After a couple of days I ended up receiving quite a few responses from people interested in participating in an anime watch-along or "book-club" as I've been calling it, which is great! Since there seems to be enough enthusiasm, I figured that I would go ahead with it and see what we come up with.
The most important order of business is, of course, to figure out a series to watch. Personally, I'm very open to suggestions. My "to-watch" list is enormous, and my "I want to re-watch this" list is also pretty massive, so I'm actually more inclined to leave it up to those of you out there to choose. Just a few ground rules:
Let's keep the episode count to a manageable level. I'd be willing to watch series of a length up to 50-ish episodes (for example, Cross Game or perhaps the two seasons of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex), but just judging from my own personal viewing history, my attention span tends to fail right around episode 40 or 50 and there are very few series of that length that I've even been able to finish. So sorry, no One Piece or Doraemon at this time.
Let's try to stay away from anything that's pure fanservice. I'm actually very open to anime from just about any genre, including those which might include some nudity. It's not my favorite thing, but I can deal with it. What I can't deal with is watching shows that are non-stop, wall-to-wall exploitation or which might have a story, but which bury that beneath panty shots or unnecessary sexuality. This goes for both "traditional" (i.e. aimed at straight males) ecchi series and yaoi series. I don't discriminate :P So try to use your best judgment and let's keep things PG-13 for now. Oh, and nothing that's too violent either.
Let's not be judgmental about where we're getting our episodes. While I'm under the impression that most of the people who visit this site are from North America, I'm sure there are also readers from other countries. Not every anime that's licensed in NA is similarly available elsewhere, and vice-versa. Not everyone has a lot of disposable income to be spending on DVDs. While I can assure you that, if we decide to watch something that I can get on DVD, I'll buy the DVD, I'm not going to bug anyone else about how/where they're watching something. No one else should, either.
Let's be open-minded! Whatever we end up picking might not seem like something you want to watch, but give it a try - you might be surprised! Speaking from experience, watching anything is more fun if you have people to discuss it with, and even if a show isn't to your tastes, talking about it with others might help you to discover an angle that you hadn't considered before. You might end up appreciating it!
So, with that said, how about some suggestions? Like I said, I'm very open. I'm even willing to re-watch some series that I wasn't a fan of in the first place, if others are interested in watching it. I pledge to be as open-minded as possible. Here are a few suggestions to get your ideas flowing:
- Rose of Versailles (39 episodes) - The shoujo classic which tells a tale of family duty and romance set against the backdrop of the French Revolution. While most modern shoujo series set their sites on high-school, this one has a decidedly different feel to it since it deals with European nobility. It's a series that I think everyone should see at least once, especially since many people consider it a partial inspiration for Revolutionary Girl Utena.
- Fuujin Monogatari (Windy Tales) (13 Episodes) - Nao is a member of her school's photography club, who mainly shoots pictures of the sky and clouds. One day when she's on the school's roof, she sees something strange - a flying cat! I've only seen the first episode of this, but it seems like a neat little slice-of-life show with a unique visual style and a touch of natural magic. I'm certainly interested in watching more of it.
- Someday's Dreamers (12 Episodes) and Summer Skies (12 Episodes) - These are two stories which take place in the same "universe" and appear to have similar story arcs, but are sort of divergent in tone and execution (some people favor one over the other; I tend to think it's just a different purpose and feel). In this world, there are people able to use magic. In both series, the main characters learn about using magic and the type of ethical nuance that entails.
So how about you guys? What are some of your suggestions? Anything that anyone out there has been curious about, or is there something you've been dying to watch and have just been waiting for an excuse? Let me know in the comments, and I'll do a follow-up later in the week so we can vote on it!