When your anime watching is restricted to what you can view when you are on public transport, some anime fall by the wayside. Acca? Stylish political intrigue with adults that I once caught the ticket inspector pausing by me to check out. Little Witch Academia? Wholesome family cartoon that is maybe a little weird for a grown man to watch but whatever. Scum’s Wish? Let’s try catch up on that another time, shall we?
I have a perhaps naive belief in the power of comedy to say something. Through the disarming capabilities of comedy you can push past barriers that you could only otherwise cover in the gravest of tones. It’s why I try to argue against the belief that comedy is some kind of mysterious thing where enjoyment and taste can’t be broken down and explained why. It may be dry and dull to explain a joke, but I’m a critic so that’s what I do. It’s because of this belief in the depth of comedy that I despair at so-called “random” comedy. Where the joke is entirely in the construction and not in the meaning.
Or to put it another way, I feel very depressed that common anime fandom opinion is that Nichijou is a comedy classic and Watamote was some forgotten, briefly popular thing.
First of all, I’m not writing for MyAnimeList anymore. They stopped their featured articles thing because I guess it wasn’t bringing in enough hits. So now I need to get back into the habit of blogging frequently again (unless anyone else wants to hire me to write articles for them *hint hint*) and not let my mostly-formed articles sit in my brain, never to be written. In an attempt to get back to writing regularly again I figured now was a good time to bring back the old monthly roundup posts since there are a bunch of shockingly good anime this season and I wanted to say something about them.
Welcome back to A Day with The Cart Driver anime podcast, where two married weebs bicker about anime. Myself and Day from GAR GAR Stegosaurus are back with season 3, because it’s been a long enough break since the last episode that introducing a new season feels in order. This time we’ll be talking about the winter anime season, where we spend a significant chunk of it talking around Tanya the Evil before we can finally take no more.
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I’d like to start this Hand Shakers post by talking about something tenuously related instead. This is both to promote that thing and kind of explain why I find this show’s incompetence compelling. There’s a little known (at least outside of the Chinese market) 2013 film called Switch, an Andy Lau-driven hybrid of Mission Impossible and James Bond that manages to litter every moment with bizarre (at best) directorial decisions and hilariously transparent Chinese nationalism. Character motivations change at the drop of a hat, scenes appear out of nowhere thanks to a mix of poor transitions and even poorer writing, and the villain is a bleach-blonde, Oedipal yakuza named Yamamoto whose evil lairs (yes, he has two) are littered with fetus motifs and skulls.
What saves it from being unwatchable is the fascinatingly awful set design (nearly everywhere, including an umbrella museum, has strobe lights) and the wonderfully unconvincing CG. The sound design is also strange—I watched it once with a state of the art sound system, and every other minute the speakers emitted a low rumble that shook the room, even if there were just two characters talking over mimosas. If you ever get the chance to see it, I heartily recommend it—just bring friends and/or booze. My point is that Hand Shakers is the Switch of anime—gaudy, incoherent, and fun to laugh at for these qualities. Read More
Do you remember Monster Musume, that other show about cryptids and half-human amalgamations? Did you want more? Well a completely different studio heard the world’s collective cry for more and made a completely different show with only the most superficial resemblance to 2015’s smash hit series, i.e. it also has monsters in it who happen to be girls. And just like its estranged cousin, it’s surprisingly not shit. Read More
I’m not saying that I watched this solely because of the studio name, but leave it up to something called NUT to bust out a light novel adaptation about a little girl being evil-ish in Alternate Reality Imperial Germany. Also leave it up to NUT to make The Saga of Tanya the Evil unpleasant in nearly every way possible. Also leave it up to NUT to make me get back into blogging because writing “NUT” makes me disproportionately happy. Read More
2016 was an…interesting year in the wider sense of things, but in the narrow world of anime it has been one of the strongest of the decade so far. It might not have had the absolute highs of 2013 but it had a greater strength in depth where there were anime it hurt me that I couldn’t fit them on the list, and anime I wish I had finished but never got around to. It didn’t have the breadth of different tastes catered to as 2011, but also didn’t have that year’s extraordinary lows. It had the dumbass butt shows like last year but also critical darlings and intellectual masterpieces. 2016 was pretty great for anime is what I’m saying, so I’m here to count down my top 10 anime of this year, as well as hand out a couple of other awards.