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Anime Watch Log 2023 Wrapped

What did That Manga Hunter watch in 2023? - My Year in Review


I finally wrapped up my reading log for 2023. So, it's only fair that I summarize my thoughts and feelings on the very few anime I watched in 2023. (I really need to hunker down and finish things. 💀) I'm structuring this post differently than my reading log post. I have split everything I watched into three categories: complete (for the anime I 100% completed- either the season or the entire show), still watching (for the anime I started in 2023 but will need to finish), and dropped (for the anime I watched an episode or 3 and just can't). Without further ado, here are the anime I watched in 2023!





Complete


Buddy Daddies (complete show, sub)

Dubbed "Spy x Family but gay," Buddy Daddies is an original 12-episode anime following two assassins who take in a little girl. (Note episode 8.5 is a "recap episode" so you can skip it.) Seriously, you can't look up anything about the show without the words "Spy x Family" and "gay" appearing, and okay, fair. Like Spy x Family, Buddy Daddies is an action comedy featuring the "found family" trope, a cute little girl that must be protected at all costs, a charismatic blond house husbando, and a dark-haired wifey with an "at work" and "at home" persona. The duo also kicks major ass, but that's pretty much where the similarities end.


Spy x Family's story is told mainly through Twilight/Loid and Anya's perspective. It's partly why the "romantic development" between Twilight and Yor is nonexistent, but that's a whole rant/essay for another time. In contrast, Buddy Daddies focuses on the adult male leads Rei and Kazuki. Also, whereas Spy x Family's central conflict is on completing the mission, the central conflict of Buddy Daddies is balancing the assassin work and being a family. Buddy Daddies explores Rei and Kazuki's troubled and traumatic pasts with their respective families and their working relationship as well as raises the question of what makes a family, and no, the show doesn't do the "but we're men!" thing. Kazuki and Rei are unbothered by by preschool mom group's enthusiastic shipping and gossip.


So is Buddy Daddies a BL show? No, romance is not a main feature of the show. (It's not even a secondary feature.) Are the leads gay? Also, no. Canonically-speaking, Kazuki is at least interested in women, having had onscreen and offscreen relationships with multiple women throughout the show (including the final few minutes of the last episode), and Rei's sexuality is a big question mark. They are not romantic partners at any time during the show, but they are partners in crime and life. The show and the characters are "queer-coded." It's "bromance." Time is devoted to the frustrations and fun of being a gay parent to Miri, from enrolling her into preschool to attending and participating in field day. Plus, there is the big "proposal" scene...But as always, fujin don't need permission to ship characters together. 😉


From the cold opening and assignment in the first episode to the zoo field trip episode to the final episode, Buddy Daddies is hilarious. The cold opening really pulls you in. They straight up killed a dude unceremoniously, hopped in the car, and sped off to pick up Miri from preschool because she was sick! 🤣 Animation is solid, and the shenanigans are underscored by a jazzy OST. The ending theme is so cute with Miri's fashion show, and the song "My Plan" by DURDN is a bop.


In closing, I have a few gripes about the show, but overall, I enjoyed watching Buddy Daddies from start to finish. I'm not pining for a season 2 as the show feels 100% complete. I just want it on Blu-rei at the very least. If you're looking for a show to watch after Spy x Family or The Millionaire Detective: Balance Unlimited, watch Buddy Daddies.



Chainsaw Man (complete season 1, dub)

Call me the "10th dentist" because I didn't like Chainsaw Man overall. There's much to talk about, and many have done the talking already, from the cinematic animation to the film and song references to dog themes to general loneliness. And look, I get it. This is the new Death Note: dark, edgy, "mature," and "smart." The sort of anime (and manga) you can mistake for an adult, seinen animanga based on surface stuff (in this case—the excessive violence, blood, gore, ass, and tiddies), but when you get down to it, all of the storylines and themes are accessible to its intended older kid and teenage audience. The same audience who may also latch onto the wrong things or miss a few things. (i.e. "Light did nothing wrong!" 🤦‍♀️ I think I understand why some people didn't like Death Note back when it was airing now. 💀) Nevertheless, Chainsaw Man is a shounen anime (and manga) and to me, very annoying.


