Hello all you wonderful people! I’m back on KawaiiPaperPandas again! At 11am Eastern time I had no idea what I was going to write for you all today, but I think I finally figured something out. I had been thinking about what I watch as a whole and what I actually enjoy watching (as some of what I watch I don’t actually tend to enjoy all that much). Now, just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean I won’t watch it. I have a hard time dropping shows that I start because I feel like I just committed to something and I need to see it through. I will admit, though, that I don’t watch as many shows per season as most of current followers and readers on my blog (I guess that would extend to here, too) because my attention span and memory aren’t all that great. But what drives me to finish a seasonal anime?

To give you an example, during the Autumn 2018 and Winter 2019 seasons I started around sixteen shows per season. I think I finished with about five each. And that wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy the shows I started, it was simply because I forgot what days they aired, fell behind a few weeks, and then forgot about them completely until the next season started. I had a few moments where I went “Oh, X show! Wait, I never finished that did I?” I had a friend yell at me every time we saw each other because I hadn’t finished “How Not To Summon a Demon Lord” (And I still haven’t finished that…a show that aired Summer 2018. Perhaps I should finish that? Maybe…) So, with that I’ll list a few of the shows I watched during the Winter 2019 and Spring 2019 seasons (because I feel like staying in 2019) and go into why I finished a few of them.

 

Winter 2019:

The Rising of the Shield Hero; The Promised Neverland; Domestic Girlfriend; Kaguya-sama Love is War; Kakegurui xx; The Quintessential Quintuplets; Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka.

Is there anything about these shows that have anything in common, or is it a more balanced viewing on my part? While I will say that comedies aren’t on my usual watch-list, Kaguya-sama and The Quintessential Quintuplets were real treats for the comedy/slice-of-life-esque shows. Asuka was a total letdown in a vein of shows I have tried to get into over and over each year (the magical girl shows, just to analyze them) as the progression was blindly advancing with no real motive; and Domestic Girlfriend was my trashy anime for the season (which I loved! It was so odd and ridiculous I couldn’t stop watching).

However, the two shows that garnered the most response from me were Shield Hero and The Promised Neverland. Both were amazing in my eyes as we got to see true progression from the main cast of characters. There was a solid idea of what the characters were trying to accomplish, and villains that seemed to truly test our protagonists. Other than that, though, there wasn’t much in common with any of these shows that I can see of the top of my head.

Naofumi’s progression from a cast-aside, hate filled, Devil of the Shield character to someone who was one of the most compassionate, trustworthy, and well-rounded characters I’ve seen in a while was one of the main reasons I continued watching Shield Hero week after week (with some Raphtalia awesomeness thrown in there as well). And then there was Emma, Ray, Norman, and the rest of the children from The Promised Neverland. Each of them had their own skill set, each of them had brains and an ability to connect with the viewers in some way because of who they were, what they did, and how they acted. While I will say that later in the manga I didn’t like Emma’s character as much (I grew to like Ray more), this season of The Promised Neverland was well done in both the animation and art departments and the storytelling. Character progression made these two shows for me, and that’s saying something (as that’s primarily what I look for in watching shows) as they’ve only been around for a short time.

 

Spring 2019:

Bungou Stray Dogs; Attack on Titan; Kimetsu no Yaiba; Wise Man’s Grandson; Carole & Tuesday; Midnight Occult Civil Servants; We Never Learn; and some shorts…

The Spring 2019 season didn’t have as much going for it in my book as compared to the Winter 2019 season, but we did get some decent to good shows this time around. Attack on Titan came back with a bang and didn’t let up; Bungou Stray Dogs ramped up their second season with a thrilling third season that is looking to be my anime of the year contender (we’ll see how that plays out); the comedy show Wise Man’s Grandson was decent in a way, but eventually fell flat in my experience; Carole & Tuesday continued to impress me even though it was slower than the others I was watching; and Kimetsu no Yaiba…how can I put this…burned out after about ten episodes for me. We Never Learn was decent for what it was, but really it wasn’t what I expected it to be considering my friend was amping it up to be a great comedy (having read the manga).

