The statistic, as internet legend goes these days, is the average anime fan lasts somewhere between eighteen months to two years.
Enough time to slam down a large amount of content in a jiffy, when so much feels fresh and new. Then, hitting burnout. Which is easier than ever in an era of digital streaming. Often, we are able to get truckloads of legal anime day and date within one hour of it airing in Japan. A far cry from the expensive VHS tape days of perhaps two episodes of something that aired years ago. Even that could equal or surpass the price of products like, say, a new release video game.
It feels weird to consider that in the time since I started this website, what amounts to a whole “generation” of western anime fans explored the medium. How they felt deep joy and engagement with some productions they found. Then a short while later felt there was no further they could go with it. For one reason or another.
I do not blame them, of course. I feel we all have fads where we were quite passionate about and burning bright for before hitting a screeching halt. It could a book franchise. A certain genre taste in music, film, or fashion. Beanie Babies. There is nothing wrong with, and indeed so much healthy in moving on when something no longer speaks to you. Everything still shapes you in one way or another.
And hey, some things you pick up do happen stick close for a long time.
In this case, I suppose I personally beat that anime statistic before even middle school had kicked in. But, that I am still here well after university, graduate school, starting professional life and so on is itself something of a test as well. Then there is this website, something which we can now also say is kind of an anomaly. Anime blogs are no more immune to rises and falls than their operators, after all.
As far as the odds go, this site should not be here anymore.
But, I am glad that it is. I feel I continue to improve and explore what I what I want from it as a writing space and reflection pool.
What I would like to do then, in keeping with parts of my celebration post from last year, is present a highlight reel from the last twelve months.
No particular ranking. No special orders. Some of these will be a few different posts clustered under thematic groups.
Perhaps you will be reminded of a work that sounded interesting when you read about it months ago, but never got around to. Maybe, for some, this will be the first time you have seen some of these writings.
I do keep an Index page of most of the site’s content, past a certain point. But it does grow ever larger and intimidating.
Consider this as something of an Open House party.
Freer, lighter, and maybe provides you a good idea of if you would like to stick around in the neighborhood for some time to come.
1.) My October 2014 Anime Horror Marathon
– Sex Demon Metropolis (Inma Daitoshi: Beast City) 
– The Curse of Kazuo Umezu (Umezu Kazuo no Noroi) 
– Dark Myth (Ankoku Shinwa) 
– Blood Reign: Curse of the Yoma (Yōma) 
I did a similar thing the year before as well, where the Mothballs posts were just about horror anime for the month. With an additional year under the belt though, this session I feel was able to dig deeper. Be more informative. Find more curious things to talk about. And just in general be a far better necromancer.
The quality of the productions range wildly. Middling to atrocious to surprising in their effective areas. Which I feel also provided more interesting incentive for readers. To say nothing of keeping myself engaged in the writing process. Horror works may often have high body counts, but if I am the one just slashing down everything in my path that would get stale after a while.
Negative criticism only gets one so far.
2.) Gestalt (Heya/Keitai) 
This is not so much for the write-up itself. Rather, for the period it marks in what I was doing with the Mothballs posts.
I never start posts in that area with a clear outline. I feel it gives them a more conversational, stream of conscious, or even journal-like tone in places. Which I value, given some of the odder things I want to talk about. I just have a general idea of how long I like these posts to be, before they shift over to a heftier Pendant Light category tonnage. That nebulous word limit increased with this post, and I added an further page to my general target to get my feelings across.
As a short film, I like Heya/Keitai a whole lot.
A “I subconsciously started quietly clapping when it was over” lot. I do not feel the write-up reflects this. I would approach the material indifferent ways all these months later. But, that is always the way. It did cause the size limit in the category to expand though, which is a keen contribution to the whole site.
I feel trying to write about Heya/Keitai had a domino effect and allowed for greater and more emotive posts to result in its wake.
3.) More LGBTQ Anime and You
– The Poem of Wind and Trees (Kaze to Ki no Uta) 
– Sweet Blue Flowers (Aoi Hana) 
– Whispered Words (Sasameki Koto) 
– The Door into Summer (Natsu e no Tobira) 
After events like the weeks of watching season after season of Maria Watches Over Us last year, it finally filled in a key influence I had wanted to know for a while.
Its juggernaut status, given the sales of the source material, make it a requirement to its whole genre. Its revival of Class S style narratives has created a large impact. In having that experience, I felt more equipped to be able to finally begin to showcase write-ups on more explicit gay, lesbian, and related series without an inevitable “But you have not seen Maria Watches Over Us” brush off. To write both ahead at works that came later, as well as towards the past for what even more foundational building blocks in homosexual narratives in anime were up to. Not even undertones, but top level canonical characters and storylines. Trying to also place bits of all that history and the perspectives of who were creating these works, while also having my own reflections on the content itself.
