As you might’ve noticed I’ve been relatively quiet over the past few months on this platform. Or you know… I haven’t posted a review of any sort over here since the beginning of this weird year of 2020. And I’ve tried to come up with smart reasons for this that I could write in the next post but it never really worked as you might’ve noticed. At the end of the day, I have lost my motivation to write. Whether it is because I’ve had schoolwork to do or because I haven’t seen enough that warranted a review, I simply don’t know at this point. I was going to do a post about my favorite 25 or whatever anime of the decade, but something just didn’t feel right half-way through and that’s where it all ended. Something about writing about anime I didn’t care about just put me off for a while. I’ve been writing about films on my letterboxd but not much more than that. I kept the analytical side of myself I guess but I couldn’t write a lot of it onto paper. But now I need to do something. I’m not going to make this into the smart and long introduction that I always want and fail to make, I just want to write about six anime of the last decade that struck a chord on me.
The first of which is Boogiepop and Others (Boogiepop wa Warawanai). It’s a show that aired at the beginning of last year, and even though the first episode was incredibly confusing and weird, I really liked it. Something about the directing and especially the phenomenal music from Kensuke Ushio really hit me. I’m just a really big fan of stories that play with time and perspective and this show really did it for me. At the moment I’ve seen it twice and I’m still not sure if I actually like a majority of the show or am just trying to make myself like it. But after rediscovering Kensuke’s music I felt like I needed to bring it up even though I don’t have much of a reason to.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken) is up next and it’s the one I’m probably the most conflicted on in hindsight. Out of all the shows on this list, Jojo is probably the show I’ve rated the lowest (as a whole I’ve given it a 7). It’s incredibly inconsistent and I mostly find part 4 interesting which in it of itself has a lot of problems with consistency. Yet still, I think the show has helped me in a lot of ways. To simplify it I began in a new school at the end of summer last year and was really scared about it. My friend group had basically split up and so I needed to find new friends, something I don’t think I had ever really tried to do before this point. I had always been in this group of guys who would bring in a new member every once in a while, so I never needed to do anything really. Now it was me who had to get things back to normal. And in a way, it may have been freeing seeing as I could really decide whom I wanted to hang with instead of just being with the ones who joined our group. But it wouldn’t really matter if I was shit at making friends in the first place. But after a few weeks, I actually found a few people I could hang out with, one of which being a fan anime. More specifically Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. At this point, I had only seen the first season (fuck you it’s a season) of the show and really didn’t like it. It didn’t really matter if it got better later, I just gave up after dragging my way through the season. But after my friend kept talking about Jojo, I felt like I had to get into it as well. And I’m not sure if it was for external reasons, of which I didn’t have while watching the first season, but I just really enjoyed it and I think it helped me in a lot of ways with feeling comfortable talking to at least one person in my new school. I can’t see what would’ve happened if I insisted on not watching Jojo, maybe nothing would’ve been different. But it makes me feel good knowing that I decided to do something that might have helped me feel comfortable at a new school.
But A Silent Voice (Koe no Katachi) is probably the first one on here where the movie itself has really changed me. I’m not going to say if I have a mental illness or not, I dislike saying anything without proper knowledge, especially regarding such an important topic. But this is probably one of the first films that really made me think about myself and if I’m happy. There are other films on here regarding my psyche, but this is one of the first ones where I realized that it had to do with it. There was something about the character Shouya Ishida that I could relate, well as much I seem to be capable of. Small things about his social anxiety just felt so real that it was hard to forget about. It’s not a movie I feel as passionate about as I did back in 2018 when I first watched it, maybe because I’ve gotten better at handling my anxieties or because it was right and I actually was faking it to myself for some unknown reason. But even though I can’t say I relate to Shouya as much as I did, it’s still important to me in a way. Plus you know, Kensuke makes another banger score.
