What a start to 2023, ay?

I may not have been as active on social media or here on the blog. But I have been busy… I may have watched an anime or two! Wow! It’s almost as if that’s what I should have been doing anyway, no?

After a couple of years of watching less anime and reading less manga, I’ve decided to challenge myself a little bit. To get some anime under my belt once again, I’ve decided to try MyAnimeList’s annual Anime Watching Challenge! I may come to regret it when I’m super deep in it, but for now, I’m having a blast with it. That’s all I’ll say for now, as I’m sure I’ll cover it again soon.

Because of this challenge, I’m able to experience some popular anime I’ve missed over the years. I take some time out in the evenings, get cosy in bed and just watch anime. It’s a nice change of pace to spend some time for myself. No work, no video games, just me and some good (okay, that’s questionable) anime. It takes me back to the time when I would have watched anime on a nightly basis regardless of responsibilities…

I’ve also begun watching more anime with my friends! Although we did this a lot during lockdowns, especially to catch up with Attack on Titan, it’s been nice to dip my toes into series that have been on my PTW for far too long and have that social aspect as well. There’s always something a little different to watch, too…

But with all that said, let’s get down to business! Let’s see what anime I’ve watched in 2023 (so far!)

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This 2010 anime is classed as a classic by now, surely? Which is why I’m still surprised that I hadn’t seen it yet. I knew it had an amazing cast and a great OP… so why did I not press play?

Whatever the reason, that’s been overridden. I began watching Durarara! with my friends and, although I’ve since decided to watch it at my own pace, I’m loving it! The humour, the chaos… The animation, the voice acting… It’s perfect so far!

I’ve been loving watching Daisuke Ono’s performance as Shizuo… surprising nobody, I’m sure! With a cast full of my favourite voice actors including Mamoru Miyano and Kamiya Hiroshi, I know that great performances are abundant.

I’m only halfway through the first season at the moment, but it’s one to revisit later on the blog.

Land of the Lustrous

The award for the best-looking anime I’ve seen this year so far goes to Land of the Lustrous. I won’t accept any arguments.

That said, the show itself was kinda disappointing. The animation and character designs were great, but they weren’t enough to carry a show with a mediocre plot. I finished Land of the Lustrous with so many more questions than I would have liked. Especially so considering the actual plot of the show was the stereotypical story of overcoming challenges.

I have been told that the manga is better, however, so maybe one day I’ll try reading it instead. Although you can bet that I’ll still recommend this show the next time someone tells me they dislike CGI animation.

Baoh: The Visitor

Writing this paragraph in March, I can barely remember this. What even happened in Baoh: The Visitor, an OVA I watched with friends back in January? I think it was the first anime I watched this year!

Written by Araki Hirohiko (yes, the same one that brought us JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure), it was quite frankly… insane. There’s an evil organisation – Doress – who implanted a parasite into the body of a young man named Ikuroo. This parasite is known as Baoh. Baoh makes Ikuroo immortal and he’s able to transform into a powerful beast when he’s in a spot of trouble. Doress intend on using him for achieving world domination. However, a young psychic girl called Sumire sets him free and they both run away from Doress.

There’s a lot of gore and fighting, as you might expect from a show about an immortal parasitic beast. It’s also very 80s if you get what I mean. Entertaining for sure, but not on the same level as JoJo’s.

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11-nin Iru!

This was sold to me as “anime Among Us“. Honestly? It’s not exactly too far from the truth.

Known in English as They Were Eleven. It follows Lane Tadatos as he reaches the final stages of the entrance exam of Cosmo Academy. Cosmo Academy is the most elite school in existence with graduates practically guaranteed any job they desire. Participants are sent to the Esperanza, a stranded ship, in a group of ten. The final test is to survive 53 days on the ship without any means of communication with the outside.

The Among Us aspect of the series comes from the fact that the group discovers that there aren’t ten of them, but eleven! The group thus begins a mission to find the hidden impostor.

