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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Golden Ani-Versary's Coverage of 2004 is Public! Why Did I Choose 2004, Anyway?

First off, for those who do not recognize this banner, if you're not reading the Golden Ani-Versary blog then you have a lot of reading to do! Thought up by Geoff Tebbets, former reviewer & columnist for the now-defunct Animerica magazine, the blog's purpose is to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Tetsuwan Atom/Astro Boy's debut on Japanese television by covering each year in detail... With the help of 49 other contributors! Who's helping out? Here's a portion of the list: "Anime Anthropologist" Charles Dunbar, old-school anime blogger Dave Merrill, ANN's Mike Toole, Assistant Prof. Akiko Sugawa-Shimada of Kansai Gaidai University (an honest-to-god Ph.D.!), blogging duo the Reverse Thieves, Anime World Order's Daryl Surat, Patrick Drazen (writer of Anime Explosion: The What? Why? And Wow! Of Japanese Animation), Brian Ruh (formerly of ANN fame), Ani-Gamers' Evan Minto, and that's not even one-fifth of the roster! This is, most likely, the biggest & most ambitious chronicling of anime history in English... EVER! Anyway, each writer takes a year and writes about what made it identifiable: The popular shows, the innovative creators, the notable moments, etc. This has been going on since January, so why wait until now to bring it up? Because my essay is now up, that's why!

When Geoff revealed the idea of this blog, I was on-board as soon as I could send him a message, and there really wasn't any deciding what year I wanted to cover: 2004 was my first choice. Yeah, I could have gone a bit more research-worthy & chosen an earlier year, but I chose 2004 for good reason... In fact, I chose it for numerous reasons.

1. A Personal "Thank You"

Like the bio says in Part 1, I had already been a fan of anime to an extent before 2004 by way of titles like G Gundam (Toonami), Rurouni Kenshin (Toonami), Digimon (Fox Kids), & Escaflowne (who remembers when it was on Fox Kids?), not to mention Pok√©mon, but this specific year was, in my mind, when I truly became an "anime fan". I had bought some anime box sets before this year (Arc the Lad, Kikaider, & Soul Hunter), but 2004 was when I ventured into the dark trenches, i.e. fansubs, & followed presently-running anime as it was airing in Japan. From then on out I was "hooked", and I haven't let go yet. Naturally, that meant that 2004 had a strong emotional connection to me as an anime fan, so doing an essay about it was my way of finally "giving back" & saying "Thank you" to the year that I joined this pack of wild wackos.

2. If You Can't Guess, Then You Need to Read This Blog More

I think another reason is a downright obvious one for those who read this blog: I wanted to cover Ring ni Kakero 1. Considering how unknown the title is outside of Japan, I knew that if I didn't talk about RnK1 then no one was going to. Yeah, there were obvious inclusions for this essay, but I wanted to make sure that if I was going to include just one absolutely personal entry for my own personal enjoyment (and to hopefully get other people interested in checking it out) then it was going to be the anime adaptation of Masami Kurumada's first big hit. Yeah, it's a simple & almost petty reason to an extent, but it's not like it was going to be the only title I would talk about, nor would it take up the majority of the essay.

3. Backlog Reduction (Even if Only a Little...)

Like Geoff mentions at the top of Part 2, in 2004 there were 130 new anime that debuted in that one year alone... That's a lot of stuff to talk about, and with my method of making sure this essay would be as good as possible I knew that this essay would also double as an excellent way to finally watch some shows I had always wanted to watch. That's right, I watched every title I covered in detail on this essay within the past few months. Now I didn't watch every episode of every show, and there were two shows that I had seen in the past that I didn't find the time to re-watch for this essay (but, luckily, my memories of them were strong), but for everything else I watched it, either for the second time or the first time ever. Those who read this blog saw the fruits of that labor in the form of three reviews this past April: Yugo the Negotiator (both "Negotiations") & Fantastic Children. For my own personal accomplishment, though, I finally was able to see, for the first time ever, Monster (only what Viz released on DVD, unfortunately), Paranoia Agent, Fantastic Children, Genshiken, & Gankutsuou. Those who read my FC review already know how utterly blown away I was by that title, but everything else I saw for the first time was just as amazing; those words I wrote for each of these shows were literally done after watching each of them. Without this essay finally getting me to watch these shows, who knows how much longer I would have gone without seeing any of these excellent titles. That would have been the biggest crime of all.

4. 2004 Was Simply an Amazing Year for Anime

That last part of Part 2, "An Exuberance of Anime", was something I had originally planned on being nothing more than a quick mention of some of the other noteworthy titles that came out in this specific year... But I couldn't just leave it at just a few. Hell, I had so many that were worth mentioning that I had "sneak" some of them into the intros of specific show coverage (Fantastic Children, Gankutsuou, & Ring ni Kakero 1, specifically)! Even when Geoff sent me the edited version of Part 2, he wondered if I could try tightening the list or categorizing them more... I had to explain to him that I had already tightened that list & categorized them when I sent the final product to him! This year was just filled with so many noteworthy titles that I really do have to put down 2004 as one of the absolute best years in anime history (if not Top 5 then definitely Top 10). I will say one more thing, though: I now want to watch that Agatha Christie anime!

I've already told Geoff that if he needs writers for whatever he has planned for the Golden Ani-Versary after the 2012 essay finally goes up then I am game to help him out once again... But, for now, I am done. There are another eight writers coming up after me, and I am looking forward to seeing what they have to write about for their respective years. Anyway, read both parts of my essay, read the other 41 essays that have already been put up, read whatever comes next week & after, and then re-read them again... You'll not only learn something but you'll likely even find a few titles that you might want to watch now.

Thank you, Geoff, for giving me the chance to be a part of something so amazing as this.

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