Seeing the comments on the Winter 2019 anime season, many people seem to prefer Chika Fujiwara to Kaguya Shinomiya, the main character of Kaguya-sama: Love is War.
And while I strongly disagree with that opinion, it has become an inspiration for this post, as I got reminded of the situations when I liked the side character of an anime more than the main character.
I didn’t really had any problems with Suzukaze Aoba. She was an enjoyable character and her story left a similar impact on me as the story of Shirobako did.
It motivated me to work harder towards my goals of working as a video editor, and perhaps one day in anime.
In fact, it helped me feel better about not being in my first choice university. My current one, computer science, isn’t exactly the media editing course I aimed for, but it does have some subjects related to it.
And one of those subjects is “video game making”.
But the most relatable character of New Game! for me was Takimoto Hifumi.
Her battle with social anxiety reasonated with me more than I’d like to admit, and seeing her try her best and doing well really warmed my heart.
The first thing on my mind when I see this word in the context of anime is myanimelist. This is probably because that’s the only place where I actually rate anime.
And really it’s the only place where I’m looking at anime ratings. At times they are one of the factors I use to determine if an anime is worth watching.
Sure enough, they can be too high or too low, depending on the show, but they sort of give the general idea of how good the series is. In most cases at least.
At first I decided not to rate each anime I watch, because I thought I will too often think about the score I would give. I thought I will give it too much importance.
Later on I changed my mind and realized that rating shows really isn’t that deep. There is really no need to sit down for 2 hours and think of every single detail that would increase or decrease the score.
I don’t have any special rating systems in my head. Things that automatically increase my score if I see it in the anime. Or things that automatically do the otherwise.
I don’t write down a score for each segment of an anime (story, plot, characters, etc…) and then combine it into one single score. That would take too long and I would probably struggle to pick the right score for each segment.
I just want enjoyment
There are loads of reasons for an anime to be enjoyable or the other way round. It can literally be from the theme of the anime to the mood I’m in on the day of watching. Or there can be a character that reminds me of certain people and situations from my life that I’d rather forget.
That’s why rating each show is different.
You have the most emotional, tear-jerking story possible? Great, but what’s the point if I can’t relate to the characters or if I find them unlikeable?
Sure enough, combined with emotional music it could still work and make me cry, but I would tell you that I’m missing that “something” to call it a masterpiece and you would get an 8/10 instead.
So what makes a “masterpiece”?
Fascinating plot. Well developed or relatable characters. Heartwarming moments. Sheer emotion. The setting. The timing of watching.
All of that and more has influenced me when I gave certain series the “perfect” score.
For Hunter x Hunter it was put simply – everything xD It has managed to balance everything. Stunning, deep and meaningful writing, the characters, the music, the levels of hype, the animation quality, the emotional moments. Simply everything was on point.
Ofcourse Hunter x Hunter has flaws too, just like every anime in existence, but all the positives heavily outweigh the negatives.
I could say the similar for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Both are just the perfect balance of everything.
In Steins;Gate I felt a strong connection to the characters, which led to a lot of emotional moments accompanied by the beautiful music. The plot and the way everything comes together has been mindblowing.
I was fascinated by the themes of the series and it’s references to real events/organizations/people.
I watched Madoka Magica soon after Steins;Gate. It taught me to never judge an anime by its cover.
Toradora is an anime that will always make me happy, it just works so well for me in every single way. I simply love everything about it.
Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho reminded me how much I love travelling and need it in my life. And it managed to bring a unique story that is both emotional and motivational. With 4 best girl characters along the way.
Assassination Classroom amazed me with the way it turned something absurd into one of the most emotional and touching things I’ve ever seen.
To sum it up, I’m rating everything as an overall package. Package of enjoyment. That package includes different things from anime to anime.
If the positives outweigh the negatives so much that I have to think hard to actually think of the bad parts of the anime, you are probably looking at a “masterpiece”.
If I’m thinking more about the negatives than what I actually enjoyed, you are probably looking at a 7/10 at best anime.
Do you have any special ways you rank each anime? I’d love to know your thoughts!
Music is one of those things that will, for me personally, almost always work when I feel down.
And when you add anime to it, the effect can grow even more.
I’ve talked before about my love for anime openings, so in this post I will suggest you 7 Openings and Endings that will help you when things get rough.
SAO II Ending 1 (Haruna – Startear)
The first part of the second Sword Art Online season, the GGO arc, talks about Asada Shino, who wants to overcome her trauma of guns by playing the VR game Gun Gale Online. I won’t go into much spoilers, but she definitely had a tough childhood, which left her in the depressed state portrayed in this ending sequence.
I want to be stronger; just a little stronger
With that, I made a wish,
In hopes of overcoming this sadness.
