It’s (Back)log!

Despite the relative lack of activity on this blog recently, my anime hobby hasn’t gone anywhere. If anything, it’s found a bit of a resurgence these past few months, being stuck at home most of the time now thanks to the global pandemic. With cabin fever eventually came the desire to add a new stack of titles to my already robust backlog.

But how much is there sitting on my anime shelf waiting for me to watch? I finally decided to find out. So here is a list of everything sitting on my anime shelf that I haven’t watched yet. Some I’ve had for literally years, and others I recently ordered and am still waiting for them to arrive. This list does not include my streaming watchlists. Since I don’t “own” those shows, they’re not part of my actual collection. I’m old school and still prefer buying discs whenever possible.

My current anime backlog as of this posting:

  • Beyond the Boundary
  • Beyond the Boundary -I’LL BE HERE- Past
  • Beyond the Boundary -I’LL BE HERE- Future
  • Brave Witches
  • Captain Earth
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun S
  • The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
  • The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan
  • Eureka Seven: Good Night, Sleep Tight, Young Lovers
  • Evangelion 1.11: you are (not) alone.
  • Evangelion 2.22: you can (not) advance.
  • Evangelion 3.33: you can (not) redo.
  • The Familiar of Zero (Seasons 1-4 & OVA)
  • Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight!
  • The Garden of Words
  • Gundam Build Fighters: Battlogue
  • Gundam Build Fighters: GM’s Counterattack
  • Gundam Build Fighters Try: Island Wars
  • Hidamari Sketch x Special
  • Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb
  • IDOLM@STER Xenoglossia
  • In This Corner of the World
  • InuYasha The Movie 4: Fire on the Mystic Island
  • Kase-san and Morning Glories
  • Lucky Star (TV & OVA)
  • Made in Abyss
  • The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya
  • Metropolis
  • Momo, The Girl God of Death
  • Nobunaga the Fool
  • Nyoron! Churuya-san
  • Paprika
  • Rental Magica
  • Revue Starlight
  • Sailor Moon Crystal
  • A Silent Voice
  • Space Patrol Luluco
  • Steamboy
  • Strike Witches The Movie
  • Strike Witches 501st Joint Fighter Wing Take Off!
  • Tokyo Godfathers

…yeah, that’s a lot of anime. I don’t think I missed anything, except maybe a spinoff or two that might be included as an extra, but I tried to count all those, too. I think I’ll have plenty of new things to watch for the next few years.

By the way, if you feel compelled to chime in on any of these titles waiting for me, I welcome your thoughts, but please… absolutely no spoilers!

New Albums in my collection: April – June 2020

>> BAND-MAID: Conqueror
They may dress as maids and address their fans as “master” or “mistress”, but don’t let that fool you. These girls can put down hard rock riffs with the best of them. This is their third full-length album.

>> Vanessa Carlton: Love is an Art
All these years after “A Thousand Miles”, Vanessa Carlton’s writing and playing has matured over time with her own unique style and sound.

>> Momoiro Clover Z: 5TH DIMENSION
Japanese “Limited Edition A” 2CD version of their second album from 2013. The first disc is the album, and the second is half of a concert from 2012, featuring performances of solo songs by each of the members of the group. It also has alternate cover art and comes in a clear slipcase with the pentagon logo. Finding a limited edition version of any idol group CD is a good get for my collection, since usually they are so expensive to import and they go out of print quickly. I found this on clearance from a domestic CD shop who already had imported copies in stock which they must have been sitting on for years. Lucky hidden treasure for me!

>> Hans Zimmer & Benjamin Wallfisch: Blade Runner 2049
Finally a physical copy of the soundtrack for my collection. The wall of ambient synthesizer drones sounded great in the film, and listening to it on a big stereo system is the only way to immerse yourself in the music. The soundtrack also includes the Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley songs heard in the film.

Bonjour Suzuki and Others

“Whiteout” performed by Riko Azuna

I’ve left this blog idle for far too long, so it’s time to get things going again, and what better way than with one of my new favorite songs?

