I am an animation fanatic. While I do watch Disney and Pixar, and other blockbuster studio stuff, I specialize in the big picture of animation. This includes Indie projects, Anime, World Cinema, other TV Series and Short Films. This blog will serve as a way to write stuff and get my opinions out there with the absence of video making equipment. I will post rambled thoughts, and possibly reviews or countdowns.
Well, a new month has started and this should have been a new review. But it’s not, and I have to explain why
Well, now that I’m back home, I’ve been working a lot. After finally getting a job, I started occupying my time with that and other IRL activities because I spent too much time in Hawai’i doing nothing. I had almost of month of time while back home where I wasn’t watching any anime. Trying to find a job was draining a lot of energy, and I had no mental energy to watch anime. This is probably the biggest reason I started missing reviews, because I rarely have inspiration to write when I’m not actively watching anything. Now that I have a job, I’ve been regularly working anime and other media into my consumption schedule.
In terms of reviews that I was writing, I lost a near-completed draft of what was supposed to be July’s review. Losing it should not have been so hard for me, but I had a hard time trying to get back to it, but then my life schedule took over and I never got back to it. Add this to some temporary internet loss, and now I’ve missed 2 Progressive Plot reviews in a row. Since this has been on the forefront of my mind in terms of creating content on here, I haven’t been writing any other content for this blog (which I have a few ideas for). Now that I’m feeling back to normal, I’ll be able to press forward with this blog.
What I’m Going to do…
Well, I’m going to write. While trying to have a set schedule for blogging has not worked, I want to continue with this Progressive Plots series for this year. I’m going to try and write the next few posts at my leisure, so that I can better pace myself, and so I can try and get shorter-form content out. I realize that if I call it quits on Progressive Plots now, I have virtually no chance of finishing a review series in the future, so I’ll see it out. But this won’t be on a monthly basis since it’s not going as smoothly for me as I wish it was.
I won’t try to worry myself about banging out a post at the end of the month, but will instead update the blog more casually. I’ll work on a few more drafts so that I can consistently post something as opposed to all these updates.
For those of you still around that are sticking to this blog despite the lack of activity, I thank you. I hope I can pump out posts worthy of your reading about this crazy world of animation.
*Author’s Note: Not getting a review last month has been eating me alive for a while. I was in the middle of finals week, and then I had to move my whole life back home. This is me making it up to you readers, and for self satisfaction (more on that later).
Hello everybody, AniMo from Animated Monologues here with my first ever Double Feature review! As a way to make up for my absence last month, I’m adding a show to this review. Even though these shows have comparable elements, the point of this post is too review these shows on their individual merits.
One consistent feeling of mine as I’ve consumed media is my love for drama. It’s like normal life, except it’s spicier and (in my opinion) more interesting. Of course, not all drama is good, as I’m sure everyone will agree. Luckily for us, these two shows are made out of good drama. Aoi Hana (Sweet Blue Flowers) is a shoujo ai slice of life about two girls living their school lives after reuniting when one of them moves back in town after a long absence. Hourou Musuko (Wandering Son) is a slice of life drama about a few transgendered kids (featuring one girl wanting to become a boy, and a boy who wants to become a girl) making their way through middle school/social life. I quickly found myself enjoying both shows, with my positive feelings only escalating. This is good for me since my first, and even my latest, reviews weren’t as nice towards the shows I covered. Whether or not the rest of the shows will follow this trend is up to future me, and the shows I choose to review. But before we can speculate about that, it’s time to talk about…
Aoi Hana (Sweet Blue Flowers)
This seemed to be one of the most well-received yuri anime I researched before I started this review series. While there weren’t as many yuri elements as I expected in the show, there were more than enough slice of life drama elements to keep me happy.
Fumi Manjoume and Akira Okudaira were best friends as kids, but had to be separated when Fumi moved out of town. At the beginning of the series, Fumi moves back to town and she meets Akira (nicknames Achan) again where they start their friendship anew. They both attend different schools, but spend time together on weekends or time out of school. The show gives both characters a lot of room to perform and develop.
One yuri aspect that comes in is when Fumi gets in a relationship with another girl from her class named Yasuko. Yasuko tries to involve Fumi in drama productions put on by their (in collaboration with Achan’s) school. This is a bit of a dramatic focal point in the middle of the series, as Yasuko’s family gives her some shit for it and it makes other main character Kyouko jealous (she has a long-time crush on Yasuko).
The drama production storyline sees almost every main-ish character in the series interacting with each other to put together this production. There is a little sideplot with an elementary school production doing The Little Prince, which I will bring up later when I bring up that story again in a future post. It helps the story because we see one of the characters help out the lead performer avoid stage fright (the public performer in me loved this scene).
After the production storyline, Fumi and Yasuko have a break up, which stirs up some more drama in the whole friend group. It also causes a drift in Fumi and Yasuko’s relationship, and the tension that results from is a great showcase of the writing and development in the series. Fumi and Achan grow a lot during this because Fumi turns to her for comfort. We also watch her relationships with everyone else change as they adjust to their friends not dating anymore. Even though we learn a lot about them during this time, it’s still apparent that Fumi and Achan’s dynamic is the main and most consistent driver of the series. I couldn’t tell if the show wanted to imply any romantic tension or feelings between them. This could have been a burden on how their relationship was written, but the rest of their relationship was handled well, so it wasn’t a hinderance.
More than anything, the thing that I loved about the series was how maturely everything was handled. Too many times I’ve seen romance in anime handled between very immature characters, be it because the characters are too immature to move forward or because they just handle their relationships in an immature fashion. However, this show seemed to have no problem writing a lesbian relationship and making it feel so normal. I feel like this kind of normalcy and maturity is unnoticed and underrated in modern anime, especially ones that tackle these more progressive topics.
