anime

Break in to Break Out: the perfect Persona 5 adaptation

The opening moments of the Persona 5 video game set the player’s expectation for a stylish, visually-immersive experience. Sayo Yamamoto’s opening animation showcases callbacks to her work on the short Endless Night, and later Yuri!!! On Ice, with fluid figure skating and a limited color palette of black, white, and red that reflects the game’s UI design.

Masashi Ishihama’s opening sequence, which debuted during the fourth episode of Persona 5 The Animation, is the perfect combination of Ishihama’s strong sense of color and the game’s aesthetic. Opening with an MTV-like logo on an old television screen (in tried and true Persona fashion) the animation quickly makes use of Ishihama’s visual transitions. These again call back to the game’s attention to detail when it comes to color and integrating pop-up menus into the everyday life of your Persona 5 protagonist — Ren Amamiya in the anime.

(I don’t usually post spoiler warnings, but there are mild game spoilers in this post.)

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The Cactus Flower and revisiting flower language in Darling in the Franxx

In previous posts, I’ve written about flower language in Darling in the Franxx, including floral reproduction, basic genetics, and the names of the plantations themselves. The series’ use of floriography has been a straightforward roadmapDarling in the Franxx eschews subtleties for directness both visually and in its use of symbolism or literature.

There are a few flowers that have gone unmentioned that are far more relevant now — the hibiscus flower and the cactus — in addition to revisiting Kokoro’s Franxx robot: Genista. Hibiscus and various cacti appear multiple times in the Mistilteinn garden alongside the Franxx robots’ various namesakes. These flowers make up the backdrop of Kokoro’s conversations with Mitsuru, which later leads to their partner reassignments and, in the most recent episode, a sexual partnership.

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Violet Evergarden on the power of the written word (and more Victorian-era framing)

The finale of Violet Evergarden is superfluous to the emotional narrative of the series. Violet’s personal journey towards understanding what love means — and learning empathy in the process — ends in the tenth episode, “A Loved One Will Always Watch Over You.” The moment Violet bursts into tears and admits to fellow auto memoir doll Cattleya Baudelaire the difficulty of remaining emotionally detached from Anne Magnolia is the perfect bookend to her first disastrous letter attempt. Not only is she then one of the best in her field at CH Postal Company, but she is a more introspective, aware person — a person who not only recognizes her own emotions, but wields them to help others overcome their own personal problems.

Yet, the series doesn’t end with Episode 10, and continues for three more episodes that include extraneous action and fight sequences in addition to a somewhat hilarious festival that involves dropping letters from airplanes. Violet Evergarden wants to say something about the value of the written word and it’s rarely subtle in its emotional machinations, regardless of how affecting they are to a viewer (yes, I cried at various points throughout the series too) so perhaps the letter festival is, in its own way, a fitting end as well. The series doesn’t need to be subtle to tell its story, but some of Violet Evergarden‘s background subtleties and details tell their own story at the periphery of Violet’s.

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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 Golden Bough and Darling in the Franxx

From its first episode, Darling in the Franxx uses flower language and plant genetics to frame the entire series. It’s not subtle about any of these trappings, which continue to appear in each passing episode week after week not only in commonly-used titles (like pistil, stamen, etc.) but also in flowers found in the on-site greenhouses, in various rooms, and the series’ most recent ending sequence.

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