Reminder, Gon will more or less grow up to be this guy.


The Shogun of Harlem
I like basically every central character on the show. Gon is great as a Goku-like main character; a wild boy who loves adventure and finding new things and pushing himself, but has a screw loose by any conventional standard (more on this in spoiler territory). Ging is what happens if that boy grows up; he becomes a super talented and accomplished adventurer and fighter, but is a complete failure as an adult and human being, and everyone is kinda constantly mad at him for being such a selfish prick all the time. They're Kid Goku and Adult Goku, but in a world where shit has actual consequences because there's no magic dragon. Well okay there kinda is but it's a one time deal and they used it so...look NEVERMIND THAT NOW

Leorio is my favorite because he's the only normal person on the entire show (maybe Zepile too). He just wants to go to med school, and he's the yelling wacky comic relief, but he's only mad because all the other shit going on around him is completely insane and he's like what the fuck is this nonsense, which is honestly completely fair. They also imply that Leorio has potential (though not as much as Gon/Killua) and we never get to see him do much of anything, and that's a huge bummer to me.

Kurapika is probably my least favorite character, since we don't really get to see much of him and what we do see is fairly straightforward. I know the two arcs that are set after the anime ends are focused on him/Leorio (though he gets the short end of the stick there too, is my understanding), so that's a shame, but there's not much we can do about that...

Overall I liked the show a lot! Not my favorite of all time, but it reminds me of a fusion of Jojo and Dragonball/DBZ. Even in the situations where differences in power levels in HxH are a thing, the fights are more about what people are DOING rather than just raw numbers. It's got the Jojo thing where the powers people use have specific rules and limitations and everyone has a unique thing, and the drama comes from that. DB/DBZ work because even if the action is "straightforward", it looks fuckin' cool. Here the fights are often not visually the greatest things ever (the show overall looks great, there's just not a lot happening during the fights a lot of the time) but they're always interesting. There are cool fights...Gon/Hisoka, Netero/Mereum, etc. But there's also a lot that are just kinda not anything to write home about, visually speaking.

I also think the show's interesting because, with one very notable exception towards the end, literally every situation the heroes find themselves in for the entire run of the show, they are completely outmatched (Kurapika using Emperor Time doesn't count IMO). This madman made an entire show where the heroes are not just the underdogs, but always in situations where they can never ever win.

I think the show's biggest strength AND weakness is the tone. It's got a kinda wacky vibe in the first arc, but it also has nameless bystanders getting mercilessly killed for no reason at a fairly regular pace? I've heard people say that Yorknew caught them offguard, and it sure is dark since like...3000 people die or something like that, but the nameless mafia nobodies who get killed all die in the exact same manner that the Hunter trainees did in the first arc. The show feels overall like it has a lot of weird tonal swings, but "life is cheap and therefore also precious" seems to be a throughline. That's also fairly consistent with how Gon/Ging treat life (make the most of it!), Killua's protective feelings towards his sister/Gon, Leorio's motivation to become a doctor, Kurapika's motive for revenge...it all kinda fits. The show ends up going to such wild places that it can be a bit disorienting all the same. The show goes from a wacky adventure, to a tournament arc, to fighting the mafia and thousands of people die, to Yu-Gi-Oh, to a sports anime, back to Yu-Gi-Oh, to a body horror/regular horror movie, to a training montage, to the end boss of a JRPG that lasts 40 episodes, and then finally back to a wacky adventure. It's...a lot, and especially during the Chimera Ant arc it feels particularly wild to be switching gears so often.

But it kinda works despite that. "The show" is really multiple shows that are all running at the same time. Sometimes they overlap, other times they don't. Even during the Yu-Gi-Oh arc, they're still learning about Nen and getting stronger. Hisoka and the Phantom Troupe are there. The Ant arc is kinda it's own thing, but the Phantom Troupe pop up for a bit, the search for Ging continues, the journey to master Nen continues. It has in common my favorite aspect of Jojo Part 4 (Zeta Gundam does this too but not in the same way); the show continues past it's own borders. There's hints and details of things that happen while the narrative is focused elsewhere, but it's not always spelled out. HxH ends up being a show that feels like it could've run for 500 episodes. The world has so much potential to it that they easily could've done that. I know there are reasons why they didn't, and who knows if it would've stayed good had that happened, but even at the end it feels like it's just beginning, like all of these folks are gonna keep having wild adventures for years more.

All of that said, the Chimera Ant arc is what truly makes the show a "classic". I honestly don't want to get into it now, since it deserves it's own post and it's already 11 PM, and the Ant arc is not perfect, but when it's firing on all cylinders it's up there with some of the best shonen that exists.

That said, before I go, I did enjoy the Election arc. I really wasn't expecting a trans-positive arc in this show, but Killua's love for his sister was precious to watch and cemented Killua as a Good Boy™ (as if that wasn't the case already). The rest of the family's disgust and fear of Killua's "brother" was also I'm sure a little too real for trans viewers, but that just makes Killua standing up to their assholery that much better. It did feel like it was spinning it's wheels a bit in the last 2 episodes, but whatever. After the Chimera Ant arc, they earned some leeway.

