This week: appreciating the use of color and lighting in Monogatari Series Second Season, thoughts on the specific location of human settlement in Shingeki no Kyojin, how Sonora’s addition shifts the character dynamics of Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C3-bu, and ideas on how to improve upon the detective/mystery carousel which is Danganronpa.
Best episode of the week: Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou
Anime trending up this week: Shingeki no Kyojin
Anime trending down this week: Servant x Service
Uchouten Kazoku (Episode 9)
So how exactly does tanuki society work? Like, not just the election of Nise-emon but what Nise-emon does. Besides misguided and empty respect, what does this position entail that makes it so coveted? Or hell, what does anyone else for that matter, too? Do any of these tanuki have jobs? Who makes money? And how do they afford to live in these homes, let alone feed and clothe their families? It really isn’t clear besides the fact that they’re all sorta mooches who run around Kyoto with superficial problems on their mind (besides being killed and eaten on New Year’s Day). Either way, I don’t really see how this type of society is sustainable or even stable considering how no one seems to do anything. And considering that the series is almost at its climax, I doubt we’ll ever really see anything that describes the setting beyond what we’ve already seen. Kinda sad since I find their little tanuki society to be one of the more remarkable aspects of this anime.
Tamayura ~more aggressive~ (Episode 9)
Finally! FINALLY!! …some conflict in Tamayura. Here I was, sitting there and watching Tamayura this season and thinking that there’d never be any sort of conflict in this anime. Ever. How everyone would always love Fu’s photographs and how everyone would be nice to each other and smiling or joking around. Then comes this old businessman who doesn’t give a shit what anyone else thinks and isn’t afraid to give his honest and critical opinion on Fu’s work, even if it hurts the fragile feelings of others around him. I love it. I love it, not because it made Kanae cry and all the other girls feel uncomfortable but because Fu took his words and his advice and his opinion. I love it because it showed Fu’s resilience to such criticism and her attitude to her audience. And I love it because it finally felt like Fu’s character was growing as a result of an external source. It was the first time anyone or anything has challenged Fu and, by seeing her response to something that the anime intended to be harsh, I felt she handled it extremely well. As a character, Fu should be exposed to these kinds of people who will help push her or pull her on various aspects of her photography, to try new things and to see how she likes them. What was given to Fu in this episode was the opportunity to respond to honest criticism and to improve upon her photography as a result. And although she ultimately decided to retain her old style and take photos with her father’s old camera, she was able to use this challenge as a means to understand what she wants from her photography, which is perhaps more important to her than becoming a better photographer overall. And all this from just one bit of conflict derived from a differing opinion. I love it and it shouldn’t be surprising that this is probably my favorite episode of all of Tamayura.
Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C3-bu (Episode 9)
Having Sonora back in C3-bu really changes the dynamic of the series. Why? Because without Sonora, Yura was the only strong character in the series and the anime revolved itself around her. Now with Sonora returning to the series, her presence will challenge Yura for this dynamic and the two forces will compete against each other. What this means is that Yura is no longer unopposed in C3-bu. Sonora has the command, respect and presence to step up to Yura and to direct the other characters around her. And since Yura has gone all militaristic and hard-ass on everyone, it’ll be easier for Sonora to show her force and have everyone gravitate back toward her character with her sense of understanding and having fun. Of course, considering the strength of Yura’s character, it likely won’t be a quick and easy process, but at least the dynamic of the series will change now that Sonora is out of the hospital and back with her friends in the C3 club.
Silver Spoon (Episode 8)
I don’t get these food looking good/tasting bad jokes in anime. How do they cook things wrong but make it look great? I mean, unless the quality of the food was bad to begin with, how do they make these dishes so wrong? Shouldn’t the food be burned or blackened or raw or frozen or discolored otherwise? And even if the spices or flavoring is off, like when they mess up and use salt instead of sugar and vice versa, it’s not like it’s the worst thing ever. I guess I just don’t understand that joke. Or maybe I just want variation on it. Since cooking jokes are a dime a dozen in anime, maybe it’s just reached that threshold where I don’t find it funny anymore. Then again, I don’t think I’ve ever found that joke funny to begin with. But don’t get me started on those jokes where the food looks bad and then the character tastes it and it’s amazing. Now those jokes, I absolutely love. Can’t get enough of them. They’re anime gold. Really, the pinnacle of Japanese anime.
