Anniversary Q&A 2023

Reasons To Anime turns 6 years old today. Wow!

6 years since I started this humble website already. It’s been quite a journey to watch this site and its community grow over the years. Do you guys remember the horrendous old layout it used to have? It used to be even worse before that, but no snapshots of it were ever made. I’ll count that as a blessing.

To celebrate this special day, I asked you all to send in questions for a fun, little Q&A. So without further ado, let’s dive into your questions.

Are there any reviews you regret posting?

Yes, yes, so much yes. When this site was still new, I was desperate to get more content on here. The emptiness felt uncomfortable; even though that’s just a reality of starting something new. It made me worried that I wouldn’t be taken seriously.

In this rush to make content, I took some regrettable shortcuts. I gave full reviews to short OVA series that really weren’t worth the effort. Or I’d slack off by only watching a single season of a longer anime The latter happened with Mermaid Melody, which haunts me to this day. That was one of the first posts I made that garnered quite a lot of interest. To this day I resent myself for not putting in the effort to review the series as a whole.

Several of my earliest reviews eventually got deleted because I felt they were too underwhelming to keep around. Either because I wasn’t happy with their quality or because the anime I reviewed got a bunch of new seasons that I never went back for. RWBY and Hetalia are the most prominent examples, and of course there was the My Hero Academia review that only accounted for its first season.

As for non-reviews, I definitely regret making a top 20 favorite anime in only first year of running this site. I was nowhere near experienced enough yet to tackle something so ambitious.

What do you do IRL?

I am an IT engineer / application manager. I am responsible for a number of applications in our business, which I maintain on basically every level. That means providing support for the people that use these apps, but also handling its code and the infrastructure on which they exist. It’s a job with a lot of variety and which requires many different skills, which I really enjoy.

What have you done to keep yourself inspired to create new anime blog posts for six whole years?

Good question! Two factors come to mind that really helped me keep at it over the years. First and foremost is variety. I am constantly changing up what I watch and write about, so it never feels like anime is getting stale to me. If you scroll down the frontpage, there’s basically no consistency. One day it’s a retro isekai adventure, then the next it’s a modern slice-of-life about a dude and his cat. Then the week after its World War 2.

Unless your content is very focused on a certain topic or theme, I recommend changing it up often. Hop between genres or alternate between newer shows and retro anime. Sometimes commit to an opinion article or a manga. Or write something completely out of left field every once in a while. Maybe something that feels like a mistake or which nobody except you would actually care about. Whether it works out or not is unimportant; what matters is that it reinvigorates your creative spirit.

The second tip is to view what you do as a hobby at all times. I don’t make my living from doing this, so I refuse to treat reviewing like it’s work. This means not forcing myself to do things that I don’t actually want to do. If I don’t feel like writing or watching a certain series, I just don’t. If that means I don’t make my release schedule, then too bad. Guess I have a week off now!

That same logic also feeds back into my first tip. Since I don’t treat Reasons to Anime like a job, I don’t care about what’s popular. I choose what to review based on what captures my interest, rather than what market trends dictate would generate the most views. I have no incentive to run this place efficiently or profitably. If you enjoy keeping up with the hottest trends, then more power to ya. But if it feels restrictive and like you’re forcing yourself to keep up, then ask yourself what you’d actually want to write about. Are you doing this because it’s fulfilling or because you’re grinding for higher numbers.

I thought your website was for retro anime since that’s how I found it but you also do newer shows. What do you actually watch the most?

My interests mainly lie in series from the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s, which broadly covers what we’d call retro anime I think. I dabble in the 70s also, but that’s a point for me where anime is still too rough to be consistently enjoyable.

I like these “older” series partly because it’s what I grew up on and partly because there’s a lot of history packed away in them. Enough time has passed that we can confidently analyze what these series achieved and the ripples they created in the industry as a whole. As well as how they compare to their contemporaries in retrospect. That, to me, adds a lot to the experience of watching these series.

Newer shows are by no means bad, but the discourse around them feels transient to me. There’s hype while the season runs and everybody is posting about it, then everybody moves on when the next batch of anime hits. Not enough time has passed yet to really discuss how any of these series will hold up as a piece of anime history.

That is not to say that I strictly characterize myself as a retro anime guy. I like new anime perfectly fine and there’s a number of shows that I am itching to check out. I do a little bit of everything, you could say.

What are some of your favorite things outside of anime? Movies, books, tv series, etc.

Besides anime, most media that I consume are video games. My favorite game of all time being Recettear, in which you play a small lass that has to run the item shop in other peoples’ fantasy RPG adventures. I love the story, I love the cutesy graphics, and the gameplay has a nice level of depth to it.

Besides that, I mostly play RPGs, strategy games, and management sims. Some of my favorite series being Zelda, Dark Souls, Crusader Kings, Total War, and Disgaea.

As for everything else, I am very shallow. Often to the frustration of people who can’t believe I haven’t seen certain movies or TV shows. Book fanatics don’t give me as much shit because they know I’m a lost cause. I do really like the Lord of the Rings movies and have been known to enjoy strange, foreign films from time to time. Movies like Calamari Union or Eastern-European horror films.