11-nin Iru! has an interesting premise, but it wasn’t exactly as exciting as I anticipated. If you’re wanting a mystery show to really get into, this isn’t it. There are no clues to help you as the viewer to figure out who the impostor is. Nor is the urgency the group has to find the impstor realistically shared with the viewer.

It does have some good points, however. These involve certain characters and their development throughout the movie, which is always a plus in my eyes. However, this wasn’t enough to pull the movie up from “fine” to “good”. Not a bad watch by any means, but also… not great.

Ajin: Demi-Human

The first anime I watched as part of my small Anime Challenge this year was Ajin. Ajin is a supernatural action show by Polygon Pictures from 2016.

I’ve always felt like Ajin would be a good fit for me. I love supernatural shows, as noted by the number of shows I’ve seen that have vampires, demons or yokai. I love action shows and the excitement they bring. But there was something about Ajin that just… didn’t meet the mark.

Perhaps it’s because I stopped after the first cour, but something about the show just didn’t click with me. It certainly wasn’t because of the CG – I actually quite like watching CG shows! – but I can’t figure out just yet, why it didn’t click with me… I’m leaning towards the lack of an exciting protagonist, but I couldn’t say for sure.

Maybe I need to watch the second cour to help me figure this out.

Human Lost

Loosely based on Osamu Dazai’s No Longer Human, this is a psychological movie from Polygon Pictures. Set in Japan after a devastating war, there is now a centralized network known as SHELL. SHELL stands for Sound Health Everlasting Long Life. This network became the basis of a new society. A society free of disease, but where civilians have to work 19 hours a day. When someone disconnects from the network, they become ‘Lost’. This means they transform into monsters that need to be destroyed or society collapses for good.

Factory worker Takeichi and unknown painter Youzou Ooba plan to siege the government in protest against their inhumane living conditions. When their operation inevitably fails, however, Takeichi is left with a body beyond repair and Youzou follows suit. In the fight that follows, a member of the dispatch team, Yoshiko Hiiragi, discovers that Youzou can turn back into a human. The third known person to have survived after becoming a Lost unit, he follows Yoshiko in investigating the Lost phenomenon.

Well, this certainly proved to be a controversial one to host as a community watch party! With a MyAnimeList score of 5.81, I knew it would be. But… let’s just say I’m in the minority of people that liked it.

Fortune Arterial: Akai Yakusoku

A surprising pick considering the type of anime I’m known to watch? Maybe. But Fortune Arterial is the third title from my Anime Challenge for this year.

Fortune Arterial‘s story is centred around Kohei Hasekura who transfers into a prestigious public school. Situated on an island, the only way to get there is by boat. But Kohei’s reason for transferring here wasn’t because of the location. His reason for transferring was simply because the entire student body lives in dormitories. He makes friends fairly quickly and days go by fairly normally, with all sorts of pranks and quirks included. However, it turns out that one student, in particular, has a secret…

I’m only a few episodes into this visual novel adaptation. I’m not expecting a masterpiece. I will admit, though, it’s been a while since I’ve delved into this sort of series. It has been quite refreshing so far. The characters are as generic as they come, but I can’t say I expected anything different.

So… what next?

It’s an aim of mine to do a post like this regularly. I may still do full-length reviews of some things featured in these lists. But these posts are a way of keeping me accountable about what anime I’ve watched! Not only will it challenge me to actually watch things, but it makes me write on here too. (We do not talk about the state of my drafts right now…)

These, at times, may be shorter than my usual posts. That said, I hope it adds a bit more of a personal touch too. I feel like I get in the mindset of not posting anything on the blog because it’s “not professional” enough. That completely goes against my roots. I started the blog to share my opinions, after all! So I’m hoping, by writing more personally, it channels some of the AGAHA from 2016. I hope that’s okay!

What have you been watching in 2023 so far? Let me know in the comments below!

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