 

In looking at all the shows I have listed here, is there any common denominator that kept me interested? I don’t see a solid genre of shows, so that can’t be it (although watching only a single genre in a season seems ridiculous). No, what I think kept me watching each of these shows was, for the most part, the progression we got throughout the weeks the shows aired. While I know some of the shows didn’t have as much progression, there was still some. The most interesting progression in my eyes came from The Rising of the Shield Hero, Attack on Titan, The Promised Neverland, and Bungou Stray Dogs.

What can we surmise from this list? Character progression is the key factor in making a show worthwhile for one or multiple seasons. Attack on Titan had great character development through its third season, giving us backstory we anime-only viewers didn’t know, connecting dots and going all the way back to the basement that had been denied us since season one. With the thunder spears leading off the second half of season three, we got a look at just how far the Scout Regiment was willing to go in order to take the threat of the titans away from humanity. We got a look at the history of Grisha Yaeger, the family history of Eren, and how this whole titan business started. Marley and Eldia, the political structure of the Marleyans (is that how it’s spelled?) and what they were doing to the Eldians.

Okay, and here, I do want to take a small tangent and talk about the historical aspect of this Marley vs Eldia thing. Yes, it is full of Nazism. It’s true. The Marleyans were subjecting the Eldians like they did the non-Aryans which included Jews–even German Jews; homosexuals;  Blacks; communists; Gypsies; Slavic peoples in the Balkan states and Russia; and Muslims. Is the inclusion of that a bad thing? People complain that Attack on Titan has hints of Nazism, and I’d say it has pools of Nazism. However, is that really a bad thing to add into a story if it progresses the story and gives it life? The Nazi regime and their persecution of the groups above was a true and terrifying thing, and I think Attack on Titan has every right to base a story line off it to show a newer generation just how terrifying such a thing can be. If we bury the past we’re sure to repeat the past, so Attack on Titan throwing these historical aspects into our faces is, in my opinion, a good thing.

With everything relating to the historical aspects of Attack on Titan, it grabbed my attention even more than it already had through almost three complete seasons. I’m a huge history nerd, and my grandfather was even forced into the German army to fight in Stalingrad (he was born in 1927, so he was 14-15 years old and was seeing a Jewish girl at the time) and then again at the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes in Belgium in 1944-1945, so the fact that Nazism was that prevalent in Attack on Titan grabbed my attention in a matter of seconds. (Oh, and before attack me, fuck Nazis. Fuck Nazis. They forced my family member to be a pawn in their game at a young age–which is a personal hatred–and have no moral standing in the world at all because they’re sick, twisted, and subhuman. Fuck Nazis…) I also studied the political time frame of German history between 1918-1950 in school, so it’s something I sort of enjoy.

Anyway…on a topic other than Nazism and Germany, Bungou Stray Dogs was simply one where the story continued to surprise me. The different abilities of the Armed Detective Agency and Port Mafia, the character progression in how they all used their abilities, the undermining and backstabbing that went into each group prevalent in the show, the relationships each character had with another cast member (it was almost like you could match them up with one other and be like “yeah, they’re opposites”) and having to work together to take out a common enemy? Everything about Bungou Stray Dogs made me want more as the season progressed. And let’s not forget Akutagawa working with Atsushi again…because that was epic as can be.

In Bungou Stray Dogs, I think it was the detective aspect and the way that the different groups went about trying to outsmart each other with their collective minds that sealed the deal for me. We had so many intelligent cast members vying for control of Yokohama, different plans being set in motion, and everything coming together to derail what was an uneasy alliance between two hated groups that realized if either one was going to survive they needed to work together. Plus, the fight scenes are top notch.

