Tuesday’s Top 5: Things I Learned From Anime Last Year

Tuesday's Top 5

It’s been an interesting 12 months as an anime reviewer and I love thinking back about all the shows I’ve watched and the lessons I’ve learned, or at least been reminded about. These are the top 5 things I learned from anime last year but I’d love to know if anime taught you anything, or reminded you about something you shouldn’t forget.

Please note: There may be spoilers below.

Honourable Mentions:

  • Don’t try and take on the mafia alone: Banana Fish
  • When summoning a demon lord from another world, be sure to read the label properly otherwise you might end up with an otaku gamer or a loli and neither one is exactly what you would be after if you decided to summon a demon lord: How Not To Summon a Demon Lord

Number 5: How my immune system works from Cells At Work

This one is pretty obvious when you think about it, but watching Cells at Work each week reminded me about all that high school biology stuff that I promptly just stopped thinking about after graduating. I also learned about a couple of cells I’d previously never heard of. While my primary reason for watching anime is not educational, when an edutainment like Cells at Work comes along that is informative and fun and adorable, you just can’t pass it up. The only problem is every blood test I get now I worry about the millions of Red Blood Cells that just found themselves torn from their home.

Number 4: Longer running stories need to work harder to keep me interested

I kind of already knew this with Bleach being the only really ‘long’ running anime I ever fully completed. My Hunter x Hunter watch has stalled so incredibly close to the end and yet I just haven’t finished it, and otherwise Soul Eater and D Gray Man are probably the only other two long anime I’m a massive fan of. But last year this became really clear to me as Black Clover got cut from my watch list thirteen episodes in (though it may have been the shouting and not the episode count that lead to that), GeGeGe no Kitaro was abandoned even though I didn’t dislike the show, Attack on Titan was on notice until it delivered a fairly strong third season and even My Hero Academia that I’d previously really enjoyed just felt a bit tired.

It probably says more about my attention span than the anime, but the larger episode counts seem to make me want more from the anime and expect more from the story and when I don’t find it I seem to lose interest. Then we have the new Sword Art Online series with its mammoth four cour run announced before we even started and while initially excited I’m finding that it feels like they’ve stretched out content to fill those episodes rather than having enough content for it to begin with (though we’ll see what they do next with it). Either way, last year very much reminded me that I prefer my anime with 11 – 13 episodes and a conclusive ending.

Number 3: In relationships communication is key.

Again, this is something I already knew but we certainly had a tonne of examples of why this was important last year. Just looking at the Autumn season we can see that Nanami and Yuu would have been better off if Yuu had been more open about how she felt early on and even after she resolves to do something, she still doesn’t actually talk to Nanami about it directly instead taking a round about route (Bloom Into You). Takato and Junta from Dakaichi could have solved their break-up drama in a heart beat if either one had actually consulted the other before taking action. Then we have Sakuta and Mai (Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai), the one couple that mostly communicated beautifully and managed to navigate around so much relationship drama and yet Mai still didn’t tell Sakuta it was her birthday and he had to find out second hand from her younger sister. If anime taught me anything last year it was definitely to talk to your partner, whoever they may be.

Number 2: Heroes come in all shapes and sizes

While not from a specific anime, there were so many different kinds of heroes from so many different shows last year. My personal favourites included traditional heroes such as All Might from My Hero Academia, but also encompassed characters such as Hina from March Comes in Like a Lion and Yuu from Bloom Into You. Big or small, saving the world or reaching out to a friend, there were so many different heroes to choose from that surely there was someone a viewer could look up to last year.

Number 1: Definitely ignore the pre-season hype and judge shows for what they are

Whether it was going in with too high an expectation, possibly considering passing on something because of no expectations, or just not enjoying something because I wanted it to be something else, last year taught me the value of taking things as they are and not as I wanted them to be. Then again, even going into Darling in the Franxx with no expectation would not make me like it anymore. But perhaps Clear Card would have been better received if I wasn’t endlessly comparing it to the nostalgia fuelled image I had of Cardcaptor Sakura. And consider some shows I ended up really enjoying, such as Rokuhoudou Yatsuiro Biyori that wasn’t even on my radar and from the description of it doesn’t seem like my kind of story I really just need to try each show on its own merit. So this year I am as much as possible going into shows without expectations, watching the first episode (or as much as I can stomach) and giving them a go. That said, W’z still isn’t getting more than 5 minutes of my time.

Right, so what did you learn last year while watching anime?

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37 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Top 5: Things I Learned From Anime Last Year

    1. Sometimes it isn’t the marketing people hyping it. Regularly it is fans of the source that build it up and that is usually when you end up with something disappointing. Even if the show ends up good, it never matches the amount of fan hype that came out before it.

    1. I’m going to agree. I want to enjoy Sword Art Online and people really talked up the Alicization Arc before it started. But from an anime watching perspective we’ve had entire episodes sitting around talking followed by a by the numbers tower climb fighting increasingly stronger enemies along the way. It isn’t exactly filling me with confidence in this.

        1. I know that when it is finally done reviewing it is going to be a bit of a pain because no matter whether it picks up or not, the fact that 17 episodes in we’re still kind of waiting for it to find its feet is telling.

    1. Something I have had trouble with in the past was the pre season hype. Sometimes that hype is just hype. Everyone is different and will experience a series completely different from the person next to them!

      1. Absolutely – I think I need to do a better job of shutting out the pre-season noise so I can go in blind to more shows and really just watch them without the influence of other views to make my initial judgement. Too many shows have ended up falling too short or being surprisingly good and I’ve found having expectations can genuinely ruin what might have been an okay viewing experience.

