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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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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For the Love of Art: Storytelling in Advertising | ‘Empower’ And the Implications of One Word

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.

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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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Quick Insight: Religion in Modern Society | Noragami

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.)

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Amanchu Episodes 1 – 3: First Impressions | Storytelling Through Artistic Grandeur

(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 AnimationPrincess TutuTamayura) 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 CloverNodame Cantabile) and Deko Akao (Flying WitchNoragamiSnow White with the Red Hair) handling series composition, Amanchu has the creative minds behind it to make it a charming Iyashikei title.

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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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A Trip Back to My Roots | China from the Perspective of a Returning Migrant

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.

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UnimeTV: Bi-weekly Analysis | Re:Zero Episodes 8 – 9

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

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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UnimeTV: Bi-weekly Analysis | Re:Zero Episodes 4 – 7

Yeahhh…so a multitude of issues during the last few weeks kinda kept me from the keyboard again: a combination of family issues and a certain feeling of lack of inspiration, after I managed to churn out a ridiculously wannabe-scholar piece on Piano no Mori, and following that up with a ‘talking about life’ piece on Cowboy Bebop. I think I might’ve overspent myself a bit.

So yeah, I’m back and this time, I’m tackling four episodes of Re:Zero. Trust me, the locations of episodes 4 to 7 may be stagnant, but somehow, the series kept it interesting, with episode 7 being its most consistently serious one yet. Despite the minor shakeups with pacing and logic jumps, Re:Zero still stands proud as a relative highlight of this season.

Enjoy the read. UnimeTV link

So a Cowboy Came Knockin’ On My Soul’s Door | Pondering Over Bebop’s Final Goodbye

This is NOT an analytical piece. This is a raw and unfiltered self-meditation, as I find writing with no aim nor external audience in mind to be rather calming and self-satisfying. If you want to take a peek at me in my most creatively pure state, this is not a bad place to start.

Emotions, feelings and our comprehension of the world around us are the groundworks of each individual’s existence. In many ways, I am a person who’s flawed, afraid of the world’s lingering shadows, questions the nature of each flickering light and is very much wary of the superior forces that are far out of my reach and understanding. I’m afraid of what I don’t know, but sometimes I’m even more afraid to learn the truth.

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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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UnimeTV: Bi-weekly Analysis | Re:Zero Episodes 2 – 3

Ahh…so this series is going for a fantasy adventure vibe. I kinda dig it!

The plot-specific developments of the story thus far, has sold it as a journey-centric mystery, focusing on the historical intrigues of the characters and the fantastical power plays of this world. In this publication, I decided to focus a bit more on our main character Subaru, since I find his balance of genre-savviness and lack of good fortune (getting killed twice by one crazy woman? The ultimate friend zone) really interesting on a characterisation level.

Enjoy the read. UnimeTV link

UnimeTV: First Impressions | Re:Zero Episode 1

Slowly easing my way back, here’s another one I’ve written for UnimeTV.

Wanting to add some more flare into my blogging life, I decided to take upon the obligation of trying out a biweekly review schedule for the Spring 2016 anime series Re:Zero. Without skimping on quality and the level of detail I dictate myself upon, I now have a baby that I really DO need to nurture constantly. Or the bossmen will kill me.

Anyways, I had a blast analysing the first Re:Zero, episode: plenty of underhanded self-awareness, subtle world building and the usual hair-raising ending hooks that begs one to want more (or…turn away in disgust, with their eyes rolling towards the back of their skulls). Needless to say, I recommend fantasy lovers to give it a shot, might be fun.

Enjoy the read. UnimeTV link