Review: Harukana Receive

A sports anime with a lot of sun-splashed heart.

It has been a long time coming for new content on here. No, I’m not retired from writing nor have I given up the proverbial bit of running AniB Productions, but it has been a long hiatus, not unlike the manga version of my personal favorite anime in Hunter x Hunter. With May’s arrival though, new beginnings are a theme of spring, and summer hearkens right around the corner- so what better show to return with than one that featured beach volleyball? That’s right- it’s Harukana Receive, back from a few years ago- and originally watched by yours truly in November of last year (2021). Don’t let the seasons fool you though- a good show is a good show no matter the year, time or place. The same could be said for a review actually- so without further ado, let’s get into it. 

Show: Harukana Receive
Studio/years aired: C2C, July-September 2018

AniB’s thoughts: Indeed, it has been a while I last sat down to write a proper review and seen it to its finish. Perhaps surprisingly then the restart is a rather inauspicious entry from the summer 2018 season- Harukana Receive, a sports anime that revolves around the stories of a group of girls who play competitive beach volleyball in Okinawa. While the anime community at large seems to move season to season transiently, it continues to serve an important role in reviews to not forget even the recent past for some good fare, and this show qualifies. 

The first thought long-time readers might be thinking is “isn’t this show rather fanservicy for you?” You might be right…but context matters. This is at its heart a show that is topically about beach volleyball, and from anyone who watches the Summer Olympics every four years, or perhaps even played knows, bikinis are the standard uniform of the sport. Fortunately, the show’s appeal goes beyond plenty of butt shots- and perhaps to its credit, some savvy self-aware humor exists as well to this end. 

Sports anime has also been a relative rarity in these reviews in the past- and in fact this is the first outright review of the genre on here. It’s an interesting topic since I’m actually a real-life sports fanatic, in particular with allegiances to the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and NHL’s Buffalo Sabres- so watching anime of sports hasn’t usually crossed my mind, despite knowing there are some other famous series that exist in the space, like Haikyuu (another volleyball anime!) and Kuroko no Basket (basketball). However, Harukana Receive was not only able to capture my attention, but keep it with a combination of excellent animation, a strong cast and a solid bit of storytelling. It didn’t reinvent the wheel, but it certainly would be a welcome watch for anyone wanting a taste of summer, some feelings of youth and a splash of competition with genuine character


Beyond the show’s exterior lies a character-driven story that while not groundbreaking, has an interesting set of dynamics at play for each of the main cast. Perhaps most interesting is Kanata’s own personal struggles in dealing with loss- both that of her parents and of her original volleyball pairing with Narumi Toi. This is in contrast to Haruka, whose naive optimism of a new move to Okinawa and her initial ignorance of not only the sport of beach volleyball but any of these deeper-rooted issue her cousin has dealt with sit in sharp contrast. In turn, it is exactly their differences that help the other along through the show’s run- Kanata’s steady hand as the experienced partner who trains with and helps develop Haruka into a full-fledged beach volleyball player, and the latter’s determination to be the partner Kanata deserves, one who commits to her on the court and off it as a friend.

It would be a shame to not mention the Thomas twins (Claire and Emily) in this analysis, but as the main foils to the titular characters, they prove to be worthy rivals and teammates at the same time, with a playful sibling dynamic and a goal of their own. They selflessly help train the duo who ultimately winds up defeating them in the anime’s keynote match- a sobering reminder that even among those close to each other, the gridiron, pitch, field or court can be a place to settle all scores, make dreams come true or crush them. And isn’t that the essence of sports in general? You have fun hopefully, but as a football coach named Herm Edwards once said in a presser: “You play to win the game!”


Animation: Harukana Receive is a very eye-catching show, in more ways than one. A bright palette brings out the nature of the show and the character models themselves are attractively designed- you can buy them as volleyball players. One can feel the bright, sun-splashed heat of the beach and the Okinawan summer in this show, and the intensity of the actual matches that are played with each hit of the ball and dive to the sand, and the animation does a wonderful job of conveying it. There’s a little bit of 3-D rendering in this show like many in the past decade, but it works fine. High marks all around.

4.5/5 points.

Characters:The story revolves around the story of two previously distant cousins turned best friends: Kanata Higa and Haruka Ozora, the titular “Harukana” in the show’s name.

Haruka comes from Tokyo to Okinawa at the start of the series. She is an energetic girl, with natural height and a simpler nature, which extends to her way of thinking. Excited initially by the pristine beaches of Okinawa, a fated volleyball match upon her arrival hooks her into the sport and soon her partner on the pitch- Kanata. Clumsy at first but burning with a desire for improvement and natural promise, she grows into a real beach volleyball player over the course of the series. 

Kanata on the other hand is a native Okinawan. In contrast to Haruka, she’s much shorter in stature, and possesses both a keen analytical mind and natural kindness. Once a formidable beach volleyball player in her youth, a series of tragic events in her life caused her to go away from the game, until Haruka helps revive that fire in her. While Haruka is dealing with the more technical aspects of becoming a full fledged player, Kanata navigates the mental and spiritual side of not only a comeback to the sport, but herself and the person she wishes to be in the present and future.

This section would be amiss without the dynamite duo from America- the Thomas sisters. Emily and Claire are a pair of formidable beach volleyball players, and the twins unsurprisingly share potent teamwork in a game. However, their personalities could not be more different: Emily is gregarious, outgoing and has a habit of teasing her friends, especially her sister, whereas Claire is more thoughtful and reserved in thought- though relishes the opportunities to get back at her sister when she can. The duo serve as both fast friends for Haruka and Kanata, and later as training partners and club teammates, which fosters the beginnings of a heated, but friendly rivalry.

 A few episodes into the show Akari Oshino appears. A one-time child actor, she joins the volleyball club initially with the intent of becoming an idol but does start to engage in and truly learn the game in more time. She winds up acting as a glue character for the group, giving her new friends special scrunchy bracelets to signify both their friendship and unshakeable bonds, even in competition.

There are a few other characters, like Narumi Toi and Ayasa Tachibana, a pair of top ranked volleyball players nationally, Kanata’s grandmother and the Thomas twins’ mother, plus a few other girls who the main cast wind up playing in the story but this is the main cast. Small, but effective, they drive the show. Narumi in particular is rather important to the story, but for those who haven’t seen this show, it’s better to discover her story yourself.

4/5 points.

A basic story with some nice character twists and motivations that make it worthwhile. The sports part of the the story where Kanata and Haruka become an actual legit beach volleyball pairing is fun to watch unfold, and their eventual triumphs as they gain more experience and trust with each other is satisfying to see. This show was straightforward in many respects but managed to pair a very likable cast with a good story and that was worth the price of admission to stay, particularly if one only appeared in the first place to see cute girls in swimsuits.