I will say that Bungou Stray Dogs and Attack on Titan were my favorite shows for the Spring 2019 season, and I think the reason behind that is how much progression we ended up getting. Each of the shows that I saw this last season had some progression, but none could match the depth of these two shows in their third seasons. Is that a fair metric? Probably not as the characters have been around for years while the newer anime have just started, but still. I think there’s an ability with Attack on Titan and Bungou Stray Dogs to make us care so much about the characters and their well being that none of the other shows I watched cared to dive in to.

 

Character progression is the main reason I watch an anime. If there is nothing going on between the characters and the plot to drive it forward then what’s the point of watching? Characters drive plot and plot drives characters. It’s a balancing act that demands each portion’s attention. If the characters are failing but the plot is progressing and seems like it should be great, then is the anime good? If the plot is failing but characters are great and interaction between them is fantastic and enjoyable, is the anime worth watching? Some might say yes, as one can outperform the other and make for a good anime, but the truly phenomenal anime are ones were the characters and plot are driving each other through conversations, through group actions (Attack on Titan), through flashbacks (Bungou Stray Dogs), and with a villain that is pronounced and well-rounded in itself.

I do believe that without character progression a show is not worth my watching. And that’s because I’d rather not get a progressing story with a stagnant character. Now, I will be fair here and say that what I mean isn’t like the isekai genre’s level-up thing where the character progresses in skill points and abilities or whatever, but as a character. Is she a hard-ass who finds a soft spot for a younger boy and raises him to become just as badass as her? Does she free slaves and take out slave owners? Is she helping to protect a group of people from a tyrant? If the lead does not grow emotionally then I do not see a point in watching a show that could have been touted as an adventure story, or action story, or whatever.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what drives me to finish seasonal anime. The progression of our characters.

 

Thanks for reading!

Alexie 🙂

 

Hello all you wonderful people! It’s another week and once again I’m back here. Let’s go!

getting people into anime

When season 3 part 2 of Attack on Titan started I had been going to my dad’s place weekly to watch the German Bundesliga matches I’d missed the previous day for a few weeks, and we both enjoyed those together. It became something we looked forward to each week, and when I wouldn’t show up on Sunday night because I had something more pressing to get done in my life, I felt a little hollow, like I was missing a piece of what made me, well, me.

And then, out of nowhere my dad started asking questions about what was happening in Attack on Titan. I tried my best to make it simple for him, but he was confused about what was going on, who was who, and where they were. I sighed, and thus began my journey into anime with my dad. After that episode of Attack on Titan (I can’t remember exactly which one it was), he got so far into the show. In the upcoming weeks, since I had a decent amount of time off where I could stay at his place a little longer than I thought most weeks, we went through every single episode of Attack on Titan. We watched season 2 in one day… It didn’t take me long to get him into the show, and he has come to absolutely love it. Oh, and HE SAW THE FINAL EPISODE OF SEASON 3 BEFORE ME! I was super excited to get to his place after work and watch that final episode with him, but I showed up about an hour after the episode aired and this was our conversation:

Me: “It’s time to finish Attack on Titan!” (yes, I can totally italicize my spoken words!)

My Dad: “Yeah, I already saw it.”

“Me: “Dammit!”

So, I succeeded right? I got my dad into anime!

Now, I’ll explain something here quick because I think this is the most important part about getting someone into anime: start with something you know they’ll have a higher chance of liking based on their personality and other aspects of entertainment they enjoy.  I know my dad likes action and comedy in his entertainment; he’s also a history nerd like myself and enjoys some sports. So, what did that tell me? Well, after binge-watching most of Attack on Titan and then watching each episode weekly until the season ended, I sort of knew what he would enjoy if he were to watch anime.

