30 Day Anime Challenge – Day 6: What anime recommendation have you tried this year?

What anime recommendation have you tried this year? Towards the end of last year, I opened an account with Funimation. It was primarily to rewatch Akira for my podcast. Then I got sucked into all these other shows. Fast forward to the beginning of this year. This one show kept popping up in my recommendations. It was one I knew about but had never seen, and I’d always put it off because of the number of episodes. That show is One Piece!

What made you try it? If you know me at all, you’ll know that I like a good challenge. One Piece has over 800 episodes. Now, that’s a challenge. I originally challenged myself to watch one episode a day. There have been a couple days where I’ve watched more than one, but I decided that if I’m going to watch anything else, I need to limit it to one a day.

So far, I have watched 315 episodes and on the whole, I am really enjoying the series. There are lots that I can take away as a fan and a writer. I’ll openly admit that I find the recap episodes to be incredibly frustrating. One Piece has quite a bit of filler that wasn’t in the manga, but I’m fine with that as I haven’t read past book five yet.

Obviously, this is going to be a very long challenge, but it has been good fun so far, especially interacting with the existing One Piece fans on Twitter, who seem to be getting a kick out of watching someone experience it for the first time.

Would you do a similar challenge again? Funny you say that. The final season of Fairy Tale is airing and that’s another show that I’d be interested in getting through. Sure, it’s not as long as One Piece, so maybe, I’ll just try and squeeze it in too.

Anything else you’d like to say? Don’t be afraid to try new shows. Sure, it’s great to have your favourites that you can return to time and time again, but it’s also a lot of fun venturing into new worlds and adventures, even if they’re over 800 episodes long. You can do it!

30 Day Anime Challenge – Day 5: What is your guilty pleasure anime?

What is your guilty pleasure anime? Guilt would imply that I’ve done something wrong. Am I supposed to be ashamed for what I enjoy? If we’re going to look at it that way, and let me clarify that I have no shame in liking these, then I shall say harem comedy anime in my guilty pleasure!

Why did you choose that? I grew up in England. There were topless women in the daily newspapers, shows like Benny Hill, and the Carry On movies. Sexuality isn’t as big a taboo there as it is in the United States of America. We view violence more severely, and rightly so in my opinion.

This has conditioned me to enjoy the antics common with a harem comedy anime. Things like the protagonist tripping and falling face first into an awkward position, clothing exploding, and general embarrassment for everyone. Hilarious!

My favourites include High School of the Dead, Highschool DxD, Hundred, How Not to Summon a Demon Lord… that’s a lot of series starting with H. I may need to expand my search criteria. Oh, and I mustn’t forget Maken-ki as I am about to steal their catchphrase. I regret nothing!

Are there any other reasons? Of course. It’s not all partial nudity and innuendos. For most of these, the protagonists are actually decent people. You could argue that Issei in Highschool DxD is a huge pervert, but he has plenty of virtues that more than make up for that. Bizarrely, the harem comedy is almost a rom-com, just with lots of potential suitors. And who does love a good romance?

Anything else you’d like to say? Don’t be ashamed of what you enjoy. There are obviously lots of others just like you, otherwise your ‘guilty pleasure’ wouldn’t exist. Although if it’s an actual crime, then you should probably stop. Say no to crime and yes to harem comedy anime. They’re a lot of fun!

30 Day Anime Challenge – Day 4: What anime deserves more love?

What anime deserves more love? This is one of those titles that has a following, so it does get some love, but it also seems to be the target of a lot of hate. I am talking about Sword Art Online and I’m sick of all the negativity.

Why does it deserve more love? I think it is looked down on because it contains a harem. It’s not quite like Highschool DxD, but there are multiple female characters that all appear to take an interest in Kirito. For whatever reason, this just seems to anger some people.

They don’t think Kirito deserves the attention, even despite the strength he’s acquired in the game, the way he looks out for others, or his general good guy demeanour. Some like to moan about how basic the story is. Whatever!

This is a really fun series with some fairly dark ideas, an interesting relationship, and some cool characters. I ended up watching the entire first season in a week, and the last seventeen episodes within twenty-four hours. Netflix was about to take it off the service and I was ten episodes in…

Would you recommend it to someone that hasn’t seen it? Absolutely. As I said, it has a lot of different aspects and covers some very interesting topics. The idea of being trapped inside a virtual world where dying means dying in the real world is fascinating.

Anything else you’d like to say? This kind of harks back to something I said in the subtitle/dubbed debate. I don’t see the need to compare series and characters. Especially if you seek to crap on something someone else enjoys. All of this is subjective. Not everyone is going to like the same things, why make it competitive and toxic. Just chill!

30 Day Anime Challenge – Day 3: Do you prefer Subs or Dubs?

Do you prefer Subs or Dubs? I’m not really into submissives… hang on, that’s not what you’re talking about, is it! When I first started watching anime very few shows were dubbed. I’ve also watched a lot of foreign films so I am comfortable with subtitles.

Are you saying you prefer subtitles? No. Not at all. I know there are certain elements of the anime community that look down on those that watched dubbed anime and only use the Japanese name for the shows. Personally, I don’t really care what anyone else does.

I do what I want. Sometimes I’ll watch subtitles and sometimes dubbed. When Attack on Titan was released, I was only able to get the DVD with subtitles so that’s what I did. Lately, I watch most of my anime on Funimation or Netflix and usually late at night so I tend to go with dubbed as this makes it easier to enjoy the animation.

So, my answer is that I have no preference. I take each situation on as they come. Not being bound to one or the other gives me more freedom and that’s what watching anime is all about. Why put restrictions on your entertainment?

Have you ever switched between the two? Yes, I ended up watching the dubbed version of Attack on Titan, season two. It was a weird experience. I remember the Japanese voices from season one, but somehow my brain has put the English words into those voices. Don’t ask me how or why. There are a few movies where I’ve watched the dubbed and subtitled version and I end up wasting most of my time saying ‘they didn’t say that in the other version’.

Anything else you’d like to say? Only one thing. Let’s stop worrying about how other people are enjoying their anime. The important thing is that they are watching it and if having it dubbed makes it easier then so be it. The more people that watch anime, the more shows they’re going to make and I want more shows!

30 Day Anime Challenge – Day 2: Who was your first anime crush?

Who was your first anime crush? Wow! Getting personal and it’s only the second day of the challenge. Let me preface my response by setting the scene. I was just a teenager when I started watching anime and teenagers develop crushes at an unmanageable rate. It’s also worth noting that she would have been older than me at that time too… My first anime crush was A-ko (or Eiko) from Project A-ko.

What was it about her? She was a sixteen-year-old redhead with superhuman strength and speed. How aren’t you getting this? Most of my experience before Project A-ko had been gritty and dark anime such as Akira, Fist of the Northstar, and Vampire Hunter D.

It was the first time I realised that my sense of humour almost perfectly aligned with the Japanese sense of humour. You’ve got to love a girl that can make you laugh. Did I mention the superhuman strength and speed?

I had Project A-ko on VHS. It was actually the very first video I bought with my own money, so it probably has significance for that alone. That also meant that I watched it a lot.

Ever thought about getting back together? Dude! She’s a sixteen-year-old redhead with superhuman strength and speed… That said, I have recently rewatched Project A-ko for my podcast Otaku on Writing. I still absolutely love the movie and am happy that I have those memories of A-ko.

Anything else you’d like to say? There have been many crushes since and there will probably many more, but A-ko will always be the first. Before A-ko I had always been into blondes so thanks Project A-ko and anime for expanding my interests.