anime

Shiny Chariot the Guidepost

“There is the story about Hayao Miyazaki entering the anime industry because he was moved by Panda and the Magic Serpent. Then he watched the movie again afterwards and was disappointed by how bad it was. 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.”

-Yoh Yoshinari, interview with AnimeStyle (2013)

It’s time to talk about Akko Kagari’s Panda and the Magic Serpent: Shiny Chariot.

(more…)

Paneling 101: Scum’s Wish and Doukyuusei

Just over four and a half minutes into the short film, paneling appears in Doukyuusei.

First, the hands of guitarist Hikaru Kusakabe appear in an isolated panel, centered over black. Next, his band is shown with the lead singer thrashing wildly, the drummer’s hands and hair nearly a smear in the background. Finally, Hikaru is shown again, isolated and still, save his strumming hands.

In this moment, he’s thinking of his classmate — and soon-to-be significant other — Rihito Sajou. The band moves around him, but he’s lost in his own world, as shown by isolating his moving fingers in a panel and later, his still body in a full frame. Paneling is used a few times in Doukyuusei, always to display heightened emotion or to draw attention to the feelings of a specific character. It reminded me of the currently-airing series Scum’s Wish, which uses paneling as its primary visual technique.

(more…)

The Many Faces of Sucy Manbavaran

impatient sucy little witch academia episode 8, little witch academia episode 8 sucy mushroom dream impatient sucy

Every episode of Little Witch Academia reiterates the theme of inspiration. Protagonist Akko Kagari embodies this theme through her love for disgraced entertainer Shiny Chariot — which she shouts from the rooftops despite Chariot’s poor reputation in the magical world. School prodigy Diana Cavendish was also inspired by Chariot, but keeps her love hidden rather than face similar ridicule that Akko inspires.

When Lotte Yanson received her own, poignant episode about her love of night fall, a trashy and expansive novel series with a rabid fanbase, it became likely that Akko’s other cohort, Sucy Manbavaran, would receive her own episode as well. Although the main narrative focuses on Akko’s love of magic against the backdrop of magic as a dying art, supplementary stories involving other characters within the series are only natural, especially for a series that’s more episodic in nature.

I knew that a Sucy episode was on the horizon, but was also apprehensive about its execution.

Sucy Manbavaran is a deceptively tricky character. Her role in Little Witch Academia has been fairly one-note, and while that note is hilarious it also toes the line between lovably insane and genuinely awful. Giving her a sad backstory, or any backstory that explained why she is who she is, would ruin her delightful, occasionally evil, nature. Nothing ruins a joke more quickly than explaining the joke, and I was worried that Sucy’s episode would do just that.

As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about.

(more…)

Introducing Ringo Oginome — Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 2

ringo oginome toilet penguindrum episode 2, mawaru penguindrum episode 2 ringo's fate speech, i love the word fate ringo oginome mawaru penguindrum, pink toilet ringo oginome mawaru penguindrum

“I love the word ‘fate.’ You know how they talk about ‘fated encounters.?’ Just one single encounter can completely change your life. Such special encounters are not coincidences. They’re definitely . . . fate. Of course, life is not all happy encounters. There are many painful, sad predicaments. It’s hard to accept that misfortunes beyond your control are fate. But I think sad and painful things happen for a reason. Nothing in this world is pointless. Because, I believe in fate.”

-Ringo Oginome, Mawaru Penguindrum, Episode 2

Ringo Oginome is a complex character, steeped in guilt, longing, love, and later, forgiveness. Her many facets make her not only tolerable within the scope of Mawaru Penguidrum, but wholly lovable, despite her introduction in the series’ second episode as the stalker of the Takakura brothers’ homeroom teacher.

She’s introduced with a grand speech about fate, rivaling the iconic opening monologue from Shouma Takakura in the series premiere and the equally passionate closing words of his brother Kanba that bookend the episode.

She’s also introduced with a toilet flush, stars wafting from the bowl like a lingering, undeniable stench.

(more…)

Digimon Tri’s Return to the Digital World

tk and elecmon digimon tri, takeru takaishi tk digimon, tk grown up digimon tri elecmon, tk meets elecmon again primary village digimon tri fourth movie

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.

(more…)