Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! is probably the best anime of the Winter season, so let’s review what we can of its manga and learn a bit more about how a certain mangaka came to live out the dreams of his lively characters.
Time has already come
The sun is gone – no more shadows
Can’t give up, I know, and this life goes on
I’ll be strong
I’ll be strong
Isn’t it exciting when two artists that you’ve admired for years end up collaborating with each other? It’s a heartening moment when you realise that the world is a much smaller and more interconnected place than you’ve given it credit for and that two artists that you’ve admired for so long also admire each other, like when the stars aligned and Masaaki Yuasa worked on a Taiyo Matsumoto manga in 2014’s Ping Pong anime. I suppose you could say I still haven’t gotten over that!
On a similar note, in August, it was announced that Hiroshi Hamasaki is directing a new Blade of the Immortal anime for this year’s Autumn season. On this blog, that is big news, and the teaser confirms it: it’s a match made in heaven; the perfect material for a talented director too often saddled with ill fitting material versus a beautifully drawn, violent seinen manga that’s just aching for a faithful adaptation.
Do I have the discipline to <schedule my posts ahead of time>? I’ve no idea! It should be an interesting experiment though… — me, in April
Well, I have the answer now: no, I do not have the discipline! For a little while, I tried, but nothing really sparked. From the moment that I stepped off the treadmill, I just stopped thinking about anime altogether. I guess I just needed the rest. Anyway, my little Spring hiatus gave me a chance to think about how I’m approaching anime and this blog.
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.
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.
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.
The new Mob Psycho 100 II trailer was released last week and I’m pumped! I admire its story but what’s really pushing me over the edge is the animation. It’s such a weird looking anime, heavily influenced by One’s manga, but brought to life by Bones in a rare and lavish attempt to go all out on a story that emphasises the rough and messy over the clean and consistent.
It’s easy at first. You just need to watch anime. That’s all it takes. For a few years, that’s all I did. I finished one anime and moved to the next. At some point though, things changed. I became curious and the sub-culture opened itself to me. Why anime? I don’t know. It’s been this way for a long time. I enjoy other hobbies, but anime, being an anime fan, is still important to me.