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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Funomenal Rear-view Contemplation: Best of Film & Game Music 2016

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.

NOPE.

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.)

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The Undine That Guides Me | Aria’s First Evergreen Ballad and the Undercurrents of its Melody

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.

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The Sound of Christmas | The Music, The Spirit and the Magnificent

You know that time of the year, when suddenly jingle bells (the actual thing…and that damn song) started appearing in every shopping mall you visit? The television channels starts to air cheesy Christmas-themed comedies and cartoons every 7pm (I think this is the 9th year in a row I remember seeing Elf staring Will Ferrell getting a re-airing on TV), and you start to overhear Michael Bublé-performed Christmas carols being played in car radios as you strolled along your home street.

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A Melodic Comparison: Film Music’s Many Invaluable Personalities | Joe Hisaishi, John Powell

Note: this publication is a highly extensive and lengthy endeavour that invite readers to refer back to for analytical ideas. In other words, it is written with a sea of wiki-style links to additional readings, clips and videos, endless subject matters, tangents and covers a lot of ideas. I recommend that you bookmark this page for future reference, whenever you feel the need for some creative writing ideas, or just some music-based observations you find difficulty in analysing or putting your ideas into words. I hope my efforts help you in that regard.

A few months ago, I went on a tweeting rampage:

(You can find the entire tweet thread by clicking the time & date stamp.)

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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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Best of Summer 2016: When Amanchu Shines, it’s Blinding | Final Reflections

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.

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Analysis in Retrospect: Piano no Mori | The Expressive Core of the Piano

Alternative Titles: The Perfect World of Kai, The Piano Forest

Director: Masayuki Kojima

Animation Production: MADHOUSE

Music: Keisuke Shinohara

Genres: Slice of Life, Music, Competition, Supernatural

Year: 2007

Disclaimer: the societal commentary present in this publication are all the writer’s own personal observations and opinions. No journalistic or scholarly value and sources are cited nor present (unless stated otherwise).

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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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Funomena Previews: Anime Winter 2016 Opening Watchlist

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.

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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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