Happy New Year everybody! (No, I’m not late with the wishing, it’s still technically a ‘new year’…. but this post is late – nothing new).
2018 was an okay year IRL – I graduated from high school, still not sure about where I’ll go for college – but I’m going through applications and things aren’t looking as bad as I feared them to be. I’m still alive and healthy, something which I’ve been anxious about since mid-2017. It’s kind-of-irrational for a young guy like me, having that sense of impending doom taking over my mental state for days at a time – but it does happen and it sucks, wish I had more control over it. Also, when I’m not locked in an anxiety cage, I’m just lazy – and I really want to change that because I have control over that, at least. I hope I can just feel like a normal person, not be a sad sloth when I’m feeling like a normal person, and be more motivated this year. That’s all I have for my vague ‘resolutions’ (if you can call them that).
2018 & Anime
As I said in my update post back in July, I stopped watching anime seasonally – and I still don’t feel like getting back into watching 10 shows every three months week by week for the foreseeable future. Frankly, I think I’m enjoying anime more by not pushing myself to keep up-to-date with shows every week. Of course, binging has its disadvantages – like I can’t always sit down and watch slice-of-life shows in just two or three days. Nonetheless, I learned that not watching anime seasonally works for me.
I just checked my MAL and, unsurprisingly, 2018 has been the year where I watched the least number of new anime ( since 2016 (the year I watched the most number of anime). Again, I don’t feel like I don’t like anime, it’s just I’m not super excited about new anime before I watch them, unless it has to do with sequels – I’m all aboard on the Chihayafuru and Haikyuu hype trains babyyy!
But I definitely feel more positive on the new shows I watched in 2018, I gave more 8/10’s and above (9) than I did in 2017 (8) on my MAL, even though I watched fewer shows. I think 2018’s been a good year for comedies – I loved Pop Team Epic, Asobi Asobase, Hinamatsuri. Aggretsuko was funny with an enjoyable and well-written cast of characters, and I even enjoyed the over-the-top repetitive comedy of Gokudolls. So if you got some other comedy-centric shows to recommend from 2018, please do in the comments.
I’ve also watched a ton of old OVAs, enjoyed most of them but forgot about them an hour later – the most memorable ones being Otaku no Video (learned some history), Shinesman (cool parody), Golgo 13: Queen Bee (the first Dezaki film I’ve watched) and Cipher (I really want to write a post on it soon). I finally got around to watch Watamote last year and I loved it, even though it kind of got painful and funny watching Tomoko’s overly crippling social-anxiety. Painful because I also have social anxiety, but funny because the show portrays it on an unrealistically over-the-top level. Others among the old anime I loved in 2018 are the eccentric Kuuchuu Buranko, the adventurous youth-tinged Night is Short, Walk on Girl, In this Corner of the World and Barefoot Gen – an anime that uses emotional and tonal clashes as its greatest strengths, and it burns its gory imagery into the back of my eyes through that. Although I loved a lot of old anime, I didn’t watch any old anime from last year that I would put among my all-time favorites.
2018 has also been the year when I finished watching all the Ghibli feature films and realized Isao Takahata is a way better director than Hayao Miyazaki – of course, they are both great, but Takahata is more adventurous and experiments with more styles than Miyazaki. I plan to make a Top 10 Ghibli films, soon – so I will hold back my opinions on the films until (and if) then.
That’s about all I have to say about my anime-watching in 2018.
2018 & Films
I’ve been getting into watching a bulk load of movies from 2017, but last year I dived even deeper and became somewhat of a cinephile, and discovered a lot of amazing films and filmmakers.