I can say I enjoyed watching and writing about every one of these productions. Even if the months that separate some of these write-ups show vast jumps in writing approach or selected style.
I am glad there is ever more to write about here as well, so that perhaps in a year’s time on a similar anniversary post this category may find its place again.
4.) Mysterious Girlfriend X,
Mysterious Revisitation Y
If you dig back far enough, the first post on this site contains material on Mysterious Girlfriend X. As well as some other shows, like Occult Academy and Blood-C).
I have a kind of respect for what forms “first content” like that, though I also liked the show. Which was a surprise because I went into it loaded and ready to tear The Drool Series apart.
So, when the manga series (which I had been keeping up with) ended its run this past September, I felt it would be appropriate for me to come back around. To re-watch the show, and give it a new write-up. To keep writing long after I would often stop. I wanted to make a more dedicated piece of content out of it. Something I could better point to about my opinions on this series.
It was in that initial post due to timing and circumstance. But, there were avenues for more of the fun in how I perceived it, and my allowing myself to be open to being surprised by it. I think trying to have a remembrance for things like that leads to neat content down the road, as I hope was the case here.
It is a post I will be keeping in mind should I ever try a similar re-watch and write-up replacement project, that is for sure.
5.) Short Anime, Long Posts
– Purple Eyes in the Dark (Yami no Purple Eyes) 
– Nimrod 
– Fantascope ~tylostoma~ 
– Iblard Time (Iblard Jikan) 
– The Midnight Parasites (Kiseichuu no Ichiya) 
– Route 20: Galactic Airport [Pilot Film] (R20: Ginga Kūkō) 
Granted, this is one big mess of a category umbrella.
I like short films a whole lot, which is nothing new. They give me bursts of revitalization which would not necessarily work in a larger context. As blog content, I feel they also act well as unguided writing prompts. I fit them between finishing larger shows I want to write about. It keeps me from rushing. I feel freer to play with writing approaches that may not work as well with something which has a more defined form to it.
The result being that a lot of content from the last year has been in this area. I had some gigantic franchises like Urusei Yatsura on my plate over the months. Which will (eventually) get more in the way of their own pieces I get further away from the immediacy of lifting that.
But in the time since I toyed around a fair amount with writing on more works sold as anime original exploratory VHS tapes. Music videos. Old art festival circuit productions. Manga adaptations which never caught on for anything more. Experimental bits which stretch the definitions what many even consider to be anime at all.
What I would recommend, outside of the selected shorts at the top, is if one finds interest enough that they poke around in places like my OVA or Film tag. There will be some false positives, to be sure. But also a whole lot more than I could ever summarize here.
There numerous quirky little pieces in there which are difficult to promote individually. But, I know that through throwing myself into them again and again I have been able to better test where I feel I want my reflections to go.
6.) Ranking The Films Of Mamoru Oshii Is To Become The Basset Hound
Mamoru Oshii is one of my favorite directors in general, let alone in the anime field.
With a second edition of Brian Ruh’s Stray Dog of Anime: The Films of Mamoru Oshii seeing print, and Oshii well into the phase where he has been acquiring Lifetime Achievement awards, I wanted to hash out something of my own list for the film side of his career. I feel I perhaps have some controversial choices in places. But I also feel the list centers on some quite definite kinds of content, themes, and approaches in its upper echelons. One will get a direct eye for what I like out of his work, if they consider the groupings. Someone else could have a different list. It would be just as valid. He has had quite a varied career with various facets for folks to latch on to.
In the time since this post earlier this year, Garm Wars: The Last Druid and The Next Generation -Patlabor-: Tokyo War have already seen release. Tōkyō Mukokuseki Shōjo is on track for this July. He had some slow periods in the 2000’s for theatrical films, but for what would for many others be their looming retirement years Oshii looks to be pouring himself into his feature level directing all the more. Then again, his professional peers like Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata only recently drew down on directing duties well into their seventies.
That said, each also got to go out on grand notes with sizable backing.
Does Oshii have another Great Work in him? Who knows.
But I will watch all those movies, as well as any others others in the pipeline, just the same.
7.) Pictures at an Exhibition and Osamu Tezuka’s Gallery on Decay
A colossus of a post on every short within a thunderous animated anthology film of frustration, anger, despair, and disgust by the God of Manga himself.
The title is from a Modest Mussorgsky composition from 1874. A suite of movements based on a gallery show held to honor his artistic friend Viktor Hartmann, who died of a sudden aneurysm. Each piece meant to evoke the feeling of a particular work which was on display at a commemorative memorial show. In addition to Promenade bits for when one would be moving from one to other.
Tezuka and his staff at Mushi Productions worked the composition around the idea of walking through a gallery. In this case, the displays were of modern professional lines of employment. Journalism. Solider. The modern sports superstar by way of Boxing. And so on. To pair the titles, if not feelings of the source material, with a series of cacophonous fits of varied experimental animation. To bring up a rage and sorrow one rarely thinks of in Tezkua’s output.