And so seeing Laid-back Camp (Yuru camp) after that entry might feel weird. I can’t really explain why I have such a passion for the show. I enjoy it when watching, but just thinking back on it months later is what made it so memorable to me. It already has a pretty great score and fairly well writing, but it isn’t nearly as “good” as A Silent Voice. It’s in the Cute-Girls-Doing-Cute-Things genre I kind of despise so I don’t know why this worked so well for me. Yuru Camp is the only anime that I’ve bought the manga from. I don’t read a lot of manga, but for some reason, this was an exception. And I think it’s that the show doesn’t really feel like a comedy. It has jokes for sure, but they’re all directed at the characters and not the audience. And I think that made it a more pleasant show for me. It didn’t change the music constantly or make the characters do something wacky in front of the camera all the time. We just kind of see them hang around, not in service of some audience behind a fourth wall, but just to themself. And I keep thinking about that to this day.
Looking at my past, anime has never really been a part of it. I didn’t dislike it or anything, I couldn’t care less about it in fact. It was just a neutral part of my life, one that didn’t exist in fact. But around the end of 2017, I rediscovered Porter Robinson, an artist I was obsessed over for a while but just kind of forgot until I listened to Shelter. It was one of those music videos that just really hit me, so I had to watch more. I still listen to Robinson’s music, I think Something Comforting is one of my favorite songs ever. But when I think about the impact he has had on me I think about how it leads to me watching anime. And while I saw a few anime after that, mainly Blame! the movie, I think Little Witch Academia was the one that really did it for me. I’ve always been a fan of cartoons, still am. So Trigger’s simple artstyle is one I still admire I think is one of the best in the industry. And for someone who was looking for a more animated show to watch, I couldn’t have picked a better one. Little Witch Academia is one of the most fun tv-shows I’ve seen ever, and I think that’s what matters. I’ve tried to come up with interesting themes you can find in the show, to have a good reason to love this show as much as I do. But I want to be more honest now, and I just think the animation is really well handled and the characters are super fun, and I don’t think it should be about more than that.
But the entry I find the most difficult to talk about is probably Your Name, my favorite piece of media ever. I’m in the process of writing a youtube script for why I love the film, and I’ve written and rewritten it numerous times, and at this point trashed a whole year of progress just to start over. There is a lot I can say about Your Name, and I have no idea how I should do it. I don’t really want to spoil anything here, but the film’s exploration of hopelessness and how people often use it do feel less responsible for their lives. But most importantly, the ending scene is probably one of the few scenes in media I can truly relate to. I honestly don’t think there’s a character more like me than Taki Tachibana, and I’ve never been able to not think about that. It’s a film that puts a lot of weight on me, cause I never seem to know if my reasons for liking the film is valid, or if I actually like the film or am just lying to myself. And I don’t have a way of concluding this other than saying that if you also feel this way, then I hope that stops.
So hopefully this is enough for me to start writing more stuff. Even if I don’t have a lot to say about a show or movie, I might as well just do it for the sake of it. If anything, to stop feeling like I’m not doing anything at all.
With anime producing insurmountable characters like Goku and Saitama, the next great threat is often waiting in the shadows. All too often, these antagonists are light work and eliminated just as fast as they arrived. But just when it seems like these God-tier heroes have everything under control, that is when their biggest challenge arrives in the form of a villainous faction. My Hero Academia’s “League of Villains” is the latest example of this in their quest to overcome the all too mighty All Might but below are the top five teams that mastered the maliciousness. Read More
TRIGGER has done it again! This is not going to be a traditional review mystery where i beat around the bush just to tell you at the end if it was worth a watch or not, I am just going to get right to it!
Worth it?—Depends on YOU.
Do you like Mecha anime? Did you watch Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and love it? What about the art style of Kill la Kill? If any of those questions equal yes then yea its worth a watch. If you ask yourself those questions and get a no, then its probably not for you, but I would encourage you to give it a try anyway just to step outside your comfort zone a bit.
The animation style while not for everyone is gorgeous. The shapes and colors are really the standouts. Hard angles juxtaposed with bright sharp colors make every scene look amazing but the combat scenes especially stand out. Watching the Mech Suits transform at first was difficult because of all the bright backgrounds, 90 degree angles, and the “sun rays were a bit distracting, but once I got used to the style again it was perfect for what the type of world this anime built.
