“So you like poppies, Chise?”
-Elias Ainsworth to Chise Hatori, The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Episode 2
The ink is still drying on Chise Hatori’s signature when the above line appears across the cityscape: April showers bring May flowers. Given Chise’s initial mental state in the opening moments of The Ancient Magus’ Bride, the proverb is obvious. Before reaching the point where she signs that contract, Chise has seen and lived through some horrifying things. This is her turning point.
The Ancient Magus’ Bride also uses flower language liberally throughout its first episode to set the mood, giving small hints and insight into Chise’s circumstances.
It’s rare to find a series that focuses on fashion beyond a unified aesthetic and looks at current trends, especially when it comes to the ephemeral nature of Japanese street fashion. However, URAHARA, despite a few flaws in visual direction and dialogue, tackles just that in a way that, even if unintended, is interesting in context of the current Tokyo street fashion climate.
With this post, I’d also like to announce my return to the Crunchyroll features team. You can find my first post on URAHARA and the current climate of Harajuku street fashion here.
Like last year when I blogged Orange and Kiznaiver, I won’t be putting up posts here announcing my Crunchyroll articles, unless I receive overwhelming feedback requesting this.
“We aren’t singing so we can be used by you!”
-Touma Amagase to President Kuroi (flashback), The Idolm@ster: SideM, Episode 00
A minute into the pre-premiere episode of The Idolm@ster: SideM, I wondered why the venue pictured was so small. The three-man group of Jupiter is a well-known Idolm@ster commodity, after all. Presumably, they’re not even the stars of the SideM anime.
Instead, Jupiter are the end goal at the proverbial finish line for SideM‘s burgeoning trainees. These young men should be filling arenas like 765 Productions do later in this episode — or at least larger concert venues like the one in The Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls‘ “Onegai Cinderella” performance — not performing in a hole-in-the-wall place that looks to be slightly larger than the average bar.
Another minute later, I quickly realized that the venue’s comparatively small size was the point of the entire opening.
*Sakura/cherry blossoms not included.
Watching a reboot or sequel to a classic favorite is inevitably an awkward endeavor. I first experienced this in anime through Sailor Moon Crystal, a reboot of one of the properties that, among other highly personal things, gave me an initial push down the path of becoming a lifelong anime fan. Crystal was a homecoming at first, then a massive disappointment, then a fun return to a franchise that resonated with me unlike any other media property from elementary school through my own adolescence.
Even returning to Naruto through Boruto was accompanied by an odd feeling of time passing without me. I was never deeply immersed in the world of Naruto, or even too emotionally attached to any of the characters. Despite never finishing the Naruto anime itself, I enjoyed the time I spent watching it and my passive participation in the fandom consuming fanworks. Perhaps this is why Boruto initially registered as a fanwork itself, albeit an official one, in my mind.
Yet, Card Captor Sakura is neither Sailor Moon nor Naruto for me. Revisiting Card Captor Sakura is another, different experience and return to a beloved franchise.