What I gathered from knowing my dad, I made a list of anime I believe he would enjoy, and we started watching more than just Attack on Titan together. Currently, because he has a hard time watching more than one show at a time (it messes with his grasp on what’s happening during each show), we are watching Black Lagoon. And he loves it. He loves Revy and how the show has progressed and how all of the characters interact. Now, I wasn’t sure what to actually try to watch with him after Black Lagoon, so I asked my friend. He asked what we’ve seen together thus far, so I told him the two above titles. I gave him some information about my dad, what he usually watches, what he enjoys (or at least what he used to enjoy before he turned 60 years old) and we went through talking about different shows, what the plots are, and how the characters interact. This is our list for my dad:

  • Black Lagoon
  • Death Note
  • The Promised Neverland
  • Psycho-Pass
  • Another
  • Darker than Black
  • Highschool of the Dead
  • Bungo Stray Dogs
  • Outlaw Star
  • Kino’s Journey (possibly…)

I know most of these are in the same vein, but I figure if I can get him to watch at least a few of these shows, I’ll be able to open him up to other genres. For this upcoming season I figured I’d try to get him into Vinland Saga, but we started watching it late last night so he fell asleep after the second episode. Which is okay, he enjoyed what he saw and we’ll be able to get back to the third episode at a later date. Perhaps I’ll try getting him into Fire Force as well, but I’m not sure yet. Should probably get through that list up there first, yeah?

Anyway, that’s what I’ve got my dad going through right now. But what is it about getting people into anime that seems like such a hard task? I know firsthand that some people throw anime out the window completely because they’re animated. Well, duh, but seriously. Anime is entertainment, so why not find shows that you think they’ll like and try? If somebody enjoys stand-up comedy, or likes to laugh often, why not show them comedy anime. I’ve come across some people who absolutely love comedy, so I figured I’d show them some of my favorite comedy anime. And they laughed like mad! I don’t know if they continued watching any anime, but at least I was able to get them to laugh and have a good time.

Sports are another genre that I think would be easy to get people into anime if they’ve done some sport before. Are they runners? Why not try showing them Run with the Wind? Volleyball players? Obviously Haikyuu!!…oh, and on that note, I had a friend once who called me out on how I spell Haikyuu!!, and it was a shocker. It’s a friend who I had no idea even watched it in his life or knew anything about it, so that was a treat.

Now, there are people who would simply say that all anime is for kids because they’re basically cartoons, and that’s fine, but I figure you can at least try to get them to see something more if you’re adamant enough. Maybe I’m just too stuck in my ways of trying to get people into a medium I enjoy so I have more people to talk to about what I enjoy and what they’ll also hopefully enjoy, but the nuances of anime are a more concrete point. How do the characters interact? What are their personalities and what do they enjoy? Is there tension between characters? What about how the story progresses in itself? Is it gripping or stagnant? Does the story make you think? Some anime that I’ve seen were so intense I couldn’t stop thinking about them for days after! Oh, and there’s the talk of art style, animation quality, music, and the sub/dub aspect.

Honestly, I think the initial talks of getting people into anime can be tricky, because a lot of people see anime as cartoons, like I said before, but I do believe that there is some way to get them into it. Anime can be thought-provoking, intense, humorous, and much more, so what’s the harm in trying? If trying to get someone into anime doesn’t work it doesn’t work. That’s all there is to it. But, I don’t see any problem in trying. I will say that I almost got someone into anime based on music alone. I played a few OPs for one of my friends a while back without telling him where they came from, and hours later he said, “I haven’t stopped listening to these songs. Where did you find them?”

And with that, I told my friend this: “Anime. Seriously, they were opening and ending credit songs for anime shows. “found & lost” by Survive Said the Prophet is from a show called Banana Fish; “Hikari Are” by BURNOUT SYNDROMES is from Haikyuu!!; and “Touch Off” by UVERworld is from The Promised Neverland.” I don’t know if he started watching anime, but at least I got him to listen to some music, so I call that a win. I think there’s a part of the anime watching experience that starts with the OPs. If the OP catches the viewer’s attention, I think they’ll be more inclined to give the show a chance. I know that’s what happened when I started Vinland Saga with my dad.