Speaking of which…
Hourou Musuko (Wandering Son)
When I first started this review series, this was one of the shows I knew I needed to cover. I’d never seen it before, and it fit the criteria perfectly, being the only transgender-related anime I know about (unless you count traps or genderbenders as transgender anime). I’d also heard from many people that it was a good drama series, so I was interested.
Let’s make one thing very clear, this is the best show I’ve seen since I first watched Ouran High School Host Club (over one year ago). I didn’t given a series a 10/10 score upon my first viewing during that entire time, and this show finally broke that streak. To say it lightly, I adored this show, and it was refreshing to finally view a show that made me remember why I spend so much time with anime. Now that my gushing is over, let’s get to the more analytical parts of the review.
The series took little time to set the tone of the show. We learn quickly that the show is about Nitori Shuuichi (a young boy who wants to become a girl), and Takatsuki Yoshino (a young girl who wants to become a boy). We see their middle school lives, and their interactions with their friends and classmates. Saori Chiba used to be a good friend of them, but they’ve had a bit of a disconnect due to some romantic drama they encountered before the events of the series. Chiba and Takatsuki both had feelings for Nitori at the same time, and this caused a huge fallout between them. These 3 are the central characters of the show, and their dynamic with each other is a great driver for the viewers.
Possibly the biggest benefit of the show is the serious tone that they approach and the subject and characters with. Takatsuki faces many internal dilemmas about comfortability in gender, and applies this by wearing boys clothes . Shu is portrayed as a boy who feels uncomfortable with himself because of his birth gender, and it’s easy to tell that he’s more comfortable when he’s dressed as a girl. When other people find out about this, we have to sit back and watch them take on a lot of punishment from the society around him. This is portrayed in the form of mass amounts of bullying and awful rumors that create problems in school. Situations like these are packed with emotional turmoil and tension, which are aided by how well this reflects on and develops the cast. Unfortunately there is a greater stigma surrounding feminine males, which meant that Shu got the bulk of the negative reactions from his classmates and contemporaries.
The other characters don’t face a lot of the same issues, but instead act well as friends to Takatsuki and Shu during the series. There is something about Chiba’s blunt/straightforward personality that I was extremely invested in, and she was my favorite character because of it. Chizuru probably would have been my favorite girl if she wasn’t so…unhelpful. Her heart is undoubtedly in the right place, but she’s just too nutty to truly shine (and her friend Momo was kind of wierd). Sasa was also peppy and eccentric enough for me to immediately love, but she didn’t get enough screentime to possibly mediate the many tense situations she was involved in. Shu has an older sister who disapproves of his lifestyle, but it’s clear that she loves him as a family member and friend.
The show overall wraps itself into a great package of drama and heart, and it reminded me why I love anime so much. It’s also boosted my motivation to treat this review series better!
This has been AniMo for Animated Monologues, analyzing animation in every post. Thanks for reading and have an animated day.
Human relationships are always evolving, as are the ways that humankind itself evolves. Throughout human history, technology has evolved in a way to help grow every medium of communication. The term ‘Hyper-personal’ has been used to describe the farthest extent that people take social media communication. Nowadays, we see this happen with people over-sharing information on social media. Whether this is a good or bad thing is up to interpretation. The 2009 Stop-motion animated feature Mary and Max explored a Hyper-personal relationship that started, and flourished, using letter writing. Despite being an older platform for communication, the ways that letters were used in the film exhibit many traits of a slightly-anonymous hyper-personal relationship.
The term ‘Hyper-personal’ comes from Joseph Walther, a communication professor from Singapore. It helps describe behavior seen over communicative technologies. It comes out of a greater sense of connection exhibited from communicative technology. It’s common to see people become really personal, really quickly after using such mediums as the internet or print sources. There are multiple reasons this happens. It starts with senders that can edit their perceptions of themselves to fit a specific persona that may not necessarily be true of their real selves. Specifically, it gives leeway to only portray positive images about themselves for another party to receive.
A receiver of this kind of information generally overestimates their similarities with a sender, which in itself can only come from very limited cues. It’s important to remember that all of these messages and conversations are traditionally sent from messages which can be edited, planned, and changed before sending. This channel of communication also runs without inherent limits on time, even if everyone is communicating on different times. This helps people change their feedback, and overall opinions on any given situation. Not only do people have different perceptions on other people, but can now create a new perception for themselves. Generally the interactions defined by hyper-personal relationships come from online sources in general, however it’s not internet exclusive. A story like Mary and Max showcases hyper-personal communication through letter-writing.
Mary and Max is a film made by Australian animator Adam Elliot, and focuses on the lives of the 2 titular characters. Mary is a young Australian girl who just wanted a pen pal, and randomly chose a name out of a phonebook to find the name of Max. She starts writing him one day, out of a general curiosity and a desire for a friend in her life. Max is a 40 year old man living in New York with Asperger’s Syndrome as well as other emotional problems. We see their lives grow for a span of about 20 years, where Mary and Max spend all that time exchanging letters about a wide range of topics that over unimportant topics to extremely personal details. What really gives the film its power is from the many personal issues both protagonists face. Mary starts off as a lonely child with uncaring parents but faces issues such as alcoholism and suicidal tendencies as she grows up, and Max is a man who deals with a mostly parentless past filled by many traumatic bullying experiences that sometimes cause mental breakdowns and high class anxiety attacks. Yet throughout every issue they have, they manage to stay happiest when writing to each other and telling each other their lives. A lot of this is because they become very interpersonal very quickly.
