As I reflect on how things have been going for the blog since November last year, I’m satisfied that I’ve been able to post something new most weeks. I feel like I’m into the routine of writing about anime again. The Winter season was good for me: from Dororo and The Promised Neverland through to Run with the Wind, it had a lot that I was able to empathise with and write about. I’m sure I can continue in this vein, but I’m thinking of changing tack instead.
The Promised Neverland was great. At some point during its run, I started watching new episodes as soon as they were out. Every episode seemed to end on a massive cliffhanger, teasing me to the point of screaming (in frustration, but I know where your mind’s going!) I can only speak for myself and it’s hard to know how fans of the manga felt, but as an anime-only viewer, I can’t complain at all: by the end, I was compulsively watching The Promised Neverland.
Boogiepop and Others is many things, but an anime for casual viewers it is not. Unless you’re willing to give it your full attention, it will leave you behind. One measly episode a week is not nearly enough to keep track of such a complicated web of things: to be honest, I’ve spent the last week watching it and even then I was still feeling lost by it all. This is just the nature of Boogiepop: it sets out to confuse, only to unravel from there, but like a particularly tough knot, there is satisfaction to be found in untying it all.
What a treat episode 11 was.
At this point, I have to say I think this anime is as good an adaptation as fans of The Promised Neverland could have hoped for. It’s the best kind of escapism: I lost myself watching this episode, it flew by so fast, and I can hardly stomach that there’s now only one more left.
I could end up watching a lot of anime come April.
Watching Dororo has helped me realise that Kazuhiro Furuhashi is one of my favourite anime directors. He is the man responsible for directing the breathtaking Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal (Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuioku-hen) which is a marked departure from Kenshin’s much lighter TV series and tonally has much more in common with Dororo. In short, both anime are grim as heck.
The Great Passage (Fune wo Amu) is about creating a dictionary. The people involved invest decades of their lives into its singular craft, which is no small feat. The series begins as Mitsuya Majime joins the dictionary’s editorial team. He’s a weird guy, introverted, but fascinated by words. Switched from a different job that he was struggling with, it’s like something has finally clicked for him. This is the job he was born to do, but every now and then, he has nightmares about being lost at sea. The water rises about his legs as a flood of words threatens to sweep him away.
Shuzo Oshimi’s Happiness is a beautiful clusterfuck that I can’t get enough of, but let’s get one thing clear: there’s absolutely nothing happy about Happiness.
It all begins when high-schooler Okazaki is bitten by the vampire Nora. She grants him two choices: either live like her, or die.
Really, he has no choice.
When Dororo begins, Hyakkimaru’s at his strongest. Without nerves, he cannot feel pain, and without pain, what is there for him to fear? He can jump higher and fall harder than any man because there are no bones in his legs to break.
In many shonen anime, characters like Naruto and Izuku begin at the other end of the scale. Weak and untrained, their stories are about developing strength, yet Hyakkimaru’s is about developing weakness. Isn’t that weird? For each demon he kills, another part of his body is returned, but with that there is a price to pay.