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.
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.
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.
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.
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.