Making the Nerdy New Year’s Resolution to Watch More Anime

I go back and forth a bit on whether I think New Year’s resolutions are a good idea. On the one hand, I like the nice, clean starting point that January 1st brings—manufactured or not, it gives me a fresh feeling of determination every year. But on the other hand, I don’t really think there’s anything magical about January 1 in particular, and resolving to make good changes at the beginning of the year doesn’t necessarily make me more likely to follow through than any other time. So during the last few years, I’ve come to a bit of a compromise: rather than making resolutions from an overly self-critical standpoint, I try to think of the fun or positive things I’d like to do more of in the coming year and work toward adding them in little by little.

This year, one of those things is watching more anime. While I refuse to believe that there’s a certain ambiguous amount of content I have to consume before I can call myself a “true” fan, I still feel like there are some gaps in my anime knowledge that could use filling. As much as I love it, I’ve watched a relatively small amount compared to other fans I know, and I’m hoping to catch up at least a little more in the coming year.

Here are three series that are at the top of my list to take in this year!

Main cast of Steins Gate lined up against a light blue background

Image via Mr. Rhapsodist

1. Steins;Gate

My husband gave me the complete series (25 episodes) of this anime on Blu-ray, and it’s been calling my name from its spot on the shelf ever since. As with all the series on this list, I don’t know a lot about it yet, but what I do know has me highly intrigued.

Okarin, the protagonist of Steins;Gate, has discovered that beyond their food-zapping capabilities, microwaves have the power to send objects and messages into the future. He first uses this newfound knowledge to send text messages to lovely ladies he’s interested in dating. But soon, certain infamous organizations start to notice his time-tampering and try to stop him, at which point he creates his own secret organizations to stop them from . . . stopping him. Danger and hijinks ensue (or at least, I can only assume so!).

I’m always up for a good time-travel story, and this one looks to have a unique premise as well as a goofy sensibility; I’m really looking forward to seeing how those aspects interact. As the cover copy says, “According to Anime Vice, ‘It’s like somebody taped an episode of The Big Bang Theory over a copy of Donnie Darko.’” I am so here for this weirdness!

Stylized art image of four of the main Cowboy Bebop characters standing to the left of the series title written in both Japanese and English, against an orange background

Image via Funimation

2. Cowboy Bebop

Every time I admit to a fellow anime fan that I haven’t gotten around to this one, I’m met with wordless incredulity—and with good reason. This series is roundly considered an anime classic, and it’s past time for me to watch it!

Cowboy Bebop takes place in 2071, after a catastrophic event has made Earth all but unlivable. In response, humans have formed colonies all around the solar system, and the resulting society has become corrupt and crime filled. The main characters of the series are a motley crew of “cowboys,” or bounty hunters, who catch criminals for the Inter Solar System Police and bring them in for rewards. The crew is made up of Spike Spiegel, a onetime hitman; his partner, Jet Black, an ex-ISSP officer; con artist Faye Valentine; hacker Edward Wong; and Ein, a genetically engineered corgi. Together, the group roams around the galaxy taking jobs and trailing mayhem in their wake.

I’m drawn to this series because it looks to have that swashbucklers-in-space vibe that so many of my favorite tales do (Star Wars, Firefly, and Killjoys come to mind). And its formidable reputation doesn’t hurt, either. Time to see if it lives up to the hype!

Collage of 11 characters from Yuri on Ice; main character Yuri is in the foreground looking into the camera; the series title appears in the bottom right corner in Japanese and English

Image Credit: Yuri!!! on Ice Wikia

3. Yuri!!! on Ice

This series was enthusiastically recommended to me by a friend who happens to be the biggest anime fan I know. His recommendation would be encouragement enough, but this was also one of the most popular new series to come out of 2016, and I’m really curious to find out why.

As the series begins, titular character Yuri Katsuki is dealing with the fallout from a series of defeats at important figure-skating competitions. Discouraged and disillusioned, he decides to take some time off from skating to attend college and, later on, spend some time back home. Yuri later captures the attention of Victor Nikiforov, a famous skater he idolizes, who travels to Yuri’s hometown and offers to coach him. But as with any comeback, it won’t be smooth sailing. Will Yuri be able to restart his career with Victor’s help? Or is he destined to be overshadowed by an up-and-coming new skating star?

There are lots of sports anime out there, and many have become really popular—like Free!, a newish swimming anime, or Prince of Tennis in the early 2000s. However, sports and I have a . . . rocky relationship, shall we say, so sports-themed anime haven’t really interested me. Until now! I’ve always loved figure skating, and I’m eager to find out what a skating-themed anime will be like. And since this series is an approachable 12 episodes long, it’ll be easy to jump on the bandwagon.

Those are my top three to-be-watched anime for 2017, but I’m hoping that they will be just the start. And if I like these series as much as I hope I will, I just might revisit them later in the year with more in-depth reviews!

So—what new series are you looking forward to watching in the new year? Do you have any nerdy New Year’s goals that you’re hoping to tackle, anime related or otherwise?


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