However, if somebody isn’t used to watching anything in Japanese and isn’t used to reading subtitles, perhaps watching in a dubbed format would be an easy gateway into getting them to enjoy it. That’s what I’ve done, and slowly I’ve started watching things with subs if the English version isn’t available. It’s all been quite enjoyable, though.

I also think anime movies are a decent starting point, but I won’t really talk about that here. There’s many anime movies, and the dubs are actually quite wonderful (especially the Ghibli films) that could be a gateway for many people, so why not try?

With everything, I do think that getting people into anime can be a grueling experience, but sometimes it pays off. In short, I think it all comes down to what that person’s interests are and how they think. Are they into sports and camaraderie? Maybe showing them sports anime could interest them. Are they into psychological, thought-provoking things? Maybe something that deals with the human condition, or mentality and free will could work. I see it as a game of chess, with meticulous planning going into what the other person’s brain would enjoy and trying to find something that will grab them from the start. Then you can slowly branch out with them, or maybe they’ll do it themselves. Who know!

 

And that’s all I have for this post! How would you go about getting people into anime? Have you ever gotten someone into it and all of a sudden you had a monster on your hands that wouldn’t stop talking about it or watching?

 

Thanks for reading!

Alexie 🙂

Hello all you wonderful people! I hope you’ve all been doing well. Anyway, I’m back with the Panda Gang for my slotted Monday post! Let’s hop into this one as it’s something I’ve wanted to talk about but never have before–at least not on WordPress.

 

So, obviously, Haikyuu!! is my favorite sports anime, but I’ve never stated why it’s my favorite. There have been many sports anime, and when I say that I mean MANY. MAL has a list of 666 title under their Sports Anime category (so, does that mean sports anime are the devil?) I don’t watch many sports anime, but for some reason Haikyuu!! stuck with me. I’m even reading the manga! Anyway, back on track. Why is Haikyuu!! my favorite sports anime? The characters’ interactions and growth, the way the sport is played out, and it’s intensity and playfulness mix.

 

 

Character Interactions and Growth:

I think it’s fairly obvious what this means, so I’ll skip that. However, when we first start Haikyuu!! volleyball is just something that our main protagonist Hinata is fascinated by. He saw a player from Karasuno High School on tv and wanted to be like him because the player was extremely short and volleyball is for tall people. Now, that’s all great and whatnot, but in the real world, volleyball is really for tall people. It’s almost impossible for shorter people to win any games against players who are close to seven feet tall (or two meters tall).

Hinata got a team together, lost a match against the person who would become his rival (Kageyama) and the typical shounen thing started. MC and rival, blah blah. The two meet at Karasuno High School and join the volleyball team. And then the character interactions begin in full.

Through three seasons of Haikyuu!! we got characters that are quiet (like Kenma and Tsukki) but they’re also some of the smartest players in the show. Kenma and Tsukki’s abilities to see how their opponents are playing and adapt their respective teams to situations is remarkable. It shows leadership and an ability to react to situations on the fly. What I really like about these three seasons of Haikyuu!! though, is that the teams mirror each other. The hot-heads of Karasuno don’t get along with other hot-headed players we come to meet, yet there is also a respect for each other because both teams know that without the opposing side they wouldn’t be nearly as good as they currently are.

There’s the positional battles of the show, too. Kenma of Nekoma is a setter just like Kageyama is a setter for Karasuno. They subtly play against each other, trying their best to one-up the other and get an advantage. There’s the middle blockers of Tsukki (Karasuno) and Kuroo (Nekoma) going toe-to-toe with each other, and other spikers as well (Asahi of Karasuno and Bokuto of Fukurodani).