As mentioned, the main cast stayed small, but it felt like everyone had a role to play and a their own little arcs playing out at the same time. This show does utilize some flashbacks in some key moments, which in this case do narratively advance the plot in a direction that works, providing the viewers with greater context of these characters through showing us- rather than long-winded exposition.

Finally, a critical part of a sports anime: The games themselves! These matches are actually really engaging. As previously mentioned in the grading, they are well animated and scored, with the intensity of each moment shining through narratively. The end result proves to be very entertaining.

3.5/5 points.

If there was one overarching thematic note through this entire show, it was trust. From Haruka’s decision to play with Kanata, to Kanata’s own issues with her former partner Narumi, and even Claire and Emily’s trust in each other as sisters and partners, this was constantly front and center. While it is absolutely a critical component to success in sports it also is important to success and well-being in life too- and the characters reflected this important value in their own arcs and interactions. Other themes did exist like the experience of new ways of doing things, the willingness to learn in different ways from many of the characters and a general desire to exist in the present moment rather than being trapped in one’s past. It was definitely a bit more fleshed out than expected but also not ground-breaking necessarily, but thematically it felt on par with any good “slice of life” anime.

3.75/5 points.

Don’t Insult the Viewer (Intangibles): Fanservice has always been a touchy topic in these reviews, but it’s justified here by both the subject material (it’s beach volleyball!) and a show that actually packs both strong characters and a solid story. The musical score also does a really nice job of accentuating the action and helps draw the viewer into the action of a sport they may not know much about. It would not be shocking at all to me if many a viewer came to the show originally because it featured cute girls in bikinis but stayed because it genuinely was a good show beyond its looks. An overall pleasant viewing experience.

4/5 points.

Overall: 19.75/25 (79%): Maybe it’s a slight overrating, but Harukana Receive proved to be a pleasant surprise that was much more than skin-deep in its storytelling. This show will probably never appear on a “best of” list, but it is a fine genre pick and in general, is an enjoyable watch with realistic stakes, sports physics grounded in reality and some sweet character moments. Most people probably don’t live near a beach, but maybe you’ll get a taste of summer and a hankering to play some volleyball after watching this show.

Like what you see? Have you watched Harukana Recieve? Enjoy sports? Leave a comment!

I’m back at last!

The editor in chief returns~

Hello dear readers,

It’s been a long, long time, hasn’t it? A year ago the first season review of Dr. Stone dropped here on AniB Productions and that was it until today. Trust me when I say I never expected a year without writing, but life throws some funny curveballs, both good and bad. Personal tragedy and triumph mixed together into a frenetic year and a half, and unfortunately the output of this blog suffered as a result. I still logged back in now and again to answer comments, but nothing new ever came to fruition. When life gets tough, your priorities shift a bit from the latest debates on the anime of the season or the best new Western animated film. Heck, I can profess in most ways I’ve been an absentee to the past year of these trends-with a few exceptions.

However, today’s first post of this year is not to announce the end but recommit to writing as often as is possible for AniB Productions- for the few long time readers who may have stuck around and for the many new faces that might pass through. In the latter case, I urge you to stay if you’re enjoying what you’ve seen or read! Don’t be shy- comment and I’ll see it. Usually I do respond to everything posted here, and posted pieces have come about before from reader requests and ideas. The rest however, comes from whatever catches my fancy- be it interesting characters, themes explored somewhere, perhaps even the musical scores- and of course, the reviews that have been here since the start. It’s not always just the current season or show either- there’s still an important belief that I hold in not forgetting where the medium has come from, and so any era might pop up on here still.

Ultimately, it is exciting to return at last. The past year has changed my life in many ways, but the unflinching commitment to quality on here has not. Every piece posted here from the past and going forward will still continue to be held to my own exacting standards, and it’s all so that you, the reader may enjoy the experience that much further. At least some of this long hiatus was caused my own belief that the writing wasn’t quite up to snuff, but also that the passion needed to be present as well. As a tip to any aspiring writer: you don’t need to always “feel” inspired to write something, but the most essential quality is seeing it through once it’s begun. Everyone has great ideas, but they remain just that without the drive and motive to see them through.

I hope we can all enjoy both the past and exciting future for AniB Productions! It’s been a long journey to return, but the next chapter is just beginning,


Christian- aka “AniB”

Review: Dr. STONE

A smashing breakthrough for an anticipated adaptation.

Hello dear readers,

I hope everyone reading this is safe and well! It’s been a busy past few months, and while it’s been another long hiatus, life events took some precedence. Hopefully though, this is the start of a more consistent writing schedule again. To kick things back off is a highly acclaimed series from its first season, and it couldn’t be more exciting to finally  cover it. Enjoy!

The Lowdown:

Show: Dr. STONE

Studio/years aired: TMS Entertainment, 2019-

AniB’s thoughts:

Well, well, well.  After hearing about this series for a while, the time was finally right to plunge into a new adventure show- and Dr. Stone is a great pick. This genre has always been something I’ve enjoyed watching, and after a lot of recent “slice of lifes” and the foray into isekai that the last number of reviews had, it was worth going back to my roots. As a result, there was something nostalgic about watching this show- namely finding a grand adventure that felt well paced and enrapturing all the same.

One of 2019s’ breakout series, Dr. Stone was adapted from the manga of the same name and features a far-flung future Earth where humans had been mysteriously petrified for millennia due to a strange attack that occurred in the present. The long period of elapsing time had destroyed most traces of civilization and in turn, sent the world back to the Stone Age technologically. However, this series is anything but primitive in its storytelling as a brilliant student-scientist named Senku Ishigami awakens from his petrification, determined to bring humanity all back from nothing.

It’s definitely a different ride than say a Hunter x Hunter, or even a Fullmetal Alchemist but the unique, interesting premise along with the excellent lead that is Senku and an adequate supporting cast that grows well into their roles is simply enjoyable. Perhaps even more enthralling is the science lessons wrapped into a fun package of inventions from our lead, be it from a pulley system made of bamboo to an inventive take on ramen. It’s impossible to not enjoy the interactions that occur though the show, and a good balance of humor and seriousness is struck. In turn, the storytelling feels very natural and the show’s big moments so far flow with the right gravity and mood.