The relationship becomes hyper-personal almost immediately in the film. When Mary sends her first letter to Max she includes a lot of very personal information. She quickly talks about her parents and pets, and the relationship she has with them. Being an eight-year-old, she had little trouble asking him if he knew where babies came from. When Max responds, he also gets really personal with her. Every time he refers to his therapist, he writes his full name down. Max also details his Overeaters Anonymous meetings, as well as why his parents were never in his life. On the 2nd letter we heard a lot more personal details from each side, where Mary talks about her loneliness, and her neighbors history in the military, and Max talks about his detailed eating schedule and favorite lottery numbers. Throughout the film they share a lot of raw information about each other, which is filled with dark backstory and deep issues that are in desperate need of fixing. While many traits of hyper-personal communication are shown, it still doesn’t portray the full scope of the theory.
While Mary and Max shows the two protagonists grow very close very quickly, it generally doesn’t follow every detail of the theory as written. They write each other letters, and this gave them a lot of room to exhibit the many traits and ideas presented by hyper-personal theories. The theory describes falsified or exaggerated persona’s exchanging information to each other. In the film, Mary and Max sent each other unedited pictures of their daily normal selves and tell each other a lot of raw, truthful information. They don’t even have a lot in common either, and they never thought they had a lot in common. Despite this, they still communicate and maintain a pretty personal relationship. Their friendship rides a lot on simple kindness and the willingness to respond to each other. It also helps that most other relationships they have in their lives are incredibly unstable, (at least the one’s that actually lasted). Them keeping in contact likely helped keep them grounded when their worlds around them would collapse. Even though their communication and feedback follows the same pace as Hyper-personal relationships, it doesn’t generally follow the other substantial criteria. The lack of a falsified or exaggerated persona on both ends disagrees with how Hyper-personal relationships are thought to function. This isn’t necessarily an issue on the end of hyper-personal communication as a theory, but is more of Mary and Max being an odd case study in general.
Hyper-personal communication is simple, has predictive power, and can easily explain behavior over the internet. It’s unfortunate that an idea like this can’t be fully explored since it is so hard to control enough to test via social experiments. This still takes into account how easy it is to get in a hyper-personal relationship over the internet, which likely happens everywhere in these technological days. It seems like anyone gathered in like-minded communities can easily find people to communicate with, giving this idea so much practical utility across the world. We may be used to it on our Facebook or Twitter pages, but Mary and Max applied this to a completely different platform. The relationship that Mary and Max had is one of the most well-written in animation, and rightfully carries the enjoyment of the film.
This has been AniMo on Animated Monologues, thanks for reading and have an animated day!
After many hours thinking it over, I have decided that I have to cave in. I officially have a Twitter account now! Since I don’t have it on mobile yet, idk how much I’ll update while out and about, but I will try and use it as much as I can. I started it because it’s a form o social media totally new to me, and I want to try and keep in touch with the parts of the internet that Twitter loves. It will be a reflection of AniMo, and is not a personal twitter, so it’ll mostly follow pop culture people and will be posting about entertainment related things. If you would like to, you can follow me!
One of the reasons I don’t spend too much time on here is because I am on reddit so much. Since I end up writing and talking a lot on reddit, I decided to create a subreddit for it! It isn’t just dedicated to me, or the animation I am interested in. I want it to be a space for everyone to talk about the different pop culture or entertainment interests they have, and practice writing/discussing it. It’s my first time creating a subreddit, and one of the first chances I’ve got at moderating. I hope you all stop by so I can hear from you!
That’s all for now. Mary and Max post coming soon, and possibly something related to all the anime films I have been watching.
When I first came up with the idea of Progressive Plots, I knew it would have to come to this eventually. After a yuri series and a yaoi film, it must be time to talk about traps.
Hello everybody, this is AniMo on Animated Monologues. Today we have a short anime series to talk about, and I am very glad to finally be doing that. One day I want to have a serious discussion about the presentation of traps in a similar manner to my discussion about ecchi anime. But if you’ve seen the show we are discussing, you likely know that that’s impossible for today. Partially because it’s a short series focused on comedy over any other aspect. Here is a review of the trap comedy anime Himegoto.
The story is simple. Hime is a student council member in his school, and is a trap. This is because Hime’s parents have a lot of debt, and the council said they’ll clear it if Hime continues to crossdress. Honestly, it’s really an excuse plot to maintain’s Hime’s status as a trap though, since it’s never mentioned or developed again. Many other characters (such as Hime’s brother) crossdress too, giving the show many many chances to make jokes about all the traps they have running around in the show. There is a Disciplinary Committee that opposes the rambunctious ways of the student council (despite the DC also having mostly crossdressers in their line-up).
Most of the characters are based off of tropes and archetypes, and never really venture beyond that. None of their development (assuming they get anything) is treated seriously because of the short time limit for each episode, which means they need to make jokes instead. Still though, each character has an entertaining persona, making them at least watchable.
Himegoto knows exactly what it’s getting into, knows exactly what it wants to do, and knows exactly who they are catering to. It is a short comedy show were every joke is someone clowning around with Hime because he is a trap, and they show a lot of trap fanservice on top of it. I know it’s not a series I should be watching if I want to jumpstart a serious discussion on traps, and that it’s meant to be all for fun. However, I still have issues with Himegoto’s comedy style, (in ways that effect the rest of the anime). Most jokes are made at Hime’s expense, which on it’s own isn’t a bad thing, but it’s an issue when they run it into the ground. The council members set up embarrassing situations for Hime, Hime gets embarrassed, they show some trap fanservice, and then the episode is over. Some episodes switch it up by involving the disciplinary community, which do try and throw a wrench in the council’s plans, but it usually ends in more trap fanservice and jokes.