Anyway, by the time I finished watching all of Chainsaw Man, I didn't hate it with the passion of a 1000 suns. I love the opening theme animation and song. I still play "KICK BACK" by Kenshi Yonezu regularly. I enjoyed hearing the dub voices, and I think the voices match the characters. Everyone did an excellent job. Special shout out to Ryan Colt Levy who made Denji, the titular "Chainsaw Man," tolerable, and a very special shout out to Bryn Apprill and her vocal chords who gave us this iconic moment as Kobeni.


(GEEZUS. CALM THE FUCK DOWN.)


Like seriously, I'm no voice acting expert, but you have to give it up for being able to be super emotional screaming and losing her shit in character with perfect ENNUNCIATION. I didn't need subtitles. I understood every single word she said. XD Plus, give it up for the sound engineers and editors. Kudos all around.


Besides the voice acting, I loved Master, Makima, and Aki. Finally, I enjoyed the action. I'm in no hurry to watch this again or more seasons, especially if my favorite characters are gonna get killed??? 💀 Still, a solid, 4/10, "Thank you, next" for me. At any rate, if you enjoy some schlocky action shounen with layers underneath the filth, then this anime is for you.



My Home Hero (complete season 1, sub)

Hapless salesman and mystery aficionado Tetsuo (no not that one) Tosu kills his college daughter's abusive boyfriend. The abusive boyfriend has ties to the yakuza, and the yakuza's search for the abusive boyfriend leads back to Tetsuo. Things spiral out of control quickly. It's a family affair as Tetsuo and his wife figure out how to survive the entire ordeal while their daughter remains blissfully unaware. Both parents are smart characters, and they work really well together and separately to outsmart the yakuza, lest they all be killed.


Be warned—This show is a mature thriller and constantly ends on cliffhangers. It's good binging material. The show leaves you in a good spot, but it doesn't adapt the entire manga. I would love to see more seasons of this! Overall, My Home Hero is a decent 7/10 show, easily forgettable in today's seasonal anime climate, but still, a solid watch. Know what I mean? Anyway, if you're in the mood for a thriller featuring middle-age protagonists, just watch My Home Hero. You won't be disappointed.


(Sidebar—Also, I'm happy and very surprised to see that My Home Hero is getting a Blu-ray release as it didn't set the anime world on fire. Not too many people talking about it in my corner of the internet, and when they did, it was about the subpar animation.)



Ooku anime

Ooku: The Inner Chambers (complete season 1, dub)

I loved this historical drama. It's still streaming exclusively on Netflix as of this post, and I hope there will be more seasons. The manga is completed and licensed in English so I'll have to tackle that at some point. My full thoughts and review can be read here.



Spy x Family (complete season 1, dub)

So, I finished the entire first season of Spy x Family, and it pretty much flowed the same way as the manga does. The first half of season one is well-constructed, and it covers volumes 1-3. Episodes 15 to 25 covers vol. 4 to ch. 38 (the first chapter) of vol. 7. After Bond is acquired, Spy x Family falters a bit. There's a bit of a lull, and that's where the funny slice-of-life stuff happens.


So, if you're not a big fan of the slice-of-life shenanigans, you'll struggle a bit. It'd have been nice if the anime stuck some of the smaller bits (like Anya's exam, Take Your Kid to Work Day, etc.) in the first half of season 1. Yeah, it'd been out-of-place manga-wise, but story-wise it wouldn't have made a difference if it came before or after Bond. Putting that aside, the characters are still fun, and the opening song "Souvenir" (by Bump of Chicken) and animation are great. ("Mixed Nuts" by Hige Dandism and "Comedy" by Gen Hoshino are still the best though.)





Still Watching


Case Closed: The Culprit Hanazawa (ep. 1-5, dub)

The show is hysterical. It's a spoof comedy of the Case Closed/Detective Conan franchise where you follow the perp (you know, the silhouette person) as he moves to Beika Town to do some crimes and fails miserably. If you've watched season 1 or a good amount of Detective Conan/Case Closed, then this is a must watch! These episodes are short, only five minutes, and the whole series (season 1) is available on Netflix. (If you need a full review right now or want to know what's going in the Case Closed/Detective Conan saga, I highly suggest following Lesley's Anime Corner as they are current and review each episode.)



