Though it looks simple on the surface, Anime-Gataris is much more than just another slice-of-life comedy about an anime club. This week in anime, Nick and Micchy get into all the little details that make this series so special.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network. Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead.
You can read our weekly coverage of Anime-Gataris here!
Nick, answer me this: why is this season of anime so laser-focused on calling me out?
To be fair, this show is busy calling everyone out.
The Anitwitterers, the idol fans, the MMO addict NEETs, the cosplayers, everyone's getting dunked on left and right.
Watching an episode of Anime-Gataris is not markedly different from just reading my twitter feed for 24 minutes.
Real talk though, Anime-Gataris is doing a bang-up job of depicting different sides of fandom in a way you don't often see in anime. You've got the chuuni Shounen Jump reader, the light novel apologist, the cosplayer, the Love Liver, the person who's seen Literally Everything, and the requisite normal person coming together to appreciate this one amazing yet terrible medium. All of them have a different approach to anime fandom, which is pretty cool. I definitely prefer this over the more self-fellating stuff in A Sister's All You Need this season.
Oh definitely. Like, Anime-Gataris could so easily be a self-congratulating stinkfest where it talks about how great being an otaku is and how anime is a perfect way to spend your time and HEY BUY OUR MERCH Y'ALL. But the series manages to walk a fine line of expressing why its characters (and audience) love anime as a hobby while also kind of poking fun at how totally ridiculous it can be.
Kaikai is best boy, don't @ me
Well there's only two boys and his competition is a Love Live diehard, so I can't argue with that.
Hey now, I know some upstanding Livers, you can't say that so lightly.
Never trust a man over the age of 12 who watches Aikatsu, all I'm saying.
or watches "Onotoki" in this case
Definitely Not Aikatsu or Precure, mmmhm
TBH besides the cast, what really hooked me on AniGats first was the ridiculous names it comes up with to skirt copyright.
"A Certain Report on the Irresponsible and Depressing Chronicles of Me and a Certain Eccentric Childhood Friend" too...
The first two episodes are a rapidfire barrage of obvious but hilarious Wal-Mart brand versions of actual anime, and half the fun comes from figuring out what specific show they're referencing.
Some are more obvious than others
What I caught from the first episode alone:
You can even tell the exact time the show is taking place based on what they talk about as it's airing, it's that exact.
The show starts in spring 2016 with Roux:Zero (Re:Zero), Shikabari (Kabaneri), and Time Travel Shounen (Time Travel Girl)...
Which is funny because this is by the same crew that made Time Travel Girl.
goes onto summer 2016 with Ange Visual (Ange Vierge) and Sweetness and Champion (Sweetness and Lightning)...
and now we're in fall 2016
Only question now is when the hell they're gonna get hooked on Heybot.
I'm actually hoping they live in an alternate timeline where Heybot doesn't exist. Somebody deserves to live in an untainted world.
Well, as untainted a world as you can get when it still has
It's okay, they have an even better version of Bungo Stray Dogs too.
It's that specificity that sets this show apart from other reference-heavy shows. Anime is no stranger to referencing other shows, especially other otaku-centered favorites. But AniGats doesn't feel like it's trying to get a laugh just by making you recognize another anime. It uses the kinds of anime each character watches to flesh out their personality and tell you a little about who they are by how they interact with their hobby. Like Arisu, who seems to just love consuming as much as possible so she can talk about it with anyone and everyone and dump truckloads of money on BDs to share them with others.
Miko, on the other hand, is a light novel purist with a lil fujoshi streak.
Weirdly enough, she's actually my favorite!
Kouenji has a tendency to go "actually, you can't criticize this thing just because the anime adaptation didn't do it justice,"
but the thing that keeps her from being insufferable is that she legitimately tries not to be a fandom gatekeeper. She wants people to like her favorite properties! That doesn't stop her and Arisu from getting into arguments about judging an anime on its own merits, though.