The shortness of the series makes for a hard watch because the issues that the show has with it’s comedy are increased tenfold, and the comedy aspect is bland and uninteresting. The ending tried to go for a more serious story, with drama and such, but falls flat because nothing else is developed enough to make it work. While the characters and the story are fun, they don’t do enough with them to make it fully worthwhile. It’s an easy series to forget after watching it.
If you aren’t a fan of traps, this series will not convince you. If you are a fan of traps, this show is likely made for you.
This has been Animated Monologues, analyzing animation in every post. Thanks for reading, and have an animated day.
I got nominated for the Sunshine Award! This time with a twist, which is that I may or may not have noticed this, and therefore this post is about 3 weeks late. But more on that later.
Thank you very much to Yahari Bento for this precious shoutout! All you nice people make me feel bad that I’m not super active here. Yahari is another anime blogger with in-depth content about anime and manga, and you should all check him out.
Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you.
Answer the 11 questions they’ve written for you.
Summon Nominate 11 bloggers from the magic circle and write then 11 new questions.
Here are my questions
1. Favorite Anime this year (Series or Film)?
Easily Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, the first season was my favorite anime last year, and so far the Second Season is of the same quality. I just haven’t seen anything else that I liked as much, so Rakugo continues to be my favorite thing in modern times!
2. Favorite Genre?
This is a tough one. It’s between Slice of Life, Romance, and Drama. I love shows that incorporate all of those, however I can never pick one singular one that I like the best.
3. An Old Series I’d Like To Watch Again?
Depends on what we want to consider old. With the fast and ever-moving pace of the anime community, even 10 year old anime get labeled “old”. If we go by that metric, than I’d cop out and say Ouran High School Host Club, since it is my favorite anime. However, there are a lot of older anime I need to watch in general. One that I’ve been meaning to get to for a while is the Vision of Escaflowne, so I’d rather give this as my real answer.
4. 3 Favorite Anime/Manga Characters?
My Top 3 has been Holo the Wise Wolf (Spice and Wolf), Haruhi Suzumiya (Haruhi Franchise) and Skuld (Ah! My Goddess). I haven’t seen Spice and Wolf in a long time, so I’m not as sure about Holo anymore. If I were to remove her, Tamaki Suou (Ouran Host Club) would likely replace her.
5. Favorite anime this season?
Answered this earlier, and I still feel comfortable saying Rakugo Season 2!
6. Do I play Video Games?
Occasionally. I’ve played a lot of Pokémon in my days, but mostly the main series ones. I like watching competitive Smash Bros (Melee and Sm4sh mostly), and will gladly play anytime. I’m also a master at Mario Kart, (Double Dash, Wii, 7).
7. Which main characters from which anime do you want to descend from anime world to appear in front of you?
Issac and Miria from Baccano! is usually my go-to answer, but I wouldn’t be able to actually go on a heist with them. So I guess that leaves me with either Seo Yuzuki (Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun) or Tsukimi Kurashita (Princess Jellyfish)
8. While you are playing internet, what do you like to eat while do that?
Chips or popcorn are nice usually!
9. What do you like to drink? Coffee, Tea, Milk, or fruit juice?
Out of these 4, juice is my favorite (specifically Orange). Otherwise I enjoy me some Dr. Pepper or Root Beer.
10. If this world will not produce any anime anymore, you will…
Be very sad, but continue to watch other forms of animation from around the world. Or I just continue watching the decades worth of anime I wasn’t around to see.
11. Right now, are you sleepy, aren’t you?
Shockingly no, though usually I am when I do this!
Nominee’s for this award!
It’s at this section that I forget that I don’t network enough on this sight, so there aren’t enough people for me to nominate.
Is there one specific thing you want every anime to do?
Most Overrated anime?
What’s an underrated anime film?
Do you read manga as well?
What do you think is the most obscure/under-the-radar thing you’ve watched in anime?
Do you have any interest in other animation?
What’s for dinner tonight?
Who was the first seiyuu you could recognize by voice alone?
Any anime that could have been improved with romance?
Do you watch OPs and EDs? If so, what do you want them to do?
What’s the wierdest thing anyone’s said to you over the internet?
Update and other small Ramblings
It was insanely difficult to get that last Progressive Plots post out in time. My motivation to watch and finish anime has been pretty shaky. Between this and other school related stuff, I’ve been severely lacking in the watching new anime department. I am nearly a month behind on all airing shows I’m watching (but that’s probably also because I only like about 4/10 that I’m watching). Though I’m trying to be a more active person IRL, in hopes that it’ll help me get focused on the anime I’m watching.
This is what’s made this blog so inactive, besides the usual. I’ll try not to miss accomplishments such as Yahari’s Award again, since it’ll get me more involved!
I was planning on making a Most Anticipated Films of 2017 list, but it’s a bit late for that, so it’s not happening. At least as a formal post, I’ll just talk about it here.
Rock Dog (I want to see how a Chinese-American film will be recieved)
Coco (Pixar needs to make more films that aren’t tied to existing franchises)
Girl Without Hands/My Life As A Zucchini (2 GKIDS releases that made waves in the festival circuit)
LEGO Batman (I liked LEGO Movie, and this looks like fun)
I can’t remember off the top of my head what the other one’s I like where. But there wasn’t too much I was really excited about this year. However, I said this last year and enjoyed 2016 in animation for the most part. There are a few other films I’m hoping to see such as A Silent Voice, or Mune but I have no idea if/when they’ll get a localization.
