Wednesday, June 26, 2013

2001: 21st-Century Digital Toys

Alexandra Roedder is finishing her Ph.D. in musicology at the University of California, Los Angeles, writing about Joe Hisaishi's Ghibli soundtracks. She first encountered anime on her TV in the form of Sailor Moon, but didn't recognize it as anime until years later when a friend who was really into anime had her watch Spirited Away, Grave of the Fireflies, and then the first few episodes of Ergo Proxy, all in one night. Since then, she's never turned back. When she's done with her degree she plans to write a few books about anime music aimed at closing the gap between academics and fans. She also plays cello professionally. You can find her personal blog ( and her Twitter account at on @alexandramuses.

2001 was a year mostly notable for its anime films: Spirited Away is probably best known, but there was also Studio 4ºC's Princess Arete, the gekijouban presentation of Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door, and the epic Metropolis based on Tezuka's manga. However, television also had its gems from the year, surprisingly enduring shows on surprising subjects, each of which showed sensitivity and depth and tried to turn away from many of the stereotypes which 1990s anime had developed. Below I will discuss three shows I feel to be representative of the year: Mahoromatic, Hikaru no Go, and Angelic Layer.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

2000, Part 2: Retrospect Before Passage

Happy 2000 (all over again!)

At the rollover of the 1990s into the 00s, fandom was digesting the collectability of Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Digimon in Japan, while America was awash in the competition between the likes of ADV Films, Viz, Bandai Entertainment, CPM, Media Blasters, and Pioneer. Perhaps due to the thickness of the market, Patrick Stoeckel's analysis on the biggest shows from the last year of the last millennium was just so big that he decided to give us a glimpse on the lesser-known shows of 2000 that were lost in all the kerfuffle.

As I look at more animated output for the year, I'm struck by the connections to the past. As the 20th century drew to a close, anime studios had a great opportunity to examine Japan's history and see where the country's headed. John Coltrane's 1942 rendition of "I'm Old Fashioned" makes for a good piece to listen to while writing this article; as the years pass by, being old-fashioned isn't so bad when you have someone to be old-fashioned with. The approach of a new millennium provides ample opportunity to see the history of a society, and where to go from here.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

2000, Part 1: Last Stop of the Millennium

Patrick Stoeckel began his anime life with the Toonami line-up, then moved on to the unedited DVDs. After that, it's been a steady stream of writing about it (via The Anime Discussion Corner before moving the blog to Anime Commentary) and occasionally teaching an informal class on the subject. His passion for anime runs deep, and his blog is his outlet for commentary. You can also find his commentary on Twitter at, appropriately, @AnimeCommentary.

I chose the year 2000 primarily because it lay within my early years of anime-watching (and, to be honest, it was one of the few remaining years available that I had any real knowledge of). My first real exposure to anime came through the significantly edited broadcasts of shows like Sailor Moon that made the rounds on Cartoon Network back in the day. That first experience got me hooked, and I began purchasing DVDs when I could. The unedited DVD releases of these shows informed me of how diverse Japan's animated fare could be, and I remained a fan ever since.

2000 was an interesting year for anime. Toonami still broadcast edited versions of shows that remained popular; the debut of [adult swim] the following year will change the broadcast dynamic for Cartoon Network. With Toonami, it would broadcast old favorites (such as Rurouni Kenshin and G Gundam) throughout the upcoming decade. As should be noted, Pokemon's popularity in the 1990s saw the emergence of the controversial 4Kids releases–controversial because of the "Americanization" and censoring elements prevalent in their broadcasts.

The dawn of the 21st century (and the new millennium) marked a surge of popularity in the Dragon Ball franchise, as well as other titles such as the various Gundam shows and Pokemon (all of which remain major pulls). The U.S. market proved very receptive to anime, ever since the previous decade, and the upcoming decade would see more shows being released (particularly on the Adult Swim block). As far as television in general goes, a few live-action dramas debuted (including Ikebukuro West Gate Park, which received a manga adaptation), and TV viewing had been astounding from the 1980s onward. But what did the anime scene look like in that year?

Well, that's what we're going to examine with this article. Sit back and enjoy; 2000 had some great releases, and this article looks at three.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

1999: Towards A New Era

In middle school, Naru appreciated anime, fanfiction, and pretty guys just as much as the next internet-surfing pre-teen, but it was actually in her high school years when she began to discover what was so "special" regarding the former. On a whim, she created her main blog Oromywhat where you can occasionally find her explaining or rambling endlessly about the Japanese pop culture and its secrets unknown to outsiders. If she ever disappears from her blog, you'll easily find her at Organization Anti-Social Genuises as an anime/manga reviewer or ranting on Twitter.

Before we begin focusing on the quiet year of 1999, I believe I should be honest with you all and straight out say 1999 was a year I personally did not know much about until I made the decision to participate in this project. Between the end of the 90's and the beginning of the 2000's, my little self was rather occupied with shonen anime being aired in my country at the time–Yu Yu Hakusho, Gundam, and the like–which aided and formed me into the grumpy hard-to-please anime appreciator that I am today.