Sabikui Bisco/Rust Easter Bisco (ep. 1-2, dub)

I started Sabikui Bisco when it aired in 2022 and got up to ep. 10 (subbed) before I stopped. Because well...if you know, you know. 😭 I started to re-watch the anime dubbed rather than pick up from where I left off, and I still failed to finish this show. 💀 With season 2 confirmed and pending, I really need to hunker down and finish season 1 soon, especially since Crunchyroll failed to include it in their Anime of the Year Awards. (They didn't include Life with an Ordinary Guy who Reincarnated as a Total Fantasy Knockout, which I also have to finish! First two episodes were hilarious!)


Sabikui Bisco is an action/adventure sci-fi anime. It's really trippy and moves really fast. This is not the anime you play in the background as you do chores or scroll on your phone. It requires your full attention. If you like Studio Trigger anime or Trigun, then definitely give it a watch!



Sacrificial Princess and the King of Beasts (ep. 1, sub)

Sariphie is brought to the castle as a sacrifice. Instead of being eaten, she becomes betrothed to the king. The king is half-human. He turns human on the night of the new moon, and he is FINE. Art is great. Production is great. Overall, great first episode.


The Titan's Bride (~ep. 1-5, dub)

It's yaoi. It's hentai. I love it. 10/10 no notes.


(I really hope Ascendent Animation just keeps licensing and dubbing AnimeFesta stuff. Presently, I have Fire in His Fingertips season 1 & 2 and The Titan's Bride on Blu-ray. Planning on getting more soon! 🙏)



Why Raeliana Ended Up at the Duke's Mansion (ep. 1-8, sub)

Either you watch this anime because of this clip:


OR this one 🤷‍♀️:


If you're looking for a decent fantasy romance with an air of mystery, look no further. Got only a few more episodes to go, but I'll finish and hopefully give a full review sometime soonish. Maybe.





Dropped


A Girl & Her Guard Dog (ep. 1-3, sub)

Fucking duh, it's ✨problematic.✨ A Girl & Her Guard Dog did not exactly bury the lede on the age gap. You'd think with a premise like that, it would be more interesting, scandalously spicy, or fun. Maybe all of the above. Instead, it's boring, and the show's animation is dull and ugly in spite of the work put into the opening and ending theme animations. Both opening and ending themes are original animations. No clip show here! (I do like the opening theme "Suki ni Naccha Dame na Hito" by Masayoshi Ōishi. It's catchy.)


There are some nicely animated moments like the confession scene at the end of episode 3. The confession scene was super dramatic. It happened in the middle of a busy street with a letterbox film style and camera spin around, non-existent wind whipping the hair. Fun. But that's offset by the off putting mellow piano/instrumental OST. The OST is in the wrong damn anime. Definitely not going to watch more, and I .won't be checking out the manga anytime soon. However, if I do get around to the manga, I'll let you know.



The Ice Guy and His Cool Female Colleague (ep. 1, sub)

Too saccharine sweet, not enough funny. (It's fine. I just have shit taste in romance anime. This one's not for me.)



The Marginal Service (ep. 1, sub)

Super disappointed and underwhelmed by the first episode following that salacious teaser. (They released a normal trailer too but still.) The Marginal Service is an original sci-fi action show following a cocky cop named Brian Nightraider (voiced by Mamoru MIyano). Because of his actions, Brian gets his partner killed. Brian gets fired from the police force only to join a secret ragtag government-sanctioned group to kill monsters. Not the most original or well-executed premise. Feels by-the-numbers.

Moriarty the Patriot (Season 1 ep. 1, dub)

I watched the first episode, and it started off a little weird with the flash forward to 1911 NY only to flashback to 1800s London with no connective tissue in between? Needless to say, the first episode did not grab me. Voices were good. I liked watching dub too.

After I watched the first episode of the anime, I did check out the first two volumes of the manga. Right now, I like the manga over the anime, but I'll definitely give the anime another shot later. It's not on the top of my to-be-watched list at the moment.





Conclusion

That's everything I watched in 2023. TLDR–watch Buddy Daddies, My Home Hero, and Ooku: The Inner Chambers. Avoid A Girl and Her Guard Dog and The Marginal Service. What anime shows and movies did you watch, and what did you think about them? Let me know!


Here's to watching bigger, better, and more anime in 2024!

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