I also really loved the bit where Hisoka finds out Gon/Killua got hurt and he gets upset, and Illumi is like "bro if you just want to fight strong people, you could've fought the Ants who were stronger than anyone on Earth" and he's just like "ooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhh fuuuuuuuuuuu-" Good stuff.
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Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
I'm not sure how a character like Alluka exists in a series that makes a big production out of queerphobic characters like Hisoka on a frequent basis, but stopped clocks and all that, I guess. I'm glad she's there.

Johnny Unusual

Yeah, Hisoksa to me is a weird character who is both so much fun but deeply problematic. Also, he looks like a Sailor Moon villain and whe you know that the mangaka is married to the Sailor Moon Mangas, its like "oh".

There's something weirdly but almost amorally appealing about the world of HxH. Its like there's no pretending that morally hunters are great people. Its not a job of justice, its a work of fulfilling your own passions and obsessions before anything else. Worth noting that Togashi created the series just as he became a Dad and Gons search for his Dad was inspired by his new fatherhood. A lot to unpack there.
The thing I was referring to earlier was
when a dude calls out his attack of Jupiter and then just summons a weird photorealistic Jupiter instead of any themed attack. We were laughing so hard and when he later just yells out THE SUN we almost died.


Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
It is themed, sort of. Bonolenov fights with the sound created through his body, and the music that's playing as he unleashes his Jupiter technique is an arrangement of "Jupiter" from Gustav Holst's The Planets suite. Whether Togashi had it in mind when writing the scene for the manga, or if the anime staff decided to just run with it, it does leave an impression, especially within a larger story arc that's consistently creating a dedicated atmosphere through the musical direction of the soundtrack.
It is themed, sort of. Bonolenov fights with the sound created through his body, and the music that's playing as he unleashes his Jupiter technique is an arrangement of "Jupiter" from Gustav Holst's The Planets suite. Whether Togashi had it in mind when writing the scene for the manga, or if the anime staff decided to just run with it, it does leave an impression, especially within a larger story arc that's consistently creating a dedicated atmosphere through the musical direction of the soundtrack.
Ok but it's also just
a big Jupiter.


The Shogun of Harlem
Listen, there's a lot of really goofy and dumb and therefore TOTALLY RAD stuff in the show, but I think we all HAVE to agree that the best is that Netero spent 5 years punching 10,000 times a day in the mountain wilderness, and when he came back from the mountain, he could move faster than sound.

Also he's AT LEAST 110 years old and the strongest human being on the planet. BECAUSE PUNCHING.

Also I nearly died when the episode ended with Netero making the <3 with his hands for no reason. Netero is hilarious, and a perfect example of why the hunters are a bunch of amoral weirdos. He just does whatever, and so does the organization.
OK show whose ending made me mad
Sing Yesterday For Me
It's an ending that feels groadier than it really is. IIRC the younger woman is 18/19, and the guy is 22/23. It's objectively not a completely insane age gap. I honestly got to the point of exasperation with all parties involved, that I was happy that the older woman didn't "win" because she was probably the most emotionally immature character in the show (besides little-brother weirdo, fuck that guy) and clearly needed to just figure out her own shit first and had no business being in a relationship to begin with. What an emotionally draining and upsetting show, good riddance.


Dude. I love Netero so much. HxH was stuck in the Chimera ant arc when I started college and had so many hiatuses during that time, but it all paid off with the battle between Meruem and Netero.
I love how that battle is simultaneously this incredible shonen battle and a deconstruction of all shonen battles in HxH. There's this superhuman fight between these two warriors who are just like the respective peaks of their societies, and after it all Netero's like "jk we could have just nuked your ass at any time." I also love how he picks his vp, pig latin Paris Hilton, solely because of how good he is at being a nuisance to the chairman. The guy does everything in his power to undermine the hunter association and is so bothersome that all the other hunters hates him, and the chairman's like "Yup, make this guy my in second in command". That rules.

Oh yeah, I also like how they make Gon and Co. feel like
the bad guys when they invade the ants. The chairman's entrance leading to civilian casualties, and Gon straight up threatening to kill Komugi if Pitou tried any funny business. Such an unexpected turn of events and tone after what the ants did earlier. We see the king straight up eat a kid, and by the end we start feeling like he's the one who got done dirty. Incredible. Same for the guards too.
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Johnny Unusual

And they basically come out and say "Yeah, humans perfected being horrifying" during the extended backstory of a fictional bomb that is used once. Togashi gets very specific with his world building in this show.

Trigger's Promare and Masaaki Yuasa's Ride Your Wave and The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl are coming to HBO Max on January 12th. All entertaining to amazing films. I hope this helps some of y'all to finally see them!

