Why It Works: Introducing The Eccentric Family

The Eccentric Family posts start in earnest this week, opening with a piece bringing all those who missed the first season up to speed. Convincing an audience raised on titans and punch men to watch the second season of a slow-burning drama about the importance of family is a pretty tall order, but I gotta do what I can. The Eccentric Family deserves nothing less!

Why It Works: Introducing The Eccentric Family

Spring 2017 – Week 2 in Review

Dear lord has this season ever begun. Having just barely survived the most absurd preview week yet, my relative watch-positioning on this season’s various attractions is an absolute shambles. I’ve got shows I’m already somehow two episodes behind on, shows I just reviewed this week for ANN, and shows that ended weeks ago and I only just now found time to watch. In light of that, I’m gonna be keeping things a little loose for this Week in Review, and just running down what I actually watched this week in whatever order comes to me. It’s been a hectic week in anime, so buckle the fuck in and let’s RUN THIS SHIT DOWN.

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The Eccentric Family 2 – Episodes 1-2

Aw hell yeah, it’s time to write up some Eccentric Family. Season two’s first couple episodes have mostly just established our two big additions to the cast, but that’s pretty alright by me – it’s been wonderful to meet all these great characters again, and already interesting to see how their society has shifted since last time. The show’s own throat-clearing allowed for a pretty comfortably structured article too, so I guess that’s nice.

You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my episode two notes below!

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Spring 2017 – Virtually Every First Episode Retrospective

Somehow I am still alive. This preview “week” was one of the most punishing I’ve experienced, spreading out an absurd number of shows across an untenable number of days. The silver lining on this whole affair is that this season actually seems to have a whole ton of worthy contenders. I’ve spent the last week and a half or so sifting through this absurd haul, dragging treasures to the surface and weathering the rest as gracefully as I can. My trials have been numerous, but suffering this fate has granted me a new perspective – at last, I am blessed with moderately informed opinions on basically everything coming out this spring.

Starting with the brightest lights and slowly descending into the depths, I will now share my vast wisdom and narrow opinions with all of you. As usual, you can check out the full list of reviews over at ANN, or click on any of the titles here to go to my full thoughts. If you’re frustrated that your new favorite was only afforded a toilet emoji here, just click through that name and check for Nick Creamer to see me try and justify that takeaway. In the end, I’m just one guy with my own specific tastes, after all. So without further ado, let’s get this boulder rolling!

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Spring 2017 Season Preview

The winter season is drawing to a close, which means it’s once more time to look forward and see what the future might bring. This current season was a bit of a wash, and I’m not gonna sugarcoat it – next season isn’t looking great either. Frankly, if you’re not anticipating at least one or two of this spring’s big sequels, it might be worth calling a mulligan on this one. Outside of Masaaki Yuasa’s new films, there are basically no noteworthy projects by any of the creators I generally keep tabs on – no Matsumoto, no Mizushima, no Nakamura, and nothing by Kyoto Animation period. Couple that with a slate of dire-looking premises and previews, and you’ve got the recipe for a fresh season of playing videogames and catching up on backlog. Personally, I recommend the first one – I normally only get excited about a couple games a year, but this year’s already brought us Resident Evil VII, Nier Automata, Nioh, and Breath of the Wild, with Persona 5 still on its way. Those are some pretty great videogames!

But of course, you’re here for anime. The good news is, if you are in the market for sequels, this season has some extremely promising ones. The Eccentric Family counts among my favorite shows of all time, and both My Hero Academia and Rage of Bahamut have strong predecessors to live up to. As usual, my list won’t cover every show – you can check basically any resource to find that, along with handy synopses. I’ll just be running down the shows I’m actually excited about, along with what specifically sticks out to me. So let’s start with my most anticipated shows and run this coming season down!

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The Eccentric Family – Review

I got to take another crack at Eccentric Family! Which is good, because I never felt all that happy with my original essay on the show. This one doesn’t go as deep into the show’s central themes, since you can’t really focus entirely on that within a standard review structure, but it also doesn’t just retell the entire damn story. I hopefully was able to articulate the key reasons the show is so great this time, and man, is the show ever great. Plenty to talk about!

My full review is available over on ANN. I don’t have a full rewatch’s worth of notes this time, since this was actually my fourth watch of the show, and thus after the first couple episodes I didn’t really feel it was necessary. But I do have classic timestamp writeups for the entire show, along with new notes for the first couple episodes below. Enjoy!

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Top 30 Anime Series of All Time

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!

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Uchouten Kazoku and the Meaning of Life

Management: Reviews are inherently an act of attempting to paint the personal as the universal, but this piece in particular is overtly meant to share my personal experience of this show. I hope you enjoy it.

“Coming of age stories” generally have a very specific connotation, particularly when it comes to anime. They tend to focus on adolescence – on the discarding of our youthful conceptions of self, and the beginning stages of establishing a true mature identity. But the reality is life is not nearly that simple. You do not simply discover yourself at some arbitrary point in your teen years, and from then on no longer feel existential dread about self or purpose. You don’t wake up one morning and suddenly realize it’s time to Do Your Best for the rest of forever, and somehow find yourself continuously fulfilled by that one measly resolution.

Uchouten Kazoku understands this. It understands life and self-actualization are never so convenient as most stories’ linear narratives would like to pretend. It understands that living is not a coherent progression – living is what you’re already doing while you try and make sense of it all. And Uchouten Kazoku embraces this; the small lessons, warm friendships, and tiny moments that seem may inconsequential from an outside perspective, but that make up life itself, and when fully embraced, fully lived in, can swell to be heart-seizing moments on a monumental scale.

Uchouten Kazoku is likely the best anime of the year.

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