Most toxic fandom?

My friends and I have an in-joke about never trusting people with Lain avatars, but that’s all in jest. I love Serial Experiments Lain myself and get stoked whenever I meet other fans.

I can’t really give a representative answer to this question though. I mostly hang out with the Moonies and a few smaller cliques. If a community feels toxic then I just don’t even give them the time of day. The only time I was left with little choice is when the Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai subreddit tried to brigade me. So yeah, fuck those guys I suppose.

Aren’t you being unfair in your review of Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei? It seems like you’re judging the anime harshly because you are a fan of Monogatari and holding these series to the same standard.

I have received a number of comments along these lines which never fails to perplex me. The allegation is that I am a Monogatari fan who is just hating on Zetsubou Sensei for being similar in a lot of ways. While I did enjoy Monogatari more, I wouldn’t call myself a die hard fan of it though. I only ever watched through the series once, am not intending to rewatch it any time soon, and have plenty of criticism towards it.

Regardless, of my fondness for Monogatari, it’s perfectly sensible to compare series. Especially when they are made by the same studio and staff in a very reminiscent style. That’s not unfair, that’s just how criticism works. You rarely discuss any piece of media as if it exists in its own perfect bubble. Other series exist and some of them were made by the same people. Before Monogatari, I’d seen Madoka. Before Madoka, I’d seen Hidamari Sketch. And before that I was watching Shinbo and Shaft anime that predate their current arthouse look entirely. Yet we’re not arguing that my review on Madoka is invalid because I am a Lyrical Nanoha fan.

These allegations also come off as petty. Most of the arguments in the Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei review stand entirely on their own without drawing any comparisons. The way it loses touch with its central premise, the lame gimmicks for all the characters, the lack of a proper conclusion, the repetitive format, the fact that Kimura never again switches between her two personalities. All of those are grating flaws that ruin the anime for me and all of them would still hold true, even if Monogatari had never existed.

Why did you decide to review hentai? Isn’t it weird to post that to your site?

Straightforwardly because it seemed like an interesting thing to do. Sexuality is a major theme in almost all forms of art, so why shouldn’t we talk about it? We’re fine with sex scenes in action movies or those precocious Greek statues getting their titties out in family restaurants. Yet anime gets a bad rep because a subset of its output has animated shagging in it? Not on my watch.

Anime is uniquely tied to erotica as well. A lot of mainstream anime started life as eroge and hentai is how a lot of studios, voice actors, and creators get their foot in the door. The Fate series was a hentai visual novel. Nagatoro is made by an artist who wrote loli doujins with bestiality in them. Even industry legends like Osamu Tezuka made erotic anime. It’d be insincere to pretend like the porn isn’t there or isn’t informing the more mainstream anime & manga enjoyed by countless people.

I also felt that it would be arbitrary to draw the line at hentai. Many of them have interesting stories and ideas contained within them. Such as the fantasy adventure Dragon Knight or the historical drama Belladonna of Sadness. Why should I review uncensored ecchi anime with only a sliver of effort put into them, but not hentai that is far more ambitious and interesting to talk about?

Hottest anime take?

I stand firmly by my review of Revolutionary Girl Utena.

How much of a show do you actually watch?

Any full review on here is based on at least the mainline entries of an anime. That is to say, its actual TV seasons + movie tie-ins. I watch spin-offs, OVA episodes, and specials when they are available to me and I give enough of a shit about the show to go the extra mile.

This question is often asked—in varying degrees of politeness—on my more critical reviews. As an indirect way to assert that I didn’t like or understand a series because I didn’t finish it. This is not the case. My reviews are always based on the whole series as it was available when I wrote it. The only exception being Tsubasa Reservoir, where I specifically mention not finishing the whole series.

9 thoughts on “Anniversary Q&A 2023

  1. Congratulations on six years. I can relate to a lot of this, especially your point about treating this like a hobby instead of work (and the love for Disgaea.) I’ve been digging more through my anime backlog recently and found a lot from the 2000s/early 2010s worth serious looks, even if those posts might not get as many hits as a review of something more current. Going back to the 80s can be challenging given the different style, but Legend of the Galactic Heroes is still one of my favorites.

    1. It’s funny that Legend of the Galactic Heroes is often that one “old” anime that everybody likes, even if their preference is newer anime. I wonder if the remake will change that in any way.

      Thank you as always for popping in dood. And congratulations on your own 10-year anniversary.

      1. Yeah, I’ve heard that from other people too. I also just start watching Die Neue These to see how it measures up. And thanks!

  2. Happy bloggiversary, Casper! It’s great that you’ve been keeping at this blogging thing for that long. It was interesting reading your answers to those various questions. That Lain avatar in-joke does sound funny and this is coming from someone who has been a huge fan of most things Yoshitoshi ABe has been involved with.

    1. Thanks man, I appreciate it. The joke started because we noticed that people with Lain avatars on AniList and MyAnimeList trended towards being argumentative with a touch of elitism. This was well before a Lain fan hacked MAL and messed up its database for a week or two, but that too made perfect sense.

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