Sorry, it’s a personal top 5 list.
Takuto from Takuto’s Anime Cafe suggested this particular theme to me. He’s recently published a post that he’s been working on for a long time: “On Love, Loneliness, & the Growing Distance Between Us | The Works of Makoto Shinkai.” I highly recommend you set aside some time and read what he’s got to say since he’s clearly put a lot of thought and effort into this post. It’s definitely worth it.
Let’s get on with this, shall we?
If you really know me, then this shouldn’t come across as a surprise. I’ve watched the series several times by now. A few select episodes I have committed to heart, more or less. I’m not quite at the point where I can recite every single hand every character wins throughout the series, but I’m getting there.
It’s probably because I’ve always been a fan of the underdog at heart. Now, Saki (the original series) is a great show, but you couldn’t really call Kiyosumi a true underdog in good faith.
Meanwhile, Achiga is a lot closer to being genuine underdogs in my opinion as most of them hadn’t played mahjong in many years and had to rebuild their skills and abilities. Even though I think the execution of Shizuno’s overwhelming performance during the Side-A semifinals was lacking (in terms of proper foreshadowing), I still love that particular match because someone who was essentially a liability to her team finally rose to the challenge. It’s simply beautiful.
Anyways, watching the series is what convinced me to finally teach myself how to play riichi mahjong. I’ve been playing mahjong on and off for 3 years now and I’ll probably never become a pro, but it helped me get through some tough times and was what I spent all my energy on before I became a blogger, so there’s that.
[Full disclosure: I momentarily stopped working on this post to play a game of mahjong after writing this part.]
One of the first subbed anime series I ever watched, Loveless definitely features plenty of PROBLEMATIC themes and events, which I am aware of now that I’m older. But it must have left quite an impact on sixth grader me since I’m not overly against pain for the most part (scars on the neck are no-go, though).
I just found Soubi to be so cool that I kind of wanted to be sort of like him as a sixth grader. I was already incredibly super-sighted and was considered talenting at drawing back then (don’t ask me to draw anything nowadays, please). Therefore, I was halfway there according to my silly standards in my young mind.
Thankfully, I never ended up smoking. However, I probably convinced myself that withstanding pain is cool. So get on my good side and I’ll let you mess me up. Pretty sweet deal, right?
Maria-sama ga Miteru
I’ve watched this series (and the three sequel “series;” the third series was just a few OVAs) at least three times. Once in high school, once in university, and once last year so I could review it without relying on faulty memory.
I would say this was my first foray into yuri anime that doesn’t rely on mahjong (i.e. Saki) to keep the viewers engaged. I encountered the female Zero pair before watching Maria-sama, admittedly, but they only played a relatively small part in Loveless. Meanwhile, Maria-sama exclusively focused on that ambiguous line between friend and lover, I felt, and it was seemed so much emotional and dramatic and meaningful compared to most other rom-com series.
I probably was driven to start a yuri blog partially because of Maria-sama because I liked it so much.
Love Live! Sunshine!!
I frequently browse doujinshi, constantly retweet fanart, and often listen to their songs. Love Live! Sunshine!! was clearly going to be on the list.
Maybe it’s because I rushed the original series a few months before Love Live! Sunshine!! started airing, but I never fell into idol hell until I started watching the “spin-off.” What more do I need to say? Guess I’m just a huge fan of the underdog and of normal people who try best to reach their lofty and difficult goals.
Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo
Based on what I have said in the entries for Love Live! Sunshine!! and Saki Achiga-hen, I think you all can probably guess why I like this series a lot.
Sorata is the underdog. Sorata is the average becoming frustrated at being easily surpassed by geniuses. Sorata is my spirit animal and who I (sort of) strive to be. I also want to work hard and prove that normal, talentless hacks can make it, too. That’s what I think, at least.
I’m sorry you had to read through this.
Questions, comments, and concerns are welcome as always.