We’re ringing in the new year with a fond look back at the old! 2017 may have been a dumpster fire in the real world, but it was full of ambitious, entertaining, and emotional stories in the anime-verse. Our staff got together to recommend their favorites from the last 12 months.
Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju is the kind of anime that makes you proud to be an anime fan. It is a thematically satisfying and well-written story, boasting both sweeping historical drama and funny, engaging characters, excelling in visual direction and voice acting alike. In a few years we’ll be talking about it in the same bracket as classics like Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell, part of the rare selection of anime you can comfortably show someone outside fandom without caveats.
I’m very pleased to announce that Chatty AF is now available on iTunes and Stitcher! Unfortunately, Google has regional restrictions getting in the way of us getting on Google Play, but we are available through Player.FM, which offers a free app Android users can access. If there is another service you would like us to apply to, let us know in comments! We want all of you to be able to go back and catch up on the shows you’ve missed.
Now we’ve reviewed all the Spring 2017 premieres, we thought we’d round up some of our favourites from shows that ended last season. We talked about three kinds of recommendation: Feminist-friendly favourite (you would recommend it to a feminist friend with no caveats) Problematic favourite (you would only recommend it to a feminist friend with caveats) Surprise favourite (you expected it to have caveats, but actually would recommend it without) Just so you know, every one of us would have picked Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju for the feminist-friendly favourite. (For those who loved it as much as we do, we highly recommend our own Dee’s insightful episode recaps for both seasons.) To give you a more diverse selection, I asked that only one person cover Rakugo and that the rest come up with other options – easily done, since we all had other anime from the season that we had loved. Here’s what a few of the team thought – let us know your picks in the comments!
“It’s not a kind of rakugo I can do. The more I hear, the more uncomfortable I get… Never mind it. I have my own rakugo.”
“Trying to be the playboy isn’t me. I want to be the most beautiful woman in town, who seduces the playboy!”
This year we’ve had the pleasure to see a pair of top-notch anime, Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju and Yuri!!! on Ice, deal with gendered expectations in two very different spheres: 1940s Japanese rakugo and modern-day world figure skating. Along the way, both series have challenged cultural expectations about how men should or shouldn’t act, and shown why it’s important to cast aside restrictive gender roles and play to our own strengths.