I’m going to get another Progressive Plots post done (now that I’ve done a yaoi and a yuri, I get to try something different), but I don’t want it to be my only formal post this month. I’ll be finishing up a piece for reddit, which I will post here, and hopefully stop sitting on this Mary and Max piece.
I guess that’s it for now, I’ll try and get to writing soon as I can, and posting.
You know, I did not plan on having this film so early in the year for this Progressive Plot series. I wanted to slowly get into more and more obscure odd stuff, but life didn’t work out that way. Still it’s not a bad thing because I liked the film overall.
Hello everybody this is AniMo on Animated Monologues! Today I continue my journey into the world of queer anime with this years first shounen ai anime, Kaze to Ki no Uta Sanctus: Sei Naru Kana, which is known in English as The Poem of Wind and Trees. I wasn’t sure how I should go about talking about this film as I started taking notes during my viewing. Very quickly though, I realized what likely is the most standout factor for anyone that watches this film, the two main characters.
The central character is Serge Batouille, who attends the Laconblade Academy, a private Christian school for boys. He’s notable to the story because his father was an alumni of the school, and a few of the staff members know the legacy it carries. More importantly to the story is Serge’s roommate that he is given, a boy named Gilbert Cocteau. I say this because Gilbert is a fascinating character to watch, and I mean that in a positive manner today. The story follows some of the life of these two in their school life. In a similar manner to Sakura Trick, there isn’t much in terms of overall plot. In a different manner to Sakura Trick, there is a lot of intense drama that fills that gap, which comes in the movements and actions of characters.
As we first meet Gilbert, he seems to come off as a typical mean roommate, but as the film continues this actually grows. He is nasty and ruthless to Serge throughout almost the whole runtime of the film, which is weird because of how Serge responds (we’ll get to him later). Throughout the rest of the school Gil has a terrible reputation, since being gay is against school morals and therefore Gil’s actions rub people the wrong way (pun intended).
Instead of translating to the rest of school being uncomfortable around him, it makes the school feverishly hate him. It’s definitely a give and take, since Gil seems to get off to his shitty reputation, and the fact that everyone treats him like shit in the same way he does with them. However, there are a few instances that felt like Gil also wants to be accepted or at least not get constantly shat on by everyone. Sometimes it’s just a small visual cue or a shot that lingers on a somber/saddened face of Gil, but there are enough of them in the film to make it noticeable. I think what makes Gil fascinating is this contrast he has, because he’ll go to such great lengths to be a shithead, but he seems to not have the best capabilities of dealing with his consequences. We likely wouldn’t get to see this if it wasn’t or the other important character, Serge.
Here’s the thing about Serge, he is a bit too nice. Upon first meeting Gilbert, he’s kind and gentle, only to be pushed back. Still, Serge seems to stubbornly try and make friends with his roommate despite overwhelming evidence that Gil doesn’t want to associate with him. Serge made friends in the school pretty easily, yet still ends up fixated on trying to be friends with Gil, or to make others friends with Gil. In a similar situation, this almost always backfires on them because Gil still has a terrible reputation. Serge’s stubbornness in the situation is where we see his character perform so well. Unfortunately, it isn’t fully rounded in the film because there seems to be no motivation for Serge to want to do this so much. There aren’t implications of romantic feelings, or any special friend feelings that feel like they justify how insistent Serge seems to be over Gil in general. Aside from this aspect, I think Serge is a fine character otherwise.
A lot of the film hinges on seeing their interactions, or at least how it also effects other people. A lot of the writing is based on building up and executing various interactions Gil and Serge have with either each other, or other characters. In a broad overview, they are pretty well done. They build up the moments, give them all the context we need, and then let the drama run wild. Please trust me on this one, because explaining any further goes into deep spoiler territory and I want to avoid that. What I can tell you is that they have a great visual way of dealing with dramatic events.
The animation in general has an older art style that I love, and it has a bit of a softer color palette in many general scenes. Some of the more dramatic scenes use different kinds of imagery and movement as well. For example, the picture above is taken from a scene where Gil finds out some bad news and is distraught. The scene is powerful because of how it visualizes it, specifically with twisting backgrounds that keep getting darker. The music is a fast paced piano track that comes together with the visuals to beautifully portray Gil’s downward spiral in a momentary depression. Each dramatic scene takes this kind of effort to emphasize the situation, which very much helps the film.
The big draw of this film to me is watching the character interactions, and it is so interesting to watch these two characters do their thing. If Gilbert wasn’t such a shithead, he’d probably become a favorite character of mine. A few times, the film narrates and displays a poem that the film was named after. It comes around the beginning and end to give a broader context to the relationship Serge and Gilbert have. It has a really melodic feel, these segments do, because the poem is Serge reminiscing on the times he spent with Gilbert in the school (this is a future Serge narrating this). I love the animation style, and would love to see more animation styles that utilized this kind of design. The film overall is good, and a great start to hopefully finding more older obscure anime to talk about.
This has been Animated Monologues, analyzing animation in every post. Thanks for reading and have an animated day!
Hello, this is AniMo and you’re reading Animated Monologues! Today I finally start my first leg of my New Year’s Resolution. I wanted to start with something that people were more familiar with, so I decided to watch a series I’d seen already to be safe.
Anime fans enjoy their yuri, but unfortunately not all anime that feature yuri actually do anything with yuri romance. This means that the vast majority of yuri that we see is simply baiting the viewer, which is a good way to arouse excitement temporarily, but it doesn’t leave a lasting impression which can be detrimental to our view of an anime when we look back on it. Luckily, this anime isn’t like that. It’s an anime that actually features yuri romance, and does stuff with it. Normally this alone wouldn’t be a positive point, but sometimes yuribaiting gets hard to watch and people want to see what fully realized yuri can be.
