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.
For my second and final venture into the best of anime 2016, I determine the overall winners of the year.
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.
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.)
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
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).
Aaaaannnndd I’m back to blogging. Kinda.
For weeks now, I’ve been contemplating on the nature of fandoms. Rather than a purely intellectual study, I decided to approach this curiosity with a sense of self-discovery: relying on my 5 senses and observing how fandoms materialise from the culture in which they are surrounded with. To frame this little thought experiment of sorts of mine, I decided to briefly analyse the personality of the 2007 hit Lucky Star.
Enjoy the read. UnimeTV link
I really shouldn’t be calling this half-season anymore, huh…
Eh, whatever. ONWARD!
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.