Friday, May 24, 2019

That Moment When an Anime Becomes a Favorite

It's a great feeling when you realize you're in love with an anime...

It may not be much of a surprise, but a lot of people in the anime community love anime. While it's a meme to call anime trash, there are many stories and series that are beloved within the medium of anime. Every season, I am introduced to a barrage of new anime and every now and then friends will recommend me other series that I should check out. More often than not, I'm able to get some kind of enjoyment from the shows that I watch.

But every so often, I start watching an anime and I start to feel something special. It may be that I connect with a character, or a scene leaves me in awe, but I just get the feeling that I am witnessing something spectacular. It's in that moment that an anime becomes a favorite.

Everyone has a favorite anime. Some people can immediately tell you their absolute favorite series and some may give you their top five if they think about it for a few minutes. But as start to watch more and more anime, you eventually find a few series that stand out as favorites. From here, I can analyze specifically what an anime tends to bring to the table in order to become a favorite...but I don't want to do that today. I just want to celebrate that single moment when an anime becomes a favorite.

In January of 2018, I remember watching A Place Further than the Universe for the first time. The winter season had just started and A Place Further than the Universe was one of the first anime to air. I really didn't know what to expect going into the anime. It was an original series so there were no manga readers to hype it up. But in that opening scene, I watched Mari Tamaki wake up and then start crying because she felt like she was wasting her youth. From that one scene, I started to feel something.

Maybe it was the slow pace and the absence of music, or maybe it was the way that Mari was genuinely sad that her youth was finite, but from that scene I got a feeling that I had found an anime that would become my favorite. After every episode, I was on the brink of tears cheering on the girls as they pursued their adventure. I was telling everyone who would listen that A Place Further than the Universe was the best anime of the year...and the year had barely started.

Sometimes it doesn't take much for an anime to become someone's favorite. Sometimes you just know within the first few minutes and you just can't contain your excitement. And then there are times when an anime doesn't immediately strike you as special. It's not bad, but it doesn't seem to be phenomenal. There are anime that don't immediately grab you and declare that they are a force to be reckoned with. They linger around and slowly demonstrate their value before becoming a favorite.

Revue Starlight came out in the summer of 2018 and even though it wasn't a huge hit in the anime community, it left it's mark for a niche audience. I mean an anime about stage girls battling it out with swords and spears on a living stage while a talking giraffe watches is sure to make some kind of impact. It definitely caught my attention. I liked Revue Starlight...but it was not a favorite for me.

Revue Starlight was an anime that I loved watching as it was airing, and there were characters that I loved. Mahiru and Nana's story arcs were great. But in the end, I didn't really feel attached to it...and that's fine. Not every anime is going to be a masterpiece to everyone. (And maybe I was disappointed that no one ended up getting stabbed)

But as time went on, there were moments that made me think more about Revue Starlight. Maybe I'd see a post about it on Twitter or I'd be talking with a friend about my favorite "sword girls" and I'd mention Revue Starlight. It's an anime that just rattled around in my head and it started to grow on me. I've even been playing the new Revue Starlight gacha game and it reminded me how much I love those stage girls. It took time, but I would definitely call Revue Starlight one of my favorite anime series.

So there are some anime series that just hit you hard and become instant favorites and then there are some that require time to think about before they reveal their brilliance. But however it happens, it's such a good feeling. While I like watching anime, talking about anime with friends, and engaging with the anime community, it's awesome to find a new show to hype up.

We're currently in the middle of this year's Spring season and there's an anime that has stolen my heart. Ever since I watched Penguindrum, I've been a fan of Kunihiko Ikuhara and I've been eagerly awaiting his latest anime Sarazanmai. I had a feeling that I was going to like it, but so far I am loving it. I never would have thought that an anime about kappas pulling desire out of zombies' butts would hit me so hard in the feels. 

But seriously, that is what makes watching anime and discovering a favorite anime such a special feeling. Sometimes, you just don't know when you're going to find that diamond in the rough. It's what makes being an anime fan almost magical. I think at this point, you get the feeling that I'm talking about and I'm sure you've felt it a couple times yourself. If so, let me know what made you fall in love with your favorite anime, or tell me about a series that you didn't expect to love.

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