I want to start by talking about a single shot in Violet Evergarden’s debuting episode.
Violet’s reflection in the clock implies two things: her current state of mind, as well as certain potential, if one takes into account Violet’s first real display of agency in this scene.
A clock as a tool for telling time is mechanical and rigid by nature, its function defined by a single need. Violet was a child soldier who has known nothing but to take orders and acting on them: her function defines her, encroaching her behind a transparent cage.
The fall season kinda fell right on top of uni finals, hence the lack of a first impressions. But now that’s over and done with, I can finally talk a bit more about this season’s incredibly diverse offering: no individual standouts, just a WHOLE slew of solid ideas, explored in…various degrees of clarity.
After taking a year off this format while I readjusted to the fandom and determined how I should follow seasonal shows, the seasonal first impressions is back, and it is now a much more casual setting: no more ratings, staff/genre run downs and a shorter length.
Akane carries around a tiny mascot doll as a lucky charm. She instinctively rubs it when she gets nervous.
Kotarou is self-conscious about his writing. He gets into a boxing match with the lamp cord when he gets anxious.
It is a delicate task, trying to depict the awkwardness of the adolescence. How does one depict such a confusing part of life, when those who are currently experiencing it are too moody and self-absorbed to bother understanding it, and those who have already experienced it can no longer provide the organic, first hand accounts?
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.
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.
Trying out a new jam for this season: instead of having a two-parter half-season overview, I will write up a first impression post one week into the season and pick out a few shows worth talking about for a condensed half-season overview. As for the end-of-season write-ups…I’m not sure about them yet, since I tend not to complete shows on time before another season starts up.
I will be adopting the overview’s rating system, but for the first impression, only shows that I have made clear conclusions for will be given a rating.
Now, with the introduction out of the way, these are the shows I’ve taste-tested thus far.
By golly, 6 months in and I’m still keeping this up.
And yes, I realize how late this is. My apologies: a slew of life-related issues has hampered my potential output during the past 2 months, which has a been a period of both highs (I managed to write some of my best work for this blog) and lows (workplace arguments and private family issues).
Unlike Winter, Spring 2016 looks to be a season dotted with multiple flagpoles of dominance, both in terms of genre devotion and popularity contests. ERASED dominated the dialogue of Winter 2016, with voices raised as the community were seemingly split over its visually deliberate storytelling and the apparent incomplete plot progressions. While I may still be hesitant in joining the collective in terms of choosing the season’s best offering, it is my belief, that the slice of life genre has received one of its biggest and strongest showings in recent memory, as multiple titles eagerly showcased the wide ranging personalities of the genre in glorious fashions, though some may have bitten off more than they could swallow.
Nevertheless, Spring 2016 looks to be another varied and strong anime season, and the optimism is only heightened by what awaits later in the year (Yamada-san, crush them all when Fall arrives.)
To no surprise for this aniblogger, anime is alive and well in 2016, and has shown to still have a couple of aces down its sleeve, even if a few of them were misplayed during this still ongoing match. Rather unsurprisingly. the collective crowd has already crowned their champion of the season, despite being just halfway into Winter 2016, leaving behind straggling titles who were overlooked for their limited appeal in subject matters, but were no less intelligent and artistic in their ability to captivate the more observational consumers and gem miners.
Let us delve into the Winter season through my eyes, as I glance back into the 7 weeks that has just passed.
I believe in the practice of casting a wide net from the get go, to reel in the best catch. Granted, I will have to deal with a multitude of indigestible garbage and an occasional shopping cart or human carcass, but this way, I can taste-test a wide range of shows, before settling with what to follow, drop or slot into my watchlist.
It’s because of this practice, that I usually start the season running with a dozen shows at least, before it dwindles into 3 or 4 shows I will still be following weekly after 5 or 6 rounds. The shows I stopped following and my reasoning vary, from ‘It’s not my type of show’ to ‘this will look great on 1080p BD’… or ‘This is too epic to NOT marathon’. There’s also added dilemma in what shows work better with a English dub. Then there’s the always fascinating slew of Funimation broadcast dubs. We are definitely in the future.
It pains me to admit it, but I’m just one man, helming an entire blog and its gigantic promises of entertaining and insightful content. There’s also the issue of me being a relative new-comer to the world of anime and Japanese media (a disease; so to say; that infected me, whilst I’m still weak from a heavy dosage of year 12 finals exams and university enrolments at the tail end of 2014). There will be a life story upload on that, on a later date.
Like I said, Fall 2015 is a season dominated by sequels of well-known franchises, many of which I’ve never consumed before in my life. Add the ever-present issue of my personal tastes (another blog topic potentially in the pipeline), there’s bound to be popular titles that I failed to follow and analyse, or dropped from this season. So I figure I will add a little commentary on some possibly notable shows, that I didn’t cover in my initial Fall 2015 overview.
But first, some disclaimers: By no accounts, were all these shows avoided, missed or dropped because I thought them to be either shit to begin with, or not worth my precious time on this planet (I don’t think that way). The more likely reasons are of course, stated above.
Well then, without further ado, let’s punch in some letters.Read More »
Why not properly christen the birth of this humble blog with a reflective look back at what Fall 2015 has offered us in terms of anime?
Needless to say, the promise of fame was never offered in equal quantities to every title that aired during every season: more often than not, the collective attention of the worldwide fanbase were already fixed upon a select few of shows, long before their debut. Fall 2015 is no exception. With a slew of long-awaited and highly anticipated adaptations and sequels that stood ready at their respective launch pads, this season is also home to a title that some believe to have the capability to match their previous brethren in popularity, namely the duo of Attack on Titan and the still hotly debated topic of Sword Art Online’s right to existence. Both well-established franchises such as the questionably but undoubtedly popular Monogatari series and the old guard Gundam returned to renew their relevance in our short attention spans. But what’s beyond this huge veil of familiarity? What strange tales of the one being sung, girls named after hot chocolate and hobo Gods will we discover behind this incredibly promising but also deceptively charming season?
Welcome to the first publication of ATMA & Funomena, and this is my half-season overview of Fall 2015, on the shows I’ve followed throughout the 6-7 weeks.