Sakura Trick is a high school slice of life comedy anime from 2014. It features Haruka and Yuu, and how their friendship turned into a special relationship when they entered high school. We see their lives throughout the anime, with a high school life and their many friends. The series has 12 episodes, each split up into smaller mini plots for every episodes. Usually each miniplot acts as it’s own storyline, effectively giving us 24 mini-stories which mostly stand alone.
In terms of actual story, or an overarching plot, there is very little. The high school that they are at is shutting down after Haruka and Yuu graduate, but it is seemingly not treated as an important fact. It’s not the they don’t state it or talk about it (as they try and plan festivals and events around the school only having 3 years left), but it’s more about the show never using it. There was one episode where they were playing in the snow, since they were unsure if they’d ever see snow in the next few years. That is the only time where they used to depth of the situation to really do something interesting with the story. Sakura Trick is a slice of life series, of course, so it’s forgivable because that’s the point.
So instead of analyzing Sakura Trick as an overall story, it’s much better to see what it does with the elements of life. The show can still tell a story without a plot, even if the story is “the story of the simple life of a few lesbian girls”. Luckily the stories/miniplots themselves can be a lot of fun, and seeing these characters do that is also fun. The way I see plots like these is it should develop something if it isn’t a story (though I’d prefer story of course). The thing is that this series doesn’t really develop. There is no change in character, pace, or situational anything until the last 3 half episodes. When stuff like this happens in anime that are mostly episodic or unmoving, what it comes down to on a viewers perspective is “did you enjoy everything else before?”. It’s important to ask yourself that when this happens. For me I was kind of bored of Sakura Trick by this point, so seeing some of the drama at the ending didn’t mean anything to me. Specifically, Haruka and Yuu get discovered by Yuu’s older sister, and then she later confesses that she’s in love with Haruka. I came out of those episodes not caring enough because the series showed it had dramatic potential and reached it once.
To contrast, a show like Panty and Stocking (which is a very different show, but it helps illustrate my point on enjoyment) was entertaining for me from episode 1 to episode 12, so when the finale did something kind of dramatic and crazy I was thrilled, and it heightened my already positive feelings about the show. Sakura Trick had none of that for me because nothing about the show really drew me in. As the show progressed, I couldn’t find anything either that really intrigued me so the finale just kind of happened and I got nothing out of it.
The animation of Sakura Trick is actually worth mentioning about, oddly enough. It has a standard art style for a High School SoL series, with no use or need for beautifully moving character animation. Because of that, the art style and animation are usually unnoteworthy.
However, it has this habit of doing things visually that I otherwise don’t think I’ve seen much of. From small transition screens
To random dots/circles that they only ever use for a shot at a time.
Don’t get me wrong, it looks nice but it doesn’t do anything for it. It’s just there, and it feels like an unnecessary gimmick. While it is interesting to see a Slice of Life try and change things up with these little touches, they don’t add a lot to the visual aspect. Other than these little flairs, the animation style and movement are very standard for Slice of Life series. Because of this, the flairs get distracting at worst. I’ll be watching it and seeing all this normal animation quality and then BAM…flair
It’s not that I necessarily dislike that or the animation in general. It’s traditional average quality animation that likes to spice it up, which is more than many other series that only have the average animation. I guess I wish that it meant something more than just a flair of color. If it served some kind of meaning I could really get into the art style and have an interesting conversation about it, but that’s not what happened.
When it comes to most of these comedy slice of life shows, the single biggest difference in them is characters. Most shows have a similar storyline and similar quality in animation, so I then turn to the characters to help distinguish these anime. Before I go into it, I am going to bluntly say that I barely remember any of there names. For the most part, they are kind of flat. I’m entertained by their shenanigans, but I struggle to really get into them because they don’t feel rounded. They all have traits and quirks, but it doesn’t feel like a characteristic attached to a human. Their character designs don’t really help.
Haruka’s defining trait is her obsession with Yuu, and it’s played up quite a lot. Besides her fanatic love for Yuu, she doesn’t have much else going for her personality. She’s nice and cheerful, and is very caring for her friends. Yuu is playful with Haruka’s obsession, but still has obvious compassion as well. She’s nice and friendly as well. As with Haruka, she doesn’t have a hell of a lot going on for her otherwise. Finding unique things to say about her is harder than I thought it’d be.
Even tougher is finding things to analyze about the other characters, whose names I forgot between my first viewing of this show about a year ago and the viewing I had for this review. Shizuku and Kotone also have a relationship, and there was a half episode dedicating to securing that when they revealed Kotone had some engagement to someone else but left it and her rich life behind to live with Shizuku. They showed very little details on that, and never fully explored it (which would have been great). As more side characters they got little spotlight and less development. I barely remember anything about Kaede and Yuzu, who round out the main group. They’re all generically generally nice people that enjoy their friends and school. I would be wrong though to not fully explain Yuu’s older sister Mitsuki, because of her impact on the ending. She’s obsessed with Haruka, and is sometimes overbearing with her disapproval of Yuu and Haruka’s relationship. Her obsession also doesn’t feel grounded, again played up because something something yuri heaven or whatever Sakura Trick is trying to do. Hence, the drama in the ending coming from Mitsuki oping with her feelings towards Haruka. It’s interesting dramatic potential and it happened right as the series ended, and never anything like this before.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike the show overall. I’m critical of it because it’s in my nature to do so. I’m critical of it because of what I said before about not being engaged with series for really any reason, even if I had times where I did like what I was seeeing. I’m still mostly entertained by Sakura Trick despite my issues because the show manages to be fun despite not sticking to great screenwriting, and slice of life is the only genre that can genuinely pull that off in terms of entertainment. Sakura Trick is a show made for people inherently obsessed with yuri that gains status just for going somewhere, but on every other standard, it’s just standard quality. I can’t help but think Sakura Trick is known only because they do something with it, and that cannot be a shows only draw conceptually. That means to me that maybe more yuri should try it, though I’d be a happy camper if it was also a really great show. You won’t get that out of Sakura Trick, and that may be enough for some people.
