Image source: 「アニメガタリズ」公式 on Twitter

Sadly, not many people outside of Japan have seen the sequel.

Anime-Gataris is the story of a group of anime lovers who come together to successfully restart their high school’s anime club. The cast features a colorful group of characters including a talking cat. The series uses countless references and homages to other (famous and obscure) anime series while offering observations and commentary on various tropes and aspects of anime and anime fandom.

But, did you know that there was a series that came before? You couldn’t be blamed if you didn’t. Anime-Gatari (note the lack of an “s”) was a short form series that was part of the Shinjuku Anime Project—a project that was started in 2015 with the purpose of making the newly opened Toho Cinemas Shinjuku a source of anime information. As part of the project, various shorts were shown before movies. One of those shorts was the series, Anime-Gatari.

Image source: Amazon.co.jp

The series itself was very much a condensed version of Anime Gataris with a few differences: The series took place in a college anime club instead of a high school one; there were only four human primary club members instead of six; and the talking cat, Neko Sempai, freely conversed with all of the characters instead of just one. The protagonist of Anime Gataris‘ older sister, Maya Asagaya, serves as the protagonist of Anime Gatari, and the character of Erika Aoyama is also one of the main cast members. Many of the topics that have come up in Anime Gataris were covered as well—like what makes a “god anime” or how the animation quality can fall apart towards the later episodes of a series. The series even had its own official theme song.

Anime Gatari was shown only at Toho Cinemas Shinjuku. Despite the theater being newly opened in one of the biggest business districts in Japan, and despite the theater’s own newsworthiness—it’s the building with Godzilla on it—the series was likely viewed by only a modest movie-going audience. The series was shown from 2015 to 2016 with six episodes in all.

According to the Japanese Wikipedia page, the story of Anime Gataris takes place one year before Anime Gatari, in 2014. This explains why Maya and Erika appear as a high school seniors in different schools in Anime Gataris, but as college students in the same school in Anime Gatari. However, what other events or plot points carry over from the TV series we have yet to see. Anime Gataris contains the basic framework of Anime Gatari—anime lovers talking about anime—and adds an overarching story as well as tons more references and inside jokes.

Sadly, the Anime Gatari series is not readily available. All six episodes were included in a special DVD with the limited edition theme song CD single, but otherwise appear to have not been given an official release. Despite its very limited availability, however, the spirit of Anime Gatari lives on within its much more readily available prequel series, Anime Gataris, which can be viewed with English subtitles on Crunchyroll and English dialogue on FUNimation.

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