… after like two years of talking about it, so hey, progress! Slow progress!
I’ve been meaning to set up an anime review blog for the longest time. Not because I want to break into the anime industry, no, or because I want to make a career out of it or what have you. I’m a conservationist at heart, and that’s the direction I’m carving out for my life.
But I do love anime. It’s a love I want to share with others.
I got into anime like most of us Southeast Asian kids did, sat eating snacks with the TV tuned to Animax after a day at school. Some kids were glued to Naruto, others to Bleach, others to One Piece or Detective Conan. My brother grew up watching Gundam, though I wasn’t so keen on the mecha genre. Thinking back, my own gateway shows were Law of Ueki and Hayate the Combat Butler, the latter immovable in my list of all time favourites.
I hid my love for anime when I reached high school. The popular kids made a show out of picking on the “nerdy” kids, and the anime lovers were a favorite target. I don’t remember ever talking about anime with anyone when I was in high school. In fact, I don’t even recall flicking the channel to Animax, so total was my distancing from this thing I once loved.
But I would always go back to Hayate the Combat Butler. I binged Friends and How I Met Your Mother, practically worshipped shows like Community and Parks and Recreation, had tapes of House stacked in my brother’s room, but the show I came back to consistently, time after time, no matter how many years passed – was Hayate the Combat Butler.
I can’t even tell you why. It isn’t a particularly outstanding show. The animation is alright at best. It definitely isn’t among the best ever made. But it made me laugh a lot. The characters were sweet. They kept me invested. I kept wanting my Hinagiku and Hayate ship to set sail despite knowing how the show played out. They were like old friends.
Flash forward to today. Streaming platforms now boast extensive anime libraries, and celebrities and fashion brands have taken what was once a cult counterculture and made it into something cool and flashy and hip. The anime watchers of yesteryear roll their eyes at this rise in popularity but I have to admit, it’s refreshing to talk about this thing that I’ve loved since childhood without having to worry about being teased and bullied for it.
This fresh “Golden Age of Anime” comes with its own, new issues, of course. The medium’s surge in popularity has come with a level of factory-grade, by-committee industrialization that has stripped many shows of the heart and emotion that was once so intrinsic to anime, I’d argue, and I find many new shows lack those heart-thumping moments I used to once fall in love with. Many creators still have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to meeting the social standards of today, too, with far too many shows, for example, grossly objectifying women. Anime has come a long way over the years, but it still has a lot of growing up to do.
That being said – I still love anime. More so than ever before. I’ve watched a lot, and my watch list continues to grow. I’m working my way through it, and there are honestly a lot of stinkers and forgettable shows thrown in among the mix. But every now and then, I’ll stumble across the show that’ll take my heart so thoroughly that I’ll keep coming back to it, time and time again, the way I’d return to Hayate the Combat Butler all those years ago.
So, in honor of these constant companions who have kept me company throughout this long and exhausting pandemic – and, probably, for the sake of writing practice if I’m to be honest with myself – here’s a bunch of anime reviews. Some were alright. Some, not so much. Some of these I truly loved. Perhaps, reader, we agree on some of these. If so, I’d like to hear about it. The comments section is always open, as well as my email inbox.
Updates here will be fairly irregular, though I’ll try to have something new up at least once a week. Workload permitting.