• Robin Pool

Recommendation: Anime Influences

Updated: Aug 8, 2019

​My infatuation with anime began in January of 2016 with the Netflix release of Seven Deadly Sins. I was totally stunned. There was so much joy and passion in that series (a talking pig!) It was crazy, but the characters loved each other so much. And the art was beautiful. I had never seen storytelling that was so compelling, and the characters were not afraid to be themselves, warts and all! Three and a half years and hundreds of hours of anime later, I'm a total devotee because it is

so beautiful both emotionally and artistically

The good stuff, that it is. Some of it's...well, like everything, it has its ups and downs. But here are some really amazing series that have influenced Steve's and my life as well as the story in Taurs. I hope you'll be inspired to give some a try.

Made In Abyss

Steve and I had trouble getting past the first episode on our own, but when one of my students suggested we give it another try, we were hooked by Episode 2. I like to say this is a quintuple threat: it gets an A for plot, character, world-building, imagination, artistry, and music. It is visually absolutely stunning, with a great dreamy pastel color palette. The premise: an unfathomably deep hole - the eponymous abyss - is full of treasures, but it gets weirder and more dangerous the deeper you get. A young girl, a rookie treasure hunter (sound familiar?), and her companion, leave the safe confines of the treasure-hunting school to go looking for her mother, who disappeared years earlier but sent up a cryptic note saying she'd be waiting at the bottom. Don't let the fact that the main character is a kid fool you into thinking this is a kids show. There are some truly gut-wrenching emotional moments. My student said, "It's one of those series where you can't wait to watch the next episode except you're also not sure you can stand to watch it." In a few instances, we had to take a couple of day's break before going back to the next installment. But this is the ultimate I-laughed-I-cried-it-was-better-than-cats anime. Highly, highly recommended.

Goblin Slayer

Here's Steve: There can be something formulaic about D&D campaigns, especially if you've been playing for a long time. 'We're going to go to the dungeon. We're going to find some treasure. Fight some monsters, maybe get scratched up a little bit. Then we'll go back to the bar.' But Goblin Slayer is like, 'Oh no you're not.' It upends expectations, makes the hard things easy and the easy things hard. There are rules in the Dungeon Master's guide about things like scarring when you take a lot of damage, damage that lasts and impacts you physically and emotionally forever. Most people don't want to play that way, but Goblin Slayer does play that way. It shows the emotional toll that it takes to live that kind of life.

Black Bullet

Again from Steve: Kind of dystopian light. Society is on its last legs, not Mad-Max-wrecked, but getting there. The main character has to make a very difficult choice. You can see her struggling with this throughout the show. When you're very powerful, the temptation to be corrupted must be very strong. And what are we doing in D&D if not becoming powerful? What do you do with all these strengths and skills? In a sense, you become these walking weapons of mass destruction. What are you going to do with that power? Somebody hurts my family? What about innocent until proven guilty? What about due process? Let the cops handle it? I am Justice because I am powerful. Forget the cops. It raises questions about what the real-life challenges D&D characters would face. More favorites include Tora Dora, Black Butler, Princess Principal, and Bungo Stray Dogs. We hope you enjoy your anime journey and get as much out of the beautiful art form as we have.

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