November & December Anime Watching Wrap-Up!

The last couple of months of 2020 were supremely intense for me, which is rather surprising considering that essentially the entire year was a hot mess of stress and chaos on a worldwide scale. Because I was juggling many different things, I wasn’t able to watch much anime. I ended up devoting a lot of my free time in re-watching comforting shows with semi-lengthy episode tallies (24 episodes or more), however. I did finish a couple of serials that brought me a wonderful sense of joy in the last few weeks of an awful eight months, give or take. So, while I consumed few titles, I still gained a relatively decent amount of satisfaction from what I was able to complete.

I don’t have reviews for up for any of the serials I shall be briefly chatting about today. My reviews and lists of reasons why y’all should check out most of the anime shared herein shall go live throughout the months of January and February. If you see something that fits your fancy, please click the anime title to visit the respective AniList pages. Everything is arranged from earliest to latest completion order.

Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine (シドニアの騎士第九惑星戦役)

The second season of this seinen, sci-fi, mecha series shows us what happens when political ambition combined with scientific genius collide in the midst of war. I loved this season more than I loved the first, which is astounding because I didn’t think the series could get better. The complexities of the two core elements I mentioned earlier, coming together to craft such a deeply engrossing narrative, coupled with some badass space battles, was all supremely mind-blowing. It all makes me even more enthusiastic and impatient for the season three film, which was initially supposed to release in 2020 but was pushed back due to the pandemic. My goal is to pick up the manga in a week or so with the hopes that it can satiate me enough to hold me over until that film finally gets its much-needed release. 10/10.

Speed Grapher (スピードグラファー)

This seinen, science-fiction, drama anime revolves around a war photographer that stumbles upon one of the biggest schemes of corruption and debauchery that the nation of Japan has ever had. He ends up meeting an individual that is smack dab in the centre of it all. Together they flee those that would force them to keep silent and to help maintain this corrupt bureaucratic structure.

This was a re-watch for me after about ten to eleven years (I was very new to anime when I first saw it) and I’m so glad that I decided to revisit it. Between my developed understanding of the anime medium, Japanese culture, and overall life experiences with always being perceived as an outsider for being different, the perspectives and comprehension of the themes from Speed Grapher were outstandingly riveting. Even though this series is very mature and even a bit too dark and salacious for many watchers, I think that is where it’s beauty lies as it’s the backbone of expressing governmental and corporate greed and corruption. It’s really quite brilliant. I shall be talking in more detail about it in a future review, but as it stands, I definitely recommend this to open-minded folx who like very mature-themed and cerebral anime titles. 8/10.

Snow White with the Red Hair Seasons 1 & 2 (赤髪の白雪姫)

A shōjo, historical romance anime about a young herbalist, or natural pharmacist, named Shirayuki. She is relatively known for her beautifully flowing bright red hair. When this unique quality catches the interest of the kingdom’s prince, he demands that she turn herself over to him as his concubine. Ticked off by his uncouth and entitled attitude, Shirayuki chops off her hair, leaving it behind in her humble shop as a gift for the prince, and then flees to the neighbouring country, where she encounters a dashingly handsome young man and his two childhood chums.

This was recommended to me by the fantabulous Lita when I asked for some feel-good, fluffy anime recommendations a few weeks ago. I’ll admit that I was hesitant at picking it up due to it being a romance. However, this anime ended up being one of the best things that I’ve seen in ages from the shōjo demographic. It was everything I needed. The show made me laugh, made me feel warm and fuzzy inside, gave me inspiration and hope, and helped me through an exceedingly difficult time. So, thank you so much, Lita, for recommending this incredible gem! If y’all want something to tickle your feel-good nerves,  then you’ve got to check this out. On the bonus side, it has exceptional scenery and animation. A full review shall hit the deck in mid-January. Meanwhile, I do have a detailed First Impressions you can visit. 8/10.

Golden Kamuy 3 (ゴールデンカムイ3)

A seinen, Japanese-style Western, historical anime series about a dude who returns from war with the promise of helping to take care of his dead friend’s wife. When he learns of an incredible hoard of gold, he sets out to find the pieces of the treasure map: tattoos on the bodies of the men who were imprisoned with one of the most ruthless criminals around.

I have screamed and shouted about this anime plenty of times, both here on the blog and over on my Twitter thingamabob. I just can’t get enough of it. Hell, I even used all of my holiday money in buying up every available volume of the manga that’s been released. There are many attributes to Golden Kamuy that I adore, but season three specifically takes every single one of those and steps it up notch after notch. The writing is so much better than ever. The suspense and the intrigue and the tension and the shifting allegiances—I want to scream because, goddamn, it’s brilliant.  Hands-down, Golden Kamuy is the only franchise in existence that I adore as much as I do Initial D and I’m so grateful for it. I cannot wait for the fourth season because it’s going to blow some fucking minds, mainly mine. A recommendation post for this anime shall go up later in January, so please keep an eye out. 10/10.

Japan Sinks: 2020 (日本沈没2020)

A seinen, science-fiction, disaster anime series about the island of Japan sinking into the ocean after being hit with a series of catastrophic earthquakes. This anime is an adaption of the 1970s novel, Japan Sinks by Sakyo Komatsu.

My First Impressions of this pretty much sums up most of my thoughts on this series excellently. The storytelling dynamic for this is wonderful but also terribly heart-breaking. My favourite aspects of the series consisted of how revealing it is of Japan as a nation in the modern-era, in a time of technology and cultural evolution within a society hellbent on preserving national identity. It’s amazingly contemplative, yet very difficult to watch at times. It’s also a tad bit strange in certain areas. Even so, I appreciated what it tried to accomplish and feel it does succeed in many ways. I look forward to talking about these things with more depth in a later review post. Until then, I’d say that it’s a good anime worth watching but please keep in mind that it’s not a happy tale. It is a story of hope and conviction, but not in the ways you want it to be. 7/10.

My January anime watching plans are a bit ambitious as with the start of a new year I want to watch anime more regularly and with more consistency, and I’d also like to review them more frequently on BiblioNyan. Plus, they really help with my creative flow and exercise, which I need to keep sharp as I continue to pursue my authorial aspirations. So, I raise my glass of hot cocoa to the next wrap-up being significantly longer!

What are some anime that you watched in the final weeks of 2020? Do you have a specific anime that is your go-to comfort watch?

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