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The Road Goes Ever On and On

Four weeks ago, bear informed me that he would be retiring from anime blogging. With that knowledge, I had to make the decision whether to try to keep antiotaku running on my own, or let it die a graceful death. I had, during the spring season, taken over posting duties completely, but that was during the victory lap portion of my graduate degree work, followed by two months of comparative vacation. Making four posts a week regularly took a greater toll during the summer season, when my new job officially started, and writing five to six posts a week, which keeping this site afloat would require, seemed particularly daunting.

I decided to review every new show this season as a stalling technique, a way to keep content flowing at the production speed I would need to maintain year-round. That, I figured, would not commit me to covering any particular series until I made my decision. It would also provide me with the knowledge of whether I could consistently put in the 12 or so hours each week that it would take to keep five posts coming. Having done that for the month of October, I found my answer.

It is with sincere regret that I announce this will be the final post on antiotaku.

I figured I'd use the screen caps for this post to review some of my signature series, starting with Angel Beats. It's an obviously flawed series, but still had a wonderfully moving ending and a brilliantly incorporated theme that challenges its audience in just the right way

Signing up for antiotaku seemed entirely natural at the time. When this blog started my most prolific online conversations were with bear, and nearly all of them centered around anime. When he announced he wanted to start a blog, I figured that it would be an interesting challenge, a great outlet for writing, and a way to start looking seriously at an interest that was taking an increasing amount of my time.

Having gone at it for close to 19 months, I do feel like I’ve accomplished all those goals. In particular, I feel like my tastes in anime have evolved for the better over time, as I’ve been forced to express exactly why I like or dislike something in ways that have to make sense written down.

Shiki is a stunning entry into the horror genre, for all the reasons you'd expect, and one which you might not: Shiki understands that the worst fate possible is to live in a world where God is silent, and goes on to show why in chilling detail

There’s this great scene in the currently airing Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai where one of the characters, who has improbably become an dating sim enthusiast, is expounding to her skeptical associates about how the depiction of the relationships in the game is high art. One associate then argues that if what she says is true, she shouldn’t have any trouble reading the script aloud. The otaku is then reduced to blushing shame as she reads off line after line of misogynistic rape fantasy, before fleeing the room in tears.

Writing seriously about anime is sort of like that: It forces you to really look at what you are watching and ask yourself the reasons why. That was the entire point of bear’s reviews of Oreimo (tellingly, by the same studio that’s giving us Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai), which was a exploration of bear’s own mixed feeling on the show, and a discussion about how the show itself was prompting the same sorts of questions, even if it wasn’t sure it wanted the answer.

The ending of Katanagatari still drives me up the wall, but I can't deny it's one of the most innovative and intelligent shows I've ever seen. White Fox is a small studio, but between this and Steins;Gate, I'm eager to see what's next for them

I’m grateful, then, that bear offered me the opportunity to think about what really makes anime good (or not). I’m thankful for the opportunity to have seen so many new shows, occasionally discovering gems I never would have noticed if not for the work I did here. I’m grateful that, although I have covered one or two stinkers from start to finish, most of the series I’ve covered have been worth every word I’ve written about them, and that I’ve had more series truly worth writing about each season.

I certainly don’t want anyone to think that I’ve come to like anime less as a result of becoming more critical towards it. Right now I am following a mind-bogglingly high number of shows from the new season (12, about half of those which started airing), and anime takes up a greater role in how I spent my free time than it ever has before in my life. With the increasing reach of simulcasting thanks to companies like Crunchyroll and the work of American licensers like Viz and Funimation, following anime has never been easier.

Kimi ni Todoke is nerdy girl wish fulfillment, but it's nerdy girl wish fulfillment at its most charming. Moreover, it's nerdy girl wish fulfillment that never forgets to let its characters have virtue of a consistent personality, yet also graces them with the ability to become better

And, to a certain extent, I don’t want it to be over. I want to talk about how Un-Go manages to be one of the most eccentric shows I’ve seen in years, an almost unclassifiable mix of genres, but also is extremely thoughtful in how it approaches sociopolitical commentary. I want to talk about Bakuman as I pick back up the story of Moritaka and Takagi, a story I grew to love.

Yet my greatest regret about my time here is that I got so bogged down with episode reviews that I never had the time to talk about some of my favorite anime from previous years, shows like Monster and Cross Game. Everyone who isn’t allergic to anime deserves to know about the beauty of Haibane Renmei, or Honey and Clover, and I wish I had found a way to tell you about them.

Anohana: where a bittersweet supernatural romance that could carry the show on its own is only the hook for a coming of age story hitting on all the pressures and perils of adolescence. Still think the ending was overdone, but you can't have everything

And so, I hope that I led this post off with a lie. I hope that this will not be the final post on antiotaku. I hope that sometime in the future, months or years ahead, I’ll be able to have one final post, inviting old viewers to the site where I’m writing now, and welcoming viewers from my new home to look over old shows with fresh eyes.