The man is putting the goals and aspirations of modern society on trial. If but only through his rather selective kangaroo court of employers and lifestyles to skewer.
It felt every bit like a man with a desperate wish to punch out the entire universe. So I could not help but write my fill on what was produced.
8.) Band of Ninja, and the Fundamentals of Animated Revolution
Comic book adaptations are big business these days around the entire world.
This 1967 film comes by way of director Nagisa Oshima. His films like In the Realm of the Senses and Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence have found their way into The Criterion Collection. An adaptation of sorts of Sampei Shirato’s early gekiga work of the same name, Band of Ninja has all the scope and running length size of a traditional epic film.
Yet, the film is not “animated” at all. It features zooming, panning, and other camerawork trickery involved by filming Shirato’s pages head on. There are no speech bubbles in these presented panels, so that voice actors can give audio qualities to the dialogue.
It is a remarkable, ambitious film to see unfold. Something like it seems impossible by any line of modern industry logic. I feel it has a keen place in discussions about animated film cinematography. This is well before Dezaki’s Postcard Memories still shots took anime by storm. Yet it is also hard for many to even know Band of Ninja exists, as strange and off-putting an endeavor like it can seem. Let alone down track down a functional translation.
I feel it is a film we neglect to our detriment, particularly given the historical caliber of the director who fought for it.
9.) Anime Secret Santa 2014
– Ring ni Kakero 1
– Rainbow-Colored Fireflies
The Reverse Thieves Anime Secret Santa project is one I have for years looked forward to reading the responses and selections others have received, despite not participating myself.
In the far enough past I just did not have a site. In more recent times I have just… forgotten to fill out the entry email.
In the past year I was able to get myself in position participate, and I wondered what I would receive as recommendations to write about. As it goes, my name was forwarded along to Land of Obscusion, who Secret Santa’d me the three titles above. As two are films, I figured I’d try and tackle posts for each of them.
I feel the results made for some nice writing I allowed myself to go on for a bit longer with. Twice I was even able to work in legitimate angles relating them to my international experiences. Plus, none of these anime were outright duds or nonstarters for me. As much as this is a project about recommendations, it is also about sharing one’s own tastes with their match as well. There is a careful balance and vulnerability for each participant, and I found myself pleased with the experience.
I will try not to forget about the enrollment email the next time it rolls around.
10.) Anime Admirers 2014
– Minivans and Social Plans Hub Post (Sega Hard Girls, I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying, Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun, Gundam Build Fighters, Space☆Dandy Season One)
– Hōzuki no Reitetsu
– Space☆Dandy Season Two
– Ping Pong The Animation
– Mushishi -Next Passage- (Mushishi Zoku Shou)
– Blue Blazes (Aoi Honō)
– [A Missing Post Which Will Be Replaced]
As a final highlight, well, that I have chosen this set of posts should come as little surprise. It even looks like one was consumed and lost, so a replacement will need to arrive.
As much as I have in the past done weekly episodics for various airing shows (which have tumbled in volume due to weather, work, and otherwise), I never do wrap up posts when a series is over. By that point I have already spilled thousands and thousands of words. I feel it is better to get some distance. Shows that did not hit the mark for me would just be retreads of episodic frustrations. But for what I come to consider my favorites of the year (which does not always mean “best”), I think the reflection time is helpful.
Writing some kind of immediate and more functional wrap-up for a show like Space☆Dandy feels less important to me than allowing time and space to elapse. Trying to dredge up a whole set of emotions from at times up to a whole year ago. To pull from something deep down which had settled months back.
I am also not partial to just cobbling together quick and easy lists. Instead, ending up with these thousands of words long pieces of content. Which I always hope allows for something more durable. A place folks can perhaps go back to, if they feel so inclined. To return to something at least a little more resonant than a straight up or down vote. And I am thankful when things like that occur, based on feedback I have seen and received.
Which, of course, applies to this post as well
And I look forward to being able to write something like again that for you sometime soon.
2 thoughts on “Anime Blog Anniversary, A Velvet Room”
Congratulations on making it another year! I’m glad you enjoyed the Secret Santa picks I gave you. I’m also happy that you were my “victim”, as it introduced me to your site & the way you look at & write about anime. I’m very much a straightforward kind of person when it comes to reviewing, so reading your pieces helps give me new perspectives on titles, helping me see them in ways I may have missed before.
Here’s to another year!
I appreciate it, and for you for being a part of it! If one were to rewind back to twenty four months ago, this place would be barely recognizable from its current form and my general writing approaches. There have been some pretty radical changes, even in the past year! But as those shifts came, folks responded well to them both in feedback as well as readership counts and sharing, so that has been a great encouragement to keep pushing what I make of this place.