As we celebrate our tenth anniversary on Beneath the Tangles, we want to take some time each month to look into the past, not only to commemorate our ten years, but also to see where we were and how far we’ve come as a site and collectively as anime fans. For most months this year, we’ll do that by looking back at a particular year and at the month corresponding to that year. For instance, today we look at January 2010. I hope you’ll have as much fun reading these posts and I will developing them!
TOP OF THE CHARTS: JANUARY 16, 2010
We’ll dive into anime in a moment, but first I want to us to look at what else was happening at this time in 2011. Here are the most popular songs, movies, and series on this very day ten years ago:
Top Selling Album
I Dreamed a Dream, Susan Boyle
Number One Song
“TiK ToK,” Ke$ha
Avatar ($47.8 mil)
Most Watched TV Show
NFL Division Playoffs, Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings (3-34)
New York Times Bestselling Book
The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown
New York Times Bestselling Manga
Vampire Knight, Vol. 8
CURRENT EVENTS: JANUARY 2010
Here’s what was happening in the world ten years ago this month…
- An earthquake hit Haiti, a country already impoverished and with poorly developed infrastructure, leading to more than 100,000 deaths. A worldwide rescue and aid effort came to assist, but today the country is still trying to recover from this disaster.
- Unemployment was a concern in the U.S., hovering around 10%.
- Simon Cowell left American Idol.
- A suicide bomb in the Lakki Marwat district of Pakistan left 105 dead and more than 100 wounded.
The Haiti story dominated headlines, and rightly so. So while other tragic events were occurring—the Pakistan bomb just a prime one among them—they received little air time. I don’t remember any of these other events, actually. Today, our headlines are led by politics, particularly involving infighting, and that might blind us to more important stories going on across the world. While the Haiti Earthquake deserved our attention, even at the expense of other news stories, I wonder if the same can be said of the dominant headlines today.
POPULAR ANIME in 2010
Now to anime! 2010 was an year of transition for me, the one where I started watching series by season for the first time, instead of just picking up random series I’d read about—this was due in large part to me following many anibloggers as I attempted to get my own blog off the ground. As I remember it, the big series that so many bloggers were writing about was Shiki. A series that’s largely disappeared from consciousness, it was at the time freaking people out week by week. I wasn’t watching, but I did read many articles about the show, featuring creepy screen captures. Other critically acclaimed series from the year include Princess Jellyfish, Sora no Woto, The Tatami Galaxy, and Katanagatari.
Looking back at that list, I either skipped or failed to complete every one of those shows. I did watch a lot of the more popular fare, however, with the exception of Maid-Sama, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, The World God Only Knows, and High School of the Dead, whose fanservice content was so high that it remains a popular series (I imagine, at least, that’s the biggest reason). Instead, I was absorbed with Angel Beats and Oreimo, series which were ultimately disappointing for me, mostly because they failed to live up to incredible beginnings. I think they each taught me to be patient with shows—series rarely end up being as good as their beginning seems to indicate, or as bad!
A lot of movies hit Japanese theaters as well, including an all-time favorite of the blog’s, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, which not only satiated some of our thirst for more anime out of the franchise, but which provided content that improved upon what was already out there. Studio Ghibli released Arrietty (which was released this year in the U.S.), Time of Eve received a theatrical reworking, and Keiichi Hara’s Colorful came out, which I mention particularly because we’ll be reviewing the director’s most recent efforts here on the blog next week.
High points aside, 2010 wasn’t a great year for anime, a relatively weak end to the 2000s—but better years and lots of great shows were just on the horizon!
WHAT WE WERE BLOGGING
I wasn’t yet on a schedule of watching series as they aired and blogging about them in 2010. I was just getting the site off the ground late that year (more on my first post ever later this month) and instead focused on a variety of other things using the mantra, “Better to try and fail than not try at all!” So, I did try to varying degrees of success. We covered the news a lot (and have kind of come full circle on this with our new Doki Doki News platform) and all manner of other topics, including art (I was just emailed by a spammer regarding this ancient article of all things) and fan fiction. I also started two columns that existed for a long, long time, and which always have the potential to return: Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere, which covered all manner of faith-related articles being published by anibloggers and commentators, and Finding the Invisible God, which made direct parallels between anime series and Biblical stories—a few early ones focused on OreImo, Eden of the East, Serial Experiments Lain, and Claymore.
Some other attempts stuck better. In our very first year, I did the 12 Days of Christmas anime (actually, thirteen) and my annual rewriting of My Favorite Things. Other columns failed to catch on at all, though, including the first of a couple mission-centric columns named Yuki-Anne in Japan and an attempt to educate myself and others about religion in Japan with Of Kami and Buddhas.
I honestly cringe a little at these early articles. I was just learning how to blog, was full of youthful excitement (and indiscretion?), and wasn’t the writer I am now. But it’s still fun taking a trip down memory lane and looking at the past. A few of the early posts remain popular ones that come up again and again, and I’m thankful for them and for the ideas, perhaps God-given, that led to these posts which were absolutely vital in helping to establish Beneath the Tangles as not just a quirky website, but a blog that could be taken seriously in the anime fandom:
- Diary of an Anime Lived: The Selfish/Selfless Daddy (Clannad After Story)
- Whatever You Pray, You Won’t Receive? (Bakuman)
- The Reality of Senseless Violence (Code Geass)
I hope enjoyed this look into the recent past, both on a bigger, societal level and at Beneath the Tangles. We’ll keep up this throughout 2020. Come join us again next month, as we tackle February 2011.
Featured art by 松倉N (reprinted w/permission)