“Memories and Dreams” is a new collection of posts I’m beginning as I pick up blogging more – they’ll be a chance for me to reflect on the past (memories) and look ahead to the future (dreams). Although these posts won’t be something I write consistently, they’ll likely be a bit more personal as I think about where I’ve been, and where I’m headed. This first post is a short reflection on my time watching anime in 2016, before looking ahead to anime, writing, and other goals I’m setting for myself in 2017; I hope you all enjoy it!
It’s a bit crazy to look back to the beginning of 2016 a year ago and see how much has changed in my life since then. I had finished up a round of job interviews before Christmas time, but I was still unemployed and out of school so I was basically watching anime all the time (or at least was trying to); now I’ve been working for 8 months and somehow manage living on my own. But it’s not just challenges in real-life stuff like figuring out how to adult properly (spoilers, I still don’t know how to adult properly); it’s honestly hard to believe how much has changed for me in my passion for anime in just a year. Even looking at the differences between what shows I was watching then compared to now is sort of wild: to think it’s only been a year since keeping up with r/anime’s rewatches of Nichijou, Haruhi, and Toradora; burning through Railgun and Oregairu S1 (when it wasn’t completely destroying me emotionally); and finishing up my first seasonal watches (Noragami, Owari as the gems, and Sakurako-san and K: Return of Kings as the, er, not-gems). Things are so different now – I watch a lot more seasonal shows (or, well, I say I’m going to and then on-hold half of them during the season), rush through bundles of 2 or 3 shows, and then drag out another 40ish shows for 6+ months. And going beyond what I watch and how I watch it, I also have such a different perspective while watching shows now – I’m simply not the same anime fan I was 12 months ago.
And I think that’s a good thing! I’ve really seen myself mature as a watcher, and as a person over this past year. Things really changed in life for me, with the whole getting a job and moving out on my own thing. My time is more limited, and therefore every minute I get to watch anime is more precious to me – there are so many shows to get through, and so little time to do so. And on top of that, all of the new shows airing every season, combined with older shows to watch as well, mean it’s an overwhelming task to simply stay afloat in everything I’m watching. I’ve grown more comfortable with this over time, through multiple cycles of strict watching decisions to “well just watch whatever” – and as I usually am with most things in life, my ideal spot is almost certainly somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. Looking back to winter season and the start of spring season, I kept so many post-it notes with how shows were airing on certain days and how I wanted to budget time to different shows – mind you, I had MAL at this point so all of this was SO far beyond simply keeping track of what I was watching or had seen. And all of this was for the insane goal of “well I wanna watch a month’s worth of anime this year so 4 episodes a day it is!” Man, I don’t even think that make it out of January! All of that was thrown out the window when I started working – I certainly kept up on tons of seasonal anime that spring, but it took a lot of effort to do so. It’s a hard task to commit time to something at the expense of something else, and it’s something I still struggle with as I spend many nights looking indecisively at my computer for HOURS.
But even within the past few months things have changed so much – I’ve definitely been affected (in a good way) by all the anitwitter folks I’ve started following in the past month or so (and of course those I had been following before then), and 12 Days of Anime clearly had a massive impact on me expressing my own thoughts on anime, not just through a blog but on twitter and elsewhere as well. Considering that in the past I’d say things like “oh I’m sure I could talk about [x] for ages” and then be unable to convert what I felt into actual words, writing for 12 Days was a massive success for me – I got posts out on every day without fail despite multiple 2am panics of “should I really try to go forward with this post” (and one of those panics turned into my Planetarian writeup, one of my favorite posts from the whole 2 weeks). With these recent things in mind, I’m hoping that I can set goals for myself over this next year and intentionally pursue after them – in the past dreams I created at the new year were more vague and open-ended, but I’d like to set more definitive goals to pursue after in addition to the themes I strive after in my personal life. So with all of that together, let’s get started on the first goal after the jump…
Blog Goal 1 – Blog (or express in some form) personal thoughts on anime on a consistent basis
One of the things I really took away from 12 Days of Anime was how rewarding it felt to compile a complete post of my thoughts on an anime related topic, whether that post was an analysis of animation, a reflection on themes, or something else entirely. Though I had been uneasy about starting a blog – “what if my thoughts are objectively bad” was a common worry of mine (and it’s definitely still around) – I felt a sense of achievement from feeling like I created something with my writing. Even if no one really reads my writing, that feeling is totally worth writing more for. So with that, I’m starting off with the goal of writing twice a week, with posts tentatively coming out on Thursdays and Sundays (although that may change to something like Tuesday/Saturday, who knows). That goal may need to be adjusted to three posts per two weeks, or even less, but for now I’m pressing forward with a concrete vision for writing and sharing my thoughts more broadly than I’ve ever been able to. And I personally want to find consistent days to share my posts – having days where I can say “alright, I’m gonna sit down and write a post today” means I can be more regular about getting writing done, and then people who start following me know on their own end when they can expect a new piece from me. It’s a win-win! (thanks Inksquid for reminding me what show that video came from!)
