Digibro Never Shuts Up 12 – My Top 100 Favorite Songs (and Brandon Tolentino’s)

Surely this makes up for months of silence. In this five-hour epic recorded over two days, Brandon Tolentino and I break down our “top 100 favorite songs” lists, which we’d written months ago, and I’d never finished writing a post about.

This track-by-track breakdown of both lists involves lots of esoteric explanations, random singing, and a truckload of overly obvious passion for music. And if anyone asks—yes, I actually listened to the whole thing back myself.

The lists are below for the sake of keeping up/listening. Note that Brandon’s numbers are reversed for some reason (i.e. his 1. is actually his 100.). Also, as mentioned throughout the podcast, both lists are incomplete and in need of changing, especially Brandon’s because his list was written while he was depressed. These listings do not account for any changes discussed in the podcast.

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Brony Media Overview [Tons of Embeds]

Image by Paradise Wonder

My quest through Equestria Daily‘s media section is finally over after more than two months. I only made it back through June 2011, but due to a series of events, I lost my place, and EQD’s page system makes it difficult to go through their archives. Besides, the further back I go, the less high-quality media there is, and these days so much is produced that I hardly find time for my archive plumbing. Therefor, I’m calling it here.

I’ve listened to several hundred songs, watched at least a hundred PMVs, a few dozen animations, YTPs and flash movies, not even getting into the dozens of games I’ve played and thousands of images I’ve looked at. I’ve gotten deep into brony media culture, and I’m only going deeper. Here are my findings at current depth.

Amazing as Equestria Daily is, the site is unreliable. After all, it’s a blog, not a database, and only wants to be as much. My tastes don’t always agree with those of the EQD review staff. They post up plenty of shit PMVs and tons of generic electronic music that has little in the way of pony—not to say that their tastes are generally bad, just that I intook more than enough crap that I didn’t care for, while finding other stuff that I did looking on my own.

(Totally not butthurt because nothing I’ve submitted to EQD has ever made it :p)

Nevertheless I can’t discount how valuable it is to have a site that delivers large amounts of worthwhile content to an incredibly wide audience. I only hope that a good portion of that audience goes to find things on their own as well. This might be an insane demand actually, because I know firsthand that keeping up with EQD alone is incredibly time-consuming (even if, like me, you don’t read any of the fanfics they post). You probably have to be a jobless, schoolless pony fanatic like myself to intake as much pony as I do while accomplishing anything else.

There are no words to describe the whole of pony media, except that all of it contains pony (and even then, that assessment is questionable at times). Pony media spans every medium and genre, and probably creates a few of its own. There’s pony stuff that I like in every form, and getting into all of it will be a nightmare.

This post will contain a list of each song, video, etc. that I’ve downloaded or favorited on sites like youtube, deviantart, fimfiction, etc., largely without comment. I’d like to say things about them all, but it will be just gushing unless I could dedicate a full post to each item.

Here is a bit more than the tip of the iceberg of all the pony stuff I like. I’m sure I’ll eventually make a full-on canon of all things pony which I enjoy in the future.

In order to keep this list from getting too crowded, I’m limiting it to one item per artist. You’ll see something like “JHaller’s x, x, and x,” while featuring the work which I like most. Everything is largely out of order, but I tried to position the best stuff at the top of each category.

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I Have No Favorite Anime

Oh shoot, I’m posting in March. Looks like my slot in the anime blogger tourney is set in stone now.

If you read my twitter, then you know that I’ve spent the past month or so neck-deep in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fandom. I haven’t felt so strongly about a show in years, possibly something like ten years, reaching back into my original Pokemon fandom. Is it ironic for a die-hard anime fan to find his true love in an American/Canadian cartoon? Maybe, but more importantly, it raises a question which no one has asked, yet I feel that I’ve been avoiding (or at least waiting till I was comfortable enough to answer). Do I like My Little Pony more than anime?

This brings me to a conundrum that I’ve faced for quite some time, and which has caused me to completely stop writing favorites lists altogether (!!!) for something like half a year. I have no favorite anime.

There just isn’t one anime which I feel so strongly connected to that it could be called my favorite show, above all others. Last year, when ghostlightning made his most awesome favorites list, he had just rewatched Revolutionary Girl Utena and found that he loved it in a huge way—but there was no question that Super Dimensional Fortress Macross was still his number one favorite anime, because his connection to that show simply outdoes what Utena might even be capable of.

I probably don’t care about any one show as much as ghostlightning cares about either of those. The last time I strongly felt that I had a favorite anime was when I wrote about Kara no Kyoukai back in 2010. Back then I had a strong grasp of what I thought made me care about a show. I no longer do. My last favorites list (not currently visible) had K-On!! in the #1 slot, and I said right on the list itself that I didn’t really feel that K-On!! was supposed to be my favorite anime, it was just the one that I cared about most at the time.

I feel there’s no anime which I’ve already seen that has the power to be my favorite anime. If it did, it already would be. Instead of caring about them more, I’ve only cared less about most of my “favorites” over time. At the end of last year, I felt that Steins;Gate and Madoka were my favorite shows of the year and had a strong chance of being on my “favorites list” – but I didn’t include them, nor alter my list in any way, because the whole concept felt weightless. Were I to include them, would I rank them? How arbitrary would it feel? My list always feels arbitrary, like its last member could easily be substituted for something else, or like there isn’t really a gap in how much I care for number five against number one. Then why have a list? Forget it. I liked Madoka and Steins;Gate most of 2011 anime. It doesn’t matter anymore. Those are just some shows I like, so I’ll remember them, and the memory can speak for itself.

