Anime for Rip van Vinkle, Jr.

June 3rd, 2014 by Author

Someone asked Evirus if he missed anything noteworthy in several years away from anime. The answer was:

I wish I could point to some amazing bit of anime that you missed over the past few years, but nothing really stands out. Oh, there is a lot of material that’s very good and plenty of stuff that’s “important” from an “I can’t believe you never watched that!” perspective, but the hoary joke about television being a medium because nothing on it is rare or well done sort of applies here.

Let’s see if he’s getting jaded, shall we?

To put a bracket on the “recent years” first, consider that 2007 was a banner year for anime, when it reached a zenith of sorts. The following series were broadcast in just that one year:

  • Nodame: This hardly needs introduction.
  • Gurren-Lagann: The series that buried the ghost of GAINAX ending.
  • Oh Edo Rocket: A genuine masterpiece, and an undeappreciated series.
  • Dennou Coil: This is what happens when a competent director [who is not Yamakan] is given a ton of money and told to manufacture a masterpiece.
  • Moribito: I am not sure about the genesis of Moribito, but I think it was similar to DC, except I liked it more.
  • Ani*Kuri 15: Anime was so successful in 2007 that NHK bankrolled a pure artistic expression.
  • ef: One of the few Shinbo and SHAFT shows that are watcheable (and bloggable).
  • Manabi: A titan in sheep’s clothing.
  • Xenoglossia: Just because, a historic curiosity that has its fans even today. And who knew just what phenomenon Haruka’s intense cuteness foreshadowed. The only anime on this list that we dropped.
  • Rocket Girls: Zenith of Shuttle era, coincidentially with the zenith of anime. And the HP calculator.

The 2007 also seen the changeover of classic Naruto to Shippuuden.

So, how did anime do after 2007? I think a few shows merited a mention.

In category “Cute Girls Doing Cute Things”:

GA:GADC or Geijutsuka Art Design Class (2009) in our judgement was miles ahead of its much more famous and successful competitor that dragged for 4 seasons.

K-ON (2009): Although receding in memory somewhat, the first K-ON series was a success that perhaps was not expected by its own creators. It is a historic anime for sure.

In category “Warming Hearts of Weaboos Everywhere”:

Sunred (2008): I have R2 DVDs and I have no regrets.

Joshiraku (2012): I watched it raw and I have no regrets.

In category “Masterpieces”:

Katanagatari (2010): The [true] masterpiece of the period in question. [What about the tanuki show? And adding the nasty into magical girls? — Ed]

In category “New Horizons in Contemporary Animation”:

Yuyushiki (2013)

In category “The Burning Passion Not To Be Categorized”:

Gundam Build Fighters (2013): The Gundamest of all Gundams. Of course it’s like the joke where someone asked Mao Tze-dung what he thought about The French Revolution, and Chairman Mao replied: “Too early to tell”. But the signs are good and I have not seen anything this Gundam since MS 08th Team.

And finally, in category “Once in a Generation Revolution in Anime”:

Idolm@ster (2011) literally defined a whole new genre and AKB0048 (2012) re-defined it. Just as we thought that Japanimation had nothing new to offer anymore except increasingly grotesque boobage, this happened. Of course now we have to get one of those every season, and I heard Love Live is not half-bad. Even Yamakan jumped on the bandwagon in 2014. But these two were seminal and overall perhaps the biggest accomplishment of the anime industry, love it or hate it.

UPDATE: Steven proposes GaruPan and Mouretsu Pirates for the list. Clearly he is under influence of what he watched recently, because both are far too small for the scope of the topic. If we consider the category of “Any Ludicrous Concept Is Better With Girls (In Bikinis)”, then Strike Witches dwarf GaruPan. And Mouretsu Pirates wasn’t even all that good: too plain, too simplified, too age-appropriate. I could forgive him pushing AsoIku here, even if personally I wasn’t a fan, but Mouretsu? Don’t think it merits.