When it comes to our collective zeitgeist about Winter 2019 in anime, it’s really “two rings to rule them all”. The same pair of series have dominated the weekly rankings from the first, and there’s no indication that will – or should – change anytime soon. The only real question is which one of them will reign supreme in any given week, and they’ve fought more or less to a draw on that front (though in an interesting twist, the one taking the top spot this week got no 1st place votes). But it’s notable that a series which broke into the poll for the first time last week rose to third this time, the first indication this season of a third show garnering real momentum.
This week’s Dark Horse segment gives Pancakes the chance to highlight a series that’s passed largely under the radar and generated some widely divergent opinion. And our crack(ed) staff weighs in with some reminiscences about our favorite (“favourite” for Zaiden, Passerby and Pancakes) series to blog, and what made it so special to us.
Without further ado, here are this week’s intriguing results:
Weekly Staff Poll
Dororo (2018) – 16 points
Mob Psycho 100 II – 13 points (2 first place votes)
Boogiepop wa Warawanai – 7 (1)
Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai – Tensai-tachi no Ren’ai Zunousen – 7 (1)
Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue. – 4
Pancakes’ Dark Horse
- Pancakes’ Dark Horse Series: Kemurikusa – Although a little early to drawing conclusions, Kemurikusa is quickly becoming my dark horse of the season. The show for me melds the best of the “show, don’t tell” approach with magic infused post-apocalyptic imagery, offering up a world as mysterious as it is intriguing, and with just enough explanation to keep you hooked wanting to know more. While a good degree of (subjective) annoyance lies under this surface—Wakaba and your personality I’m looking at you—the show has slowly but surely matured on this front, with its characters coming into their own and their quirks starting to fit into the greater puzzle of Kemurikusa’s story. Much like director Tatsuki’s earlier sleeper hit Kemono Friends, Kemurikusa likely won’t reveal its full hand until very end, but when it does I firmly believe the answers will easily be worth the price of admission. It may only be bound in the end to be a niche sci-fi series, but Kemurikusa is the latest example proving why you should never judge a book by its cover. Sometimes the results can prove surprising.
Ask The Writers
What was your favo(u)rite series ever to blog – and why?
- Enzo: There are a couple of shows that pop into mind for me here. One of them is Ginga e Kickoff, which was a blast because literally no one else was covering it and I had a small but fanatical cadre of fans who loved it as much as I did. But if I had to pick one it has to be Hunter X Hunter 2011. I grew up as an aniblogger covering that show, really. It was three wonderful years of on-screen brilliance, fan debates ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime, and incredible emotional highs and lows. I also never had a series draw as many pleas to port coverage to RC as I did with H x H. As far as a body of work writing about a series, that would be the pinnacle for me..
- Stilts:Ano Natsu de Matteru was the first series I enjoyed writing about a lot, though I wrote too much. Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon is perhaps the series I’m best known for blogging, but I more enjoyed having written about it than the actual writing (it was tough!). Log Horizon was fun to dissect in the first season, No Game No Life was a treat to wrap my mind around and a stretch of my skills, and Boku no Hero Academia is always a good time. But if I had to pick one, Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho would be nearly it, for being the dark horse I was most proud of having called, most enraptured while watching, and thoroughly excited to write about each week. The winner, though, is Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo. I don’t think it’s my best blogging—I wrote too much in those days, for all my passion—but few anime have spoken to me so dearly, and I loved pouring the affection and connection I felt for it out onto the page.
- Zaiden: Favourite series I’ve blogged: This was a very hard question. I’ve enjoyed blogging every series I’ve covered in my somewhat short career. Even shows I enjoyed less were fun to slate off. In terms of the good, 3-gatsu no Lion 2nd Season gets an honourable mention because I love it oh so dearly. That much I’ve always made clear — through the struggles and triumphs of each and every individual character. But I’ve always had a niggling doubt whether my writing lived up to the actual quality of the series — especially when you see that it didn’t even make it into the Top 5 of Reader’s Pick for Best of Anime 2019, despite how deserving of the top spot it seemed to me. At the end of the day, I can only admit I didn’t do a good enough job generating interest and love for such an incredible series. If I had to pick my top show, it would ultimately be Tsuki ga Kirei. It was my very first show on this site, which made it special. Not to mention there weren’t heightened expectations, and it turned out to be quite an outstanding dark horse. I was still photoshopping weekly memes into my posts too. Maybe I should get back to doing that in the near future.
- Passerby: Perversely, I tend to have the most fun writing about shows that aren’t any fun at all because then it’s BYO fun and I have a liquor license. These days I’d rather dodge bad shows since I don’t hate myself that much, but there was that one time I took a bullet square in the chest and its calibre was Musaigen no Phantom World (Don’t think about these metaphors too much. I sure didn’t). It was an absolute chore of a show to watch, but bloggng it offered a unique writing challenge every week. Wringing entertainment out of tiresome anime is difficult but rewarding and, more importantly, cathartic. Phantom World was a tragedy of a production but hopefully RandomC gave its readers a valve for emotional release. Even if it didn’t, you can enjoy the blogging’s inadvertent narrative arc, with each weekly post tracking a slow descent into despair and madness.
- Choya: I enjoyed writing on the Persona 5 anime because it gave me an outlet to discuss parts of the story that resonated with me as one of my favorite game narratives in recent years. I’m glad that I could follow Sakura Quest and LWA during my first season at RC since their stories drew me in so much and seeing myself get invested in writing about them showed me how much I had grown as a writer since I first got into anime. I was personally fond of writing on Yuru Camp since it was a nice and soothing experience to blog week-by-week and it was intriguing to do research on the camping sites, meals, or topics discussed on the show. It also felt great to blog Zombieland Saga through its twists and turns. Since I gotta choose one, I’ll go with Persona 5 since it’s been fun to examine the differences regardless of whether they’ve been positive or negative.
- Pancakes: Re:Creators must be my standout of the past few years. Few other anime for me have been as easy to write about and with such varied viewer discussion to chew on after the fact. What the show missed in story it more than made up for with imagination, showing (at least to me) that anime will never lack for ideas should someone prove willing to take the plunge.
- Takaii: Great question. I’ve been doing this for so long I can’t remember :<