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, we started this off by looking at January 2010. Today we throw back to May 2014.
TOP OF THE CHARTS: MAY 21, 2014
We’ll dive into anime a bit, but I want to us to look at what else was happening at this time in 2014. Here are the most popular songs, movies, and series on this day or during this week six years ago.
Number One Song
“All of Me,” John Legend
Godzilla ($93.2 mil)
Most Watched TV Show
The Big Bang Theory
CURRENT EVENTS: MAY 2014
Here’s what was happening in the world eight years ago this month…
- Demonstrations are held across the world for the recovery of 280 Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram.
- More than 2,000 are killed in a mudslide in Afghanistan.
- Fighting escalates and a presidential election is held in Ukraine.
- Narendra Modi becomes the 15th prime minister of India.
- “Gangnam Style” reaches 2 billion views on YouTube.
POPULAR ANIME in 2014
Six years. It seems that this might be the line of demarcation, the divide between “old anime” and “anime the younger generation still watches and appreciates.” At least that’s the sense I get from endless hours posting and looking through social media. Series that should have slid further into oblivion remain in vogue, like Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun, Ao Haru Ride, Noragami, Love, Chuunibyou, and Other Delusions, No Game No Life, and Parasyte. As I get older, it’s hard to really keep track of the differences between years, but I feel like it’s practically twice as likely that someone in their teens to early twenties will have seen one of these series than a random one from a year or two before.
The year also provided some of biggest hits of recent years, like Free (the last series that was an Internet sensation before it aired?), Seven Deadly Sins, Your Lie in April (recently covered by the TangleCast), Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, and Haikyuu!! (which by the way narrowly defeated Violet Evergarden in our Caitin Glass Review and Watch poll). Some of the most well-reviewed (or at least well-covered) shows of the year also included Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, Yona of the Dawn, Terror in Resonance, and Shirobako (the next series our podcast is covering—a little info drop for those who are reading!). These series stand out so well to me because I was knee deep in Tumblr at the time, the so many fans were clamoring about them. It really made these series stand out, whether or not they truly deserved the attention.
WHAT WE WERE BLOGGING
At the end of our last article in this series, I hinted at how I would leave the blog. But although burnout was coming, I wasn’t there yet, and most probably because 2014 was a really good year for Beneath the Tangles, especially the first half. During that time, leading into the summer, Beneath the Tangles was exactly how I hoped it would be. I slowed down my output because our writers were doing so much. It really felt like a partnership, a group of about eight of us who were writing regularly, including Lynna who started to do some episodic posting; Kaze, whose pieces were always far different from anyone else’s; Goldy, who was so skilled with her words and knee deep in convention and Christian otaku life; Hansha, who covered a variety of series but espoused the grace that could be found especially in shoujo shows; Zeroe4, who became a Swiss army knife of sorts for the blog until he departed for greener pastures; Emma, who came on as our webmaster but also helped out with social media and writing, too; and Japes, whose Anime Today column was as a strong any we’ve ever had on the blog. Speaking of Japes, it was in 2015 that he started The Tangles podcast, which he would later retool as the TangleCast—unfortunately, those early recordings have become lost.
It’s strange for me to see what I wrote during that year. I’ve written so many posts now that I’ve forgotten, maybe, what a majority of them were about. It’s weird to see my spending so much time writing about series that I was meh about, like Golden Time or Nesekoi or Blue Spring Ride, the last of which I mused for almost every episode during season one. Looking back, doing episodic looks was a bad idea, one that helped speed along my burn out. In fact, browsing through those posts is like taking a mile high view at my blogging life. Ah…I see what was happening there! It’s too bad that I couldn’t or refused to take that kind of look at the time. Writing about each episode of Terror in Resonance was fun, but it was also challenging and, again, not the best idea.
Taking this viewpoint also helps me see how I was trying to spread my wings. An article I sold to Christianity Today was posted on our site that year. I haven’t revealed that name before, but I worked closely with one of their editors at the time who encouraged me greatly with an article that would be almost an introduction to anime for that site’s audiences. It was accepted, I was paid, and then I waited. When it wasn’t published, I checked back and found that my editor had left; the new one wasn’t as interested in anime and rejected the article. I proposed another one about Miyazaki, also rejected, and also later posted on this site. The weird timing on the first one was especially painful to me, as I thought that would help launch Beneath the Tangles to a higher plane among Christian readers. It was hard to absorb having gotten my work where I wanted it, and then seeing it fall away.
A lot of times, life can be see as these series of “what might have beens.” In retrospect, I wouldn’t have been ready for the attention that posting on Christianity Today might have brought, nor was I strong enough of a writer to continue to put out work equivalent to that I prepared for the magazine. God, after all, does seem to know best.
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. Read the other posts in this yearlong series.