She feels like the most "real" nerd of the group. Everyone gets a little bit of humanity to make them likable, but Miko is a particular brand of nerd I haven't seen represented much in anime or media in general. She's not a jerk, but she gets overly defensive and takes it personally when somebody criticizes something she likes, even if it's just a question of continuity or clarity. And like many a nerd, her hobby seems to have given her uh...
...let's say specific predilections
Maybe leave that for your private viewing time is all I'm saying.
smh next you're gonna tell me I can't watch Valkyrie Drive in public
Personally my favorite character is Kaikai, the self-conscious chuuni who constantly forgets to be self-conscious. He's prone to going off on bizarre tangents related to his favorite shounen battle anime, but sometimes he catches himself mid-sentence. There's this one scene in episode 3 where he starts rambling to Minoa about his favorite girl in off-brand Aria the Scarlet Ammo when he suddenly stops and goes, "Sorry, I'm boring you, aren't I?" It takes him from a joke to a character who feels real. He's off in his own little world a lot of the time, but he's just conscious of that enough to be a little embarrassed when he goes off the rails.
Yeah, there are a LOT of chuuni gimmick characters out there, but Kaikai feels a lot more like people I actually knew in high school. Okay that's a lie. He reminds me of ME in high school.
He reminds me of me right now! I try not to keep going on and on about my hobbies to people who aren't super interested but sometimes I can't help it. And the show gets that; it's remarkably sympathetic to his passion, even while poking fun at his ridiculous mannerisms.
Though I hope you don't relate to him TOO much after this latest episode...
Look, what did you expect when the episode opened with a conversation about TV broadcast censor beams?
I'm just saying, when I get a crush on a girl, I don't go streaking through the woods in my birthday suit.
Come on, you can't tell me she wasn't kind of into it.
I just sit at home and anxiously read over innocuous texts to see if there's a secret hidden meaning I'm missing, like a regular person. (Kai does that in this episode too, but you know, it should stop there.)
This adorable little dork can't even bring himself to say the L word, the precious baby.
I also do want to mention Erika, who had a pretty endearing episode a few weeks back.
Starring the LACC!
She apparently moved overseas for a while in middle school before moving back to Japan, and while she was initially nervous about being the foreigner in class, she eventually made friends when they found out they also liked PreCu-- I mean "PreFae". All-in-all, it's just a sweet story about bonding over anime and how a shared hobby can help you overcome difficulties in your life and meet other people. Which is kind of the show's heart, behind all the gags and references. The series genuinely loves anime and loves talking about it.
And they continue to mention overseas audiences! Last week had a Chinese cosplayer who went to Comiket to meet her fellow anime nerds. Cue a conversation about how wild it is that simulcasts make it possible for international anime fans to keep up with the newest shows and discuss them at the same time as their Japanese comrades.
It's an uncanny moment really. We're watching a simulcast anime talking about simulcast anime and talking about it talking about people talking about it.
It's even more meta than the third episode that explains the Three Episode Rule
This show is A Lot.
And we still haven't gotten to whatever the hell is secretly going on in the background. Because if you happen to look at the series' synopsis on Crunchyroll...
I choose to believe the apocalypse is Minoa discovering Heybot.
It's just a question that's...hanging there. And it's probably tied to the Anime Club room's live-in talking cat and the mind-controlling beret hidden in the back closet. Both of which are just THERE, taunting me, daring me to guess what the hell is going on.
Who knows! I'd be okay with the show continuing to be a cheeky slice-of-life club shenanigans anime, but if it's heading toward a last act turning point, that'd be cool too.
I almost want it to ignore the whole thing until the last episode. The show teased having a 3rd Episode twist only to not do that, so why not tease us with all this crazy intrigue just to forget about it entirely. Though there is one question I want the show to answer...
Who is Nakano's favorite Dub Tone girl, and is her name Nero Yarmulke?
inb4 my AniGats parallel Beibei returns to tell him Nero is bad