Well it’s that time of year again, when I decide that, after a full year of producing almost no writing, it’s a good idea to try and produce 12 posts in 12 days. This is actually the 5th year running so that’s kind of a neat milestone if I can keep it up.
So towards the end of last year I had a silly idea. I first started getting really into anime around 2011, I dabbled before but it was mostly just rewatching stuff from my childhood, 2011 was the year I started actively following airing shows and diving into the endless backlog of older stuff. An effect of this all is that I narrowly missed out on seeing a lot of the anime of the 2000s. Obviously there have been a handful of things I’ve actively gone back and sought out after the fact but also there are inevitably things I’d just never heard of. So I decided to mark this new decade by spending a year watching things from an old one. For all of 2020 the only non airing anime I’ve watched have been from 2000-2009.
Since the intent was to find things that had been forgotten I added a sort of vague secondary criteria when selecting things for the list; the notability rule – Any anime I’d heard of by reputation or seen discussed with any frequency was automatically disqualified. Outside of a handful of things which I’d maybe heard the name of (or seen come up on AMQ) this resulted in a list of series I knew next to nothing about, which was very much the point of the thing.
So with those restrictions, pulling on various sources (I started out with recommendations from friends for more obscure stuff before eventually just going through lists of things released in any given year and just picking at random) I built a list of shows to watch throughout the year . In recent years I’ve been arguably watching a lot less anime just due to spending more time on other stuff, so I started with a fairly modest collection of 20 series. And then I kept finding things. A lot of things. Including OVAs/Specials etc (because I can’t be bothered excluding them but there were probably 15-20 of those in there) I have at the time of writing watched 84 anime from the list this year. I still have not reached the end of it.
While I’m not going to keep up the restrictions once the year ends I still want to finish everything on the list, currently that stands at 14 series, including a couple of longer ones that I intentionally left to the end to avoid getting bogged down halfway through the year. So yeah, that project ballooned way past what I expected it to be in the end.
As far as what I actually watched goes it was sort of a mixed bag. The problem with using “forgotten” as a qualifier is that plenty of anime are forgotten for good reasons. While only a handful of entries were actively bad there was definitely a lot of stuff that was just so-so. I have watched far too many mid 2000s Eroge adaptations (a genre space generally occupied by anime that are “fine”) this year for one thing. But I also found a few gems (Figure 17 alone is worth any number of whatever VN shows) and a bunch of stuff that might not have entirely clicked with me but which managed to be interesting for one reason or another.
If I ever do something like this again (which I might well do, but not next year at least) I’ll probably be a little more discerning in my selection process. While the notability rule did achieve its intended effect it definitely didn’t provide a representitive sample of the decade overall, certain genres just weren’t represented at all, which is a shame. On the whole though I enjoyed this way of structuring my backlog (even if none of this stuff was in said backlog before I started) a fair bit. Having some kind of structure to stick to definitely encouraged me to watch more stuff rather than just looking at a big list of things I could be watching and not feeling like any of them.
Naturally my being trapped in the 2000s is going to influence what ends up in these posts a lot, so look forward to that I guess.