This has been Animated Monologues, analyzing animation in every post. Thanks for reading, and have an animated day.
Another year has gone, and I consumed a lot of animation. So let’s talk about it.
It wasn’t an amazing year for the medium, but I don’t think it was terrible. Animation did very well at the beginning of the summer box office, having 5 weeks with an animated film at the top. Zootopia became the 4th billion-dollar animated film in the world box office sphere, and Finding Dory followed soon afterwords. The only film that beat it out in world gross this year is Captain America: Civil War (we’ll see if Rogue One changes this). Box office trends have always had animation beat out almost every individual live-action genre (not that animation is a genre), and this year is no exception with Secret Life of Pets also making a lot of money. Even though Paramount dropped the Little Prince theater release, Netflix picked it up and has helped the films spread a lot. I really enjoy online streaming and video on demand as mediums of consuming entertainment, and I think the Little Prince was a helpful reminder of how cool this can be.
I started really getting into airing anime and simulcasts this year, meaning that most of these year-end posts will likely include anime now. This year gave us a partnership between Crunchyroll and Funimation, and we are slowly seeing the effects of that, and I’m curious to continue to follow it. The anime world blew up with Kimi no Na Wa winning a massive amounts of praise and awards, bringing possibly the years biggest hypetrain. Shelter and The Red Turtle gave us a look into anime companies collaborating with international studios in ways we haven’t fully explored. Hayao “I’ll flip a coin to see if I want to retire or not” Miyazaki landed on heads, so he will be back with Ghibli to make films again later.
For feature films, I either was excited to watch them, or I was instantly put off and didn’t check them out. I have now checked out my fair share for the year on both sides and plan on talking about them. I wish that I had opportunities to watch more short films for the year, because I love how they express themselves. So, I can’t really talk about a lot of those (though I always make sure to check out Award season stuff when it gets released).
Anyway, I want to start with the anime list.
Top 5 Favorite Anime of 2016
Number 5: Space Patrol Luluco
I honestly didn’t have a lot of reason that I should have seen this series. By the time I started this, I had finished putting Kill la Kill on hold for my 3rd time, and still had Gurren Lagaan on hold. I had no other strong connections with Trigger (but did enjoy the first Little Witch Academia a bit), and had only seen Panty and Stocking. I still watched it and fell in love with it’s over-the-top style. This style mixed with it’s crazy story made for a truly entertaining ride. I didn’t feel the weight of the many many Trigger references, but enjoyed how they were portrayed in the story. I liked how they used it’s 8 minute episodes to make time for honest character interactions and fun…ness. It was a short series that got a lot of attention and fairly deservingly.
Number 4: 91 Days
A market like anime that lives off of source material should take a breath every once in a while and make something original. One such example was this year’s 91 Days, a revenge story about prohibition-era mobsters and the workings behind a mob family. It’s a great series, moved forward by Angelo Lagusa’s (who goes by Avilio Bruno) character and backstory. The drama and rhythm of the series immediately had my attention. More importantly, learning about the mob world and how Angelo was going to throw a wrench it had me very interested. I never lost that interest, and for that, this series became one of my favorites to watch this year.
Number 3: She and Her Cat- Everything Flows
I hope with all of my heart that this is not the first time you have ever heard of this series. This may be an anime that appeals to me right now because I’m inbetween adult and childhood, which the Girl (named Miyu) is as well. The premise is fine and all, but what really makes it unique is that it is told from the perspective of her cat. It’s not a direct adaptation of the original Makoto Shinkai film, but instead seems to be a reimagining with more stuff happening (not that timing was an issue for it). This connection between them allows us to see her life in a totally different way than most series end up doing. It’s never hugely played up for anything, instead using development just allow the weight of her issues to play themselves at. I may be horridly allergic to cats, but this series is nothing to sneeze at.
Number 2: Fune wo Amu (The Great Passage)
Please do not let the fact that this show is about dictionaries fool you into thinking this show is bad/boring/bland. It’s a serene slice of life drama about a man who finds his call in life as a dictionary maker and editor. We see snapshots of his life, and how his way with words effects his daily routine. We learn about the importance and art of words in ways we don’t usually get to explore. What I loved about the animation is that even the smallest scenes let the characters move. As a Slice of Life fan, I see so many stagnant bodies that never move during dialogue scenes, but this series showed how subtly we move when we do that. It was a nice touch that heightened the experience of watching the show. It was one of the best Slice of Life produced in a while, and would’ve been my Number One. But if you watch dramas and slice of life, you can likely guess what beat it out.
Number One: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
A historical drama about the art of performance is a definite plus for me. Add on some of the best character dynamics of the year, with a wonderfully immersive art style, and the show gets even better. We follow two young boys and their journey into becoming modern masters of Rakugo. They face many issues along their way, and have to find themselves and their styles the more they perform and age. The tides of society and entertainment change, and they have to balance it along with the hierarchy and tradition of the art of rakugo. Watching how they have to grow is fascinating because of everything they put into it and how it changes over time. They fall in love, and out of love, and in love again with their Rakugo lifestyle. It circles friendships and effects them in ways that always make you want to watch more. The series showcases friendship gone right and wrong beautifully, and tells the story you never knew you wanted to learn about better than you could ever expect it to. Without a shadow of a doubt, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu is my pick for best anime of this year.
