First Impressions

For Eiji— with Love and Squalor (Banana Fish first impressions)

“What happens to who?”

“The bananafish.”

“Oh, you mean after they eat so many bananas they can’t get out of the banana hole?”

“Yes,” said Sybil.

“Well, I hate to tell you, Sybil. They die.”

“Why?” asked Sybil.

“Well, they get banana fever. It’s a terrible disease.”

-an exchange between Seymour Glass and six year-old Sybil Carpenter, A Perfect Day for Banana Fish, J.D. Salinger

Feature writers are gifted with dialogue. Their task is to then craft a story around those words, which can be a blessing and a curse. How much should be left on the cutting room floor? Should you, the writer, become a narrator?

How much of yourself should you put in a feature?

The line between feature and fiction is often blurred. Authors of fiction draw on their own experiences. Their works are full of personal anecdotes and even when a writer tries to avoid taking a more personal tack their point of view will subconsciously bleed into their words.

What does this have to do with J.D Salinger’s A Perfect Day for Bananafish and Akimi Yoshida’s Banana Fish manga, or the recent anime adaptation?

What is a bananafish?

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To be a center — Shoujo ☆ Kageki Revue Starlight Episode 1

“The normal happiness, the pleasures of a young girl, all burned away to aim for a distant twinkling.”

-Giraffe, Shoujo ☆ Kageki Revue Starlight, Episode 1

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Stepping back into the Steins;Gate time machine

In 2009, I began watching anime as it currently aired. It wasn’t long before I was writing about it. My first year of blogging was full of horrid, weekly recaps that described what happened, maybe gave grades for music, visuals, story, etc., and moved on to the next show after perhaps doing a separate series review that was much of the same.

Steins;Gate came at the time when I was finally shedding my self-imposed, unimaginative shackles of graded episodic recaps (this is in no way meant to be a reflection of episodic blogging as a whole, only my own inadequacies) and moving towards an editorial style, even when writing weekly. I wrote about Albert Camus’ The Plague while watching vampires slowly take over an entire town in Shiki, and later framed the entirety of Star Driver through the lens of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince. For Steins;Gate specifically, I contemplated Mayuri “Mayushii” Shiina’s role in the story as a catalyst for Rintarou “Hououin Kyouma” Okabe.

It wasn’t the best or most original output, but I began to play around with the craft of writing via anime blogging and rediscovered my love for it. This remains the primary reason why I still blog to this day.

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The flower language of The Ancient Magus’ Bride Episode 1

The ink is still drying on Chise Hatori’s signature when the above line appears across the cityscape: April showers bring May flowers. Given Chise’s initial mental state in the opening moments of The Ancient Magus’ Bride, the proverb is obvious. Before reaching the point where she signs that contract, Chise has seen and lived through some horrifying things. This is her turning point.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride also uses flower language liberally throughout its first episode to set the mood, giving small hints and insight into Chise’s circumstances.

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The business of The Idolm@ster SideM, Episode of Jupiter

“We aren’t singing so we can be used by you!”

-Touma Amagase to President Kuroi (flashback), The Idolm@ster: SideM, Episode 00

A minute into the pre-premiere episode of The Idolm@ster: SideM, I wondered why the venue pictured was so small. The three-man group of Jupiter is a well-known Idolm@ster commodity, after all. Presumably, they’re not even the stars of the SideM anime.

Instead, Jupiter are the end goal at the proverbial finish line for SideM‘s burgeoning trainees. These young men should be filling arenas like 765 Productions do later in this episode — or at least larger concert venues like the one in The Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls“Onegai Cinderella” performance — not performing in a hole-in-the-wall place that looks to be slightly larger than the average bar.

Another minute later, I quickly realized that the venue’s comparatively small size was the point of the entire opening. 

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