Image source: DMM pictures on YouTube

We’re all anime fans here, right?

Anime-Gataris is an upcoming anime series slated for release in Japan next month. The first two episodes were aired at a special premiere event this past weekend and Anime Now! was there to check it out.

The story of Anime-Gataris centers on the protagonist, Minoa Asagaya, a young girl and novice anime watcher. One morning, she awakens from a dream about a memorable scene from an anime series she watched as a child. Unable to shake the memory, she asks her best friend at school, to no avail. However, this conversation is overheard by her classmate and anime otaku, Arisu Kamiigusa. Sensing a potential kindred spirit, Arisu approaches Minoa, and the two set about resurrecting the school’s anime club.

On its surface, Anime-Gataris looks to be a “cute girls doing cute things” slice-of-life sort of anime. However, this is a series that is made by hardcore anime lovers for hardcore anime lovers. The minute it begins to talk about anime, the deep jokes and meta references start spilling over in a deluge of comedy. From the homage to the Japanese anime otaku-specific jargon to references both hidden and blatant, there’s an overarching self-awareness to the series itself. There are numerous anime clichés that appear or occur, and yet the show smartly plays the meta joke that it’s aware that these things are clichés while simultaneously pointing out that these things are clichés for a reason.

The characters are similarly templates of modern Japanese anime otaku and feel much more convincing than your standard anime otaku that might appear in other series. Minoa looks like your standard clueless non-anime fan—but she’s not. She’s aware of anime and has seen it as a child, but she’s just not a geek. She’s aware that there are things she doesn’t know, but she is quite capable of learning them.

Likewise, Arisu looks like your template rich girl with a closeted hobby—but she’s not. She makes no effort to hide her otakudom, it’s just that she hasn’t encountered anyone to share it with. The characters strike a delicate balance of being stereotypes while simultaneously complex enough to feel like real people. Every character has qualities that made me think, “I know someone like that.”

Image source: 「アニメガタリズ」公式‏ on Twitter

While there is an overarching plot going on, the real appeal of the series is the heated anime talk. Anyone who has met with other people who are into anime—or any other subculture topic for that matter—has encountered that moment when people will get really passionate, their voices will rise, their speech speeds up, and they get lost in talking about just how much they love whatever series, character, plot line, or other facet tickles their fancy. Anime-Gataris captures that feeling perfectly. While you may not agree with certain characters’ opinions, you will at the very least be able to empathize with them and understand how they arrive at their opinions.

I found myself laughing numerous times throughout the first two episodes of Anime-Gataris. When I wasn’t laughing I was nodding and thinking, “This series gets what it’s like to be an anime fan.” While a lot of the jargon is Japanese anime otaku-specific lingo that may require some prior knowledge, the series welcomes every fan as one of its own. It feels like a labor of love that makes me glad to be an anime fan in the modern age.

Anime-Gataris is scheduled to begin airing in Japan on October 8, 2017. There is currently no simulcast information.

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