When an Anime Becomes a Keeper

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Probably due to crazy amount of work that’s always accompanies the end of school, I’ve noticed the pace of releases for several spring shows that I’ve been following has slowed. I’m not one of those people that get angry when a sub shows up “late” – I realize people have lives; however, I still start to miss my weekly fix.

So last night, I found myself rewatching a couple of episodes from series I was really wanting to see new episodes from and then I went to a couple other shows that I just felt like rewatching. After the third different show, I realized my random watching of episodes from the different series were not random at all.

To best explain what I mean, let me first explain how I file my anime episodes. I’ve got a folder called “anime” where, as you could probably guess, I keep the anime I’m currently watching. Series that I’m following or have recently finished have their own folder within “anime” but not every show I’m following has it’s own folder. I don’t want to expend the energy to make tons of folders, especially if some are made for shows that I’ll drop in the future. Therefore, when I give a show it’s own folder, that’s my personal way of saying this show is a keeper and I’m going to follow it to the end. Merely being watchable or good isn’t enough to warrant a folder.

Since instituting this policy I’ve mentally catalogued how a show earns a folder and when. I’ve kicked around the idea of mentioning when I do a series review when a show earns a folder but how early a show earns a folder doesn’t always correlate well with the final score of a show.

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So, getting back to the point of this post, what I was doing last night, without noticing it at first, was actually watching the episodes that got these shows their folder. In the case of Cross Game, I rewatched (for the fifth time) episode 1. The mastery shown throughout this episode in terms of story telling and character development would have easily earned it a folder but there was one scene in particular that so completely blew me away that I knew I was watching a masterpiece in the making. The scene in question was towards the end when we see the bully, Akaishi, in mourning. It’s hard for me to describe exactly why this scene is so great when I know it is; maybe it’s how with only silent tears and a bowed head I could feel in my bones, with complete certainty, just how sad he is.

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The next episode I popped in was episode 2 of Sengoku Basara. (Yeah, I know I have odd watching habits.) Once again this was the episode that earned Sengoku Basara it’s folder. I loved the tone of the first episode – outlandish manliness that approached being overly absurd but stopping just short and at the same time knowing not to take itself too seriously. It replicated one of the ways the Gurren Lagann was awesome and I really wanted to see it continue but I wasn’t sure if it could. Episode 2 as a whole convinced me that I was going to love this show but one scene in particular sealed the deal – the one where Takeda, standing on the backs of two horses and brandishing a huge axe, invades a castle by riding up the nearly vertical side of the castle’s walls. This is completely impossible in real life but it was the coolest thing I’ve seen in anime for awhile. It was the perfect blend of awesomeness, hilarity, and manly coolness.

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The next two episodes I watched were episode 5 of Hatsukoi Limited and episode 4 of Natsu no Arashi. Both of these had recent episodes that I watched but I just felt like watching these older episodes another time. As I mentioned above, about this time I realized that I just happened to be watching the episodes that got these shows their folders. In both cases, these episodes convinced me that the reasons why I had been enjoying them were not transitory reasons and that I could trust the animators to continue to impress me with these shows. For Hatsukoi Limited, I liked the different stories, the characters, and how the two are intertwined. For Natsu no Arashi, I liked the mix of comedy between a good cast of characters and the more serious parts when Arashi travels back to 1945.

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Through 4 episodes, Ristorante Paradiso hasn’t quite earned a folder yet, but it’s really close.

This anime season has been an odd one in many ways. For starters, most of my top shows are shows that I wasn’t going to watch or didn’t think they’d be at the top. In relation to the topic of this post, another strange thing has been the number of shows that haven’t been dropped or have earned folders this late into the season. I’m just about ready to do my summer anime preview post and more then half of the spring shows that I’m following are still folderless. This is partly a result of these shows not being compelling enough, one way or the other, to get me to watch more then a few episodes. So when I do have time to watch anime like last night, I watched those four episodes of anime instead of watching the backlog of spring shows I have. And I really should try to catch up since there seems to be several winners in the upcoming season and I’d like to be ready for them.

If people are interested, I could talk about other shows and at what point I decided they were keepers. I am curious if anyone else out there has a similar system when watching anime and if you do, would the episodes and scenes I mention correspond with your own experiences.

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7 thoughts on “When an Anime Becomes a Keeper”

  1. My my, this is quite an interesting system and it says quite a lot about the current season, heh. I don’t even categorize my anime at all, so all I do is giving grades on MAL.

    Now, I suppose I should give Natsu no Arashi a second chance, I barely watched 5 minutes of it so far.

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  2. This sounds pretty similar to the folder system we keep, although we’ve got 2 main folders to hold unsorted files, [New Stuff] (the brackets keep it at the top of the listing), and a second one for all the extra things I end up watching that my husband and his friends would never be interested in (which sadly, Sengoku Basara is one of them :/). Only series that we end up really interested in and/or reshowing to friends ends up with a folder of its own (and I keep my own folders for the rare series I really loved enough on my own to rewatch later).

    After the series is over, the list gets culled again, and the few folders we really can’t bear to part with become subdirectories of a Completed folder for housekeeping.

    However, in terms of series that are being watched by us this season, I fear that Sengoku is the only series we have in common with this list. We haven’t been watching too much this season beyond really obvious choices like K-On, 07 Ghost, Guin Saga, and Eden of the East. Actually, that with Hayate, is pretty much our list. I’ve been watching Sengoku and Hanasakaseru Seishounen on my own, but my watching of the latter is starting to be one of habit rather than real entertainment. I’ve spent more time lately going back and reading more of my Japanese light novels instead.

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  3. im glad u decided on picking up on cross game……as good as eden of the east has been its only 11 ep and the conclusion is not gona be reviled until the movie comes out and thats a long time from now for us sub watchers……….any way because of those factors and the fact that i like slice of life a bit more than mystery i have to say cross game is my favorite this season……

    its the subtle things the show does that makes it so good, the character interactions, the development, everything it really is a good show i hope it runs as long as touch did or at least H2………

    btw ill take personal credit for the fact that steel picked up on cross game….lol j/k

    i am however checking out natsu no arashi because of u at first i only gave the show about thirty seconds but after watching the first ep and getting used to the art style it looks really good

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  4. @JayyG: yes you do get credit for me picking up Cross Game. My sister is also loving the show.

    @Sasa: If you don’t like episode 1 of Natsu no Arashi, episode 2 is a much better representation of the show.

    @PU-36PlotDevice: Yeah, I didn’t mention it but I also have a completed folder with all the stuff I can’t bare to be parted with.

    Have you given Phantom a shot yet?

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  5. id really know why natsu no arashi started of the series with that ep about the strawberries…………the show is so good….past that first ep…..well its thanks to the null set that i picked it up so thank u……

    and yes phantom is a bad ass show…..it is also getting really good

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  6. I don’t make folders for anime because I delete it after watching.

    As for the deciding factor, the first couple of the episodes are usually sufficient for me to make a decision about watching the series till the end.

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  7. I usually with hold final judgment until I’ve seen the ending of a series. But after a few episodes, it is very easy to tell whether it has held my interest or not. A lot of anime I’ve just plodded through because I was hoping the ending was majestic enough to payback for the beginning. In most cases, that has been true. In some cases, not so much. More recent anime have been VERY interesting and fun in the beginning episodes. Something I had not seen in older series.

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