My Changing Tastes In Anime

If you were to plot the rate of my anime consumption against the time I’ve been watching anime, it would peak right around the middle.

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See, I had a real narrow taste when I first got into anime. It was all action, but only edgy action like Tokyo Ghoul or Blood+! It wasn’t until I stumbled across Future Diary that I finally began to accept other genres in anime. It wasn’t long after that, but I eventually ended up consuming anime in mass quantities.
Seasonal anime, isekai anime, harem anime, I would watch it all. As someone who could easily get attached to almost any plot, it felt like a failure on my part if I didn’t complete every anime I started under 25 episodes!
But recently it’s been real different…
Over the course of the last year, my anime consumption has dropped sharply… I’m hardly keeping up with three shows this season, as compared with the dozen I watched weekly last year. I’d contribute two reasons to this-

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“Hey, let’s just put action lines and still frames over all most of the fight scenes!”

1. I’ve become a lot more critical of smaller things. If a show’s annoying me, I start noticing shortcuts in the animation, and how boring fight animation tends to be…
Honestly, I didn’t think it would be a bad thing. I only come to like good anime more through criticism. Although that brings me to the second one-

 

2. There aren’t many anime that interest me coming out. I’m sorry, there’s only so many escapist fantasies I can stomach. How Not To Summon A Demon Lord is a prime example of all the plot elements I despise in almost any story I see…

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Even their obvious rape face is boring and uncreative.

Like, there’s a blond prince who plays his own entrance music on a flute, who also happens to monologue about wanting to rape his sister… Though we already know he’s evil, cus anyone who tries to take away a main character’s harem is evil! They just really went overboard with cramming every villain stereotype they could into him, huh? Honestly, depressing!
I am kinda interested to see if Hanebado will end up crushed under the weight of its melodrama, but that makes it a little stressful to watch. Happy Sugar Life is also real extreme in its depiction of everything… but that’s a positive! I can just treat it as a black comedy and hold a bit of hope that it can tell an interesting story…
But honestly, the airing show I’m most interested in is a series of monthly OVAs!

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My love of Fate/ vs my desire to watch seasonal trash

Today’s Menu For The Emiya Family is the most well-intentioned cash-grab I have seen from anime! It takes the already established characters of the famous Fate/ franchise… and it drops them into a moe hell of a cooking show! Without fail, there is always at least one 2-3 minute scene of a character cooking and listing step by step instructions to follow along at home-
And I just find that terribly interesting. Considering its tendency to morph its characters into adorable moeblobs, I thought cooking would just be a vehicle the show uses to show its characters being cute. I thought this show would simply be a ‘cute girls doing cute things’ show featuring Fate/.
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And I thought that would be fine. After all Fate/ has some of the best character designs around. Just take a moment to see this show and compare it to the recent Ufotable adaptation of Unlimited Blade Works or Heaven’s Feel. Regardless of artstyle, the characters remain distinct and memorable. They can wear all sorts of clothes and still look good, and I thought this show would exploit that.
And while I was correct in predicting that the show would be liberal in its use of clothing and character designs…
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I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was meaning to be found in Today’s Menu For The Emiya Family. If you watch a lot of ‘cute girls doing cute things’ anime, then you’ll realize that most of them emphasize the ‘cute girls’ part, rather than the ‘cute things’ part. To me, that demonstrates a cynicism towards the subject matter. After all, the most dominant marketing tactic in anime is to sell cute girls. (though selling bishounen is an equally base marketing tactic)
And that’s why I love Today’s Menu For The Emiya Family. It has a beloved cast, and yet it decides to spend a good quarter of its runtime every episode to make an (admittedly well-animated) cooking tutorial! The premise is not subservient to the cast… and yet the cast is still moe as can be! The Emiya Family is an iyashikei that successfully integrates the premise of cooking, while still having cute moments to spare with its characters.Image result for today's menu for emiya family cooking gif
One episode can be spent with Shirou being roped into making sandwiches for some helpless adults, while another can have the cast immersing Illya with Japanese culture, or the focus could even shift to Rin being a tsundere sister who can’t admit how happy she is that her little sister looks up to her. The animation is expressive, and the comedy is nice, but the real appeal is the warm feeling you get watching all these characters be happy…

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Young Taiga btw

Because, you see, the original Fate/Stay Night visual novel, consisting of three main routes, is very messed up. It is a battle to the death between 8 7 human masters and 9 7 servants. No matter which character you care about, even if they survive one route, they will end up being brutalized in another. But regardless of all this pain, Fate/Stay Night is about finding light in the darkness. It’s about recognizing the tragedies around you, yet still finding meaning and happiness.
And that’s why an iyashikei where the most loved characters of Fate/Stay Night all happily eat together isn’t out of place. If you were to remove the grail and the evil manipulators behind the ‘Holy Grail War’, then this is what you would get. The Emiya Family is about finding community and meaning through making other people happy… And so, it’s thematically relevant. And cathartic.
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Also, Today’s Menu For The Emiya Family just puts a smile on my face! It’s fun and it’s cute, and I’m at a point in my life where I can admit that without any shame. Really, the characters are just great, and I want to spend more time with them. Seeing the characters build that sense of community, and well, family-
It gives me this feeling of joy that few anime can match.
But despite that, I’d feel bad if I didn’t mention the actual Fate/ comedy-Image result for carnival phantasm
Despite how much I just praised The Emiya Family, I don’t think it comes close to matching the glory of Carnival Phantasm. Maybe it’s because I have a penchant for self-referential comedy, but I don’t think I’ve seen a show yet that gives me a similar feeling as this show. I may not think it’s the best comedy anime…Image result for carnival phantasm gif
But man… this show had me on the floor! Definitely a must-watch for…
Well, pretty much anyone who knows too much about Fate/Stay Night and a little about Tsukihime
So, admittedly, very few people will be able to enjoy this series as much as I did-
But Today’s Menu For The Emiya Family is totally accessible! And it’s free on Crunchyroll! And it’s still airing! So there’s no reason not to watch that one! And maybe when you’re done with it, you might even feel inspired check out Carnival Phantasm!
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