The real reason I’m writing this post is so that I have an excuse to post a few pictures from the summer vacation I just got back from; but, I’m going to cover up the off-topic nature of this post by talking about a couple of thoughts I had about anime while on vacation and upon coming back.
Once again I spent my summer vacation relaxing in a beachfront home along the coast of Lake Erie. The location was so perfect, literally spitting distance from the shore, that we didn’t mind that the house lacked air-con.
Just about every house one can rent for vacation nowadays advertises that they have internet service but what they define as “internet service” is always an interesting surprise. This house had no landline phone or any sort of router that I could find but there was a wireless network my laptop found that I was able to connect too. I didn’t feel comfortable feeding this connection any of my various account names and passwords so I wasn’t able to blog or post comments but I did feel comfortable enough to fire Azureus up and continue grabbing anime that I wanted to watch. (I’m not sure what that says about me but I’m sure it means something.)
Very quickly I realized that it was going to be impossible keeping up with the 20 or so anime series I’m watching right now. There was important vacation related activities – like swimming at the beach, watching gorgeous sunsets, looking for beach glass, relaxing on the patio, marveling at all the stars that one can see outside of a city, etc – that limited the time that I was willing to sit down to watch anime. Also, the internet connection was junk; I felt that I time-traveled back to the dial-up days. It took forever for a single episode of anything to download.
This naturally forced me to decide which anime I’m watching right now was worth it and the ones I couldn’t live without was sometimes a surprise to me. The anime series continuing from spring that I had to keep up with were three: Steins;Gate, Nichijou, Tiger & Bunny. No surprises there – Steins;Gate is All-Time Top 10 bound if it doesn’t fumble the ending, Nichijou is the best comedy series by KyoAni ever, and Tiger & Bunny has finally gotten serious about showing it’s full potential and it’s been a nail-biting ride (I hope it continues). Hyouge Mono would probably be in this category but it’s been forever since a new episode has been subbed so I don’t know for sure. Of the continuing spring series there was two series that I found that I could wait till after coming back from vacation to watch – Ao no Exorcist and Hanasaku Iroha. I like both of these series a lot but if I’m being critical I know why neither anime got watched. The fight in episode 15 of Ao no Exorcist currently feels like the high point of the series with it treading water since then and I’m not sure if A-1 can make the ending top that episode. As an original work, there is no excuse for pacing issues but Hanasaku Iroha continues to stubbornly stick to being completely random even after 19 episodes and there’s really no compelling reason to why it needs to watched as soon as possible.
Of the new summer series only Natsume Yuujinchou Season 3, Mayo Chiki, and Dantalian no Shoka made the cut. No surprise with Natsume, it’s one of my favorite series of all-time and the location – near the lake with the sound of waves lapping the beach in the background – actually enhanced my viewing experience. Mayo Chiki continues to remain surprisingly engrossing and the best new comedy/fan service series this season. I’m starting to conclude that Dantalian no Shoka will not be among the best series this season but will continue to be an interesting anime to watch.
Two of the new summer series – Mawaru Penguindrum and Ikoku Meiro no Croisee – I dearly wanted to watch but the former didn’t air that week and my preferred subbers of the latter were slow (which was okay, I understand stuff happens but going through a Yune withdrawal is a painful experience). I initially didn’t think I’d miss either series as much as I did but I guess there’s truth in that saying about absence making the heart grow fonder.
This left a pile of new anime series that I didn’t watch that waited for my return home; including, R-15, Nekogami Yaoyorozu, Sacred Seven, Yuruyuri, Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi, Kamisama no Memo-chou, Blood-C, and Kamisama Dolls. There’s some good stuff on this pile but not good enough to get me to drop all the important vacation stuff I was doing. Speaking of which, while watching an awesome sunset, I got into a discussion about the best type of sunset. I argued that a sunset under partly cloudy conditions was the best type of sunset and clearly superior to a cloudless sunset but I was in the presence of someone who held the opposite. Neither of us was particularly serious but I thought this would make a good poll question that I could ask an impartial audience such as those reading this blog to answer. To help make the decision easier, I’ll include pictures I took of both types of sunsets while on vacation this year and you can vote below. 🙂
Partly Cloudy Sunset(s)
Thanks for the vote. The rest of the vacation was pretty typical vacation stuff. On the clear nights I saw a fair amount of Perseid meteors leading up to the peak night but I got clouded out on the peak night itself. There were a couple of storms that blew through which made for interesting viewing on how the coastline can quickly change and I even got to see several lightning strikes out over Lake Erie at night and was mesmerized at how bright and crisp they looked. However, the most exciting thing that happened during the vacation was when a P-51D Mustang buzzed the house. In the pictures below you can see how the house sits in relation to the lake. The P-51 flew past at the same level as the first story windows and only about 75-100 feet from shore. It was really bookin’ it; a blink and I would have missed it. Thankfully I was looking outside when I first heard the engine growling towards me, though I almost missed it because I was looking up for it. I never thought I’d actually see a P-51 in-flight. Growing up I went through a phase where I learned everything I could about WWII and, even today, the P-51 has remained my favorite plane of the era.
Vacations always end and before I knew it, I was back home and all the anime that I left alone was staring back at me wanting to get watched now. I was tempted to drop many of the lower quality series because I have a hard enough time psyching myself to watch the weekly R-15 or Sacred Seven but for a couple of these series I had two episodes to get too and for the others I knew another episode was just a few days away at best. All without my normal trick of layering together the better series with the poorer series because I’d watched all the really good ones. In the end, I trudged through telling myself that if I got through these series I would get to rate them as low as they deserve. And I was left with a bigger appreciation of how seeking balance is sometimes the right thing to do.
In closing, I’m back home with my high-speed DSL connection and the light pollution that washes out most stars at night and a clear anime backlog.