I love the 3 Kubrick films I’ve watched so far, Don Hertzfeldt’s It’s Such a Beautiful Day became one of the most moving films I’ve ever watched. Sion Sono’s Antiporno had beautiful set-designs and Ami Tomite’s performance was amazing, and of course, his epic, tonal hotchpotch of a film – Love Exposure – blew me away. Speaking of blowing me away, Nakashima’s Confessions is now one of my favorite revenge-stories ever. The controversial filmmaker caught my eye with Enter the Void – which was one of my favorite movie-experiences ever, but I was pretty disappointed with his other feature films. And speaking of favorite movie experiences, watching cult-classic Hausu was another amazing one – I watched it a second time with a friend, and I found it as entertaining as I did when I first watched it.
I enjoyed a lot of Korean movies last year – Kim Ki-Duk’s 3-Iron, Lee Chang-dong’s Oasis , Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden, Hong Sang-soo’s On the Beach at Night Alone and Bong Joon-ho’s Okja and Memories of Murder being standout Korean films for me – I need to watch more from those directors. I enjoyed the cheesy rom-coms way more than I expected, I got a crush on Han Hyo-joo and ended up watching a couple of mediocre films starring her because of that. Watching Architecture 101 and John Lee’s A Moment to Remember got me misty-eyed, which brings me to the point that, generally, Korean films are exceptional in how they portray melancholic and sad stories and make the viewer care about the characters in such a short time. I can’t quite put a finger (or multiple fingers) on what specific aspects make that happen, but it’s something I noticed – so I get why people watch K-dramas and love them so much.
I won’t talk about the films I watched that came out in 2018 – I will talk about them in a year-end list.
2018 & Music
I sort of underwent a huge “taste expansion” last year – I got into a lot of experimental stuff, I got the appeal of shoegaze, drone metal and post-rock. Got into more Japanese artists – something which I wanted to do in 2018. I’ve become more of an album-guy than a singles-guy, I got more time to listen to music because I was on my desk studying most of the time from May to September. For non-2018 albums, I had these on repeat: Boris’ Flood and Amplifier Worship, Swans’ To Be Kind, Death Grips’ Bottomless Pit and Exmilitary, and GFOTY’s compilation album. I listened to 5 US-based rap albums from 5 artists instead of 3 rap albums from Brockhampton in 2018 (lol), and I really enjoyed them – so I guess I’m a bit more into rap?
I still like Kpop, although getting into album-centric discovery didn’t boost my love for it because the Kpop industry is more about the MV production, idol shows, singles, mini-albums, and the repackaged mini-albums – and that’s completely fine and I’m enjoying a good amount of tracks anyway, and there were some great group debuts: Nature, fromis_9, LOONA, (G)I-DLE and Stray Kids.
As for other 2018 music… year-end lists are coming!
So yeah, it was a great year of discovering new music, and I hope I can continue in 2019 too.
2018 & this blog & 2019
It’s not surprising that my blog hasn’t got a boost in readership since 2017 – in fact, views have plummeted. That’s fine, though – I don’t even deserve the readership I am getting now (although I’m really grateful to people who do read the blog once in a while), I’m not currently putting out huge, interesting posts with well-formed opinions, and I don’t have the output to deserve more. Bloggers who work full-time jobs and put out cool posts regularly deserve more readership. Alright, let’s move on before I turn this section into a pity party – I’m excited to try more stuff on this blog in 2019. No, I haven’t scrapped the “Revisiting Favorites” series, I got distracted while watching through Death Note (which was supposed to be the next entry to the series) – so I’ll get back to that soon… yeah, I will, not try to. I’ll continue to do occasional album reviews, although I don’t think I’m really reviewing them as much as I’m gushing about how much I like them. I want to get more into talking about movies- I mean, films this year at some point.
For now, my top priority is getting my year-end lists out, there will most likely be 8 lists this time: 4 on music, video games I played in 2018, favorite films, favorite OP/EDs, and favorite anime. The music, video game related lists are probably going to be out this month but I need more time to watch more anime and films from 2018 before I finalize my lists. Yes, I take making lists very (and unnecessarily) seriously.
I think I’m going to stop my thought-precipitation/diarrhea right here. Thanks for reading. Here’s to a good 2019.