However, it is until just recently that I've taken the time to search around the deepest parts of the dark hole that is the Internet to find out that, while 1999 isn't the most memorable year for some of us, it certainly wasn't an uneventful year. Heck, the year 1999 gave birth to cult anime adaptations that are still present in the minds of old fans, and now to new fans of the current generation.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

1998: The Birth of the Cool

Evan Minto, also known as Vampt Vo, went from wide-eyed newbie anime fan to hardened cynic in just over ten years in the game. Nowadays he serves as the editor-in-chief of anime, manga, and video game blog Ani-Gamers, writes reviews for Otaku USA Magazine, and goes to a heckuva lot of conventions (he was even Con Chair for Genericon 2013). If you can handle an overdose of bad puns and nerd snark, go ahead and follow his exploits on Twitter @VamptVo.

If I may be so bold, I'd like to suggest for a moment that 1998 is the most important year in the 1990s—at least in terms of its effect on American anime fandom. Sure, 1992 introduced Sailor Moon, and 1995 brought us game-changers like Evangelion and Ghost in the Shell, but 1998 is notable for something other than just its spectacular list of memorable series (and boy oh boy, is it a spectacular list).

That's because in 1998, anime was finally cool. The only problem was that Japanese otaku didn't know it yet.

Monday, June 3, 2013

1997: Take My Evolution

Eric McLeod (@SweetDurga) didn't really know what anime was until high school. His only anime before that point were Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh, but after discovering shows like Trigun and Cowboy Bebop, he decided to give this thing called anime a try. He is currently the editor of anime content at TheBrokenInfinite, where he blogs about the current anime season, and is working to become a history teacher when he's not bemoaning the anime fandom on Twitter.

1997 is a prime example of the adage "the more things change, the more they stay the same."

Many franchises would be born, die, or take a break in 1997. Magical-girl shows were still selling like hot cakes, super robot shows still had a footing in the market, and a little series about taming magical monsters would become one of the biggest things in the world. However, there was a noticeable shift in the content of TV anime this year, and that shift owes Neon Genesis Evangelion a favor.

Hold your horses. I know we already have an article on Evangelion, and you should go and read it now if you haven't already, but I need to set the tone for this year and the anime I'm about to talk about. Were it not for Evangelion smashing all conceptions of what televised anime was capable of, the anime I am talking about might not have found an audience. This was the year that Evangelion was supposed to end, but its legacy would live on, not only through its massive merchandise franchise, but through the anime trying to recapture its magic.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Golden-Ani Updates: Future Posts and Hall of Fame Votes

For those of you who may have noticed, we have been low on content recently. Part of this is intended, as editing two articles per week has become heavy lifting. (No real complaints here, but it's more taxing than it first appeared!) Part of this is also unintended, as we have had one person back out on us at an inopportune time.

However, that doesn't mean the blog has been left to grow weeds in the intermission. A little brainstorming during a podcast (more on that in another post) and with some fellow bloggers at Anime Boston has led to some ideas that merit some acknowledgement.

The Future of Golden-Ani

First of all, there have been a few people who have wondered if there will be a printed book version of Golden-Ani. At the moment, it would be hard to envision how such a project would come about, but I can picture some sort of print media that could be distributed at a con event in the future. Perhaps it would get people's minds focused on older shows if they were to be given something that required a turn of the page and not the click of a link. It's been on the burner for now, but certainly not ignored.

Second of all, there have been questions about the future of this blog once we do hit 2012. Does it sit here like Stonehenge for visitors to explore? Does it get revamped every year, maybe with a blogger covering a single show into more depth?

What we have been exploring is a better way to cover the decades. Currently, we're exploring the past 50 years as yearly slices of the loaf of bread that is the past half-century of televised anime. If we were to push those slices back together and cut along the grain, perhaps we could envision a study into particular genres (e.g. harem comedy, sports drama, seinen, shônen, shôjo) and how they have evolved over time. We'll be drumming up business for that kind of analysis perhaps around July.

Hall of Fame Voting

Lastly, what has come to mind is some sort of way to analyze all of the shows overall. We've been nailing some of the bigger features, but once this thing is over, there should be some way to pick out the important ones. That's where you, the writer, and you, the reader, come into play.

We will be starting a formal vote for a "Hall of Fame" ranking that stretches over the full 50 years. The plan is to post a generic ballot in the next day or so, then have people send their choices for the best shows of the past 50 years to a generic mail account. This will likely be something akin to the Hall of Fame voting styles used in professional sports, where voters can say yea or nay to shows and are not restricted to having to select a certain amount of shows. (But for sanity's sake, the ballot will likely be capped at twenty selections.)

Once a ballot is composed, it will be posted here on Golden-Ani, so keep your eyes peeled! We'll also be resuming our posts this week, once our emergency replacement has sent the 1997 article. Almost 15 more years to go before the end!