“Humans live in the city, tanuki crawl the earth, and tengu fly through the air. Since the city’s establishment humans, tanuki, and tengu have maintained a delicate balance. That’s what keeps the great wheel of this city turning round and round. And watching that wheel spin is more fun than anything else.”
-Yasaburo Shimogamo, The Eccentric Family, Episode 1
This monologue from tanuki Yasaburo Shimogamo opens the first season of The Eccentric Family. After a season turmoil, warmth, forgiveness, and love, these words close the season as well.
The first episode of The Eccentric Family‘s second season eschews Yasaburo’s monologue about the hierarchy of tengu, tanuki, and humans in Kyoto. It wasn’t at all what I had expected.
“The show is getting boring. I still like it, but there’s no big bad.”
Naturally, this is paraphrased. Yet a common complaint of the first half of Little Witch Academia‘s television run was that there was no true antagonist. Akko Kagari wasn’t improving fast enough in her magic. Watching her fail episode after episode was becoming tedious. Diana Cavendish wasn’t Akko’s adversary as much as she was her rival. Even then it was a one-sided rivalry. Akko failed most of the time while Diana continued to garner acclaim from her peers and teachers alike.
Episode 13 marked the end of the series’ first half and the end of Akko’s complete failure. With her magic at the Samhain Festival, Akko stepped up and became the witch who impressed her peers and teachers alike. Even the visiting alumni were dazzled.
The series has now entered its second half and a presumed “big bad” — at the very least, a true antagonist — has appeared: Professor Croix.
Yet, I maintain that she too is not a true antagonist. And that Little Witch Academia doesn’t need a big bad to be compelling.
A lot of people like to condemn Naruto and I’ve never understood the appeal, although its overwhelming popularity and ubiquitous presence in anime fandom at large does make it an easy target. There’s something relatable about Naruto Uzumaki’s dorky nature which translates surprisingly earnestly within the series itself.
I personally enjoyed my time in the Naruto fandom. When I became bored with the pace of the anime, I turned to fanfiction. Time passed, I became interested in other types of anime, and whenever I thought back to Naruto, I checked in with what happened in the manga, never really caring about spoilers since I was long past wanting to watch or read it immediately.
Then a friend told me that Masashi Kishimoto had begun writing a sequel: Boruto. She also told me that it was hilarious.
Take away the prestige attached to her recognizable family name and the simpering sidekicks. Treat her like any other student at Luna Nova, albeit with similar magical talent but less training. Would she inevitably rise to the top of the school or would she become just another student as magic continues to fade from existence?
If she isn’t the last hope of Luna Nova and the art of magic, then just who is Diana Cavendish?
The opening scenes of Alice & Zouroku involve poorly-done computer generated cars, a dramatic escape, and a Tokyo Tower scene that is eerily reminiscent of Sakura Kinomoto in Cardcaptor Sakura.
In fact, many things in the opening scene of Alice & Zouroku reminded me of other anime series — echoes of Cardcaptor Sakura, Madoka Magica, and Elfen Lied.
Yet what I latched onto was the nickname given to our titular Alice (Sana Kashimura): “The Red Queen.” Subsequent references to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There reminded me of another first episode experience — one that is near and dear to my heart — Kyousougiga.