- January: Different Platforms, Familiar Faces
- February: Filling in the blanks of Anime History
- March: Starting a blog / Zael in Japan: Arrival in Tokyo
In February, I started making a much more concerted effort in watching older classics, and in general, filling out the glaring gaps in my anime watching resume. This was in part spurred by my recent completion of a certain Revolutionary Girl Utena the prior month.
The mission started with the original thirty-six episode Macross series. A storied and influential franchise that has spawned multiple iterations across the years, and what the prolific creator/director Shoji Kawamori is known for. At the time, this would have been the oldest anime series I had watched, with the exclusion of some older movies, such as the Mobile Suit Gundam trilogy.
This later continued with the absolutely beautiful theatrical alternate-retelling of the story, Do You Remember Love? as well as the plethora of OVA’s in the series timeline, such as Macross Plus, Macross Zero, and Macross II: Lovers Again. In the lead-up to the latest entry in the colossal Macross Franchise, Macross Delta, I’ll be sure to check out the relatively recent Macross Frontier series too.
But it doesn’t just end with Macross, this was a distinct change in priorities for me, I found myself going ahead in checking out a bunch of movies and series I had just held in the back of my mind as “some day maybe”. The most notable of which was diving head-first into the world of Satoshi Kon.
I first began with one of the earlier works he was involved in, though not as a director, which was Magnetic Rose, one of three OVA’s under the title Memories. I found it quite an apt introduction into the mind of Kon, as not only did it contain the common motifs found in his later works, such as the plight of candid individuals like actors and singers, paranoia and how it can warped perspectives. In addition, it contains a psychologically oppressive overtone and a thick layer of tension, suspense and fear that would no doubt be put to full use in Kon’s theatrical debut, Perfect Blue.
Following a director through their career in a chronological order is very rewarding, and I continued through with his other films, from Millennium Actress to Tokyo Godfathers and finally, his last work, Paprika.
This set a trend throughout the year as I found myself watching titles completely outside my comfort zone, from the classic Japanese literature anthology of Aoi Bungaku, to the bombastically emotional, larger than life Giant Robo, to Gundam creator Tomino’s absolutely bonkers Evangelion precursor Densetsu Kyojin Ideon and right onwards to the biggest project of all, still ongoing, Legend of the Galactic Heroes.