10 Years of Anime Secret Santa! The Annual Project Opens!

We can’t believe this is our 10th year! Thanks so much to everyone who has participated over the years. Whether you’re a veteran or participating for the first time, we’re glad you’re joining the holiday fun for 2018!

The idea of this project is for everyone who participates to be reviewing a show they might not have normally watched or may have overlooked. Everyone will get someone else in the project to review a series of their choice and in return review something picked by one of their fellow bloggers/podcasters.

The goal is threefold for everyone involved:

  • Mixing up what you watch and review.
  • Getting other people to watch things you feel deserve more attention.
  • Interacting with others thus creating possibilities for cross-blog readership / cross-podcast listenership.

Here is how this little project works: If you want to participate send us your Name, Blog or Podcast Address, and MyAnimeList Link (or Anime Planet or some other equivalent listing) via e-mail (secretsanta.rt [at] gmail [dot] com) with subject: Secret Santa Participant. Due by Wednesday, October 24th, 2018. Make sure that your MAL (or whatever!) is updated as much as possible before you submit it. Also, if you will not watch fan-subs mention that in the e-mail, too.

We will then make a circular list of everyone involved in the project that only we will know the order of. We will take care to make sure those who have watched a lot will be put with others who have watched a lot; those who are newer to anime will similarly be put with others who have not watched as much. From there the order will then be randomized.

Everyone will then receive the name, blog/podcast, and list of the person they are the Secret Santa for. You will then suggest three shows and two back-up picks for the person all of which must be 26 episodes or less (yes, you can suggest movies, too). The shows must be subtitled in some fashion. Remember that you are picking shows that you hope the other person will like and give an honest chance. Look over their list and whether they watch fan-subs then try to pick out something good but unexpected.

Once we get everyone’s picks we will then pass on the shows to the recipients. No one except us will know the names of the person who gave you your choices. You then pick the show you are going to watch. Everyone is responsible for getting their own material for the review. You will receive your show choices by November 14th, 2018.

You then have until late December to watch the show you were assigned and write a review. On the week of Christmas, everyone will post their reviews for the Secret Santa Project. We would prefer you to post your review on Christmas Eve but you can alter it as to the schedule of your blog or podacst. On Christmas Day, we will reveal the name of who had who as a Secret Santa along with a small post about the project.

Again: If you want to participate send us your Name, Blog or Podcast Address, and MyAnimeList Link (or Anime Planet or some other equivalent listing) via e-mail (secretsanta.rt [at] gmail [dot] com) with subject: Secret Santa Participant. Due by Wednesday, October 24th, 2018.

Just in case someone does not know what traditional Secret Santa is.

Why we don’t do manga secret santa.

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Guest Review: Planetarian

Guest review by Aaron (@lothos88) for Anime Secret Santa 2017.

Planetarian is a bitter sweet experience. Slowly paced, but never really feeling dull. As someone who’s always had a fascination with the cosmos, this movie resonated with me in its simple message, that mankind should keep looking up to the sky with wonder.
After some war in the near future, the world’s been covered in ash and gone into a nuclear winter. Our protagonist, an old man pulling a cart in the snow, informs us that it’s estimated only 100,000 people are left on earth, but nobody’s really sure as records aren’t really being kept and people are spread out and don’t really communicate any more.
The old man is exhausted, and collapses in the snow, but is found by some kids; Levi, Job, and Ruth, who have been living in a bunker built below an old church with some other adults. They nurse him back to health, and find out what he was carrying with him was a projector from a planetarium. The village elder, Ezra, refers to the old man as a stargazer and says they are very lucky to have him there. The children ask what stars are, as the world’s been covered in ash and clouds for decades and they’ve never seen stars in the sky. The old man says he’d never seen them as a child either.
He then recounts his story of meeting “her” and how he came about finding the projector years ago when he was a young man scavenging through an abandoned city.
Taking shelter from automated city defenses inside a building, here he meets a girl inside a theater greeting him as the 2,500,000th customer, and also the first customer in 29 years and 81 days. She hands him a boquet of random junk, saying the flower shop wasn’t answering their phone. He quickly acertains that she’s a robot, and she confirms that she is a robot named Hoshino Yumemi and a member of the staff of the Flowercrest Rooftop Planetarium. She is insistent on him viewing the presentation that’s been prepared to comemorate, he initially goes along with it, but then finds that the projector (who Hoshino refers to as Ms. Jena) is broken.
Our still unnamed protagonist decides to try to repair the projector, seemingly on a whim as he doesn’t have much else to do, even though he is running low on supplies. At this point, we also learn that Hoshino is “dying” in a manner. At midnight she announces, per protocol, she’s going into sleep mode and will have 76 hours of battery life remaining upon rebooting at 9am. This fact seems to not really register with the protagonist at this time, or he simply just accepts that she’s going to shut down forever in a few days.
He eventually gets the projector operational, and is finally able to view the presentation. Clearly seeing the sun, moon, stars, planets, and images of Earth before the war for the first time in his life. She shows the various constelations, and goes into the ancient stories behind their names. He is drawn into these stories and the beauty of the stars. However, before reaching the finale of the presentation, the power goes out in the building. He convinces her to continue the presentation, simply providing her commentary without the projection.
She goes into a history of mankind’s fascination with and exploration of the heavens. From the early days of simply gazing up to the heavens, to early astronomy, flight, rockets, and eventually venturing into space. All of this makes a profound impact on him, and now whenever he closes his eyes he sees the stars she showed him.
The story then jumps back to the current time, where the old man asks the children to help him make a “big umbrella” made out of cloth to put up on the ceiling indoors. He later explains that what they’re making is actually space, another concept that’s foreign to them. As they finish the umbrella, he begins to teach another one of the children, Ruth, how to assemble and care for the projector. Providing her with an instruction manual that he wrote. Finally, he hooks it all up to a hand crank generator and shows them what the projector does. Showing them images of the moon and stars. He then recounts the same stories of the constellations that Hoshino told him. The children as fascinated by all of this, just as he was the first time he saw them. He tells the village elder that he wants the children to come with him, and to be his successors, teaching them everything he can so they can take up his role once he passes on.
Without giving away the ending, I’ll just say things end on a hopeful note for the future, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
Planetarian is nothing spectacular from a visual perspective, the animation and character designs are decent enough but nothing really breathtaking. Likewise, the music, while fitting, also isn’t anything I’d really remember. Where it does shine though is the story. Even though I could foresee how things were going to end, it was still is enjoyable and might lead to some teary eyes at times. While it’s definitely more of a sentimental story than I usually prefer, I’m glad I watched it.

Secret Santa 2017 Project Reveal

hisui_icon_4040_round It is once again time to learn the identity of your Anime Secret Santa. Where they a kindly Befana who left you an undiscovered anime gem or a wicked Frau Perchta made you watch Hand Shakers. Hopefully, either way, everyone involved had a good time and hopefully learns a little about their fellow anime fans.

Or if nothing else has made a bitter rival whose destruction will give them strength to carry on even in the darkness times.

One quick question for everyone to think about as they look over the list below: What could we do next year to make this even better. At this point, I think the Secret Santa Project is a fairly well-oiled machine. This is the 9th year for this exchange so I think we have worked out most of the major kinks. But is there something we have missed? It is entirely possible. This is also the time to innovate. 2018 could be a fun time to try a little twist on what he have done in the past.

If you have an improvement, variant (other than Manga Secret Santa), or a bit of advice for next year just kindly let us know below.

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