We get almost an entire season of training between seeing Karasuno practice by themselves and then them being invited to the Tokyo training camp by Nekoma that it’s truly possible to see the growth in each character depending on what they were practicing, who they were playing, and how they reacted to their teammates and rivals at the time. The most amazing acts of character growth came during this training camp, as the simple conversations between teams connected with the players and they seemed to become even fiercer rivals. The Nekoma/Karasuno rivalry (or, Battle at the Trash Heap) became one for the ages.

Still, though, while the teams’ personalities sort of mirrored each other, it was nice to see that each team had characters with differing personalities. Instead of getting static characters to fill a large cast we’re given fleshed out backstories to some characters, clear goals for others that are being driven toward, and goals for the first years that have been stated since the beginning. Everything seems to be completely separate but when you look at the fact that volleyball ties them all together, they bounce off one another, encourage each other to become better, and help people when they’re down.

haikyuu karasuno and nekoma
STARE DOWN!

 

The Way The Sport Is Played:

Sports anime take liberties, I know that much. While I haven’t seen many sports anime in recent years, I saw enough in the years before Haikyuu!! to realize that there seemed to be some supernatural aspect to the anime that took away from what it actually was–a sports anime. Kuroko’s Basketball and Prince of Tennis are two shows that had certain aspects which took away from the sport being played. There were odd abilities in Prince of Tennis that didn’t make any sense with laser noises and yellow lines, and Kuroko’s Basketball had some awkward nuances with how the characters moved and passed and shot the ball that didn’t feel natural. Plus the different colors the show had when things happened based on who had the ball took away from what was actually happening on screen.

In Haikyuu!!, though, there was almost none of that sort of thing. Sure, some of the ways the characters were able to react to the ball, or control just how they were going to toss and hit the ball didn’t make much sense (like Kageyama being able to completely stop the ball while tossing to Hinata is physically impossible), but what I would think as 95% of the show seemed completely viable from a player’s standpoint.

The show went through all six positions on the court, and even had the ability to show how the middle blockers rotate out from the back row after serving. The libero (Nishinoya, my spirit animal) took over for the middle blockers on the back line, and we even got to see the DS (defensive specialist, aka Daichi) in action taking only a back row role. With every aspect of the show the positions played a role, and the physical abilities of the characters were an important aspect. Daichi got hurt when he collided with Tanaka and had to step out for a while. Tsukki got hurt in season 3 when his hand was cut and had to go out for quite some time. The injuries are real, the players need to recover from them for however long it takes.

Also, the way the ball is hit is actually pretty real as well. Float serves actually do react in the air like that some times (not every time, but some times), and being able to attack the way Karasuno does is a truly viable way of going about winning a point. However, Nekoma’s way of being a true defensive team and keeping the ball alive until the other team makes a mistake is also a way to play volleyball, but it’s much harder in the long run and you need an insane amount of stamina to continually bend your knees like they do.

haikyuu teach me rolling thunder

 

The Intensity Mixed With Playfulness

Now, the above portion of this post went into how the game is played and seems to be more true and real than other sports anime. That actually goes into the next part of why Haikyuu!! is my favorite sports anime. We mix the two previous portions into one. It’s an intense show when the characters are playing the sport with the characters berating each other and joking, but outside of the sport, the characters’ personalities are on full display. We have Nishinoya and Tanaka being ridiculous and protective of the “eye candy” of the show; Kageyama and Hinata messing with each other because they trust each other so much; Daichi’s seriousness in trying to control his team when they completely disobey what he tells them; and to top it all off, a coach that is kind of too laid back but who also wants the best for his team and players.

 

Now, sure, most sports anime may be super similar to Haikyuu!! in the fact that what I’ve listed above happens in most of them, but I think Haikyuu!! did a better job than the other sports anime I’ve seen. With everything mixed together and fairly solid animation, especially in the close-ups, Haikyuu!! has solidified itself as my favorite sports anime in recent years.

Oh, also, uh…the OPs and EDs are pretty freaking great to top it all off!