“Whiteout” is the ending theme to the Boogiepop and Others anime series from 2018. It’s written by Bonjour Suzuki, who I know from her theme song for Yurikuma Arashi. Suzuki does not perform “Whiteout”, however. The singer is Riko Azuna, who I did not know about until this song. Between Suzuki’s melodies and Azuna’s voice, to me this sounds like it could have been a Kate Bush song! Azuna sings in a register very similar to Bush, and her inflections are even similar, despite being in another language.

It’s a great piece of music, and one of my newest favorite songs. And as a bonus, the music video has a long take in it… one of my favorite cinematographic techniques!

New Albums in my collection: March 2020

>> Mandy Moore: Silver Landings
An album of introspective and mostly acoustic singer-songwriter material which would sound right at home on the playlist at your favorite college town café (…well, once they reopen someday).

>> Nine Inch Nails: Ghosts V: Together
>> Nine Inch Nails: Ghosts VI: Locusts

These are digital only. A surprise release of two new Ghosts albums, for free! Two different moods are covered in this continuation of the instrumental experiments project. Together is calm and reflective, while Locusts is a bit more ominous. They were created as opposing yet complementary reactions to the uncertain times we’re living in right now.

>> Porcupine Tree: In Absentia
The newly released box set, containing the 2017 album remaster with dynamic range compression and volume limiting removed, available on CD for the first time. Also included are two bonus discs of audio: one with the extra tracks recorded during the sessions but not included on the album, and one with demos. A fourth disc is a blu-ray with a hi-res version of the stereo remaster (with accompanying Lasse Hoile slide show of nightmare fuel from the album’s artwork), as well as the 2003 surround mix from the original DVD-A release, and a feature length documentary chronicling the creation of the album. All housed in a great oversized hardcover book of essays and photos.

>> Renaissance: Turn of the Cards
The latest in the series of Renaissance reissues is one of their landmark albums. A four disc set including the original album remastered (with bonus tracks), and two bonus discs comprising a complete live show from 1974 with a 24-piece orchestra. Also included is a DVD with a new 5.1 mix of the album.

>> Grace VanderWaal: Perfectly Imperfect
>> Grace VanderWaal: Just The Beginning

Here is an example of an artist I liked from what I had heard of them, though I had no idea who they were. Grace VanderWaal did songs for the animated films Next Gen and Wonder Park. I liked both of them, not even realizing they were by the same person. After a little digging, I discovered it was Grace VanderWaal. A singer-songwriter who plays the ukelele and has a big, distinctive voice which belies her age. This is her debut EP and album, recorded when she was twelve and thirteen years old respectively. (She is currently sixteen.) Don’t let her age fool you; this is not Kidz Bop. These are real songs which can appeal to listeners of any age, yet lyrically are relatable to her peers. I had no idea the songs I liked from those films were sung by someone so young.

April Fish Day!

Time to bring back a blog tradition I did for years and years, though I skipped it last year for some reason. And with everything going on in the world right now, some lightheartedness is welcome.

Poisson d’Avril!

Going way back to my high school French class memories, today is my favorite French holiday: Poisson d’Avril! Or as I like to call it, April Fish Day. The old postcard above is something I found in my web travels as I looked for a good image to celebrate. It seems to predate the modern tradition of slapping paper fish onto an unsuspecting friend’s back, though the randomness of it seems to foreshadow the silliness to come.

Here is a translation of the prose on the card:

It is a polite custom
To send in the month of April
Lovely wishes and flowers …
Will you like this fish?

Clearly

This song – an adapted cover of “I Can See Clearly Now” – was the ending credits song for the animated film Next Gen. I liked this version of the song when I heard it, and was impressed by the vocal ability of the singer, especially during the chorus which has a powerful delivery. I had no idea who Grace VanderWaal was, let alone that she was only fourteen years old when the song was recorded in 2018! I’ve since heard most of her work to date and have become a fan.

Clearly a good movie about a girl and her robot