The soundtrack was on point as usual with a Studio trigger production. The music set was all pretty upbeat and inspiring and the characters react to it as if they could actually hear it. I mean obviously they couldn’t hear it, there was no fourth wall breaking or anything but they seemed to rally with the music or did the music rally with them….whatever, it fit, music was good.
One of the biggest things I focus on when it comes to anime in general is character development. I was reading some comments from others and someone stated that the there was no real character development or that it was rushed. While I agree in some cases I think there was definitely some character development for a few of the characters and the ones that didn’t develop weren’t really given a reason to develop in the first place. In order for your character to develop/ grow they must be faced with a challenge or dilemma that forces them to rethink who they are fundamentally as a person or in the case of combat developments they must be faced with an opponent they have to overcome. While traditionally I am a fan of training arcs/ sequences when you are making a movie you don’t have the time frame to do a full training arc so you have to employ rapid character development or power evolution. Out of all of the characters in the movie there were really only a few real chances for character development. The main villain and his sidekick, the anti-hero, and the main character (I think his name was Kamina 😉 jk) (As you can see i am trying not to spoil anything). I will keep this short and just talk about the main character (if you want to discuss the others hit me up in the messages below). The main characters entire identity revolves around an event that occurred when he was a child. His admiration for his savoir and his disdain for the flames create this identity of a hero firefighter. He knows who he is and what he wants to do and has unwavering conviction toward this end goal all stems from that single event is his past. At a certain point in the movie that event is challenged, everything he thought he knew is challenged and instead of having a single moment of wow who am I? am I fighting for the right reasons? he just flies right through it not skipping a beat. That to me was a missed opportunity. But one could argue that he was so sure about who he was nothing could shake that conviction, that faith, his identity not anything.
All in all the movie was solid…8/10 if I had to give it a rating. I’m sure if you look hard, reeeal hard you will see similarities to Gurren Lagann.
I have never really been into sports anime (Are those the exact words I used in my Ping Pong review opening? Or that I use in all of my reviews!? Fuck it… Being self-aware makes repedetive writing okay so whatever. You did this Deadpool). It isn’t really the sport part that puts me off, I’ll watch anything if I think that it’ll be good. But sadly, few sports anime have really intrigued me in any way other than “that shot was kind of cool I guess” so I just stayed out of it. I still have a lot of sports anime on my PTW-list (I think at least. But I never really felt the need to watch any of them. Even when people said that they weren’t about the actual sports that they based the story on, that never worked on me. If the show’s strength is the themes it tackles then why don’t I just watch a show that actually has interesting themes and don’t have to constantly be described as “not about the sport”. It’s just kind of annoying. And so before this I had only seen like 2 sports anime, one of which was extremely mediocre. So I wasn’t really that compelled to watch any of it if it wasn’t highly acclaimed.
But for some reason, a sports show this season intrigued me. I don’t even really know why, it was just on a whim that I started watching it this season. Maybe it helped that I had played Tennis before and wanted to watch a show about it, but I never expected to find Hoshiai no Sora this interesting.
One of my favorite youtube creators is Oliver “Philosophy Tube” Thorn. He does a lot of videos on subjects including but not limited to climate change, abortion, the validity of democracy and of course the philosophy of anime (Haven’t watched that one, I just think the character he plays annoys the hell out of me. He’s kind of like a majority of r/anime or Reddit in general. Yes I’m calling you out right now). You know, standard “left-wing youtube” topics (I hate that word but whatever). And I find his videos very interesting and have influenced my own way of thinking greatly, while also being surprisingly well directed and produced. Like, really! He’s kind of like Contrapoints if you know of her. He makes those kinds of videos that I can just put in the background while I’m doing something over and over and over again.
But a video of his that I find especially interesting is his video on abuse and trauma. He tells us the story of No Exit and his own experience with the topic. It’s a very personal video and one that kind of opened me up to how an abusive relationship could look like and what it inevitably leads to. How an abusive partner makes you feel like you are dependant on them and that even if hell opens up, you won’t leave.
