I have been on a pretty serious anime rewatch kick for the past several months. I used to watch Outlaw Star and Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien every couple years because they were my favorites, but I realized recently that I hadn’t seen Outlaw Star in around 5 years and KGNE in around 6. It’s honestly been very interesting to see how well these shows have held up against both modern shows and my memory of how good they were.
So, here’s the stuff I’ve rewatched (in the proper order) and my current thoughts on them (no spoilers/super duper light spoilers).
Outlaw Star – I couldn’t say how many times I’ve seen this show, but my guess is 6 or 7. This show has held up every time I’ve watched it, and I always notice weird new things about it. It’s not perfect by any means, but the 90’s animation is wonderfully charming, and I particularly enjoy the darker colors, music, and space western vibe. My enjoyment of this show almost definitely has a lot to do with nostalgia, but I also believe that anyone that didn’t grow up watching Toonami can still appreciate what this show has to offer.
.hack//SIGN – I rewatched the first episode of this show back in the late 00’s, but that was it. I started this rewatch parallel to Outlaw Star several months ago, and I still have a few episodes left. The original .hack was truly something special when it came out, as it was the show that popularized the “trapped in a video game” trope. It honestly did so in a much more interesting way than modern shows like Sword Art Online, but unfortunately, most of the rest of the show is pretty mediocre besides the music. .hack//SIGN has arguably the best anime soundtrack of all time, in my opinion, but the pacing, characters, and world building just aren’t that great. The animation was probably mediocre for the time as well, but I have a soft spot in my heart for early 00’s animation.
Toradora – I haven’t seen this show at all since my original watch a couple years after it came out (so around 2010). Pretty much everything about this show held up extremely well. Honestly, the only thing that truly dates the show is the usage of flip phones. If not for that, you wouldn’t be able to tell the show didn’t come out last year. That aside, Toradora does a great job developing characters and (light spoiler) is one of the most believable shows about not understanding your own feelings. Character interactions in this show are fun and sincere, and I say all of this despite one of the main characters being a tsundere – a trope I generally don’t like, but adore in this show. The only thing I didn’t like was the ending, which, upon rewatch, I still agree with. The end is simply not believable or up to the standard the rest of the show sets, but it doesn’t take away from the show being an overall great watch.
Clannad – This is another show I watched a couple years after it came out and haven’t seen since then (also around 2010). It’s the longest show on my rewatch list since it has two two-cour seasons (around 48 episodes). I remember loving Clannad, but honestly, after rewatching, my opinion of it has only improved. Clannad is brilliant. It’s heartwarming, it’s funny, it’s inspiring, it’s incredibly sad (you will probably tear up a few times during the second season). The animation is gorgeous even a decade later (Kyoto Animation did a truly phenomenal job), but you do have to get past the girls having giant eyes even by anime standards. The openings, the endings, the music in both of those and throughout the show, the story, the characters, I just cannot say enough good things about how amazing this show is. It’s such an experience that, just like the first time, I found myself constantly thinking about it when it was over. A week later, I was still wishing it wasn’t over.
Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien – I’ve seen KGNE (which was called Rumbling Hearts in English, for some bizarre reason, despite not at all being the translation of the Japanese title) around 5 times, and I admit, the last time I watched it, I felt a little let down for some reason. This time, however, it brought me right back to how I used to feel. This is one of those rare anime that (extremely light spoiler) goes past high school and shows adults doing adult things. It’s quite dramatic and might make you tear up. The adult nature and the specific type of drama really set this show apart from other shows in the drama/romance category. That said, the animation in this show really does not hold up well. In fact, it may not have been particularly great when it originally came out in 2003/2004. There are some scenes set in a facility that should have tons of background characters and it’s just…empty. It’s kind of off-putting, but otherwise, definitely still worth the watch and remains high on my list of favorite shows.
School Days – I watched this one probably around 2009 and haven’t really touched it since then. The animation actually held up somewhat decently, and it has at least one pretty memorable song, but that’s not really what this one is about. (Fair warning, this blurb is kind of spoilery on basic plot points, but nothing major) It’s a really divisive anime, and I think a lot of people hate it because the main character is completely unlikable, and much of the story is based around a bunch of people actually liking him. I don’t blame people for watching this one and hating it because they were expecting something else, but I honestly liked it a lot the first time I watched it, and even more so the second time around. I would feel weird saying that it’s a breath of fresh air in its genre, so let’s just say that it’s very different in an unexpected way. The main character’s development is very much unlike most “self insert” boring main characters that this genre tends to churn out, which leads to frustration and pity for other characters, and that understandably turns some people off. There are ways this show could’ve been a lot worse, but the culmination of everything at the end really sealed it. Truly one of the most memorable anime endings I’ve experienced.
And that’s it for now. Next on my list is True Tears, which I’m only one episode into.