The premise works brilliantly given the clear scope and eventual end goal of the series, and similar to some of the best shonen series, Dr. Stone doesn’t have power creep as an issue- instead choosing to make the power of might- led by the powerful Tsukasa- be pitted against the ingenuity and resourcefulness of Senku’s fledgling Kingdom of Science. The character introductions are paced well, starting with the initial arc’s setup of the situation, and the eventual reveal of Ishigami Village, the locale that becomes the main setting for the remainder of the season.

If you’re looking for a show that stands out from the shonen fray in recent years, this is a fantastic pick, and one that has exciting potential in a second season that’s been confirmed. Here’s hoping it can continue to be a big hit as the decade gets under way!

Animation: Modern 2-D animation. It looks great as you’d expect, but what really stands out is the science- as the animation of Senku’s inventions are both well-paired with the explanation and visually interesting. The show’s bright palette suggests this take of a far-flung post-modernity isn’t all that bad…until you realize the monumental task in front of the characters. And speaking of them, the designs in this show are great- a perfect reflection of both the individuals and personalities mixed with the circumstances.

4.75/5 points.


Characterization: Leading the way is Senku- a take on the teenage genius character. Unusual to this type is a starring role however- and Senku performs brilliantly. With distinctive hair and single-minded determination to achieve his grand goal, he’s equal parts mad and gifted scientist with a wholehearted devotion to his craft-but also to his friends and the people who trust him. Initially he starts on his own, but with the revival of Taiju Oki, his best friend, his plans start to take a real leap forward.

Speaking of which, Taiju is a passionate, stubborn and simple guy whose emotions run near the surface- but also the kindest person as well. With a massive crush on another friend of his- Yuzuriha Ogawa- he’s waited a long, long time for that confession…





Yuzuriha for her part wound up as Taiju’s inspiration to keep his consciousness for millennia. When unfrozen from her petrification, she’s a kind, perceptive individual who proves to be useful in the new world- and might just reciprocate Taiju’s feelings…

A large portion of the cast comes into play after Senku’s deception and escape from Tsukasa- the so-called “Strongest High School Primate” in the old days. Physically without peer in strength, he proves to also have a capable and quick thinking mind but a very different philosophy from Senku, leading to irreconcilable differences and the formation of his own faction to oppose the latter.

Kohaku discovers Senku after a run-in with Tsukasa, who despite her martial prowess, she can’t defeat. A girl with impressive martial skills and a quick mouth, she quickly proves her worth and loyalty. She cares deeply for her sister, who is sick with a mysterious illness but also serves as her village’s priestess and keeper of the mythology stories…

After being led to the nearby village, Senku meets Chrome, a self-proclaimed shaman who actually is a fledgling scientist between his discoveries and habit of collecting raw resource materials in his hut. He quickly becomes Senku’s right hand man after some initial distrust, and proves himself as resourceful and a quick thinker in his own right, to the point that he’s actively help drive Senku’s inventing as the season progresses.

In addition to these two, Senku becomes close with the whole village over time, discovering that these people were descendants of a certain group of individuals who avoided the petrification. While many of these individuals probably could also be involved in this section, they form a delightful supporting cast that’s worth discovering for yourself.




While many more individuals probably could also be involved in this section, they form a delightful supporting cast that’s worth discovering for yourself.

4.5/5 points.


Story:  Frozen in time for over 2000 years, the petrified Senku awakens to a Japan that has become overrun by nature’s reclamation-  and the initial goal to make some clothes, a shelter, eat and get started on his goal- reviving all of humanity, and with it, the vast technology and scientific knowledge that had been lost as well.

The story actually begins with Taiju’s revival- both an experiment and a need for manual labor from Senku, but it’s through his eyes viewers first experience the work and meet our main protagonist- an interesting choice to be sure. While this constitutes minor spoilers, it’s when the two team up that Senku’s progress on his goal really begins to grow- until a situation forces him to revive a certain someone…

Talked about in some detail above, it’s an engaging and interesting setting on which the characters are laid out. A real treat so far!

4.75/5 points.


Themes: Perseverance in the face of impossible odds and the iron will of those who have a goal that cannot be denied- these are at the core of Dr. Stone. Thanks to the unique setting and premise, it’s a world where the classic “survival of the fittest” idea is pitted against the unyielding will of scientific progress in a race against time, along with the further mystery of what was the nature of the calamity that befell the planet…

3.75/5 points.

Don’t Insult the Viewer (Intangibles): Dr. Stone excels with a balance of seriousness and humor that works very well, backed by an aesthetic that’s very interesting- namely the rapid re-emergence of science in a Japan covered in forests and nature.

5/5 points.


Overall: 22.75/25 (91%). A compelling entry into both its genre and the medium as a whole, Dr. Stone is sure to entertain with its quirky mix of science, premise and a great cast of characters.

Like what you see? Big fan of Dr. Stone? Leave a comment!

Review: Re:ZERO-Starting Life In Another World

A highly popular series gets the review treatment.

The Lowdown:

Show: Re:ZERO- Starting Life In Another World

Studio/years aired: White Fox, 2016; season 2 is set to release later in 2020
AniB’s thoughts:

The second of the so-called Isekai Quartet shows makes an appearance in review form at last on here! With the highly anticipated second season around the corner, now seemed like the perfect time at last to cover this show. Before I get underway though, don’t expect me to compare this production to KonoSuba, which was previously reviewed on AniB Productions; aside from being isekai and featuring a former-shut in as their main protagonists, they are very different shows.

Where to begin? Plenty happens in this show that would constitute heavy spoilers, but what starts off as a generic looking show in the first two minutes quickly morphs into some unexpected events and encounters- namely Subaru’s chance encounter with a certain girl- and the plot goes from there. To stand out in what has become an incredibly over-saturated genre is difficult, but Re:Zero managed to accomplish this task with some compelling world building, characters that received some real depth and development, and at the center of it all, Subaru Natsuki- the main protagonist whose unique “superpower” is an actualized butterfly effect called “Return By Death”- and works exactly as that name suggests.

That isn’t to say it’s all praises for this show. While Re:Zero has a satisfying first half and conclusion, the middle of the show was a painful slog. While the intended outcome for the viewer had some excellent payoff in the final number of episodes, and depicts a side of humanity rarely explored to the depth it is here, it was unnecessarily drawn out on the part of Subaru and for the viewer. I’m sure some will argue that it’s probably like that in the LN this show’s adapted from, but it does not change critique of a pacing issue when it arises.

