Ranma 1/2 is perhaps the most notable omission from my top ten anime list. It was rather formative for me as an anime fan and I still have an immense fondness for it. But over the past several months I’ve taken it upon myself to read the original manga version, of which I’ve had relatively limited exposure to, from start to finish. And despite having been introduced to the anime first, I’ve come to love it more as a manga.
It can be illuminating, I suppose, to revisit old things you wrote. I tend to find I painful – the more critical distance I have from something, the more embarrassed I feel by it. By the time I submitted the final draft of my master’s thesis, for instance, I had half-convinced myself that I was going to fail.
Anyway, I recently revisited Miyazaki’s 1988 classic, My Neighbor Totoro, which prompted me to revisit my previous post on the subject matter from almost seven(!) years ago. And I have to say that I really don’t know what the heck I was thinking, talking about the decline of Rome and the meaning of work and such.
I mean, I kinda do know what I was thinking, that desire to impress by bringing some heavy-seeming cultural-philosophical analysis into my review. But to do that for Totoro?
It’s been a long time since I tried to put together one of these lists. In the interim since my last attempt I’ve had the opportunity to revisit older anime from my younger days as well as new(er) stuff. So I have a much, much wider range of stuff in my memory to call upon here when it comes to formulating an idea of what my taste in anime is like. I’m able to paint a more accurate picture.
Let’s do so.
The house rule: this is a list of anime ‘series’ defined somewhat broadly – it could be a TV show, an OVA, something that includes movies or all of the above. But if it’s just a movie then I’m afraid it has to compete with the likes of Tarkovsky and Lynch in my favourite movies list.
It’s been a helluva year for me, to say the least. Back in January I was just starting to come out to those close to me as a trans woman and now I have a new birth certificate with the name Jessica on it and an “F” listed as my sex. I also seem to have crossed the phenomenological threshold that makes the average person on the street see me as a woman – it’s absolutely wild to go in the space of a few months from being more likely to get a homophobic slur or comment thrown my way to “hey pretty lady!”
This is all more than I hoped to accomplish with my transition this year.
Andrei Rublev was my first Tarkovsky movie. I watched it a couple of times around my freshman or sophomore years at university and it was one of those pivotal moments of “whoa, movies can do this.” Despite that, I never revisited it since then because watching it was such an intense, emotionally draining experience.
But this year I’ve been having a resurgence of interest in the filmmaker’s work, so it was only a matter of time before I revisited it. As it turns out, it remains my favourite Tarkovsky movie, perhaps indeed my favourite movie of all time.
Reading The Rose of Versailles has helped kindle a renewed interest in manga. The fact that we also seem to be in a golden age of expensive but nice-looking deluxe reissues of old classics has also helped. Mostly I’ve been trying to collect stuff I’m already familiar with that has sentimental value for me (like Battle Angel Alita), but I’m also cautiously trying to expose myself to new stuff as well. In particular, the two series I’m currently in the middle of are both romantic comedies.
It wasn’t intentional, but the choice conveniently dovetails with an aspect of my life which has become rather unavoidable lately: what does the whole, y’know, romance thing look like on the other side of my transition, with all those lady hormones and such (yeah, it’s gonna be one of those posts).
Denis Villeneuve’s Dune might be a great movie. It’s difficult to tell inasmuch as its latter half has yet to achieve existence. Moreso than even the individual entries of Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, Dune is a narrative fragment lacking in even those movies’ game attempts to shape themselves into complete entities in their own right. This movie reaches a point where it just kinda stops for a two year intermission.
My first attempt at writing this post about Tenchi Muyo wound up with me getting a little bit weird in oversharing some dark stuff from my life. So, suffice it to say: the period where I was about 17-18 years old wasn’t a particularly happy one for me. In this brief period of time I got briefly but intensely into the Tenchi Muyo franchise. It was my escapist pop cultural opioid of choice.
As life moved on, my interest waned, and it dropped off of my radar. Anyway, the point is: while there are other important anime titles from my teenage years, circumstances have given this one some weirdly specific associations in my mind.