Top 5 Favorite Feature Films of 2016
Number 5: Sausage Party
This film seems like you either love it or hate it. To be more specific, it’s all the same reasoning. You can imply that I enjoyed the film a lot, if it’s here. I thought that the comedy worked very well for the story it was trying to tell, and I thought the non-subtle social commentary was integrated smoothly (despite how heavy the message was). I was kind of hoping to see more of people experiencing the outside world, but otherwise I liked how the flow of the story went. I was curious about how a theatrical adult animated film would fare, but it seems that it’s getting pretty good. Now I can hope that adult animation breaks into blockbuster territory more, and the possibilities to tell stories will expand.
Number 4: Sing
I started keeping an extraordinarily close eye on Illumination this year. Traditionally, my irrational bias against the Minions franchise makes me want to ignore the studio. But I decided I’d give them a shot this year. Secret Life of Pets looked fine, but then they kept releasing more footage, and I hated what I saw. Sing was a different story, and I decided to go for it when it came out. I loved it immediately. I loved how they prioritized the character backstory, and integrated it into the film. I thought the use of music was good too, not relying solely on modern pop music (which will help it age better, theoretically). There were so many small moments that positively helped the film, so I plan on watching it again at some point and possibly going really in-depth with it.
Number 3: The Red Turtle
This film nearly landed on my anticipated films list for 2017, but then I found it was coming to my local film festival. I saw it and loved it! A gentle dialogueless film with a gorgeous art style that managed to live up to all the hype it was getting. It may not have been the best film of the festival, but it certainly was one of the better films. I said most of what I want to say in that post, so I ask that you check it out. It will get a wide-release in North America soon, so please check it out. It is a film that absolutely hits all the marks that any international animation fan is looking for, and I hope that more people get a chance to see such a fascinating movie.
Number 2: Kubo and the Two Strings
If you must blink, do it now. Laika did it again, after the disappointment that was the Boxtrolls, they have come back in style. I wrote about why I was looking forward to this film, and luckily it was good enough to soothe any worries I had about the current state of stop-motion. I am worried that this film didn’t make enough money in the box office despite being one of the most critically praised animated features this year. The characters were fun to watch, and the journey was even more fun to watch. With a beautiful atmosphere and an ever-evolving (but never unfocused) story, the film continually proves that it is worth the price of the ticket. I am very glad that Travis Knight’s vision was able to come alive as it did. I hope Laika can maintain their high quality films, if this is any indication of what they’re capable of.
Number 1: The Little Prince
Not my most anticipated film of the year, but easily the one I was most excited to watch. I was sad that I couldn’t see it in theaters due to Paramount almost silently dropping the license, but it was truly great to see Netflix pick it up. It finally got released and fulfilled my expectations because it was a good film. But the aspects that made it a good film weren’t something I expected. I first saw it without knowing the source material, so I was honestly just looking for a sweet animated spectacle. I got a sweet spectacle about rediscovering childhood and creativity via the Little Prince story. With beautiful color choices and subtle visual cues to truly create worlds and settings that fit the tone of the story and rocked while doing it. It is a story that can reach everyone with great universal theming and overall sweetness. The film took little time to impress me, and it kept getting better. I feel just as happy with it did as I did with my initial first impression. My initial reaction wanted to call it the year’s best film, and so does my current impression after thinking about it for a bit.
I was pretty busy over New Years, so my usual year-end posts aren’t done. Once I am done with this, I will be getting those finished (these include Best of 2016 Anime and Films, as well as my anticipated 2017 films). I also have another analysis about Mary and Max that I plan on publishing sometimes after that.
Anyway, the main thing I am here to post is my challenge for the year.
I am going to review at least one LGBTQ+ Anime every month
I may just post the reviews at the end of the month, or before depending on the anime and when I finish it. I am doing this as an exercise to explore how romance is portrayed in many different ways across anime (since most shows I plan on checking out are romance focused), or even to see how anime wants to portray this. I know many shows, films, or OVA’s that I can use to do this. There are such a large amount of anime out there that use yaoi and yuri, but I want to try and find the best examples in the medium. Though, I also admit that a lot of this is just artistic curiosity, and I’ve been curious about trying many of these anime for a while now.
Here is how I plan on doing this. I am watching most of these for the first time, which is because I haven’t seen a heck of a lot of yuri/yaoi/other anime, and only plan on rewatching and reviewing maybe 2 or 3 anime I have already seen. I will not choose anime that have small undertones of yuri or yaoi, but will if there are enough undertones and they actually matter to the focus of the anime. As long as the focus is on someone identifying with LGBTQ+, it counts. This means I can’t choose a show like Free! which has more undertones and fanservice than anything. But I can choose a show like Sakura Trick since it focuses on lesbians. I will come up with a witty-sounding name for them before the first one comes up. Unfortunately, I can’t speak on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community and don’t know a lot of politics behind it, so I will be analyzing every anime as anime and their artistic presence as I do with every other anime.
Be on the lookout for when these pop up, I hope I can complete this.
In terms of other personal goals, I just plan on clearing up my large watchlist and many o my on-holds. I also have never finished an anime longer than 52 episodes, so I am going to try and commit to longer shows this year here and there. I was watching Cardcaptor Sakura and Fushigi Yugi a while ago, and will hopeully finish Yu Yu Hakusho soon. Also Gintama may be officially ending it’s anime run after this new patch of episodes, so I may try and catch up in time even though I am 300 episodes behind.
This is about all I have right now, I will be recapping 2016 in later posts, and they will be happening soon.