sickVisionz (Level 24)

For the first time in a years I'm in the mood to wiki edit.
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 In the past few years of my life as an anime fan, I find myself watching more and more shows online. Sometimes it's a simulcast and other times it's something from an archive on sites like Hulu or Crunchyroll.  One problem, albeit an awesome one, is that these shows have huge archives of content to shift through.  In my search for content to watch, I always thought that it'd cool if some kindhearted otaku was out there gathering links for cool shows that I could watch right now.  Well, today I've decided to be the generous otaku that I've been searching for. 
 
If you don't know Bleach is online, now you know. 
If you don't know Bleach is online, now you know. 
Every week I plan (keyword being plan) on highlighting one or two shows that I'm watching or have seen that are also available legally online.  Ideally they'll be free to everyone, but if they aren't i'll be sure to make a note of it.  I'll try to avoid shows that I think are super popular because, in all honesty, these shows have more than enough eyes on them and don't really need yet another person pointing them out.  So that means, no Naruto, no One Piece, no Bleach, etc.  It's cool if it does, but I don't really intend for this to introduce a new person to anime and make them a fan.  I'm trying to introduce anime fans to shows that they might not have seen or heard of. 
 
Last week was a shounen action fiesta so this week I decided to go for two shows that are the polar opposite.  With no further ado...     
 

Erin the Beast Player (Crunchyroll Link)

The Basics  
 Erin as a child.
 Erin as a child.
Erin the Beast Player combines slice-of-life and drama to tell the story of a young girl named Erin who has a natural talent for animal taming.  The story begins with her as a ten year old and follows her life until she is eighteen. 
 

Described in Anime 

The tone, time and setting of the show reminds me of Spice and Wolf or a fairy tale minus magic elves and witches. 
 

Why I Like It 

The pacing of Erin is about as peaceful and serene as this picture.
The pacing of Erin is about as peaceful and serene as this picture.
Erin has a great story filled with many interesting characters but it's the pacing of the series that really allows everything to shine.  Erin is a fifty episode show broken into three time periods of Erin's life: her as a young child, a tween and teen.  Erin is definitely a slow burn type of anime.  The plot moves very slow and the main story line of the series isn't introduced until about halfway through.  Some may be turned off by that, but I loved it.  The pacing combined with the time segmentation really allows you to get to know all of the characters intimately and you can see how they mature and change as they grow older.  It also allows you to see how the situations in the land that Erin lives in are changing and you can get a good sense of how certain political maneuvering is going to impact things later down the road.
 
Everything isn't rainbows, lollipops and sunshine...
Everything isn't rainbows, lollipops and sunshine...
Yes, I said political maneuvering.  Another great thing about the show is that despite the happy-go-lucky visual style, the show can be very dark when it wants to be and it covers some very adult topics with a maturity that's a welcomed change from many of the shows that I watch.  In a lot of ways, Erin reminds me of a fairy tale with more realism.  When you see these stories in children's books, they're always brightly colored and things look happy and very kid friendly.  However, when you read them you find characters who do things such as mistreating orphans and step children out of spite or allowing their vanity and desire for power to corrupt them.  Like the best fairy tales, Erin's journey through life is filled with many triumphs and great moments but it also has its fair share of tragedy and disappointment. 
 

Time of Eve (Crunchyroll Link)

The Basics 

 Man or Machine?
 Man or Machine?
Time of Eve is the story of advanced androids trying to find their place in a time where the line between man and machine is blurring beyond recognition, yet society is reluctant to view androids as people or objects to be respected rather than tools to be used and disposed of. 
  
Described in Anime 
Imagine if every human-form android in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex had it's own unique personality like the Tachikoma units.  Remove all action, spying and crime fighting from the series and make it a drama or romance about human/android relationships set in a world where society treats machines in a manner similar to the The Second Renaissance episodes from the Animatrix
 

Why I Like It 

 Anti-android propaganda
 Anti-android propaganda
I'm a sucker for anything that's sci-fi and deals with human rights issues.  That's one super niche that always appeals to me, whether it be over the top action like Avatar or more dramatic fare like Artificial Intelligence: AI.  The concept of the show is that androids and humans look identical with the exception of a halo like device that androids are required to use so that they can be distinguished from humans.  The Time of Eve Cafe is a place where androids can turn off their halos and everyone interacts with each other, not knowing if they are humans or androids.  Each episode deals with a small group of characters and how they connect with each other, whether it be romantic, paternal or platonic.   
 
 One of the many interesting relationships in the series.
 One of the many interesting relationships in the series.
That concept alone intrigues me and luckily the show delivers.  I would go as far as to say that the characters and writing is good enough for these short stories (each episode is about 15 minutes long) to stand on their own without any sci-fi elements.  If the series was just people hanging out at a cafe and telling stories about their lives, or the ups and downs of a couple or a tale about a grandfather and his daughter, this show would still stand up as a well done and interesting anime that I could suggest to anyone.  Adding in the sci-fi elements sends it over the top for me.  Time of Eve is one of the few shows that I simply couldn't put down once I started watching it and I'd recommend it to anyone, regardless of what your tastes in anime are.
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