The lyrics, combined with the beautiful visuals, including the scene when Sinon, Asada’s VR avatar hugs her, really feel helpful. The overall feel of the song always makes me feel encouraged. It makes you feel like you are not alone.
You can do this. You can get stronger. Just keep fighting.
Shirobako Opening 2 (Masami Okui – TREASURE BOX)
Since hearing the first seconds of this opening for the first time, I just knew it will become one of my favorites.
This song. It just fills me with this feeling of satisfaction. Satisfaction with life. It simply makes me feel like everything is going well and that it will continue going in that direction. It makes me feel like my dreams are achievable and I just need to relax and let it happen. Work a lot for it, ofcourse, but also not stress about it cause it’s bound to end up well.
I’m not sure if I made much sense there, but yeah, this is just how this opening makes me feel. I guess optimistic is the word?
Another personal thing related to this opening is how it helped calm me down during the stressful times in June before my high school final exams. The image of the exhausted Miyamori on the table was basically me. The song also included the word “panic”, which when I noticed, helped me relate to it even more. It helped calm me down and things did somehow worked out in the end. Sure, a bit differently than expected, but I can’t exactly say I’m unhappy.
Don’t lose hope. I’m sure everything will end up in a positive way. Just think of Sakaki Shizuka from this exact anime. Those who watched Shirobako will know what I mean. If you haven’t, I highly recommend you do it.
Your motivation levels are sure to grow thanks to this anime.
Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho Ending (Koko kara, Koko kara)
Now how do I even start with this masterpiece of an anime? One of the most inspiring shows I’ve ever seen.
As someone who loves travelling as much as anime, which is, let’s say, too much even, this show really made a mark on me. It reminded me why I love to travel so much, and it ignited my wish for travelling to even higher levels than before.
Both the song and the visuals immediately put me in a happy mood.
If you want to get inspired by an anime, look (on a place) no further than this one. It worked in every single way for me personally, and it is now on my list of anime that I awarded with the perfect 10/10.
Hunter x Hunter Ending 3 (Yuzu – REASON)
Talking about anime I awarded with the perfect 10/10, here is the third ending of Hunter x Hunter. Things are calming down a bit after Kurapika did THAT, and we follow Gon & Killua as they try to beat the game called Greed Island. Despite the dangers of the game, this feels like the fun side-story for those two characters, which also serves as their training arc of sorts.
From the first listen of this ending, I was hooked and I jammed to it every single time. It never fails to improve my mood.
Unless it’s the 147th episode. As soon as I heard this song start there, I started crying…
In any case, this song always reminds me of the great times I had watching Hunter x Hunter. It’s perfectly fitting for the relationship between Gon & Killua.
Oh, and the ending includes Bisky. So many reasons for this ending to improve your mood.
Harukana Receive Opening (Kana Yuuki and Saki Miyashita – FLY two BLUE)
I would’ve never thought that I would end up enjoying a show about beach volleyball so much. I never even knew why exactly I started this anime in the first place, I guess it was the eyecandy. But I stayed for that, but also a genuinely enjoyable show about friendship, and guess what? Beach volleyball.
And let me just talk about the music. This anime has one of the best soundtracks of the year. The composer of the OST, Rasmus Faber, a Swedish DJ, has done a fabulous job.
This opening reminds me of the good times I had while watching this anime.
And a part of the OST, the song called Rise, even became my new alarm clock song (starting this week it replaced the Charlotte ending).
The fanservice is not the only good part of this anime.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Ending 2 (Miho Fukuhara – Let It Out)
Sometimes you just need to let things out. And I do that every time when I lipsync while watching this ending.
This song feels like a friend is comforting me and telling me to just let things out of my system.
Let it out.
Leave it be.
And move forward.
An added bonus is that it reminds me of that day when I received the results of those final exams I mentioned before. To keep it short, I was fully convinced that I failed those exams and that there won’t be any university for me this year. When I received the results and realized I passed the exams, it’s fair to say it was a quite shocking moment. I would even call it the most shocking one of my life so far.
The results were not sufficient for my first choice university, but they were for my second choice, which is where I am now. That night our national football team has also won against England and we ended up in the World Cup final. It’s fair to say there was a lot of shock and euphoria that day.
And how does all this relate to FMAB?
I finished the anime the day earlier. I listened to it’s EDs on the day of the results. I tend to remember unimportant stuff, so I remember exactly which FMAB EDs I listened that day. It was this one and the third one.
Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! Ending 1 (Chīsana Bōken-sha)
This ending takes me back to the end of November last year, when I watched Konosuba. Damn it’s almost been a year since I saw this anime.
Everything about this ending is so relaxing and satisfying. It almost makes you wish you got revived into a fantasy world too.
Which anime songs do you listen to when you feel down? Do you like the picks I made? Let me know in the comments!