Behind The Scenes: February 2022

Hey there and welcome back to Behind The Scenes. With the final reviews for Interspecies Reviewers and Heisei Harenchi Gakuen, our coverage for Romance Month has finally concluded. I hope you all enjoyed these themed reviews as much I enjoyed writing them.

Running an entire month on a single theme was tricky, but I’d like to think it was a success. At the very least I got some learning experiences from it that will help me make the next themed month more neatly organized. The biggest problem ended up being the Brief Thoughts On reviews, as I didn’t have anything planned for them ahead of time. I was sure it’d be no problem at all to just pick up some shorts and OVAs to review as I went, but when I had to actually pull it off I struggled to find anything worthwhile to talk about.

I was also asked why I was reviewing hentai in a romance-themed month in the first place. Hentai has a reputation for being indulgent and basically porn, but I feel that it serves an important function in the medium as a whole. Sexuality and romance are closely interlinked—though you can have either without the other—so it irks me that so few anime dare to address it in any capacity.

I want to find those rare hentai that combine their sexual content with actual, meaningful storytelling. Hentai with fun characters and story arcs. Hentai that show the community that this can be done and that “normal” series could stand to learn from it. I don’t need to have sweaty plowing sessions in every romance anime I watch, but I’d love to see more series like Scum’s Wish that don’t immediately cut to black at the slightest hint of intimacy.

Next month we’re back to a normal schedule, though I am still taking this week off. It’s been an exhausting few days between helping out a sick relative and dealing with yet more mishandled renovation projects. An ISP was busy connecting my home to fiber and managed to drill straight into my water pipes. They then had a plumber come over who made such a mess of their work that my family has been without water for a few days, and I likely need to replace a bunch of piping completely. Getting the different companies involved to fix this and take responsibility has cost me a lot of energy and, as a result, sapped a lot of my drive to watch anime lately.

Fortunately, the content for next month is largely scheduled ahead already. I am going to be reviewing a bunch of series that were recommended to me and also some anime that I watched as part of a groupwatch with members of the AniList community. If you haven’t heard of AniList before, then I strongly recommend it.

I started out on MAL as most anime fans do, but migrating to AniList has been one of the best decision I ever made. The website is so much more modern and convenient; offering lots of settings that MAL has refused to implement for years now, with an interface that is many times more pleasant to navigate. For maintaining your lists and finding information on series, AniList is one of the most cohesive resources around. And if you’re in it for the social aspect, then the forums and status updates offer plenty of discussion and entertainment. I am slightly biased here, but I truly can’t name a single reason why to use MAL over AniList, outside of not wanting to figure out how to migrate.

Besides reviews, I am also changing up the formula slightly. I’ve gotten some comments that people like the recommendations at the bottom of reviews, but didn’t always understand the connections I was making. I am going to add little explainers below the box arts from now on with links to full reviews where possible. This should also add to readability, as the labels on the recommendations weren’t always as legible as I wanted them to be.

If all goes well, then the next Behind The Scenes post is on the 30th of March. See you then!