As the central branding message surrounding the entire company, Microsoft’s 2014 (and still ongoing) multimedia campaign and its tonal stage-setting relies on the narrative implications of a single word: ‘Empower’. Thus, the campaign can be perceived as a hybrid brand establishment attempt by Microsoft, in solidifying its name and association within a worldwide humanitarian, innovative enterprising and creative paradigm. As one of the most recognisable brands in the world, Microsoft’s popular public image is a global but impersonal one.
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.
Desire is an individualistic emotional construct that can almost ironically be considered the direct sibling of society-binding cultural norms, that indoctrinates individuals into adopting a collective mindset that does not stray far from the ‘normal’. What society deems desirable; however logical, the individual must desire as well. Individuals are constantly affected by the sometimes silent, but always prevalent pressures to buy, reshape and realign themselves back into the collective, popular narrative.
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.
Starting a new column-of-sorts on this blog, aimed to both provide some much-needed support for Kickstarter projects that I am interested in, and to give some insight for my readers on the sort of things I’m interested in, be it comics, photography books, awesome product designs or ambitious animation productions. Two birds with one stone, essentially: I get to talk about creative projects that I think are awesome, while you guys get to know more about me.
It is unlikely that this will be a regular column that gets new posts every month, since I AM still just a uni student with limited budget. But if I do pledge for some things that I think are interesting enough all within the same month, I will churn out one of these. Anyway, hope you guys enjoy!
Incidently, this is the second and last article I managed to rescue from UnimeTV’s server crash.
(Note: This publication deals with season one, with some limited discussion about Bishamon’s arc in Aragoto. I will try my best to present a narrative that is fair and concise, from the perspective of a largely non-religious background, but also as someone who does helm interests in various teachings from multiple religions worldwide.)
As active documenters and expressive anchors for their respective time periods, artists and creative practitioners all demonstrated engagements to the mechanics and characteristics of their time, which are in turn reflected by how they build upon their works, through utilizing tools and technologies of their time. As a result, significant advancements in human technological capabilities are readily reflected upon by artists, who finds new frames of perceptions for their audiences to experience their artworks, and find meaning through and from new mediums of expressions and sensual cues.
(Due to UnimeTV’s servers having major issues, all my posts there have been deleted, though I managed to salvage two of them. So here they are.)
Talk about the ultimate late bloomer.
The anime adaptation of Amanchu provided the creative canvas for a highly anticipated reunion of mangaka Kozue Amano (Aqua / Aria) and Satou Junichi (Aria the Animation, Princess Tutu, Tamayura) as chief director. The two individuals’ collaboration on the Aria series has deemed it one of the most highly acclaimed titles in the Slice of Life mega-genre, held in high regard for its rich and atmosphere-based storytelling, detailed and gorgeous setting design and immersive thematic explorations of human compassion and curiosity. Alongside series director Kasai Kenichi (Honey and Clover, Nodame Cantabile) and Deko Akao (Flying Witch, Noragami, Snow White with the Red Hair) handling series composition, Amanchu has the creative minds behind it to make it a charming Iyashikei title.
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.
It’s rather difficult, talking about a trip as…small-scaled and comparatively mundane as this, especially considering how the original intent was for me to go and visit a dentist there and yank out two of my misbehaving wisdom teeth. Nasty business.
However, in considering that during the two weeks while the right side of my mouth burnt like lava, there isn’t much for me to do in terms of relaxation, pleasure through eating (my personal favourite pastime outside of watching anime) and doing the usual things you would do whilst vacationing overseas. Instead, I had some time to think about things, as I sat back and observed this culture that I had partially left behind.
If I haven’t made it clear yet: yes, I am a Chinese-Australian, born and raised in China, but grew past the drinking age in the land down under (and yeah, the legal age is 18 down here, so SUCK IT America). I suppose it is time for me to go back there, and breathe in some of that countryside air again. I will be visiting my Dad; who’s currently living in Chongqing. I will also be dropping by at my old childhood village near Xichang and see how the old folks there are doing, before I swing around to Chengdu to visit my grandparents, second uncle and aunt for a bit. Also arranged to get my wisdom teeth removed there. Two birds with one stone.
So Subaru got his wish: he got to cry in his favourite girl’s lap. If I was being honest, Emilia’s first introduction as Satella, her overly nice disposition and her seemingly blind belief in Subaru, had started to make me suspicious…I’m hoping that I’m wrong of course, but might as well put up shields while I still have the time.
In terms of the narrative flow thus far, episodes 8 and 9 achieved strides in key story beats that helped progressed the plot in a steady pace, while also expanding the mythos of the world.
Enjoy the read. UnimeTV link
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.)