Yesterday I talked about shows that suck. Fortunately, there’s a lot of amazing anime to make up for it. I watched a bunch of shows a second time this year. Instead of food, shopping, or what have you, I went on anime binges whenever I was in need of comfort. I’m not saying it’s any healthier, but it’s certainly my drug of choice!
Here are a few shows I experienced the second time around in 2014.
The first time I watched this show was in middle school, so I was pretty hazy on the plot. And judging by the subtle metaphors only an adult would get, I am pretty sure I missed a lot the first time. For example, I thought “Nanami’s Egg” was a pretty Dada episode when I was thirteen, but it’s pretty clearly a metaphor for puberty. Weirdly, I remember being kind of happy for Utena when she and Akio got together. Now, I see their uncomfortable relationship for what it is. It’s amazing how astute you get after 15 years of anime watching.
I watched this for the first time in 2010 when I was at the lowest ever point in my career—essentially, before it had even begun. I was a gym cashier with a Master’s degree, living at home with my parents, wondering why I couldn’t get a real job being that the recession was supposed to be over. This time, all the things I found comforting before seemed a little too convenient: Misaki’s need, Sato’s many second chances to successfully complete an eroge. There’s a little bit of luck when it comes to life, but most of it is hard work.
I couldn’t shut up about this show in 2013, and I couldn’t even wait 12 months to watch it again. Natsume was even warmer and more consoling when contrasted with the similar but moodier Mushi-shi, which I watched for the first time this year. For me, it’s emotional catnip, a calming story against a muted background where even the spiritual elements are very human. I crave it whenever I feel lonely because it does such a good job of personifying that particularly universal human condition.
Another 2013 favorite. As I wrote back then, it’s pure escapism to a world that never existed. Now that I know the plot by heart, I spent my second watch-through focused on the gorgeous scenery and music that embody this magical world the characters move through, seemingly ignorant to how good they have it. Backdropped against the turning of the seasons, the rich and varied settings are exquisite and cozy and make me want to live there. As Benten, preferably.
This post is the sixth installment of The Twelve Days Of Anime, a blogging series in which anime fans write about shows that inspired or impressed on them this year. For all the posts in this series, visit my table of contents.