Recently, while looking for new episode ideas for Dynamite In The Brain, I recalled an old interview with Frank Black. Now this is entirely from memory so I may be totally misrepresenting the Pixies frontman, but he mentioned how he only listened to records that history had decided were worth listening to. That the thrill of the new, and the sheer amount of new records made it hard to judge them properly, but if after a decade people still said an album was worth listening to, it probably was.
I tried to live by that rule, briefly, with my CD buying in 1999, but I do still like that thrill you get with new things. Thrills are fun. If he taught us one thing, then that is what Tharg taught us. I think pop culture ephemerality has its place, not everything has to stand the test of time and can just be for the now. Plus, if you check things out when they are new, then you get the chance to be one of those gatekeepers of taste for future audiences. If only gatekeeper of taste came with a cool uniform.
Eventually though it gets harder and harder to keep up with new things as your life begins to fill with responsibilities, and so it’s easier to look to the annals of history for tried and tested entertainment. So I want to do at least one episode a month of Dynamite in the Brain where we look back at an anime film or tv show from 10 years ago. It’s part laziness and part the fact that we got a bump on downloads for the FLCL episode.
So what do I think is worth a revisit in 2011?
Well, it was a good year for films. Cowboy Bebop: Knocking on Heaven’s Door (which should be our first episode on this topic), Spirited Away, Metropolis, Cat Soup and Millennium Actress. At least two are great films and the rest are at least worth a viewing. There was also WXIII: Patlabor the Movie 3, but I’m yet to see that.
OAVs of note included Read or Die, Puni Puni Poemy and Animation Runner Kuromi. There was also Alien Nine and Spirit of Wonder: Scientific Boys Club, two I missed but would like to check out at some point. Oh, and there was Kai Doh Maru, which might be worth revisiting to see if I can relinquish my throne of the only guy who kinda liked it.
TV Shows? Well that’s a tougher call. Hare+Guu still holds up that’s for sure. Mahoromatic wasn’t my cup of tea, but animation-wise still seems fairly strong. Beyond that? Well, for sure Noir will be remembered, but that is quantifiably no good. Don’t argue with me on this point, I’ve taken the measurements. s-CRY-ed? Galaxy Angel? Seems unlikely that they would hold up, or even that they were that great to begin with?
Obviously it’s not surprising that higher budgeted movies and OAVs would stand out more than shows with TV budgets. Its part of the reason why my mind gets boggled when people complain about “bad seasons” or “bad years” for anime. I’m pleasantly surprised if there’s FIVE films/shows a year that I LOVE. Because that’s about my limit for pretty much every other form of media at this point. The rest is just ephemera that few will remember anyway.
So what other anime from 2001 is worth revisiting?