Blog Goal 2 – Complete episode writeups for at least 2 series
One of my two “sub-goals” for blogging, I’d like to complete episodic writeups on two different shows on a weekly basis over the next year. And, I actually already know the first one I’m gonna do! Following the post I did on its opening episode for Day 2 of 12 Days, I’m gonna write episodic posts for the rest of AKB0048 – it’s a series I’ve enjoyed greatly so far and I’m looking forward to writing more about it. I haven’t yet picked the second show to write about, but I’d like to pick a 2-cour long show that I’ve already seen that doesn’t get much episodic writing. The iDOLM@STER is an early favorite, but with likely around half a year to when I’d start those posts I could end up choosing anything!
Blog Goal 3 – Write an analysis of a scene or sequence at least once a month
For my other blogging “sub-goal”, I’d like to write more about the construction of specific sequences or scenes from some of my favorite shows and how those sequences can be emotionally effective as a result. I also did this for 12 Days in my Day 1 post about the Kumiko/Reina sequence from episode 9 of Hibike! Euphonium 2, and I’d like to do one post like this a month. It’s a more challenging type of post because of its more analytical nature, but it’s honestly a lot of fun to look at these sequences in depth – and if I’m already watching stuff like that Reina clip 50+ times when it’s shared on twitter, might as well write about it!
Anime Goal 1 – Kizumonogatari Part 3 as Completed Anime #200, Hunter x Hunter as Completed Anime #250
Madoka’s third film Rebellion was my 100th completed anime last year, and given my love for the original series it was an excellent choice for hitting that milestone in anime-watching. As I currently sit at 177 completed series on MAL, I’d like to have the final Kizumonogatari film as my 200th completed anime (Monogatari being one of my all-time favorite series) and Hunter x Hunter as #250 (to hit that milestone with a fairly significant show). That means I have 29 shows to finish between now and presumably late February/early March, and I’ll need to watch 4 episodes of HxH for every completed show between #213 and #249 (which is actually a fairly easy way to get that show done). The second goal may stretch into 2018, but both of these are set and I’m excited to hit these upcoming milestones!
Anime Goal 2 – Watch at least 5 shows from before 2006, and at least 3 from before 2000
So, the vast majority of the shows I’ve seen have been from the past 6 or 7 years, which is quite honestly a bit ridiculous. I may prefer the newer visual styles and animation, but that doesn’t mean that older shows are any worse! So I’m going ahead and challenging myself to watch some of the classics – I’ve already started on this with Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995) and Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha (2004), and I’m open to recommendations for other shows to include in this set as well, so let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions!
Anime Goal 3 – Rewatch at least 5 shows
I watch LOTS of seasonal anime, as well as other completed shows that I feel either a “need” to complete or simply seem enjoyable to watch. But as my completed list has grown longer, so also has the time since I’ve watched some of the first shows I watched when I got into anime. So this year, I’m hoping to revisit some old favorites and other shows where themes and stories may have gone over my head – both Madoka Magica and Psycho-Pass will be a part of this goal for sure, with other rewatches to be determined. I’d definitely like to revisit some 2016 shows that I enjoyed but wasn’t quite 100% sure how I felt about them – Kiznaiver above is one show I enjoyed and thought was very good, but I’d like to revisit it and see how my feelings hold up on a second viewing.
A Final Goal – Become more involved with the anime community on twitter
My final goal for this year that is less concrete than the rest, but I think it is probably the most important to me personally. I’ve realized over the past few months of following many people on twitter that I honestly love the anitwitter community, or at least the part of it that I can see. It’s such a positive group of wildly different personalities, and it’s one that I would consider myself so fortunate to join and be a part of. Up to now I’ve always been that twitter person that likes/favorites every other tweet (to everyone who knows me because of that, i’m so sorry), but I want to do a better job of responding and replying to people on Twitter rather than just hitting that heart button for yet another time. I don’t always have the words to respond, but I want to do a better job talking with people and getting to know them, and in turn I hope that others might be able to get to know me better. And it’s important for me to remember that I am the one responsible for replying to people and starting conversations and getting to know people better – I can’t sit around and expect someone else to start conversations or to reach out to me or whatever. I need to be active and initiating in conversations, because waiting for someone to reach out to me could leave me holding out forever for a message that’ll never come.
All of that is honestly pretty tough for me to do, since I’m not the type of person who easily steps out so vulnerably like that. And I feel awkward even admitting this whole thing, because like I guess it feels weird to state so openly that I want others to be my friend, or that I want to be a friend to others? But I think it’s a sign of how much the community has meant to me even as I’ve skirted around the perimeter of that group for so long. So, I’m hoping this year will be a step out of my comfort zone and into the anitwitter community, into that group that has just been such a positive force for me even as I haven’t been a direct part of it. If I must put something concrete down for this, I hope that I can make just one new friend in that community, that I can get to know one single person and be thankful for how I stepped out of my own shell to befriend them. It may seem like a low bar, but I’d rather cherish one solid friendship than seek out as many halfhearted friendships as possible over the next 12 months.
To everyone still reading, thanks a lot for making it all the way to here! If you have any thoughts, I’d love to hear them in the comments below or on twitter – I’ll do my best to respond to any comments or replies I see. And of course, I’d love to have you join me as I begin a new journey forward into 2017, so please check back as I take the first step into an exciting new year!