A few weeks ago I pitched a podcast idea to a few friends. We would revisit an old anime to see if it was rewatchable or not and additionally, as one of the friends’ anime experience was and is fairly small, whether it was accessible to an uninformed audience.
This premise isn’t to be confused with the many wonderful anime podcasts out there that genuinely cover older, more vetted material like Anime Nostalgia (who just did a great recommendations episode on older manga) as a recommendation source. Instead, it’s more of a tangentially-related aside at specific genre pieces from the past ten to fifteen years.
My first suggestion was the 2007 Kyoto Animation adaptation of Lucky Star.
Returning to Violet Evergarden was more difficult and emotionally-affecting than I thought it would be.
On July 18, 2019, a man set fire to Kyoto Animation’s main studio, killing 36 people and injuring at least 33. Not-so-coincidentally, I stopped blogging about anime shortly after this happened. Part of my absence from blogging was due to an increased workload at my job. The other part was simple sadness.
Since my initial entry into currently-airing anime (see: watching it streaming weekly rather than through Adult Swim) around 2010, Kyoto Animation’s series have meant a lot to me. I remember when Clannad — a series that I regularly dunk on now, albeit fondly — was one of the more interesting things I had ever seen from anime. From there, I was recommended The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and the now-defunct time capsule of Lucky Star. They all had this one studio in common: Kyoto Animation. Hyouka, Sound Euphonium, K-On!, Free, Nichijou, and others have been some of my favorites alongside adjacent works like Tamako Love Story, High Speed! Free! Starting Days, and Liz and the Blue Bird. Some of my favorite directors and animators have been housed at Kyoto Animation and some of them are no longer alive due to the arson attack last year.
This is a repost of Notes on Hyouka as an Exploration of Detective Fiction as published on Altair & Vega on July 5, 2012. As the post’s original author, I have reposted it here for preservation purposes since that blog is no longer fully functioning. It has not been edited or revised in any way.
It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the work of Naoko Yamada that flowers and flower language have their place in her latest film: Liz and the Blue Bird. For Yamada, flowers take the place of things left unsaid when people are unable to express their feelings for each other due to a physical disability (A Silent Voice), mental illnesses or internal fear (also A Silent Voice), societal expectations (her episode of Violet Evergarden), or myriad other reasons. When important context goes unsaid, Yamada frequently turns to flower language to do the emotional heavy lifting.
Her usage of flowers in Liz and the Blue Bird has a defter touch than A Silent Voice and Violet Evergarden‘s camellia princess. Many things go unsaid or unspoken between leads Mizore Yoroizuka and Nozomi Kasaki and Yamada wisely uses what unites them — music — to express most of them. Flowers create a secondary, background context, featured more prominently in the Liz and the Blue Bird storybook — used as another framing device for Mizore and Nozomi’s relationship — with a few flashes to real-life flowers at key moments between the two.