This post is an edited version of my initial Seabed review. I’d like to think it’s a lot better.
Another season of anime has come and gone, and with it, another crop of anime full of yuri have completed their runs, or at least made significant progress since I last spoke of them. Rather than wasting any time, let’s dive right in. Again, there’ll be minor spoilers where necessary, so use the timestamps in the comments if you wish to avoid those.
Anime should be political. No, anime already is political, as is any other media you lay your eyes and ears upon. Every single thing which has arisen not from nature but from humanity bears upon it the mark of the society in which it was created, a society shaped by the political actions and actors which exist everywhere, and even nature itself shows clear signs of ideological influence. No media can escape the subtle personal biases of its creators, nor can any piece of art avoid being affected by the world it exists within. To claim otherwise would be to ignore art’s universal feature: its ability to communicate. If we accept that all art, in some way, speaks to how human beings do or should act, then it must, as a result, speak to politics. This is not the politics of elections and leaders, it is the politics of society’s organization, of the ways in which many individuals shape the world around them.
I vividly remember the comments that Free first received back in 2013. “Who wants this fujoshit?”, “wow this is gay”, “it’s just fanservice for girls.” Now, I was on /a/ at that point, so my understanding of the vibe surrounding the show in those early days is understandably biased by the community I was a part of. That said, it would be simply obtuse to claim this attitude isn’t present in other forums of discussion. A significant number of male otaku are unwilling to give a real chance to Free and other shows like it merely because they come across as being “pandering to fujoshi”. The issue with labelling all female otaku as fujoshi aside, there’s a number of serious issues with this outlook. I’m not going to bury the lede here: yes, Free panders to a specific audience, as does any other piece of media. That it’s so consistently belittled for doing so is merely a sign of the latent misogyny that lingers like a phantom in the hallowed halls of anime discussion.
I am… not a fan of the original FLCL, unlike my girlfriend whose video comparing these two you can check out after this for a different perspective. No, it’s never done anything for me. Back when I first watched it at 15, it was simply a mess, so confused in its direction that it failed to reach me on any level. It wouldn’t be hard to chalk my inability to understand its appeal up to a simple lack of maturity — though the sheer amount of other young people it connected to immediately puts that belief in doubt — if not for the fact that I had watched and loved Evangelion’s finale months earlier. No, I got it just fine. As I said, it simply didn’t do anything for me and at that stage, where I truly couldn’t understand and appreciate the intricacies of animation, there was nothing of substance in it from my point-of-view.
Are you someone interested in hearing some random anituber spout off about her favorite yuri ships for a good 10 minutes? Do you enjoy listening to people make twisted justifications for why a specific couple is deserving the love with which they’re showered? If so, then you came to the right place because that’s exactly what I’m about to lay before you. If that’s not what you’re interested in, then why the hell did you click this video? You can see the title. This list is purely based on my taste, the criteria are arbitrary, there’ll be some spoilers, yada yada yada, let’s begin.
It was one of the most monumental underdog success stories in the hundred years which make up the history of anime. A mixed-media project, its accompanying game had already shut down due to lack of players. The simplistic CGI turned-off myriad would-be watchers, something which would leave any ordinary show as mere roadkill. Yet it continued to claw its way out from the jaws of defeat, quickly becoming the most popular anime of Winter 2017, only challenged by long-running mainstays for dominance over the entire year. A promising future could be seen on the horizon as millions of fans worldwide waited for more content with baited breath. And then, just as suddenly as with its meteoric growth, everything fell apart. Its director was fired, the public was enraged, and the sun which had been rising on the horizon quickly went out. This is the story of Kemono Friends, its inspiring struggle for success, and the disastrous decision that ruined it all.