Even though it wasn’t always out of my control, I should (and could) have expected myself to drop a series without a word. Even in the beginning I put myself in a wierd mindset to try and do this monthly, and it only made me want to put it off. I still have a soft spot for LGBTQ+ anime but I also realized I can’t force myself to watch it no matter how much of it I want to see.
I think it’s that I can’t give myself deadlines on this blog, because I want to keep animation more of a hobby right now while I’m in school. Or maybe it’s that I’m not in the best space to sustain a blog. I’m moved twice this year, and I’ve been setting more goals in real life to better myself. Shutting myself in a dorm for hours to watch anime/animation started to drive me crazy, so even though I still watch it consistently I’m balancing it with a more active life.
I can give all these excuses as to why I haven’t done a lot on this blog this year, but it’s honestly because I haven’t felt like writing too much. I really don’t know why though, I’m still passionate about animation, but I haven’t had enough to start writing about something I love or hate. I want to be more active writing about animation because I eventually want to work in this industry, and as of now I am not prepared.
I think my best course of action is to stop setting deadlines for myself, and try and free my mind until I have a nerve to start writing again.
This means I can’t promise when the next article is, or what it’s going to be about. Whenever it comes, I hope to make your day.
This has been AniMo on Animated Monologues, have an animated day.
So I’m sitting in my friends dorm room my Freshmen year, and I’d been staring at his manga collection for a bit (as I had been every time we hung out). He let me check some stuff out, so I randomly grabbed the first volume of Claymore, and got to reading. I found out that there was an anime version of it, so once I finished a chapter or two I ended up watching and later finishing the series. His favorite anime at the time was Cowboy Bebop, so he immediately recommended it to me since I enjoyed my first anime. So I checked out a few episodes of the dub.
A week later, I found myself in his room again babbling about how great the series was because I wasted no time finishing it.
I’ve been an anime fan ever since.
Animated Beginnings: Films to Series
By the time this event happened, I’d already been an animation fan that had been interested in anime. I’d seen some anime films here and there (Grave of the Fireflies was one of my favorite films), but I didn’t know anything about the scope of anime. So I started learning about more anime beyond the films I’d heard of. I knew briefly of films like Sword of the Stranger, Akira, and Mamoru Hosoda. But I had no idea who Satoshi Kon or Makoto Shinkai was, and I wasn’t even aware of Redline.
I still love films more than I do television series, and this is still true for anime. I prefer seeing a whole story in one piece than in increments of time, so when I got into anime I had to familiarize myself with the medium of television. I started searching for recommendations for any series that sounded interesting. It was kind of odd to have to not learn the whole story in one sitting, but I got more adjusted to it.
What made the transition easier was the realization that anime series can be wrapped up pretty easy. 13 or 26 episodes became easy for me to do, since I rarely watched live action television for multiple seasons (on my own). As I got used to college life, using 50 minutes of time to watch 2 or so anime episodes became easy for me. This was probably what kickstarted my interest and experience with anime series.
This was when I mostly watched English dubs, since I mostly was spoiled by Disney’s work on Studio Ghibli dubs had no experience in languages other than English. I watched Claymore and Bebop dubbed, as I did with many shows to follow. I experienced Soul Eater and Spice & Wolf dubbed, the latter of which was the first anime I ever called my favorite.
I didn’t stay like this for too long, because I finally got adjusted to subtitles with shows like Baccano! (whose dub I fell in love with on rewatch), Steins;Gate, and Toradora!
Subtitles: Literally reading into my media
The single biggest reason I watch more anime subbed then dubbed is because there is far more anime that isn’t dubbed, and I don’t want to exclude the chance of missing out on great shows because of that. When I started the realize the scale of how much anime exists, and how much my previous statement applies to it, is when I started teaching myself how to read subs.
Subtitles aren’t easy for newcomers to anime, and it is a noticeable barrier for people wanting to get into anime. The only way to really deal with subtitles for beginners is just watching subs, and getting used to it. I realized there really was no other way around it. Once I finally got used to it, I started to recognized the advantages that they hold. Reading out dialogue (mentally) in my head forces me to pay attention to the anime’s story. It’s impossible for me to look away or goof off while the series is playing. This helped me learn to understand the medium of anime, and most importantly, analyze it.
This became helpful when I started expanding my animation tastes into other foreign films. Once I could finally keep my attention on the animation and dialogue at the same time, it became so much easier to dig around to find animation to watch. Now that my eyes can switch between words and the story while I watch subs, I can also start to develop ideas about animation and find my favorite anime because of it.
Changing my Taste: How I got into “girly” anime
Before I got into animation, I focused a lot on live-action film. My favorite genre for any story was easily parody. Films like SpaceBalls, Young Frankenstein, and Top Secret were cherished to me. Once I started getting into anime, this became sidelined to other genres I found myself marathoning.
