For this last day of my look back at 2016 and anime, I have to cover another item that’s not really a moment, but, was important to me.
A year ago, at the start of 2016, my Mom was about halfway through her chemo and it was kicking her down like it was supposed to. She didn’t have much energy, so, I had taken it upon myself to cook dinner for her to make sure she’d get at least one full meal each day. She spent so much of her day on the couch that, while eating, I’d put on a new-to-her show to watch.
We plowed through many shows this way. I’d already gotten her hooked on Doctor Who so we went and watched a good sized chunk of classic Doctor Who. She likes detective shows and has a warm spot for British TV so we watched the original Broadchurch, Rosemary & Thyme, a couple seasons of Father Brown, Whitechapel, and Inspector Lewis.
I started running out of shows to show her.
There was one area of shows that I have a large knowledge of that my Mom was unfamiliar with – anime. She wasn’t wholly unfamiliar with anime. She’s seen just about every Miyazaki movie and a few others like Satoshi Kon’s Millennium Actress and Tokyo Godfathers as well as Masahiro Andou’s Sword of the Stranger. Those last three she watched subtitled. As a result of this, I was fairly confident that, if I picked the right series, she’d like watching anime series as well. The question was were to begin.
I thought and thought and thought some more and I finally decided on Silver Spoon. It was cute and relaxing while also having a bit of solid heft to it. I held my breath as we started watching it and only exhaled as we neared the end of the first season because I realized my Mom was actually enjoying Silver Spoon and not just being polite about it. You know how moms are. From there we watched Erased, Ore Monogatari, Gakkougurashi! (School-Live!), Natsume’s Book of Friends, Steins;Gate, Death Parade, Ushio and Tora, and – most recently – Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
Some observations from my anime watching with her:
- She’s read one manga – Yotsuba – and was disappointed to learn that there was no anime for it. Do you hear me Japan? It’s way past time to make a Yotsuba anime, preferably animated by Kyoto Animation.
- Her favorite series at this point is Gakkougurashi! (School-Live!).
- A close second is Natsume’s Book of Friends which I picked to watch before finding out about the fifth season that aired last year.
- The fifth season of Natsume’s Book of Friends was the first anime she watched weekly as it came out and it killed her to have to wait for the next episode.
- One of her overall favorite characters is Nyanko-sensei from Natsume’s Book of Friends.
- The show she least liked was Death Parade because the ending resolved so little, but, she was still glad to have watched it.
- Without prompting, she told me she really liked the art style of Puella Magi Madoka Magica. I was worried it’d look too weird to her, but, she was an art major in college and that might help explain it.
- One of my favorite moments, so far, was when the reveal of the murder in the first episode of Erased caused my Mom to loudly gasp in surprise. Erased was the second anime we watched together and I knew at this point that I’d gotten her hooked on anime.
- Probably the biggest constraint I’m having in coming up with anime for her is she likes shows with a clear climax and ending because so much of anime is partial adaptations of manga, light novels, etc.
- The second most constraining factor is levels of fan service. She hasn’t voiced a preference on this, but, I figure there’s little chance that she’d be okay with a series like Bakemonogatari or Shokugeki no Soma and haven’t tried series that fall into this group.
- Having someone fresh to anime has given me a good excuse to revisit several of my favorite anime series.
So, as we begin rolling through 2017, the anime experiment of 2016 with my Mom has been a success. She’s now bugging me about what will be the next anime we watch.
And with that I finished my 8 day look back at 2016. I’m going to try to watch enough anime in 2017 to do the traditional 12 Days of Anime next year. I’m also going to try to post more often in 2017 as well.