        1. Yes! The hard part about is when you’re a Blogger and you’re reading all these reviews.
          I’ll tell you I heard some okay reviews about Dakaichi: I’m being harassed by the sexiest man alive but when I watched it I couldn’t get enough of it! It was so cute and I personally enjoyed it.

          1. I really liked Dakaichi. My review of that is actually coming out tomorrow but I had a great time watching it because I was covering it with Arthifis and it was just fun chatting about what was going on in the show. Not to mention I loved Takato.

          2. Oh my gosh I’m reading that review. I respected Takato alot! Don’t get me wrong he pissed me off sometimes bc I just wanted him to be true to what his heart wanted. I really loved Junta. He was a trip! Such a kinky, mama bear, insatiable, vindictive angel it was hilarious. My personal man crush was honestly Ayagi. I know he had cruel intentions at first but he started cleaning up towards the end. Also he’s mad cute

          3. Arthifis really liked Junta, and Junta definitely grew on me as the series progressed, but I’m definitely all for Takato. Ayagi never really made much of an impact on me in the end. Though I did like how frustrated Ayagi got when Takato was out performing him on the stage and how he really stepped up his own performance.

          4. I agree you could say Ayagi was a cute accessory to the show to give a little spice to Junta and Takato. Junta is definitely my fave but Ayagi was just the cutest to me. Overall it was a very entertaining and good anime that has a lot of important themes on accepting yourself and what you feel.
            I read the talk with Arthifis and both of you hit key points I agree on

          5. If you ever want to join forces on a topic/show, I’d be more than happy to do that for you. I believe you and I share some pretty keen insight on a lot of things. It doesn’t have to a discussion because I know that is a thing you and Arthifis do but I’d be interested in starting any sort of collaboration. I enjoy geeking out and I’d like to offer you my knowledge.

          6. I’d love to collaborate some time. I’m probably going to suggest after April though because I’m about to have a fairly rocky next three months and I’m already committed to a lot so I wouldn’t be able to give a new project my full attention. But I’d love to work on something with you in the future. If you send me a message through my blog’s contact page we could discuss some possibilities in the future.

  1. Number 1’s a bit of a weird one, since waiting for straggler shows during the start of a new anime season can get you something wonderful like Rokuhoudou, but it can also give you real duds like The Reflection a few years back…then again, the “final anime” slot for the season is just like any other anime – it’s a luck game as to whether you believe it to be “good” or not.

    1. Agreed. There’s no magic formula for figuring out what will be good ahead of time. All we can do is hedge our bets and try the stuff we think looks promising.

  2. Lesson #1 is why I hardly watch anime as its airing, even if I do like it. There was the exception of WIXOSS season 4 last year, but that didn’t have much hype, and what hype it did have didn’t really have an impact on my viewing experience.

    Lesson #3 is why I have a like/dislike for the romance genre. There’s a lot that goes into maintaining a healthy relationship than just going on dates. In some cases, a character getting a date, or confessing their feelings to their true love is the end of it in some of these stories. While understandable in some cases it’s not really what I watch (on a rare occasion read) romance for.

    Lesson #4 is my reason for not watching television, especially live action series in the US. Too many of them go on far longer than they actually need to. In anime, I can at least appreciate the artistry that everything from the characters movements, voices, and what not needed to be created from the ground up. While I do enjoy Attack On Titan I don’t think 4 seasons of it were needed, but if its a Shonen Jump property it’s going to get milked as long as possible.

    I also learned thanks to Cells At Work everything I do is a stressful endeavor for my body that never ends hahaha

    1. I really think more attention needs to be paid to telling a good story and using the length of time needed rather than how many seasons you can milk or filling an episode quota. While I get why it works for TV networks, with more and more stuff being streamed it makes more sense for studios to start producing quality stories using whatever format works for them. Then again, things are pretty slow to change in TV land so I assume we’ll still have pauses for ad-breaks most of us no longer even see and will wait for follow up seasons that weren’t ever needed.

      1. People complain about how Bloom ended. I like how it ended. Probably would enjoy another season but it isn’t necessary and might mar perfection.

        1. I think there was just a lot of build up about the stage show and then not getting to that point left it feeling a little incomplete. I loved Bloom Into You, but I really feel the story needs to be resolved a bit more solidly so hopefully there will be a continuation.

          1. Message here is to get audience to ask for more but still have an enjoyable, if cryptic, ending in case they can’t coax out a second season.

  3. If the first half of a season was good but the last sucked, rejoice at the good and forget about the bad.

    Sometimes if you rewrite a character in your head a mediocre anime can become pretty good.

    1. I think Irina tried your second piece of advice there when she was watching Sanrio Boys. She reviewed it as if it were some sort of thriller and to be honest I had more fun reading her reviews than I did watching the anime by the end of the season.

  4. I like your no. 1 here. Pre-hype has actually ruined some shows for me,not because the shows were bad,but they weren’t the life-changing experience I was told I would have.

    1. The pre-season hype seems to get worse every season with some shows getting talked up and others trashed before they even start and after first episodes people declaring anime of the season etc. Really need to just step back and let things happen as they do because we all know anime have a tendency to fall apart in their mid-sections and later portions while some anime that start quite weakly do manage to find their feet eventually.

  5. Don’t ignore the underlings – goblins are utter bastards.

    I like sports anime and anything set on a beach (I miss the sea, it’s been three years since I’ve seen it!)

    Watch anything. Don’t limit yourself to the usual.

    1. Those are some great lessons. And yes, ignoring underlings or weaklings has undone many a villain and quite a few heroes over time so that is something more people should try to remember.

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