October should be pretty cool, too, right? We have more Haikyuu!! coming in some form! I can’t wait! I’m really hoping it has something to do with the national tournament that the manga has been covering. That would be freaking sweet!

 

If you enjoy sports anime: do you have a favorite? I’d love to find out, so let me know in the comments!

 

That’ll do it for me today, everyone!

Thanks for reading!

Alexie 🙂

 

 

Hello. I’m new here. And I pulled a fast one on you from the start! Okay, sort of, I just moved my introductory post from July 1st to June 29th. My name is Alex, but I go by Alexie the Great on WordPress and Twitter because I can. And I like it. And whatever else I decided to do it for somewhere around a year ago. Oh, and there’s a thing about Alexander the Great in there, but I’m not a military general who died in India, or wherever he died (I don’t know if that was ever proven factual).

Um…yeah, this is pretty neat. Ayano (I’ll save using her real name here) has invited me to become a content creator on her blog! And I am all for it! This is an exciting opportunity for me to grow my own fan base, find new bloggers, and collaborate even more with an amazing person. So here I am! I’ll be posting every Monday as well as every other Tuesday for top fives/tens (Ayano has a solid Top Ten Tuesday thing going, so we decided to rotate every week). I’ll probably stick to top fives on Tuesday because I like the shorter lists.

Anyway, there’s an intro for you I guess. Now, I’ll give you my usual opening–the opening I use on my own blog and one that my followers know and get this thing started:

 

Hello all you wonderful people! I hope you’ve been well, but if you haven’t I hope you get better soon.

It’s me. I’m back. And I’m on a new blog! Yeah. Okay, anyway, since you’ve probably already read the other paragraphs above this, let’s get into a post that I’d been thinking about, but never got around to writing, and then Ayano came along and actually suggested it. Sneaky Ayano is reading my mind. Could you, like, not do that? I’d appreciate if you didn’t read my mind like a psychic ninja voodoo person (Okay, I have no idea how a psychic ninja voodoo person could ever exist, so let’s forget I said that…)

Anyway, this is a tough post for me to write because when I thought about anime or manga that have influenced me I couldn’t think of anything. I know for a fact that when I talk to my brother or friends about shows I can rattle off countless shows and manga series that I’ve enjoyed and that have, in one way or another, subtly or not so subtly changed me as a person. The list I have includes four titles with a little something extra written in at the end.

 

Haikyuu!!–Seriously? This shit again? Yeah, fucking HAIKYUU!! This is my jam. I love Haikyuu!! because of the characters and the humor, and the interactions the characters have both inside their own teams and with other teams. There are tall characters, intense characters, quiet characters, calculating characters who rarely show emotion (but when they do, oh boy is it a fucking ride! I’m looking at you, Tsukki and Kenma!), and they have shrimpy characters. Anyway, Haikyuu!! was a show that I started watching while taking a physical education class at my university. Yeah, I took a volleyball class. And it was amazing. Haikyuu!! got my into an analytical state of mind while playing. I was careful of my position, I looked to see if the blockers were guarding a straight spike down the line, or if they were guarding more for a cross to the opposite side of the court. I focused on different formations, quick attacks, being a decoy after too many quick attempts, and so much more. Haikyuu!! got me so involved in volleyball that I actually got volleyball shoes, a volleyball bag, and a harder indoor volleyball from my mom for my birthday. So yeah, if there’s ever a way a sports anime/manga can be influential just remember what Haikyuu!! did to me… Oh, and I’m still playing to this day. What’s even better is I’m a middle blocker (Kuroo, Hinata, Tsukki).