If there’s one other main criticism, it doubles as a curiosity and it’s something that I’d expect a second season to resolve- namely the reason why Subaru was summoned to this fantasy world. The very core premise of isekai in general- the nebulous reasons for why their protagonists wind up in another world at all is often flimsy at best, even in the best of the genre, and the world-building or the characters or both even can make us forget this to an extent…but doesn’t change that it can be a weak point. Despite what I said at the start of my thoughts, I will indulge in one point from KonoSuba: that show did a terrific job of setting up the why by making its entire beginning the events of Kazuma’s untimely and pathetic death as a staging to introduce Aqua and set up the world the duo wound up bumbling into. For Re:Zero, at least for now, the reasons for being remain nebulous, aside from whatever hints Subaru’s core mechanic- “Return By Death”- provides us.

Is this show worth watching? Absolutely, with a few caveats. The first is a stern warning to those with weak constitutions or under the age of 17- this isn’t a light-hearted jaunt in the slightest the whole way through, and while fantasy violence is nothing new overall, the context can be shocking at times. The next would be related to the first point- that it is worth pulling through the middle section to reach the end, but it can be exceedingly difficult. The end result is a season book-ended by a strong start and an even stronger finish built by an entire 25 episode’s worth of buildup, or at least a dozen episodes, depending on how you look at it, really. Finally…the highs are really high in this series and are enough to overpower a lot of other more minor shortcomings. Any more information though it’d be a major spoiler- so now onto grading!

Animation: A modern 2-D anime, with a few 3-D shots thrown in. The former is excellent as you’d hope, from various fight sequences to character design, albeit incredibly vivid in some certain depictions. Everything feels fluid and smooth and there’s a good understanding of lighting as well for different contexts and times of day. The little bit of 3-D isn’t anything special but serviceable.

4.5/5 points.


Characters: As outlined in my thoughts, the lead character of the show is Subaru- a former shut-in NEET from Japan who left a convenience store one night and instead of going home, wound up in Lagunica- the massive kingdom in which the story takes place. At first, Subaru has an unwarranted ego and a inaccurate set of assumptions about his situation, but quickly begins to realize things are different than he assumed as the scope of his situation is revealed, along with the first “realization” of his special ability.

There are many important characters in this show, but Subaru’s role revolves mainly around Emilia- a kind, silver-haired girl who he professes his undying love to in rather awkward fashion after she saves him from a few thugs in an alleyway. As it turns out, there’s more to Emilia than merely kindness, starting with Puck- a cat-like spirit she’s contracted to and possesses magical abilities of his own. The pair’s relationship is a bit shrouded in mystery how it came to be, but it’d be accurate to say that it’s complex.

While these two are the main focus of the story’s plot, there are several important characters introduced as the show goes on, from a certain pair of well-known twin maids and a magical librarian to some extremely powerful knights, a deranged villain or two, and in the show’s opening arc, a girl named Felt, who despite her age is an exceptionally skilled thief. Honestly, this review would need a very large spoiler section to adequately cover the people and roles in this show, but despite the temptation most of them would constitute giving the plot away- and as viewers of the show reading this know, it’s best to experience meeting everyone the first time as their roles are revealed. You’ll be surprised, amazed, horrified and heartwarmed all in the same show by this cast. The major character development, particularly for Subaru, proves outstanding, although there are certain parts I’d like to be pushed even further in a season 2.

4.5/5 points.


Story: In some ways, this show is a typical isekai, but in many other regards it is not. It’s a story that runs the gamut of emotions, and is by and large the story of Subaru even as other actors get involved in their own personal motives and goals. As far as the plot goes, the pacing is breakneck for a good amount of the show, which makes it difficult to watch in one go, but a much needed and important breather of sorts ends the middle section of Re:Zero as it transitions into a 3rd act. While the material presented is very solid and receives an excellent conclusion, there are still some major unanswered questions, which as a viewer keeps one engaged for a second season. If you like action, horror, romance and time manipulation shenanigans, you’ll probably love this plot as well.

3.75/5 points.


Themes: Foremost in the discussion of this show has to be humanity- namely, Subaru’s humanity. It is explored at every level as the series progresses, and proves an emotional roller coaster every bit as steep as you might expect. It’s clear to say thematically Subaru is and isn’t the same person he was to start as a direct result of experiences he has.

Aside from that, the “humanity” discuss stems also to a discussion about love, acceptance, duty, honor, pride and all manners of conduct. It’s unusual to see a deep dive like this show, let alone in this genre does here- and I’d say everything else revolves around it. Can it get overwhelming? Yes. However, it’s not cheap or contrived, which is greatly appreciated.

4.25/5 points.


Don’t Insult the Viewer: Interesting keynote visuals in the openings reflect the arcs they’re in…when the OPs actually play. This show has more cold openings than I can remember specifically in an anime, but remember that breakneack pace that was mentioned? I guess a lot happens…The pacing and imagery can be a bit too much at the show’s lower points honestly, and prevents a full ringing endorsement of the material within intangibly for all audiences. The OST’s fine, though perhaps most infamous for the “sound of the witch.”

3.5/5 points.


Overall: 20.5/25 (82%): A cut above the standard isekai, Re:Zero proves to be a bit of a crazy ride, with very high highs and very low lows. The end product however is one worth watching- albeit at a pace that suits you, and it can be understood why a season 2 is (was) highly anticipated. It’s not a casual kind of watch, so be prepared to commit if you wish to see it and haven’t already.

Like what you see? Big Re:Zero fan? Leave a comment!

Review: BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense

An enjoyable watch that surprised modest expectations.

The Lowdown:

Series: BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense

Studio/years aired: Silver Link, 2020- (a season 2 is confirmed and pending)

AniB’s thoughts: Piggybacking off the recent fun piece about naming series after absurd naming conventions in light novels as well as the winter anime season wrapping up, the first review of 2020 (and of a show from this year as well) is none other than BOFURI! After hearing some compelling feedback from some longtime readers, the simple concept of a girl who doesn’t play games stumbling into an overpowered MMO build was too hilariously intriguing to not check out. From my experience, the MMO, fantasy-esque genre does not usually produce compelling shows on a consistent basis, but BOFURI proves to be irresistible fun and a very pleasant surprise. For 12 episodes it kept up a good pace backed by a lead character who was compelling to watch her every move, and a universe, while simple and standard on some level, that offered the same excitement of exploring the unknown with these characters and all that came with it.

In a word, “fun” is the biggest selling point here, which the show gets amazing mileage from. The characters in this show are not very deep outside of Maple and her best friend Sally, but in many ways it matters little to the plot and pacing, which while simple, prove intoxicating in the ability to make a viewer want to see what happens next. Maple’s unpredictability becomes a focal point not just for the audience, but the in-show watchers and even the game developers themselves, amazed and frustrated in equal measure at how a genuinely sweet and naive girl is breaking the game they built so thoroughly.

