We’re back with the end of Mayoi Snail, and I’m back with another episode post that’s basically an essay in its own right. What can I say – Bakemonogatari steadily introduces pretty much all of the concepts that will become pillars of the franchise, and so there’s a whole lot to dig into. This time we get more on the strange nature of Mayoi arcs, a fair bit about Araragi’s personality, and plenty on Senjougahara as well. Let’s get right to it!
We’re in deep Mayoi Snail territory now, meaning I finally was able to get away with a reasonably sized episode review. This episode wasn’t really any more exciting than I remembered it being – I enjoyed it more now because I already know the characters, but basically nothing of consequence happened at all, and even the character-establishing banter was pretty mediocre. Mayoi Snail continues to dare any potential audiences to fight through the series.
Welp, we’re finally into Mayoi Snail. I expected this episode writeup to be a lot more negative than it was, but I actually ended up really enjoying this first episode. None of the stuff that generally frustrates me about Mayoi and Araragi’s material made an appearance here, and the conversation between Araragi and Senjougahara was terrific from start to finish. I forgot just how strong of a rapport those two have – the romantic tension here was as strong as basically anything I’ve seen in anime.
Today I return with the second episode of Bakemonogatari! This one ended up being another tome of an episode review, but we’re still in the period where I have to kind of establish “how to get the most out of Monogatari,” so I assume things will get more reasonable shortly. Particularly since we’re about to embark on Mayoi Snail, which should offer a nice opportunity to really dive into my love-hate relationship with the series. But as for now, let’s explore the second half of Hitagi Crab!
This season, Classic Reviews return with one of my all-time favorite series! I’m betting it’ll be a lot of fun to revisit Bake after all this time, and the first episode didn’t let me down. Bake’s premiere is strange and confident and entirely its own thing, offering many fragmented hooks while seemingly ignoring many other pieces of important information. It’s a solid statement of purpose, and I had a whole bunch to write about it.
There are a lot of anime out there! Literally thousands, with over a hundred more being released every year. There are new hits every season, and old favorites that have slowly lost their topical sheen. Given all those shows, it can be understandably hard to pick what to watch next – anime, like every other medium, is full of stuff that will disappoint you, and everyone’s tastes are different.
My own tastes in particular are a little weird – I like arthouse stuff and intimate character studies and occasional cathartic message-focused shows. But fortunately, there is indeed such a thing as “normal” taste in anime, or at least the most common preferences shared by fans outside of Japan. And today, I’m hoping to help that audience – or more specifically, hopefully, You.
New article-essay thing! This one’s less of a thematic essay and more of a breakdown of why Monogatari is basically destined to be divisive, going into the various core elements that make it so weird and both repellent and appealing at the same time. It’s one of my favorite shows, but I completely understand why other people wouldn’t like it, or why other people who like it would have entirely different feelings on it even if we both “like Monogatari.” It’s quite a strange mess of a show, and that’s actually part of why I like it so much.
Anyway, I get to all that in the article. AND HERE IT IS:
“When they love you, and they will
Tell ‘em all they’ll love in my shadow.
And if they try to slow you down
Tell ‘em all to go to hell.”
Kanbaru knew who she was, once. She was a runner. A basketball star. A girl in love. She was somebody, at least – a specific person. There were things typical of her; she knew where she stood and where she was running to. But at the beginning of Hanamonogatari, her path has shifted from a fixed track to an open field – her past offers no clues, her future holds no direction. She’s not a basketball star anymore. Her schoolgirl crush has shifted to respect for an absent friend. All that’s left now are hard choices, and a heavy rain of insistent, contradictory advice.
Yep, I’ve finally put together a top shows list. As I hopefully made clear in part one and part two of my critical biases post, this is obviously my list – it represents the things I think are most valuable in stories in the way I think they’ve best been articulated. It’s also just a list of shows I enjoy – there’s no hard criteria here, so I wouldn’t stress the numbers too much. Also, it’s a bit front-loaded – I only started watching anime seasonally about two years ago, so the last couple years are disproportionately represented. Incidentally, I’m not including movies here either – I think direct comparisons between shows and films are a bit of a stretch, but if they were included, this list would certainly be somewhat different. And finally, I’m absolutely (and thankfully) certain this list will change over time – there are still piles of widely beloved shows I’ve never seen, so I’m sure the current rankings will be filled out in the years to come. So with that all said, let’s get to the list – Bobduh’s Top 30 Anime of All Time.
-edit- I have now created a Top Shows Addendum for shows that have either fallen off or just barely missed this list. Please enjoy these additional almost-top shows!
Not because it’s full of monsters, though we’ll get to that. It’s scary because it’s full of other people. Because it’s full of risks, and setbacks, and harsh truths. It’s scary because to truly look at it, you have to first look at yourself, and acknowledge what you see. Engaging with the real world means acknowledging and embracing every ugly, selfish thing that makes you You, and being honest with yourself is the hardest, scariest thing of all.