It’s a topic that I feel as though doesn’t get talked about enough. Sure, we see girls being hit by their boyfriends in bad movies all the time, but they rarely touch on the psychological aspects of it. That even if you know that something’s wrong, you will not leave cause your self-image has now become defined by your partner. You become nothing.
And it’s surprising how few times this is dealt with in sports anime considering how heavily sports rely on teams. How you have to play as one to really win, that you can’t do so alone. And I thought this would continue to be with this series but I was quickly proven wrong.
(Btw I’ll be spoiling stuff, so bye-bye if you don’t want to read that)
From episode 1 I was highly interested in the show even if it didn’t seem like it would do anything special. While I didn’t find the art style to be that interesting to look at, the execution was fantastic! The overall direction is gorgeous and the attention to detail in the animation is so human that I don’t think I can really look at anime like I used to. Even (what I assume are) CG characters look really good! I hadn’t really seen anything from the director before and the art director had seriously only worked on one anime before this so it was a huge surprise! That coupled with the really well-toned composition and enjoyable characters made the show good enough to continue watching even though it had its problems. Looking at my notes, the showed seemed to be a mix of “I love Mitsue”, the animation being super nice and the main guy being way too good at tennis for someone who has never played it before (Even for someone really passionate about it). It was very relaxing to watch and just generally fun.
But around a third of the series, this changed almost completely.
When I watched the fourth episode of the series I noticed that there still was content after the ending. I usually stop watching when the ED plays since I want to actually watch the show, even when the ending is great like in this case! So when I saw this I was kind of shocked. And even more so to see what the after-credits scene had to offer.
The scene shows Maki home alone in his apartment when his biological father rings the bell and bursts in and takes the money that he supposedly needs from them. And this causes Maki to have a panic attack, something we don’t really see from Maki before this. It’s a very emotional scene since it breaks all the expectations you have for what kind of series this is. The way that they really put you inside of Maki with the use of cinematography and music was really special. It’s a glimpse of discomfort in Maki that kind of changed how I saw this show completely.
And while the show continues to have cute and wholesome moments where the members of the club support each other, this is consistent. Almost every member of the club seems to have some internal problem that they have to face throughout the show, which often has to do with domestic abuse (whether physical or psychological). And while this is pretty common in a lot of anime, the consistency in this really surprised me. The way they seemed to be able to give almost every character depth originally and interestingly was highly effective when trying to make this story seem real.
Toma’s problems with his mother and expectations of being as good as his brother, Nao’s silence in the face of his mother’s disapproval, and Mitsue’s fears that being an artist makes her stupid are just a few of these problems that the characters have to get over. And while a lot of them revolve around their parents, which can get a little repetitive (I would’ve liked to see this theme of abuse being developed in more ways), I feel like they explore this domestic abuse in a way that shows how much a child can be fucked up from this. There is a variety in how it is executed.
Yuuta is a character here that I feel as though is extra special in this regard though since his arc doesn’t really have to do with his parents at all. And while I think the character wouldn’t have been worse if it did have to do with his parents, it’s something that I can appreciate as it is.
Cause while I don’t think most anime are that problematic, I find the exploration of sex and gender to be very weak in it. I haven’t really seen anything tackling it realistically, and most of the time when a gay couple appears in an anime it just feels as though they are there to please the yaoi/yuri crowd. So seeing it being explored in Yuuta’s character was very shocking! In one of the earlier episodes, it is basically revealed that Yuuta is into guys. After this, we see this developed more, where we get to see his questioning of gender and sex as a whole. How he doesn’t feel comfortable even labeling himself, something a lot of trans and non-binary people has problems with as well. But he never feels defined by this either. While his sexuality and gender questions are developed in the series, he spends most of the time just being another guy in the club. No one jokes about or feels the need to point out that he’s gay or something. He just is and seeing a show deal with identity like this is incredibly respectable.
And again, character development like this happens so many times! Rintauro has like 3 scenes where he gets character development yet I feel like this is enough for him to be one of my favorite characters in the show. At the same time, I feel like they make every character feel flawed in some way. Whether it is being an asshole sometimes or to give their own responsibility at others, they don’t feel perfect. It’s incredibly impressive to see this in just another seasonal show when it is more common in longer shows seen as classics!
