You know…I went into starting this post with snippets of ideas for the intro: something snappy, a humorously depressing comment on 2017, and end it with a cheesy flavour of hope. But instead…I ended up with this.
I think I’ve sampled more albums than I ever did in 2017: more varieties of artists both old favourites and new discoveries, an increasingly diverse set of classical repertoires, genres and origins. That comes with good news and bad news, and I think the good news is kinda obvious already. But the bad news: I’ve listened to less albums COMPLETELY than the past two years, since there’s always something I want to jump onto prematurely.
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.
Not sure where I heard it, but the perfect completed anime to favourite anime ratio is a clean-cut 10:1: meaning that now that I’ve completed over 200 anime in total (according to MAL at least), I get to update my favourite anime to a list of 20. And that’s good news and bad news.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.