It’s a breath of fresh air to have a show is both genre-savvy and doesn’t take itself too seriously at the same time. And while it’s still fine to have and acknowledge the the types of shows that either have higher stakes, more graphic action or darker premises, it’s surprisingly rare to just get something where the goal is nothing more than “the players have some fun, for themselves and each other” as a basic premise. BOFURI is a reminder in that way that simple ideas can still lead to amazingly enjoyable shows- and well executed ones at that. To grading!

Animation: Modern 2-D animation. In a breath of fresh air, a lot of action scenes and sequences that may had been recast in clunky CGI from shows in recent years are done in 2-D here- and it really pops. The fights in this show are satisfyingly flashy and fulfilling, but also fun- which happens when a show doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s almost intoxicating to get such a cheerful show within this genre given the push towards dark fantasy over the last several years- and that fun shines through. This aspect continues to the brightened colors and attractive character designs the show uses, and all of it is visually impactful.

4.75/5 points.



Characters: As the extended title of BOFURI suggests, the main character is the one who decided to “max out her defense”- Maple. In real life, she’s known as Kaede Honjou, a girl who appears to be in junior high school and has never been a gamer in her life prior to attempting New World Online (a virtual reality MMO, the main setting of the show), at the request of her friend Risa. A sweet, kind girl but naive and slightly airheaded, she dons the name “Maple” in-game and starts playing her way-not knowing the first thing about the game, or standard conventions!

Risa, her friend from real life, joins Maple a few days later in the game under the name Sally. A cool note here, which is lost in translation is that “Sally” is an anagram of “Risa” in Japanese lettering, which unfortunately didn’t come through in English. An experienced gamer compared to her friend (who she teams up with), Sally possesses smarts, savvy and some excellent reflexes as she pursues an entirely different character build from Maple’s.

The main concern here is the lack of depth and basic nature among the cast’s overall development, but with such a strong and quirky lead in Maple/Kaede, it proves to be no detriment to the overall enjoyability of the show. Sally/Risa also receives some characterization, and as the gamer who convinced her best friend to get into the game, she’s a force to be reckoned with all her own. The other top players in the game prove to be more friendly than appearances or reputations initially let on, and while fierce competition, are gracious in defeat. A number of other players have interactions with either of the girls that also prove important as the show moves along (the outcomes of which might constitute spoilers, so watch the show!)

While it would be nice to see further development in the majority of the cast for season 2, simplicity can be a good aspect, and one could argue that the shallow nature of most characters is like that of a real MMO, as opposed to how Maple and Sally know each other in real life. BOFURI in turn isn’t trying to be a hardcore character drama or something that it’s not, instead playing to its strengths. The end result is refreshing.

3.5/5 points.



Story: A rather straightforward by easy to follow tale where a non-gamer girl enters a new MMO game and proceeds to discover and progress through it in her own way, having fun. That really is the basic premise Bofuri operates on, but this scope gets expanded as the world gets bigger and Maple progresses eventually from being a virtual nobody. It’s not going to fool anyone in terms of complexity, but it does exhibit once again the ability for simple premises to be upgraded by good to great writing and a lead character who is strong.

3.5/5 points.



Themes: The overarching drive of many categorical points in this review has been at the simplicity of the show- and in that sense, the themes are fine, but they aren’t going to blow your mind either. It’s not that kind of show, but the basics are there and executed adequately: strong friendship, camaraderie, good sportsmanship, and as mentioned several times, fun. How often can we forget that enjoyment itself can be a goal of a pastime- especially in games and competition? It’s true that we “play to win the game,” but something so fundamental is a reminder here.

3.25/5 points.



Don’t Insult The Viewer: This show oozed intangibles, largely stemming from the general sense of “fun” it projects through every episode, and stellar fight sequences that tapped into the genre tropes and the animation style very well. One may also find that Maple is irresistible to watch- a unique blend of inexplicable moments and cuteness.

5/5 points.



Total: 20/25 (80%): A great way to open the new decade of animated fare, BOFURI was a fun romp. A show like this one is a welcome breath of fresh air when it comes, and the second season will be awaited with good expectations. This is a show worth watching.

Like what you see? Watched BOFURI or plan to? Leave a comment!

Let’s make a pretentiously long title for an anime series AKA Give it a Light Novel Title Challenge!

A fun post marks the return of AniB Productions today! I feel as if I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, but I also wanted to preface this piece by wishing everyone safety and good health amid the global COVID-19 crisis. With my current biology studies, I am all too aware of the risks scientifically this poses, so continue to use social distancing and best hygienic practices wherever you may be. Stay safe, readers!

On a lighter note, I’m happy to accept the nomination from ospreyshire at Iridium Eye Reviews to come up with some ridiculous titles for shows. In a twist of irony, when I read osprey’s post at his blog, the exact three series I thought of were the ones mentioned as examples:

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny-Girl Senpai

Is It Wrong to Try and Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon (aka DanMachi)

That Time I Got Reincarnated As a Slime


This is definitely a fun idea to give some other anime that pretentiously long light novel-esque title treatment! I will note briefly the series above are all worth a look, at least from an anime POV, though Rascal may be the best of the three series listed. With any luck, a serious review for any of them may appear sometime, but not yet…as we’re gonna pick some seriously silly titles. Before we do though, the rules (credit to osprey again, I’m gonna copy this part):

Choose up to five anime, manga or visual novel series that have a short title.

Light novels that have shorter titles (Date A Live for example) are also allowed.

Give these series a new title based on those classic overly long Light Novels we love!

If someone has already picked a series you wanted. It’s OK! Let’s see your own take on the title!

Link back to the original post so I can read people’s suggestions, I’d love to read everyone’s ideas. (it’s this post right here)

Include Give it a Light Novel title in your tags so everyone including myself can find them all easily.

Nominate around 1-6 bloggers.

Without further ado, I present some familiar shows rebranded in the most ridiculous fashion:


Assassination Classroom
“My Delinquent Class Learns to Study And Kill our Alien Octopus Teacher!”

It won’t be that easy, kiddos.


Little Witch Academia
“If Believing Is Your Magic, then Why Can’t I Do It?”

Akko attempt #256 to fly on a broom. She’ll never say die, though.


Hunter x Hunter
“The Friends I Made On the Quest to Find My Dad Are All Dangerous!”

“What did you do to me?”


“Can The Decisions You Make Seal Your Fate?”


Kenzo Tenma sure finds himself in difficult situations more than he wished.

“Our Music Club Is Actually A Daily Tea Social!”

