Digimon Tri’s Return to the Digital World

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The original Digimon Adventure is a series that I cannot view without the framework of nostalgia. I grew up watching it and because of this, was excited to check out Digimon Tri. My excitement and anticipation has dwindled with each movie, but nonetheless, it’s still been fun — awkward at times, but always fun — to load up the latest movie installment and reunite with my favorite characters.

When I was in high school, I was in musical theatre. The ramp up to a show is always a mess, but it’s an exciting flurry of action. The actual performance goes by in a blur, until afterwards, you’re breaking down sets in sweats, staring at an empty stage that seems all the emptier because it’s over. The moment has passed. Returning to that stage won’t bring back the show. If anything, the stage without the show is a bit painful to look at because it was never the location, or even the people, but the time spent working towards a common goal.

Digimon Tri acknowledges a similar feeling of loss and separation through the eight chosen children (digidestined) reunited for another fight. It’s not the same. The nature of their relationships with each other — not romantic feelings but even friendships and familial bonds — have naturally changed over time. All of their fights in the first season, never mind the second season which has been treated horribly by Tri, are firmly in the past. To Tri‘s credit, their reunion is often awkward. Tri sometimes feels like peering in on the chosen children’s lives without permission. As fans, we have our own ideas of what we want to happen because we were part of the initial experience. While they’ve grown up offscreen, we’ve aged significantly more in the interim.

Unfortunately, the latest Digimon Tri movie, Loss, is a bit of a mess. Not barely-controlled chaos like the ramp-up time before a performance, or the awkward feeling of returning to a childhood favorite only to find that everything and everyone has changed — but an actual mess.

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Spectacle and Service — Little Witch Academia and the purpose of magic

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How useful is floating a teapot in the air to serve hot tea?

Although both tea and wine have tannins — in varying amounts depending on steep time and prior to separating grape juice from the stems and skins in the case of wine — the former hardly needs to be aerated. Height is not necessary in the pour. And even if it was, a human could do the same with an equal amount of training.

What is the exact purpose of Diana Cavendish floating her teapot over to her teacher other than to pass her exam? Does she offer a service that couldn’t be provided by human hands?

No, she does not. The action is essentially useless.

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More on Bakemonogatari and Narration

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“At our three-year high school with two hundred students in each grade, you end up sharing a living space with about a thousand people in all during your stay if you include the graduating and incoming classes and the faculty. Start wondering how many of those people mean anything to you, and the answer is going to be bleak for just about anyone.”

-Koyomi Araragi, Bakemonogatari vol. 1

The Monogatari series — both in the light novels and the anime — is known for its verbosity. This is why the Kizumonogatari movies were so novel to me. Nearly all of their storytelling was done visually, removing the Koyomi Araragi monologues and narration that define the Monogatari series. Hiroshi Kamiya’s voice permeates the series, and even later installments of Monogatari Series: Second Season feature monologues from the series’ beloved heroines.

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Little Witch Academia on “magic (anime) is dying.”

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“Luna Nova is reaching the end of its usefulness anyway. All I want is to collect on it before its value drops to nothing.”

-Fafnir to Akko Kagari, Little Witch Academia, Episode 5

How many times have we heard the phrase, “anime is dying?”

How many times have we heard its sister phrase, “anime was a mistake?”

Both of these memetic sayings have been repeated ad nauseam, accompanied by the latest screencaps or bits of dialogue from currently airing series, across various forms of social media. The latter is a misattributed quote to legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki, subtitled over scenes from the 2013 documentary on Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli, The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness.

Although “anime is a mistake” is a false line, Miyazaki has continuously and cantankerously expressed derision towards the modern anime industry — among many other things — in interviews and his own memoirs. His attitude is not a recent shift, but an opinion reiterated and repeated over time. “Almost all Japanese animation is produced with hardly any basis taken from observing real people, you know,” he said in an interview for Golden Time (translated here on rocketnews24). “It’s produced by humans who can’t stand looking at other humans. And that’s why the industry is full of otaku!”

Yet the inspiration of so-called lowbrow anime to a fledgling animator is what Little Witch Academia is all about. “There is the story about Hayao Miyazaki entering the anime industry because he was moved by Panda and the Magic Serpent,” Little Witch Academia director Yoh Yoshinari said in an interview about the original OVA. Then he watched the movie again afterwards and was disappointed by how bad it was (laugh). Yet, even if it’s actually not enjoyable at all, it can be irreplaceable for that person. What’s important is the feelings you got from watching it, and the fact that you had admiration for it. That’s the theme we were looking for.”

This will be a bit of a stretch for some, but another framework through which to view Little Witch Academia is a continuing celebration of the anime fan.

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Adapting Nichijou (on visual and consumption differences between anime and manga)

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Robot high-school student Nano Shinonome is late for school. She calls back into her house — a small, older unit close to the train overpass — not to a parent but to her young professor before dashing out the door. Running, she checks the small digital watch set in her forearm. It’s 7:50 a.m.. “Maybe if I run, I’ll just barely make it,” she says.

As she nears the first intersection, a blond boy with headphones appears. He hums along to his music while walking. Nano begins flailing her arms like pinwheels in an attempt to stop suddenly. “Watch out!” she yells. It’s too late. The collision causes an explosion felt all over town. A few moments later, debris hits fellow high-school student Yuuko Aioi.

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