Probably the biggest change in genre taste for me came in Slice of Life anime, which is likely no surprise to anyone who’s familiar with me. This stemmed from my love for anime films like Wolf Children, and shows with romance like Say, “I Love You”, Lovely Complex, and True Tears. All of these shows helped set the standard for my taste in (what have now become) my 3 favorite genres in anime; Romance, Slice of Life, and Drama.
Through these shows, I realized that a lot of well-known romance are part of the shoujo demographic. Shoujo anime/manga are marketed towards younger girls that I, as a young adult male, became a big fan of. This eventually lead me to discover my now favorite anime Ouran High School Host Club which I discussed on this blog the instant I started watching it.
Eventually I was lead to the world of josei anime/manga, which markets towards older women. In terms of the major anime demographics (shonen, seinen, shoujo, josei, and kids), josei is easily my favorite. Josei anime such as Kids on the Slope, Bunny (Usagi) Drop, and Princess Jellyfish are all currently in my Top 10 favorite shows, as well as Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu which many (including me) considered the best anime of last year.
It’s not as though this is all the anime I am or was interested in. Soon after I watched Bebop, I followed up by watching other “popular” series such as Steins;Gate, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and Spice & Wolf. I even tried my hand in older
series like Ah! My Goddess which is still one of my favorite franchises in media. Around this time I found my first true “Favorite Anime” in Baccano! which held the title of my favorite series until my 2nd viewing of Ouran Host Club (In fairness, Baccano! is still my #2 anime).
Overall, I went from a screwball/parody comedy fan to a Slice of Life drama fan over the course of all my anime experience. I try and watch anime from a wide variety of genre’s to find more shows. Genre experimentation has led me to shows I adore such as The Tatami Galaxy, Wandering Son, Ping Pong the Animation, Working!!!, and Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt. However, this is far from the most important knowledge I gained from spending the last 2 years in the anime fandom.
Anime Consumption: Streams and DVDs
When I started watching anime in my dorm, I didn’t have cable so I was forced to stream everything on my computer. This was fine by me since I rarely watched stuff on cable as it was. I wasn’t aware that the sites I used to use were pirating sites, and I ended up switching off of them once I found it out. The biggest reason this happened was because I started learning a lot about the anime streaming market, and the dangers of piracy. As I started learning more and more anime, I tried to make it my mission to keep everything on legal sites. In doing this, I found a lot more content that I never expected to find and enjoy.
I’m still surprised sometimes how large both Funimation and Crunchyroll’s catalogs are, which is why I am loving VRV so much since I get to literally see the best of both worlds (except I can’t find Trigun on there, which has been recommended to me a lot). This kind of exploration taught me a lot about international anime licenses, which has become an interest of mine for a potential career path.
I had a DVD collection that I started for animated films, and I started eventually adding a lot of anime to that collection. My animation collection as it stands now is probably half-anime (between series and films). When I was in Honolulu, I had little trouble finding places to buy cool DVDs. Still, I’m not fully on top of my collection because I still haven’t watched a fair amount of content that I’ve bought (such as Fruits Basket, Ninja Scroll, Afro Samurai, and Wind Named Amnesia). One of my prize possessions is my Complete Collection for Baccano! which I bought a few months before the license expired.
As I started slowly becoming an anime fan, I knew that I would slowly have to dive into the single most fascinating aspect of the anime world.
Knowing myself, I figured that I would have a good time with the anime fandom. I was used to these big media fandoms with my past and vast experience in Pokémon. There was no way for me to tell if anime was going to be the same for me or not, but I found myself happy with the change of pace. Anime was how I eventually learned about reddit due to the r/anime subreddit, which was a huge help in expanding my taste in anime and anime knowledge. I still get a lot of perspective about the anime world through my time I spend there, and have met a lot of cool people from it.
In my personal life, I’m fairly open about my love for anime and constantly seek out people to discuss it with. I feel like I bring out the true otaku in people when I meet them, because these conversations tend to got from zero to one hundred once the anime connection is established. It’s always a fun discussion point with people because I’m endlessly curious about what people know in anime (do they just watch popular shonens? do they know crazy underrated stuff? do they know about the market and the industry?), and of course what everyone’s favorites are.
This is multiplied tenfold at anime conventions. I’ve only had the opportunity to attend 2 years of Kawaii Kon in Hawaii, but now that I’m back on the mainland I hope to attend a whole lot more. In this time I met a few of my favorite dub voices such as J. Micheal Tatum and Vic Mignogna. Between fan panels and industry information panels, I’ve greatly enjoyed my experiences at conventions.
As I march forward in the world of anime, these are a lot of my ideas that I hope to develop and study. I hope to watch more anime masterpieces and learn about the industry. I hope to meet more anime fans and tell them to watch Baccano! and Ouran. I hope to find more stuff worthy of writing on this blog and presenting in other mediums for discussion.
It’s been a good 2 years, and I hope this continues forward. This has been Animated Monologues, and I have been AniMo. Have an animated day.
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.
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!
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.