Despite her best efforts, Azusa did get caught in the Light Music Club’s pace.

Alright, some nominees to continue this fun challenge!




Jon Spencer Reviews



Like what you see? Leave a comment!

AniB’s 2020 Oscars Preview for Best Animated Film

Alright, it’s that time of year again! While slightly late with this preview, the Oscars are upon us and in keeping with a tradition on here, there has been an annual overview of the category every year since the blog’s inception- both as a way to gauge historical precedents and trends in animated films, but also to highlight some excellence in the previous year’s offerings, along with a prediction.

Since the first iteration of this piece in early 2017, I’ve repeated the same disclaimer/preamble , and nothing has changed the following words:

Generally, I only care about results when it comes to award shows, much the same way as when I watch shows. I don’t follow the Oscars for their over-bloated pageantry, self-aggrandizing celebrities who pat each other on the back and give meaningless compliments to other influential people they know, or to watch people on the Internet have meltdowns over “x amount” of diversity or lack thereof. I’m just interested in the movies themselves, the people who put the work into said films, and the statistics behind it. So, here’s a list of the past 10 winners, with studios, to give a recent historical representation of this category (and note, the year is when the movies came out, not the award ceremony date, which is always the following year.)”:

So again, the past 10 years of winners in the category, including the past 3 which were all written about in previous iterations of this column:

2019: ?

2018: Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse (Sony Animation)

2017: Coco (Pixar)

2016: Zootopia (Walt Disney Animation Studios)

2015: Inside Out (Pixar)

2014: Big Hero 6 (Walt Disney Animation Studios)

2013: Frozen (Walt Disney Animation Studios)

2012: Brave (Pixar)

2011: Rango (Paramount Pictures)

2010: Toy Story 3 (Pixar)

2009: Up (Pixar)

As I’ve continued to do this list, what constitutes as “recent history” continues to shift. Up is the 10-year old winner on this now, which is stunning when it seems how fresh the memory of seeing it was, but more importantly, the 10-year trend will now reflect the 2010’s completely after this year’s show, which should give a better recent trends snapshot at what the Academy has liked over that timeframe.

Trends that have continued as a theme include the unlikelihood of a foreign film winning the category, and the likelihood a large Western animation studio will carry the day. Even discounting up, the 2010’s still produced 4 winners for Pixar, and there’s a good chance that Toy Story 4 could make it 5, as it’s my odds-on favorite for both historical and predictive reasons.

With all due respect to Klaus, I Lost My Body, and Missing Link, trends don’t favor their chances and it would be considered a shocking upset if they carried the category. Of course I believe they all merit serious consideration and an honest look- but with the rule change a few years back that allowed non-animation people to vote and pick the movies (and the winner), popular films tend to triumph here. It is my opinion that this year’s award is a Back to the Future-esque moment to 2010- where a Toy Story film faced How To Train Your Dragon. It is fitting then that the decade’s offerings would be capped with a rematch between the latest films in the franchise, and if history holds true, the same result might be expected.

Here’s to another good year of films to cap the 2010’s, and a sincere wish to continue excellence in the 2020’s!

Like what you see? Leave a comment!

3 Years of AniB Productions!

Hello dear readers!

It’s a bit belated, but the 3rd anniversary of AniB Productions has come and passed! Maybe I said this before, but it seems like yesterday the blog started, and the time has flown by. I am thankful for the continuous support, and cherish the people I’ve met on here, through the many comments, suggestions and even advice that has been offered through this span of time.

Of course, the anniversary also gives me a chance to both reflect and give the first update for a while on here as we begin February. It’s true that my writing has become far more intermittent, and while I am sincere in saying that I’d like to post more frequently, the current demands of my academic work make it difficult, especially with the content quality I strive to deliver. That said, when I have been able to, it’s my honest hope that those who read are enjoying the material, and despite not always being able to write, I do check daily the comment sections of pieces, as well as quick browses of other terrific work that many of the readers do on their own blogs!

Naturally, the question of what sort of content people want continues to be something I consider as I’m writing. The core “series” of AniB Productions- the reviews and “What’s In a Character?” continue to move along, but I’m open to suggestions in the comments. Plans continue for many pieces in both my drafted content as well as my head, but I have no problem fast-tracking something if the demand is there. There’s also interest in site layout feedback from this corner; while I’m personally content with how it is, if it can be improved in any way the comments there would also be appreciated.

While it’s a small personal post for today, it’s both a mix of gratitude and reflection that mark this occasion. I’m looking forward to the rest of this year and beyond as AniB Productions moves along- and happy more than a few of you have joined me on this ride so far! Here’s to you.

-Christian, aka “AniB”

What’s In a Character: Azusa Nakano

The youngest HTT member takes the stage!

Happy New Year once again! A new year requires new writing, and while a review would have been doable and straightforward to start with, it felt important to bring back AniB Productions’ most popular and liked series again: “What’s In a Character!”

Truth be told, there’s a number of character pieces in development. The term “development hell” is often used in gaming to describe titles that have had delay after delay and perhaps even outright cancellation for various reasons. I’m unsure if that applies also to writing on a blog, but sometimes it happens here with these pieces. To get the quality demanded by both the readers and myself, it takes extra time and effort, but also the juggling act we all know as “time management.”

Of course, nowhere is that skill learned better than in school, and in this “What’s In A Character?” we’re headed back there…again. No, it’s not the super-powered world of My Hero Academia or even a return to the Assassination Classroom, but rather, the charming real-life based domain of K-ON! It seems somewhat difficult to imagine this show’s run ended about 10 years ago at the time of this writing, but its charming characters, animation, and of course- music- have held up beautifully. While any of Hokago Tea Time’s (HTT for short) members are worth looking at in a piece, it’s the junior member of the group- Azusa Nakano- that gets the nod here. Turn that amp up and get ready to rock, as this piece explores this modest, talented member of the crew!

(MAJOR SPOILERS for K-ON! ahead.)


“Individually, they aren’t much…but they sound so good together!” -Azusa Nakano, on HTT’s sum being better than its parts

The main cast of K-ON!, in a word, is “adorable.” It was easy to become captivated by the girls’ everyday lives in high school, and while any one of them would be worthy of a piece, Azusa’s unique traits made her the pick. That isn’t to say the others won’t be revisited in the future, but the youngest member of the band gets to take center stage here.

An interesting aspect about Azusa is that she’s K-ON!’s “hidden” main character- one who doesn’t appear until well into the show’s 13-episode first season. A year in-universe elapses, and at this point the nascent HTT had formed within the structure of the Light Music Club, but outside of Yui, had failed to attract any new members in. While the girls’ “marketing campaign” featuring some dubious animal costumes had the opposite intended effect, it was a concert they gave that got Azusa interested in the first place.

