Anime Club Escapades: 11/14/2013

Screenings in anime club have been a different experience than what I experienced before. The main reason for this is that most of the anime I’ve been showing to the club are things I’ve already watched before. The experience hardly bores me, however, because it’s been a while since I last watched them. Why is that, though?

Rewatching anime is a mixed experience for me. On one hand I feel as if I should be using my time better by watching things that I haven’t seen yet, as I am backlogged to hell and back. My hard drive has hundreds of gigabytes worth of stuff that I haven’t watched yet. On the other hand, I forget about anime I once touted as the best in the industry, and it is helpful to watch them again for several reasons. One of those reasons, as I may be experiencing currently with the club, is the opportunity to remember why I loved/liked these anime.

Girls und Panzer happens to be the thing I’m really enjoying right now, even if others amongst my staff find it to be a complete bore. Hell, I thought it was a complete bore when I first watched the anime, as each character was extremely forgettable. However, the more I watch this show, the more I start forgiving it for a lot of things. It just… has a lot of fun striking a balance between tank accuracy (which I appreciate but couldn’t care less about) and intense CG tank battles (the real reason anyone watches this show). Combine that with insufferably cheery marching music and I could even slog through the bare bones character development just so that I can go back to the tank battles. Not that the character development wasn’t important, mind you, but it just felt like an obligation. All sports anime have to go through this stuff for some reason. Oh yeah, I never really thought of Girls und Panzer as a sports anime until now, but it really makes sense that it feels the need to at least brush by everyone’s issues. It certainly contributed to the whole cheery sportsmanship tone of the show, and I don’t hate it for that.

Sometimes, however, I’m reminded of the less impressive aspects of an anime I remember only enjoying to the fullest. I’ve been rewatching Baccano with the anime club this quarter. It stands as a Very Enjoyable Anime for me personally, and it holds up to the club’s impressions and their general taste. We’ve just past the sixth episode and I’m a bit baffled as to why I was able to keep watching. The middle part of the show is pretty underwhelming, much to my surprise. Enough that I would have become suspicious of it crashing in quality if I were to be watching it while it aired. I’m well aware of the reason why I can’t bring myself to be excited for these past few episodes, and that’s because of two things: the Rail Tracer episode (Episode 9) hasn’t happened yet, and Isaac and Miria haven’t been getting a lot of screentime. Those two aspects of the show are far and away the best parts of Baccano, but it’s taking a while for them to actually happen. I wonder if, on a particularly bad, stick-up-the-ass day, I would have dropped Baccano at around this point of the show. Always something to ponder.

I’ve heard the term “rewatch value” thrown around from time to time and I’m not sure as to exactly what that means. Rewatches have several conflicting aspects that affect how I view the anime. One of those is the time between my first watch and the rewatch. Tastes change, and by no doubt my own tastes adapt to each new season of anime, for lack of anything better to watch. I may be more willing to sit through dumb stuff if the content is good enough, and at other times I’m quite insistent on something being the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread (Hence my disappointment towards Uchouten Kazoku). Another aspect of rewatch value is the denseness of the show itself. Some Bones anime practically require a rewatch because of how convoluted they are, while in other cases the anime experience is akin to junk food (some comedy anime, most DEEN adaptations, “so bad it’s good” anime, etc.).

One example I’m perhaps too familiar with is Xam’d. I see Xam’d with the positive impressions I have now because it stands up to the number of rewatches I’ve committed in trying to understand the show. To be completely fair, even though I firmly believe that everything that mattered in that show made sense, I still don’t understand it completely. I just know that it’s still one of my favorites despite being watched to death at this point. This isn’t the case with, say, when I recently watched Tiger & Bunny. It was really, really fun to watch. I was surprised that I would like it so much. Yet, I don’t see myself watching that anime again for a very, very long time. I think I know the reason why.

Perhaps my personal rewatch value is primarily dictated by the amount of depth I perceive in an anime. A bunch of “consensus good” anime have that kind of depth, and the kinds of convoluted, ambiguous drivel I love the shit out of can have this type of depth too if I succumb to its atmosphere deeply enough. Might there be anything more I can glean out of the show that I missed before? Or has everything been said and done to the point where rewatching it would just bore me?


  1. Well, if the Tiger & Bunny movies count as rewatching the anime then I guess I’m going to be rewatching it in the near future.
  2. At some point or another I’m gonna end up suggest an anime for the club that I think was good but end up thinking it’s either average or crap in the middle of watching it and it will be nobody’s fault by my own.

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