Funomena Picks: Best of Anime 2016 | Part I

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.

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Sound! Euphonium 2 Episodes 1 – 2: First Impressions | Vivace Ensemble Dynamics

One frame.

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.

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Grimgar & Re:Zero | Genre’s Arbitrary Formulas And Narratives That Challenge Them

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.

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Funomenal First Impressions: Anime Season Summer 2016

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.

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Funomenal Overview: Anime Half-season Spring 2016 – Part I

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.)

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Funomena Picks: Best of Anime 2015 | Part III

For my third and final venture into the best of anime 2015, I determine the overall winners of the year.

Below are my meticulously considered titles and studios that will be competing for and winning the Funomenon Globe (Took me 5 seconds to come up with this name…so it’s AWESOME. Design & 3D render pending.) for Best TV & Film Soundtracks, Top-Performing Studio and Favourite Anime of 2015.

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Funomena Picks: Best of Anime 2015 | Part I

(What’s with people rushing their top lists…even the Oscars are STILL contemplating on last year, and how to stump poor ol’ DiCaprio…)

Some mindless yapping first.

About a few weeks ago, I marked my first year anniversary as a regular anime follower. What has always amazed me by myself (yeah…self-centred asshole…), is how quickly I can adapt and project myself into new fandom communities: it took me one photograph to fall in love with photography, it took me a few days and a few dozen albums to fall in love with film music. It took me only a year to complete basically enough anime shows and films to sustain long conversations with people, who have been following anime for years. I completed no less than 100 titles, OVAs and films in 2015, around 37 days’ worth of content (or 53280 minutes), and have familiarized myself with enough anime-isms to be able to analyse in-depth and engage in fanboy arguments during my university’s anime society get-togethers. Overall, anime has greatly improved my enjoyment of life: I have one more passion to engage with other people of common interests, and good animation satisfies my love for great art. I am thankful for that.

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Hilarity Reactions: Haruchika Episode 1 | So a Trio of H’s and a Triangle Sat in a Bar…

(SPOILERS! It’s a bloody reaction post, sir, do try to notice the flipping obvious…)

Let me steal a bit from my own previous publication: Haruchika shares waaayyyyy too much incidental similarities with BOTH Hibike! Euphonium AND Hyouka. And for me to just…ignore it, is simply injustice.

Well, after watching one episode, the overlapping just increased a notch. After identifying that Haruchika is about a mystery-solving brass instrument band club…with a name that ALSO starts with an ‘H’, P.A. Works’ latest NOVEL adaptation also introduces another certain dynamic, one which also plays in an eerily similar manner to Hibike’s romantic situations…

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The Genius of Sound! Euphonium: Kakedasu Monaka OVA | The Magic in Interactions

(MINOR SPOILERS FROM TV SERIES AND OVA)

Perhaps the best way to describe Kyoto Animation’s venture with Hibike! Euphonium is by literally contradicting myself: it is a work of complex simplicity. The emotional dissonance that exists, when a large group of individuals come together is typical of the atmosphere that you may find in a musical ensemble. Long story short, this OVA works as an alternate perspective provider on the emotional climax towards the latter end of the series, and it does it superbly.

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