As the only non-founding member of the band, Azusa often questioned the practicality of the club’s relaxed habits, and despite vowing to “not get caught up in their pace!”…she did.  Part of this was because of Azusa’s own mild nature, but the other members also had their own ideas. In particular, Yui affectionately took Azusa under her wing, characterizing her as “Azunyan”, or literally, “Azu-cat.” Their relationship was a weirdly inverted one, where Azusa was the more responsible and level-headed one while her “senpai” was good mostly at pushing her agenda of cuteness. (This is K-ON!, after all.) Some of the show’s more amusing moments came from Azusa’s capitulation to Yui’s will, from sweet treats to the cat-eared headband that both the latter and club advisor Sawako Yamanaka pushed fairly hard.

Perhaps the sweetest culmination of this friendship was when Azusa agreed to help Yui for a local talent show and sing a duet. Spending her personal time, she selflessly helped Yui’s dream become a reality- and in turn the two impressed as a duo, both to the neighbor Yui wished to sing to in the first place, and the other club members who came to watch, with Ritsu even commenting “they really prepped for this!”

Sawako is so into this moment. “Azunyan,” not so much.

Of course, Yui was not the only one who Azusa fostered a relationship with. She looked up to Mio Akiyama as a role-model of sorts, given her smarts, more practical nature and devotion to her bass guitar…only to be surprised by how shy and easily flustered she could be. In disputes or arguments in the group, Azusa often turned to Mio, but it could be rather hit-or-miss depending on the situation!

Ritsu, the band’s resident free spirit, nearly was responsible for driving Azusa away from the club initially with the excessive tea breaks she liked to take, but did become friends with her as time went on. Azusa was often quick to point out Ritsu’s slacking on her official club duties, but more importantly, served as a counterbalance so that (nominally) more practice happened.

Mugi, as usual, was an enthusiastic friend, and like the other girls, Azusa was surprised at her antics and enthusiasm for everyday life at times. She was indirectly responsible for the latter’s anguish at how much the club slacked off, given that she supplied the tea and sweets- but they were hardly refused when offered, or with little resistance. Azusa also marveled along with the others at Mugi’s hidden family wealth, be it at her spacious beach house or the unexpected discovery that her folks had a place in Finland!

The club’s affection for Azusa as a full-fledged member was seen in many ways, from her cat-themed tea mug that was obtained, to her taking on the role of watching the club’s baby turtle they obtained- Ton. The turtle’s existence in the club room was a result of Yui’s belief that Azusa had wanted him- a thought that wasn’t true at first, but after the effort of obtaining him (via selling Sawako’s old guitar, no less), what had been an initial curiosity turned into a companion the pigtailed girl was very fond of taking care of.

Azusa was also at the center of a secondary trio in the show within her own year, as she became fast friends with Ui Hirasawa- Yui’s younger sister, and Jun Suzuki, a spunky girl who often asked why Azuza joined the Light Music Club, while harboring her own secret interest in the group. The trio had a few spotlight episodes, most of which showcased some summer escapades- and the fact that the focus of this pieces gets very easily sunburnt.

Setting Guitar - K-ON! Wallpaper (1366x768) (144774)

A passionate, talented musician.

All the silly, cute parts of the series did not change a fundamental fact about Azusa: she was an outstanding guitarist. More serious and dedicated to her craft than her band-mates, she often pushed to practice when no one else would, and sincerely hoped the club would spend more time on music and less on tea and sweets- something that never quite happened.

Azusa provided a major talent infusion upon joining the group, and understood the fundamentals of the guitar extremely well, along with more advanced techniques. She was shocked that Yui did not despite being impressed with her initial performance and energy at the welcoming concert of her freshman year, and in turn would wind up advising Yui more on her craft than the other way around!

It was Azusa’s talent, determination and experience, along with her junior status that made her the only logical choice to carry on the Light Music Club when her friends all were set to graduate. Furthermore, it spoke to her character as a person that she’d be entrusted with the club’s fate by herself, as without her, there was hardly a guarantee for a tomorrow as far as the Light Music Club went.

One of the more emotional moments in any show comes courtesy of K-ON!’s series finale, where the graduating members sing a song of farewell and gratitude to Azusa, knowing that she alone could carry the torch at their school. And indeed she does, ending the series playing a solo instrumental version of “Fuwa Fuwa Time,” one of the band’s signature songs. While not in the anime version, she carries on the club and even forms a new band when the others leave, leading the way.

All of the events that form her character point to an individual who was passionate about music, a great friend to those she knew, and a responsible person. Add in that she’s relatedly adorable, and very cute when she’s taken off-guard, and you have a real winner of a character. Not every individual has to have an epic backstory to be great, but Azusa’s strength lies in the total characterization that she receives, both in her own right and in the context of the people around. It’s true that this is a strength as well of what is an outstanding “slice of life” show in general, but Azusa Nakano manages to still be very unique among this quirky cast, and worthy of the “What’s In a Character” designation.

It wouldn’t be an Azusa piece without this scene:

Some things in life are irresistible.

Like what you see? Big fan of Azusa or K-ON!? Leave a comment!


2020: A Look Back and Ahead at Animation

Bye bye yesterday, indeed.

Happy New Year, everybody! I hope everyone has enjoyed Christmas, Hanukkah, or whatever holiday you celebrate. Amazingly, we’ve reached the end of another year, and with it, another distinct chapter in the history of the world and by extension, animation. A few years ago, back in the early days of AniB Productions, I mused about the state of Western animation at the time (it was 2017) and said “we’ll revisit it at the end of the decade.” Well…that time is now! And as a farewell to the 2010’s and a hello to the 2020’s, this is a special piece that’s going to take a big and little picture on what’s happened and perhaps, where we are going next decade with a few predictions. Let’s get to it!


The 2010’s were by and large a transitional decade for the medium, whether in the context of the West or the anime scene. Stateside, the decade had started in a turbulent place with many beloved 2000’s series having come to an end recently, and a general void begging to be filled by trendsetters yet to be named. One may have been a late 2000’s holdover that ran all the way to 2015- Disney’s Phineas and Ferb, but it was arguably the Cartoon Network duo of Adventure Time and Regular Show that would be the progenitors for most other Western TV fare this decade. In turn, the rise of the so-called “CalArts” style- a cartoonish, deformed-esque style defined by characters with big heads and eyes became a huge trend, and was noticeable in many of the decade’s big hits, from Gravity Falls to Rick and Morty.

