I started off my J.C. Staff post by declaring them a “great” studio. I can’t say that about DEEN. Whereas J.C. Staff has shows that look good even if they suck, DEEN has shows that look like shit even if they’re good. Yet, while I could jump to the conclusion that this makes them a failure as a studio (in cases of adaptions, what good does it do if you don’t supply the most important thing—animation!?), the truth is that DEEN has a lot of good shows, regardless of their failings in animation. The studio even has a number of things going for it that only through watching a lot of their shows would you start to realize are definitive trademarks.
I’m gonna be segmenting my Otakon coverage, partly because the thing as a whole is so massive, and partly because I want the sense of accomplishment from writing an Otakon post tonight without the incredible amount of work it’d take to do it all at once. So first up, I’ll start with the easy stuff: my haul.
In a visual storytelling medium such as animation, character design is incredibly important, especially in this modern era where character goods make up a huge part of the anime market. Viewers have to be able to connect with a character design on some level in order to be able to connect with the character on some level. Many people let characters design largely factor into their willingness to watch a series, and I can’t say that I’m different – only that I’m very open to a wide variety of designs that will not limit my viewing too much. That said, even I have things that I find hard to watch when the designs repulse me enough (mostly graphically violent 80s and 90s OVAs), and of course, if I adore the designs in a show, it can do a lot to enhance my viewing experience. This post is about the shows that do this for me.
It is not, however, a post about individual character designs that I like. Indeed, there are a lot of shows that produce a single object of my adoration, or perhaps even a handful, but who do not extend this visual pleasure to the rest of the cast. One thing about the anime being produced today in the name of selling character goods is that most shows try and appeal to a broad range of people. For instance, while I love the designs of Lynette, Sanya, and Hartmann from Strike Witches, I am not as much a fan of the other designs, as they don’t hit into my ‘strike [witches] zone’. Even in a case like Bakemonogatari where I love most of the designs, I am still turned off by enough characters that I cannot truly say that I ‘love the character designs in Bakemonogatari.’ Therefor, I present this as a list of my favorite shows wherein I loved the designs of the entire cast.
Shana is one of my favorite designs, but I don't care for most of the other characters in the series.
The more of anime culture that I consume, the lower my standards get – that’s how it looks from an outside perspective, but more accurately, the more that I consume, the more things I find to appreciate about everything I see. Not just anime, but music, too – I used to be pretty picky about what genres I would watch or listen to, and now I can safely say that there is no genre that I am incapable of enjoying on a case-by-case basis. I’ve found myself liking more and more shows that I wouldn’t have before and willing to listen to music that I couldn’t formerly tolerate. It is not always easy to branch into a genre you were previously uninterested in, but always rewarding – however, I have found that the hardest thing to get into is something more personal.
That is, anime and music that I formerly claimed to hate. Or if not hate, then whose fans I formerly looked down upon. I have striven to remove all of my elitism, but I’d be lying if I said i was done doing so, nor if I said that I didn’t used to be really, really elitist. I mean, hey, everyone wants to have at least someone to look down on, to instill a feeling that they are at least superior to that guy, but I can hardly kid myself like that. No one has ever told me that I had good taste, and no one ever will. There are genres of music and anime fandom (yes, genre of fandom) that I looked down on in the past, and far harder than merely breaking into a genre that I was formerly uninterested in is breaking into one that I formerly looked down on.
Nekocon was not something I regret, because I got to experience a small con, got to run my first panel, and got to buy what is now my favorite figure in my collection. However, I will never go again, because those are things that could happen at any con, and there’s no reason to go to anything as shitty as Nekocon ever again. In the future, I’ll stick just to cons big enough to have Japanese guests.
It’s down to the top 25 in the “100 Characters For 100 Otaku” series! Truly, it feels like we are in the final stretch! Incidentally, if you’ve been reading all this time, I’m sure you’ve seen the hints at the bottom of the posts of characters to come. Have you been able to guess them at all? Today, I’m going to make them especially hard, and you have to post your guesses! Now, let’s get started with numbers 25 down through 21!