Haha, just kidding. No, they both suck. Like, really suck. Cooking jokes in anime are literally the worst.
Shingeki no Kyojin (Episode 21)
I’ve always been curious about the geography and location of the human domain in Attack on Titan; the last remaining realm of safety encircled behind these gargantuan trio of walls. Why here? Why was this designed at the safe zone? Who coordinated these walls and for what purpose did they design them to include or exclude? What is the significance of this forest or the mountains or why not extend it or constrict it in certain areas as a result? Little by little, we’re able to piece together various tidbits and aspects of the setting of Titan and the world of Titan with every passing expedition. Seeing these landscapes does help paint a better picture of what this world is like and why certain people live in the areas they do. Not only that but with Eren’s goal of exploring the world as an objective of his at the beginning of the anime, there’s certainly hope it will be accomplished and that he’ll be able to explore the world. I share that romanticism too, wanting to see what’s beyond those towering walls. Wouldn’t that be something to end the series with? I know I’d love it if that were the ultimate goal of Shingeki no Kyojin.
Monogatari Series Second Season (Episode 9)
Art, animation, style, color and presentation are just various components of the mesmerizing and enchanting aesthetics of Monogatari. The franchise has always had a way with its visuals to entice the eyes of its viewers. And the way the anime is staged, through distinctive cinematography and directing, the series is able to stay fresh, bizarre and unique. Of particular note is the use of color, lighting and how the contrast seen here helped to enhance the story of Monogatari. Now I don’t claim to know all the technical details beyond why I like it so much, but I’ve always had a thing for anime where color and lighting play significant roles in the visual style and help impact or influence the anime in whatever capacity possible. With the ninth episode of Monogatari, the contrast in color and lighting at the shrine, with its various visits throughout the episodes and in different time periods, helped differentiate each and every visit. With this visit in particular, the pale, cold colors of Araragi and Shinobu helped express their emotions of concern and surprise. This contrasted nicely against the foreboding blood red background, not only to transition the scene to night to further express the gloom of their situation but to also express danger or warning. It isn’t anything particularly powerful or noticeable but it’s a gorgeous, charming touch that I can’t help but enjoy from this anime. Then again, what don’t I enjoy from Monogatari?
Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou (Episode 9)
The story of Luna, one a fragile girl with a troubled, lamentable past, has always been sad. Her character has always been sensitive and emotional and her connection and attraction to Akari has always been a prominent feature of her character. She was always compassionate and sympathetic, being there for Akari when she joined and listening to her when she claimed to hear the inner voices of the Daemonia. So to see her character taken advantage of like this, especially after the heartbreaking demise of one of her best friends, you can’t help but feel sad. Sure, it’s a bit melodramatic on how everything played out but it doesn’t change the fact that her character was vulnerable and she was exploited. Her loneliness, timidness and regret will now go unattended and unresolved. It’s sad to see that her character was never able to overcome these challenges and that her strengths were turned into her greatest weakness as a character. I can only hope that there’s some resolution with Luna, especially since Ginka was able to have some solution and purpose for her character last episode. However, I’m not sure what will happen to her now that she’s turned into a demonic, naked werewolf girl but hopefully we’ll see her character concluded after going through so much over the course of the anime.
Danganronpa the Animation (Episode 9)
Two things that’d make Danganronpa better would be if the main character, Makoto Naegi, were actually targeted or killed in a murder and the series continued without him. The other would be if he actually planned out and committed a murder, either earning his freedom or earning his execution. Of course, neither of these would be true to the game of which this anime is adapted on, so there’s no chance of that, but just think of how much more interesting and stimulating or exciting it’d be than compared to just playing detective every episode. Hell, if there was some action and excitement in this anime, then just think of how much better it’d be. I’d welcome any capacity of fighting in this anime. Not only that but watching Makoto try to plan the perfect murder, all the details about choosing the right characters and getting everything right or wrong in the murder process… now that’d be fun to watch. As for Danganronpa now, it’s the fourth time around the merry-go-round and I think we’ve seen just about all this series will have to offer.