First Impressions

Colors and Cinematography in SSSS.Dynazenon

ssss.dynazenon opening sequence cold open anime episode 1 dynazenon backpacks

The opening shot of SSSS.Dynazenon is purposefully reminiscent of its predecessor, SSSS.Gridman. Anyone who has watched Gridman immediately will recognize the sequence of shots. This time, these snapshots begin with a nod to students’ various backpacks, which were used to define and color-coordinate characters by their tokusatsu archetypes (or defy them) in Gridman.

With that visual language brought over from Gridman, Dynazenon and director Akira Amemiya and staff are moving beyond an homage to kaiju and tokusatsu series past and looping in their own universe and visual language established in Gridman.

(major spoilers for SSSS.Gridman)

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Their (Our) Private Life: Horimiya

The opening sequence of Horimiya, a combined effort from series director Masashi Ishihama and Haruka Iizuka, is stylish and purposeful. It has a similar stylishness that the opening of the Ishihama-helmed Persona 5 anime adaptation had without a similar burden of the original source material. Characters are placed into boxes that don’t quite match up, or placed next to boxes and panels of things we don’t yet understand as an audience, but likely mean a lot to the person they’re placed beside.

Even when characters are in the same room, like the shot above of the two main characters (Kyouko Hori and Izumi Miyamura) with two side characters (Toru Ishikawa and Yuki Yoshikawa), none of the backgrounds, lighting, colors, or physical presence add up. They’re all in the same classroom, and same class, but don’t exist in the same space.

For a series that is all about the gap between one’s private and public life, this opening sequence is the perfect visual introduction.

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Flower Language in Wonder Egg Priority

Naoko Yamada’s influence throughout the anime industry, particularly with various directors’ use of flower language, continues to impress me. In Shin Wakabayashi’s Wonder Egg Priority, flower language is front and center throughout the entirety of the first episode as running visual commentary alongside Ai Outo’s journey to save her friend, Koito Nanase.

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The 2020 Gal & Dino Lookbook

Gal & Dino isn’t perfect. A similarly esoteric follow-up to Pop Team Epic from Jun Aoki and his team at Space Neko Company and Kamikaze Douga, Gal & Dino is comparatively slow, replacing frenzy with a relaxed slice-of-life feel. Pop Team Epic fans may be (and have been) disappointed with this first episode.

But someone on staff knows their fashion magazine photography and I am here for it.

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Sing “Yesterday” For Me (because I don’t believe in it)

I’m getting old.

It’s not the kind of aging on which Sing “Yesterday” For Me has trained its sights on.

That type of aging, at risk of offending the majority of people who read this who will definitely be significantly younger than me, is a relatively young type of aging. It’s the post-university ennui. You’ve been told time and time again by people older than you — and that one acquaintance who actually managed to get a good job upon graduation and is rather obnoxious about it — that you really should have figured out what you want to do by this point in life. These same people also may have told you that whatever you actually wanted to do in life — photography, in the case of Sing “Yesterday” For Me‘s Rikuo Uozumi — wasn’t lucrative enough to have a career in. They (probably) meant the best for you by saying this, or at least thought that they did.

Sing “Yesterday” For Me not only reminded me of my past self at this specific time, but also the self that immediately followed. The one that looked back on that initial, fresh-from-graduation self and thought with a relieved sigh, “I’m so happy that I finally got through all that.”

My fresh-from-graduation self was a bit of an asshole.

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