Laid Back Camp–Okay, this one is sort of odd, but I bought some volumes of Laid Back Camp a while ago and also started watching it after too many years of having it sit in the back of my mind. Anyway, I love how this manga/anime actually gives readers and watchers information. You actually learn about how to go about different aspects of camping. It’s great because it isn’t something that makes a huge joke about it by being too serious or too lighthearted. It’s information and it gives you that information in a blunt way. And I love that about Laid Back Camp. My brother used to go backpacking and I wasn’t ever really one to enjoy doing stuff like that, I don’t know why. However, after reading that manga and watching the anime, I started to wonder why I haven’t done that sort of thing before. If my brother can do it so can I, right? So I asked him about it, and he started talking about his backpacking stuff, the pack he uses, the essentials he brings with him, and whatever else he feels like bringing along (it’s mostly just essentials, but some things for fun). And I started to look into it. I want to go out into a forested area, or a mountainous area, and set up my own little camp site. I think that would be amazing in the springtime or the autumn months. Not too hot and not too cold for me, but just right. Brew some coffee in a French press or something, make some stew from scratch…mmm… So, thank you Laid Back Camp for getting my to think about going to the outdoors and camping!

Log Horizon–Okay, odd choice, right? Log Horizon influenced me? In a way, yes. If you know Log Horizon you know it’s an MMORPG isekai show. Well, I used to play a ton of MMORPG games when I was younger (or, only a few years younger than I am now). I used to play Guild Wars (super bad at this), World of Warcraft (also super bad at this one) and Star Wars: The Old Republic (I was actually good at SWTOR!!) and eventually I started playing tabletop RPG games. However, I think it was the fantasy world of anime and the ability of Log Horizon to show me how these fantasy RPGs can work that got me into my current favorite RPG game: Dungeons & Dragons (is that supposed to be italicized?)… Yeah, I play that. It’s amazing being able to mentally slip away from the actual world we live in and be somewhere else. Right now I’m actually running and D&D campaign with my brother and some friends as the players, and it’s been a blast. We’re not too close to being done, but I want to speed the game up and get them so immersed in the world that they don’t want to leave. However, after we finish this campaign we’re going to do a Star Wars campaign. That will be a lot of fun. So, honestly, I think it was the MMORPG isekai anime that got me thinking about D&D and influenced me enough to pick up an adventure book and become a Dungeon Master. So, thank you Log Horizon for being that catalyst!

Your Lie in April–Another odd one, I think, but nonetheless Your Lie in April reinvigorated my love of classical music. I’ve always been a huge music guy, and will listen to practically anything if I’m feeling up for it. However, this show truly made me fall in love with the classical genre again. It was heartwarming to listen to the pieces they chose for the anime and I think that anyone who has a love of music should give it a watch, or another watch, because they play some of the greats. I’ve always enjoyed listening to movie soundtracks, and one of my favorite composers is Hans Zimmer. If you’ve seen Inception; or Mission: Impossible; or The Last Samurai; or HBO’s miniseries The Pacific; or Interstellar; or Gladiator; or Pirates of the Caribbean; or THE LION KING….Hans Zimmer did those. I love his work, and Your Lie in April reminded me of just how much I love that genre. I listen to it almost daily because I can’t get enough of the beautiful sound of the instruments, the emotion of the pieces, and whatever else may come from listening to classical music. I credit that anime for everything it has done for my musical taste.

 

And with that last portion, does anyone else absolutely love anime OPs and EDs? I listen to them all the time. I have an entire playlist dedicated to anime on my phone, taking OPs and EDs, songs that play during the show’s 20+ minute episodes, and I think they’re all wonderful. I can’t stop listening to them. My favorites from the last two or three seasons have come from Bungo Stray Dogs in “Setsuna no Ai” (OP) and “Lily” (ED), but feature films also have some amazing soundtracks and songs. RADWIMPS is one artist I love after hearing what they did for the movie Your Name, and they’re coming back for Weathering With You which I am stoked to see!

Anyway, that’s a little bit about me and just a few of the anime/manga that have influenced me over the years. It’s a short list, but it’s what I have!

 

Thanks for reading!

Alexie 🙂

 

(Note: I found the feature image here)

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