We even get to see this theme of abusive relationships being explored in tennis itself which is I think is just incredible! Arashi and his tennis partner reflect what an abusive relationship looks like. How Arashi is controlling of the whole field while his partner always second-guesses both his failings and wins. I would even say that Toma and Maki represent this in the way that they relate to their opponents. Their strategy is often to start out losing but learning who their opponents are so that they later can completely destroy them both physically and mentally. They become the controlling ones. It is kind of fucked sometimes, and I can see this conveying how a whole tennis match can symbolize a relationship like that. They get to know each other and then one of them manipulate that knowledge.
And I find that so interesting cause it doesn’t just use tennis as a backdrop to tell their story, but a vehicle. It is important for the story. So, in the end, I still believe that this show is about tennis. How we can escape into tennis, and that it can either distract you from your problems in life or just make them bigger.
And speaking of ending, I feel like I have to bring it up. This show has become the subject of quite a few controversies, one of which has to do with how the production of the series went. And I usually don’t think to talk about the production of a show really matters when discussing the quality of a series, since a work of art is what it is and not how it was originally supposed to be. But in this case, I feel like I have to bring up how the ending of the show was dealt with. Because according to the director himself, the series was cut into a 12 episode series 2 years into production when it was originally supposed to be double the length. So the story is essentially just half of what it was supposed to be. And this is obviously a shame. I would’ve wanted a 24 episodes series from this, and seeing the staff being fucked like this is terrible. But still, I genuinely think the 12th episode of the series works really well as an ending. While it doesn’t resolve everything the series has to say and definitely doesn’t end the story, seeing Maki becoming worse than his dad was really interesting. I generally think that stories that end on a negative point are more interesting than ones where the characters all end up happily. So while it is obviously too bad that this had to happen for the series, but for what it is I’m happy with it!
In the end, I don’t think this series will change my life or the media I choose to consume. I have to learn a lesson in that a show I like won’t make me automatically want to watch shows in the same genre. I will probably always have the precognition that sports shows won’t be worth the time. But it doesn’t have to. I find it interesting and it made me spend time I could’ve wasted on something else and for what it is, it matters.
Now that the season for Fire Force has ended was it worth the watch? Here is a quick breakdown of what I think.
Fire Force (overall): 7.5/10
I think that the plot had enough going on to really keep you engaged. The main character (Shinra) is likable and not too OP to break the plot. The fight scenes were good but did not have to carry the show. Shinra looking for his younger brother is the main point of the show and discovering the reason for human combustion is the catalyst that gives each episode a purpose. The fact is that ultimately Shinra is the only one that really cares about his little brother, don’t get me wrong now that he is at the 8th and has told those people whats up, they care too but my point is that if Shinra was never looking for his younger brother no one else would be either. So, having a secondary objective is clutch and key. The true question is how do they intend to keep that going in season two?
Character Development: 2/10 I don’t think the characters developed at all. Honestly its probably still too early for them to grow a lot but they all seemed to have gotten a power boost so they did develop in that aspect. I’m pretty big on character development no matter what genre it is, characters have to grow in some way. Fire Force did not deliver much character development besides the normal power growth scenes and one other scene with Shinra and his little brother.
I enjoyed the animation though I am not that technical. I understand budget costs and all that comes to play when creating anime so I tend to look over anything that doesn’t hinder me from understanding the action. Fire Force did a good job for the most part. There were a couple fight scenes that I thought could have been cleaner but overall, I think it looked fine. There were a few scenes where the lighting was done superbly–the light and dark contrast with the flames, very well done. OH! and all the scenes with the fan service they spared no expense!
All in all, its a fun anime to watch. Aside from the unnecessary fan service that had no real plot moving devices, the world that is built is fascinating to say the least and they do a good job of exploring enough to keep you coming back for more. I was watching this anime at the same time as some other really popular ones and I did not skip a week of this. From the fight scenes (like the one with Maki in in the subway…) to the plot execution I think its worth the watch if your into Shonens. Someone else felt the same way I did about the Maki subway scene and posted it to YouTube check it out below.