Johnny Unusual

Just finished Akudama Drive. This was a really fun show with a middle finger attitude and some surprisingly touching moments. The last episode amped up both in a way that really worked for me.


Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
Just finished Akudama Drive. This was a really fun show with a middle finger attitude and some surprisingly touching moments. The last episode amped up both in a way that really worked for me.
Yeah, I really liked the final episode. Finally giving our MC her own Akudama intro was great, and the railgun arm was chefkiss.

Johnny Unusual

I was a little iffy on Jujustu Kaisen's more dour direction lately but its definitely starting to win me back. At the very least, the animation gets amazing looking.

There aren't many shows from this season that I've kept up with. Mostly just Yashahime and a handful of others. Hopefully I can catch up on a few before the next season begins.

Yashahime is going swell. They've spent a good chunk of the show thus far having mostly stand alone episodes that have given the cast a chance to flesh out their characters, get to know each other, and explore their abilities, etc. It's been a pretty comfy ride and I've enjoyed it a lot. All of the three main characters are delightful, and I love each of them to bits. This last episode had an update of what Miroku and Sango are up to, so that was nice. My only real criticism of the show is that the visual direction of the show has predictably slipped in the way that long running kids shows tend to go. It's never ugly, and there's still some impressive sakuga moments from time to time. But that's just how shows like this tend to go.

The thing I think I like the most is how more often Yashahime capitalizes on the fact that the characters are from/have access to future tech/conveniences better than its predecessor. Little touches that give the world a little more character and flavor versus the original series that tended to just get really laser focused on whatever boss gauntlet that Inuyasha was dealing with at any given time. Watching Towa throw a bottle of habanero sauce in a monster's mouth to freak it out, or whipping out an LED flashlight to explore a dark cavernous place, or them giving cheetos to a little kid to lift their spirits are quaint little touches.

The only thing I'm worried about long term with the shows is that I'm already sensing the show attempting to create love interest pairings for all of our yashahimes and I kinda don't want any of that.


Loves "Friendly Girls"
I just wish that Moroha got to effectively do anything. She went from being kind of badass to quickly being the person who gets punked to show that the monster is a threat before her bounty is destroyed, and now the last few episodes tended to be her not even present, and thus didn't even have a chance at a bounty.

q 3

Posts: 4,731,901
I'm only a few episodes in but I firmly believe that anytime Moroha is not onscreen the other characters should all be asking, where's Moroha?

Talentless Nana went from a regular rollercoaster to an emotional rollercoaster and left me a wreck because I am gullible. It's very obviously an incomplete adaptation, though I think the stopping point works well at reframing the story as a tragedy.

Golden Kamuy has just gotten better and better and its latest season is probably AOTY IMHO. It's like... JoJo's Bizarre Adventure for grown-ups. 🏋️‍♂️

Gal & Dino
lost some of its edge due to the pandemic but that just made it even more chill and wholesome.

Sleepy Princess remained a masterclass in how to tell several dozen variations on the same joke and have it remain funny the whole time.

Pajaro Pete


The Sailor Moon Crystal movies are finally releasing next year, you may have forgotten about this show because season 3 ended in the middle of 2016. The movies have the character designer from the 90s cartoon back, so folks who didn't like the first two seasons of Crystal, or the PreCure of season 3, might be happy? Anyway the two movies cover the fourth story arc (like SuperS did in the original tv series), and I expect it to be a largely incoherent mess because (A) that's what the comics are like anyway and (B) they're condensing the already largely incoherent comics into two movies. Hyped for the final story arc to finally be animated and released in 2027.

q 3

Posts: 4,731,901
It's basically an idol show, and literally a gacha mobile adaptation too, with all the caveats those labels require, but D4DJ is if nothing else a great example of how far 3D character animation has come. Also it's actually pretty fun. Also the OP has air horns which is always a sign of a masterpiece:

Streaming now on literally every streaming service in existence because 90% of the franchise's profit comes from 1% of the viewers, probably.
Moroha seems tricky to write for.

I get the feeling she wasn't in this week's episode because they didn't want to have her confront Miroku and Sango just yet in the story. Since it seems like she was orphaned b/c of circumstances that they're not ready to explain just yet/saving for later. And it's honestly baffling why Miroku and Sango weren't around to take her in if Inuyasha and Kagome were out of the picture, considering how close all of the original cast was to each other. Moroha seems like a character who is informed by that isolation - who desperately wants family and friends, but has spent so much of her life alone and vulnerable that she instinctively withdraws from that. It'll probably be a long journey to bridge that gap and get her feelin' like a real sister. Especially when the glue/conscious of the group - Towa - is mostly focused on getting her twin sister to open up versus this cousin she barely knows.

Her powers also seem like she's designed like a glass canon. She's only a quarter demon, so her demon powers are inherently weaker unless she uses a magic macguffin that powers her up for a very brief moment. And her miko powers seem ill defined so far, but I can't imagine they work super great in congress with her demonic powers, at least here initially.