Gel Sadra’s #Brand: Gatchaman Crowds insight Episode 1

July 4, 2015 § 3 Comments

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While the people of Gatchaman Crowds are well aware of the existence of extraterrestrial life, it’s still a frightening experience when a UFO crashes into sleepy Niigata. Fortunately, Hajime Ichinose is a master of marketing, even if her successes are usually unintentional.

The first episode of Gatchaman Crowds insight is aptly named “Contact Point” piggybacking on Episode 0, “Inbound,” reiterating a focus on marketing that the “insight” subtitle brings to this second season of Gatchaman Crowds. Through the lens of marketing, we’re all targets to be examined – and potentially exploited – as necessary.

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Sound! Euphonium and Those Left Behind

July 1, 2015 § 11 Comments

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One of Sound! Euphonium‘s more remarkable traits is that, within its captivating world, not everyone is equally talented. Where other series use those left behind – by their lack of skill, practice, or motivation – for dramatic effect, rarely returning to them once they’ve served their purpose on the main character’s decisions, Sound! Euphonium celebrates them.

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The Children of Rie Matsumoto: Mary Macbeth and Koto

June 24, 2015 § 8 Comments

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When children tell stories, they’re often stymied by an inability to communicate. Adults are frequently too far removed from their own childhood to understand, or the child is unable to make adults comprehend – much like the narrator of The Little Prince who, as a young boy, draws an elephant inside of a snake which is then interpreted as a hat. Additionally, when adults look back on their youth, they look at it from the eyes of an adult, reframing their experiences in a different context.

This makes portraying children in fiction and varying forms of media incredibly difficult. All too often a creator will underestimate a child’s intelligence and show them doing unnecessarily stupid things rather than a more nuanced display of ignorance. It’s remarkable when a director or creator gets children right.

With that being said, I’d like to draw your attention to Rie Matsumoto, director of Kyousogiga and Blood Blockade Battlefront.

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Avant Garde, Kitsch, and a Return to Gatchaman Crowds

June 21, 2015 § 2 Comments

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No sooner had she muttered, “Man, I’m hungry,” as the camera lingered on her mostly uneaten lunch than I loved Hajime Ichinose. She was colorful and quirky, but had trouble expressing herself clearly through speech. A person of action, she was restless from the moment that Gatchaman Crowds introduced her in her school classroom.

Throughout its 12-episode run, Hajime and Crowds enthralled me, telling a modern superhero story within the frameworks of art history and social media. It inspired me to blog incessantly, chattering about art movements and Constantin Brâncuși while alluding to my own personal resonance. Watching Crowds, and sharing my thoughts, were immensely personal experiences. Now, a bit more removed from my initial reactions to the series, I can safely say that it’s one of my all-time favorites.

And yet, when I heard that Gatchaman Crowds would have a second season, I wondered why.

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Sound! Euphonium on Fresh Starts and Asuka Tanaka

May 8, 2015 § 4 Comments

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In showing and developing various narratives, Sound! Euphonium invites character comparison. The most obvious example is of Reina Kousaka and Kumiko Oumae. Both struggle with verbal communication – Reina preferring to express herself through music and Kumiko seemingly possessing large amounts of anxiety – which is what makes their developing friendship work. As evidenced in the series’ fifth episode, Reina begins to open up to Kumiko, and while Kumiko still stumbles over her own words, she has managed to overcome her fear of starting a conversation.

While Kumiko is the primary character, Sound! Euphonium relies on dialogue with others, along with her actions, to speak for her. In spite of the audience’s access to her thoughts, Kumiko is one who has trouble identifying what she truly wants, and her inner monologues reflect this, rarely offering her actual emotions.

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