Opening remarks: I originally intended this piece to be a particularly academic-driven one…digging deep into the likes of Mark Lochrie & Paul Coulton’s article on shared viewing experiences or ‘Social TV’ and ‘Second Screen Devices’, and Alice E. Marwick’s paper on ‘Imagined Audiences and Context Collapse in Microblogging’. Elements of these studies are still retained in the final product, but I decided to keep discussion more centred on Dragon Maid and my own experiences in watching it…and ultimately deciding that it is an absolute new favourite.
Directors: Shinya Kawatsura, Shin Oonuma
Animation Production: Silver Link
Music: Yasuhiro Misawa
Genres: Drama, Romance, Comedy, High School, Supernatural
Seasons: Summer 2012, Fall 2012
Episodes: 17 (13 TV + 4 OVA)
For my second and final venture into the best of anime 2016, I determine the overall winners of the year.
Yes, for whatever reason, ATMA & Funomena is still alive and kicking. I also got into the elites’ club by being featured on the ThatAnimeSnob Reddit board. Truly an honour.
2016 was a horrible year (yes I’m one of those, deal with it) that was unfashionably kind to me as a blossoming anime fan and…maturing adult (somehow, these two do go hand-in-hand for me). I got myself a new (and first) decent-paying job, I started collecting anime, music and film merch like crazy. I watched too much anime.
I will quickly brush over the sheer genre-centric unexpectedness that Demi-chan has for its runtime thus far, and move on to reject this relationship that the audience supposedly has with the show as its main pull. Because it’s not what’s unexpected of the ecchi/monster girl ‘genre’ or their ‘typical production aesthetics’ that brings forth the metaphorical goodwill that Demi-chan exemplifies. Rather, the inorganic realism that the show flaunts almost ironically in regards to ‘cross-species’ human and societal relationships, is the main ingredient that elevates the experience to a higher plane of optimistic warmth.
And to think I don’t have to write any more words about film music for the rest of my life…”You’ve written more than enough“, some might say.
Like I always say, there’s something inherently magical about film music. I wouldn’t miss it for all the unoriginality (I prefer the word ‘homage’) that it so proudly displays at every glorious turn or twist. So. Let us have our 7 minutes and 38 seconds of pure bliss, away from the politics, away from 2017. Let’s go back to 2016 for just another few moments.
(Yes. You can pretty much guess my winners from just reading the above paragraph.)
There is a sense of idyllic rhythm that Aria exerts when one allows him or herself to engage with its cinematic heartbeat. It’s obvious: everything has its own rhythm, its own footprint, when it makes contact with another existing entity. If one takes this idea far enough, existence is just another way to visualise and define relationships. And creating rhythm is but another expression for finding uniquity.
(All plugs are pulled. Full spoiling ahead.)
Your Name | Kimi no Na wa (I will be referring to the film via. the former title from now on) is essentially about progress through violation. The film is readily clear on that account, and certainly enough for any number of viewing audiences to immediately identify that about its cinematic delivery.
The following interview is with the series’ sound effects editor Yoshihiro Sakaguchi, a feature of monthly anime & manga magazine publication Newtype’s December 2016 issue.
The following interview is with the series’ sound director Yōji Shimizu, a feature of monthly anime & manga magazine publication Newtype’s December 2016 issue.
Director: Kanta Kamei
Animation Production: Orange, 3Hz
Music: Go Shiina
Genres: Action, Seinen, Urban Fantasy, Sci-fi
Season: Winter 2016
Director: Seiji Kishi
Animation Production: Lerche
Music: Naoki Sato
Genres: Action, Comedy, High School, Shounen
Season: Winter 2015
Episodes: 23 (Series + OVA)
Only one frame was needed for Sound! Euphonium to flaunt its triumphant return. With the single shot shown above, Tatsuya Ishihara was able to definitively storyboard the almost non-existent time-gap between the show’s two seasons, while at the same time, encapsulate the essence of the drama that still reside within the concert band: who has shrugged off the doubt and resorted to continue on their quest for perfection, and who’s still being trapped within their own past, unable to continue?
Bathed in a sunny back-light, Kumiko’s ascend upstairs had purpose, a sense of forward vision. Mizore is chained to the bottom of her staircase grasping her own mouth, almost choking on her own memories as ‘Polovtsian Dances‘ from Borodin’s ‘Prince Igor’ opera echoed from the school building’s rooftop, thanks in no part to her middle school band-mate Nozomi.
I don’t really have an absolute favourite show last season. I mean, if we were speaking in MAL scoring terms, nothing I finished in the Summer season I would score above a 7, if not the hypothetical 7.75/10.
Granted, I started but never finished Mob Psycho 100 (I know, I should. I will. Eventually.) I also never finished Sweetness and Lightning, and that’s a show that tugged at my heartstrings numerous times in just three episodes.
BUT. Moments. There are moments in shows that spoke volumes to me, whether its on a immediate emotional level, or on a more…philosophical and worldview level.
Note: Spoilers for both Grimgar and Re:Zero are aplenty.
I appreciated Grimgar Of Fantasy and Ash after watching it to completion recently as a semi-marathon. For the most part, its character studies and the evident focus on atmosphere and a sense of place; rather than the much more often tread adventure fantasy with a clearly defined end goal of saving the world, has given the series a muted presence that ironically made its voice project louder amongst all the background noise. Similar things can be said about Re:Zero, now that it has finished its prolific rampage across the fandom’s collective stream of consciousness…though the reasons behind its highly resonant dual-season run were in complete contrast to Grimgar, as it projects its agenda of social commentary with unrelenting shamelessness and sincerity. In the end, while both series has no doubt invited significant viewership, and inevitable controversy on their respective handling of narrative delivery, I found myself once again standing right in the middle of the crossfire: appreciating what both shows have so admirably achieved, while also contemplating about their various failings.