As for anime, this past 10 years may be looked back on as the time where being a fan finally became more mainstream. Mall stores are loaded with merch of the most popular and current shows; the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade has featured a balloon Goku the past few years, and even Netflix has adapted popular series into live action (whether or not this was advisable is another thing, but that’s a different discussion.) In addition, the quantity of anime has increased several-fold year after year- so much so that there’s almost a saturation (and a real question of industry working conditions.) Sometimes, you have to dig a little harder to find the good stuff, but the cream always rises to the top and like many decades that have passed before it, this one also produced some outstanding fare.

In both the East and West, the rise of streaming services has been a major story of the decade, changing the way most people consume these shows, and making the medium more accessible than ever. From Crunchyroll to Netflix, and various other means that exist, the internet has supplanted TV in all ways as the choice to view- although you can still watch the late-night Toonami blocks if you’re so inclined.

So with a quick look back, I’ve decided to pick from what I’ve seen at least, my top show picks from the past 10 years in both the West and the East. I would have extended the column to movies as well, but I’m thinking it’ll be a different post for another time. Very curious to see what people think of these picks!


Was there ever any other option, really? No series defined animation quite like this one, which encapsulated the decade with a run that almost perfectly coincided with the years themselves, revived a flagging network, and became a sensation where even casually, you’d see people with merch. But from a pure animation perspective, this show set the tone, and then lived up to what it did, growing and evolving over its brilliant, often weird and quirky, but always imaginative run.



There has been some really interesting choices as the decade’s unfolded, but despite a few years passing now since its completion, Gravity Falls really is a delightful gem of a show, blending skillful humor with great detail and an intriguing plot that also takes time to flesh out the characters in this quirky town. It’s sometimes easy to forget, but there was few shows worth old-school appointment viewing on debut this decade, and this was one of them. I also considered Samurai Jack’s revival here, but as the show was originally from the 2000’s, it was more a completion of a masterwork that demanded it.



I really could say One Piece here for longevity, but I think it’s had a greater impact in the manga world, and it wasn’t a debut from these 10 years. There’s plenty of shows that were good, but what ones have had an impact globally and beyond? One answer is My Hero Academia, which certainly has that cache, but it was only for a little under half the decade. No, the best answer may be Attack on Titan, a show whose debut galvanized fans everywhere, even to the point that one year a kid dressed as Captain Levi showed up at my door at Halloween! And it truly was a decade show, with seasons spaced out at the beginning (2013) and end of the period (2018, 2019).



Just one pick, eh? There are many worth the crown of this distinction, but it had to be something where we can look back years from now and say “yeah, that was a masterpiece.” Not everything ages well! For every Cowboy Bebop, there’s a 70’s Devilman out there. So in the end, I’ve picked two, because why not:

Hunter x Hunter and Steins;Gate.


There’s specific points for these picks. For one, Hunter x Hunter is my favorite for a reason, and it is a remarkable achievement in long-format shonen anime between how well it’s done and its remarkably engaging cast and themes. It is the second adaptation of the source manga after 1999’s effort, and and for all intensive purposes improves greatly on it. The ability to flawlessly switch genre-styles within show is masterful, as is the subversion it performs on common tropes. Add in that it has one of the most uniquely remarkable arcs in any show (Chimera Ant) and there’s a great case for it here in this column. Running from 2011 to 2014 in its Japanese debut, and its English dub from 2016 to 2019, it really was a show of the 2010’s. (Read the review here!)

Steins;Gate on the other hand, was a different ride, one that wove time travel and the consequences of it right into its very fabric. Of all the series in the 2010’s, I think this one will be remembered uniquely for a few reasons (and the review is also here!)

2011 was a remarkable year for anime. Aside from these two, it also featured Fate/Zero, Nichijou and Madoka. However, these two are excellent adaptations from source material, which takes away nothing at all, but I want to nominate one more dark horse candidate that’s anime-original for the story:

Little Witch Academia.

Why this show, you may ask? Well, for one, yours truly watched it. Can’t pick something you don’t know. But more importantly, it has a little bit of everything you could ask for, from a spirited, memorable cast, to a enjoyable story, gorgeous animation and some incredibly uplifting themes. (You can read my review here if you haven’t, or peruse a character piece on Akko Kagari as well.) But I also asked myself, “how will this age?” and the answer is clear that it’s going to be like fine wine. It doesn’t date itself with dumb references in-show, the plot itself is timeless, and the show is accessible even to a younger audience, with an appeal that’s broad but hardly to the lowest common denominator. Finally, the story about how it got to be green-lit from Trigger and how it started as a fan-sourced project and special is interesting. Feel free to look it up.

Are these truly the top anime of the decade? Perhaps. As a writer, critic and then fan, I suspect everyone will have a different answer, and I’d like to think this one is no worse than anyone else’s reasoning or logic.


Well, my guess is as good as anyone else’s. We started the decade on cable; we ended it streaming, and what turned out to be good and popular wasn’t even on anyone’s radar when it all started. So a few predictions shall suffice:

-The CalArts style will fade out by mid-decade for a different style.

This is history talking here. Each decade has been distinct stylistically and this might be the safest bet- that a new or recycled style comes back into prominence in the West. We’ll see though.

-SpongeBob finally ends.

Underrated aspect of the 2010’s has been “zombie shows”- titles that have lived generations and eras which continue onward. This falls more under “bold prediction” but the yellow sponge’s run will dry up at some point, and crazier things have happened. Heck, long-time running mate The Fairly OddParents ended this past decade, so it’s not impossible.

-A previously unheralded anime genre takes center stage.

In the 2010’s, that had to be the isekai explosion led off by Sword Art Online, but with the saturation of that area, the new decade is ripe for something fresh. We’ll all wait enthralled and one day realize it’s happened, but not until we start scrolling through releases.

-The foreign film drought continues at the Oscars.

I know this isn’t the animated movie column, but it’s criminal how little attention non-American fare gets in stateside circuits outside of industry professionals and passionate folks like perhaps yourself, dear reader. It would be nice if it changed, but I don’t suspect it will.


-More revivals of older shows will happen.

Recent years have borne nostalgia trips across culture, from Star Wars to DuckTales, and in turn, I expect more of the same as we get into the new decade. If there’s one thing Hollywood is good at, it’s recycling ideas, and I think it’s become applicable to animation as well.

Well, that’s it from me! A Happy New Year to all, and a big thank-you for all the support for the blog. Here’s to the end of one decade and the beginning of a great new adventure with you all!

(Leave a comment if you’d like!)