Will that ever happen? I have no idea. I wouldn’t have predicted any aspect of my current life three years ago; I won’t try to predict what will happen in the future. But I hope.

So, for now, farewell. Perhaps we’ll meet again.

–3HM

I began and ended my blogging career with a P.A. Works show. Hana-Saku Iroha has the same problem as Angel Beats! (several middle episodes where it doesn't know what to do with itself), but manages to be more focused even with a longer episode count and ends just as strongly. I only wish they toned down the fanservice

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  1. ka ming
    November 9, 2011 at 12:41 am

    Farewell, good night, and good luck!

  2. July 17, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    Goodbyes are always a sad event. Being as that it’s synonymous with “the end”, it’s an understandable emotion. I actually discovered your website on a whim when I found myself searching on Google for reviews on AnoHana. Scratch that — I was on the hunt fo a website that held great/meaningful reviews that actually offered insight rather than commentary that digressed from the subject. Finding a great writer is far & few in-between, so I counted myself blessed for stumbling onto this gem (read: your website). I’ve read reviews & synopsis on AnoHana (particularly on MyAnimeList.net) & with my busy schedule, other people’s positive reviews on an anime would usually be enough to push me onto that bandwagon to find out just what all the hype is about. Interestingly, what made me want to watch AnoHana was the mixed-bag of reviews it seemed. So, I found myself watching the first episode. Then the second. The third. Well, you get the general idea. I was watching it on my crunchyroll app, when lo & behold, all the episodes after the 4th episode were not available for me. Thus, I found myself here in your website an hour later, having already read your reviews & thoughts for the said anime, & now boring you with a detailed accounting as to how you gained a new reader. I found myself enjoying the series more BECAUSE of your reviews. It definitely brought some interesting themes & heavily covered hints/character development that I definitely wouldn’t have caught or would’ve simply missed. This show definitely utilized many aspects of the human psyche & comes to show just how fragile/pliable the mind is. Hmmm. I digress. Where was I? IG yes. Goodbyes are certainly sad events. I understand that life just simply gets in the way & that time is something we learn can slip by in the blink of an eye. I certainly hope that this isn’t a “goodbye” but rather a “see you later”. I will still keep your website on my Favorites list in hopes that it proves to be the latter. 🙂

  3. July 17, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Goodbyes are always a sad event. Being as that it is universally understood to also mean ”the end”, & so it is an understandable emotion. I actually discovered your website on a whim when I found myself searching on Google for episode reviews on AnoHana. Scratch that — I was on the hunt for a website that gave meaningful reviews that actually offered new/further insight rather than irrelevant commentary. Finding a great writer is far & few in-between, so I counted myself blessed for stumbling onto this gem (read: your website). I’ve read reviews for AnoHana (particularly on MyAnimeList.net) & with my busy schedule, being able to expend time on all the anime out would be a privilege that I (sadly) do not possess. Therefore, reading other people’s positive reviews on an anime would usually be enough to push me onto the bandwagon to find out just what all the hype is about. Interestingly, what made me want to watch AnoHana was the mixed-bag of reviews it seemed to have generated. People described it as “boring”, “insightful”, “waste of time”, “great psychoanalytical anime” — a plethora of contradicting adjectives. So, I found myself watching the first episode. Then the second. Then the third. Well, you get the general idea. I was watching it on my crunchyroll app, when lo & behold, all the episodes after the 4th episode were not available for me. Thus, I found myself here on your website an hour later, having already read your reviews & thoughts for the said anime, & now boring you with a detailed accounting as to how you gained a new reader. I found myself enjoying the series more BECAUSE of your reviews. It definitely brought some interesting themes & heavily covered hints/character development that I would’ve simply missed. This show definitely utilized many aspects of the human psyche & comes to show just how fragile/pliable the mind is. Hmmm. I digress. Where was I? Oh yes. Goodbyes are certainly sad events. I certainly hope that this isn’t a “goodbye”  but rather a “see you later”. I will still keep your website on my Favorites list in hopes that it proves to be the latter. 🙂

    • threeheadedmonkeys
      July 18, 2012 at 1:51 am

      Thanks for the kind words. It was always the goal with antiotaku to provide commentary that would bring out some of the deeper meaning (or lack thereof) in the medium. I’m happy to know that it worked for at least a few people.

      I also hope that it will be a “see you later.” We’ll see what the future brings.

  4. bjshepp
    November 6, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    You were one of the few anime bloggers I actually enjoyed. Sad to to see you go.

    • threeheadedmonkeys
      November 6, 2012 at 9:35 pm

      Come back at the end of the week. We might have something for you.

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