There’s no question that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is my favorite show right now. I haven’t stopped being constantly entrenched in it. I’ve seen some episodes upwards of four times in the past month, be it from showing a bunch to other people or watching it on TV or just rewatching episodes on my own. It’s a show where I know a considerable amount of dialog, and can sing a great deal of the fanmade songs already. Not to mention I’ve already made some. This show has mobilized me like nothing else, and I can’t remember being into fandom this hard since my last two-week nico nico douga binge. And I’ve been binging MLP for at least three weeks and counting.

Do I like MLP more than anime? No, that’s insane. Anime is an entire medium. But I do like it more than any individual anime that I’ve seen.

Light Novel Adaptions vs. Anime Originals (vs. Manga Adaptions)

Generally, I think—and public opinion supports—that Original Anime (that is, ones that were first conceived as anime and not based on any other work) tend to be of higher quality than anime based on other works. This isn’t always true, but I’d say it’s about 80% true.

Original Anime tend to be the best because they put the most consideration into animation as a medium. The poster child for that idea is Cowboy Bebop, which wouldn’t work in any other medium. It takes every element of being an anime into consideration and perfects it.

My favorite Original Anime

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How My Tastes Stand Up To The Common Fan’s

The blogosphere is funny in that if viewed exclusively, it gives a skewed perspective of public opinion. Even though there are a hell of a lot of blogs, and between them the full spectrum of opinions on a show is covered, the percentages of people holding those opinions may be opposed to real public opinion. For instance, a number of bloggers may love To Aru Majutsu no Index, but even more dislike it—in spite of the fact that in general, Index is a well-liked series, and if every anime fan was voicing their thoughts, it’d have more of a positive presence in the ‘sphere.

Art by kiriu

Individual perspective doesn’t help. I’m going to break out the statistics in a moment, but first I’ll state that none of my favorite anime are generally considered bad. The only show on my list that has a score below 7.5 on MAL is Le Portrait de Petit Cossette, which is the show I care least about insofar as feeling defensive of its quality.

But because I’m a super-big fan of a show like Canaan, its negative press in the blogosphere makes me feel like I’m part of a small minority who likes the show, when in reality, while it’s not the most popular show on my list, it’s still generally liked overall.

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Self-Doubt and the Miracle of Rewatching (OR How to Completely Fail at Watching Anime)

Two years ago, I was a member of an ‘anime recommendation database’ site called Anime-Planet; I left in May 2008, but my account still exists, untouched by time. I’d like you to have a look at the favorites list in the ‘about me’ section of that account, and then compare it with my current ‘favorites list’ page. It’s no surprise that shows have been added over the years, but you will also notice that over half of the old list is fucking gone. I didn’t just decide one day that I hated half of my favorite anime, though – the cause of this anomaly is self-doubt.

The paragon of self-doubt. Art by togetsuhou http://gelbooru.com/index.php?page=post&s=list&tags=togetsuhou

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You Have an Undying Love For… What?!

In the past week or so, my cousin/roommate Funeral has gone on a massive Yuu Yuu Hakusho binge. Out of the blue, he decided that he wanted to finally complete the series and manga, and then proceeded to buy all four ‘seasons’ of the show and almost all of the books at once.

Damn pretty boys.

Now see, Yuu Yuu Hakusho was one of the first shows that Funeral and I became fans of when we got into anime back in 2001. We used to watch it on Cartoon Network all the time, and Funeral owned the two movies, however neither of us have seen any of it since, at the latest, 2004. Since then, both of us have developed tastes that are far different from those we had back then. Both of us have wondered how the hell we were able to enjoy some of the shows that we got into (Samurai Deeper Kyo, wtf?!), but there have still been a few things from back then that we’ve always loved (Cowboy Bebop, s-CRY-ed etc.) Still, Yuu Yuu Hakusho was hardly a choice I saw coming. Funeral is a film buff who has a deep love for anime, but his tastes tend to be more towards the mature shows, or at least the darker ones – he has a spot for light shows as well, but his true love is with anything either artsy or hilariously brutal. Of course, this meant I had to ask him, ‘really?!’ to which he replied “I’ve realized that I have an undying love for Yuu Yuu Hakusho.” And that got me thinking.

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Implications of a Like vs. Enjoy Conflict in Writing A Favorites List

No conflict here, 10s across the board!

This is a continuation of this post wherein I described how one can separately ‘like’ and ‘enjoy’ any given show. Some people pointed out that ‘like’ is a very horrible term to use here, however, the suggested term ‘respect’ does not fully convey what I’m getting at here, so bear with me. In the future, I will never use the word ‘like’ this way again, but for the purpose of this post, please assume that when I say ‘like’, I mean to say ‘something that meets one’s personal standards’, and that when I say ‘enjoy’ I mean ‘something that I was pleasured greatly by partaking in’ (think ‘sex’). That out of the way, I want to talk about what separately ‘liking’ and ‘enjoying’ something means for one’s (namely my) favorites list.

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