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.
Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! is a love-letter to anime and, more broadly, the boundless potential of animation. It’s also really fun.
I have dreams. I want to do something with my life. I want to be remembered. In my own little world, everything revolves around me. Isn’t it terrifying then to imagine a world where all of those important feelings, the very things that make you what you are, can be compressed into a memory ‘chip’ small enough to fit into the palm of your hand? Such is the way of things in the 2008 dystopian anime series Kaiba. It’s been 11 years since Masaaki Yuasa unleashed this utterly unique anime on the world, but does it still hold up today?
If anything, it’s more relevant now than ever!
In 2017, Masaaki Yuasa directed The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl, which is a film set in the same fictional universe as his 2010 series The Tatami Galaxy. I really liked The Tatami Galaxy. I remember thinking that it was a more conventional (and therefore more accessible) anime than his other works at the time (Mind Game, Kemonozume and Kaiba) but it was still unmistakably his anime: raw, hyperactive and cathartic. At that same time, I didn’t know anything about its author, a certain Tomihiko Morimi, who I’ve later realised has a signature style all of his own. He wrote The Eccentric Family too.
Hey guys. I know, I know. It’s been nearly 2 years. Putting pen to paper hasn’t been easy. I’ve been a bit jaded and distracted, but still, I think about writing. Every time I walk away, something brings me back. It’s because I love writing. I honestly miss it. This year I put down some resolutions, and one of those was to write again for this blog. I’m rusty, though. I’ve been thinking about where to start, but every time I think I’ve got something, the inspiration drifts. There are so many voices, so many opinions, so much noise, it’s hard not to feel small, or like a drop in an ocean. The more I think, the less confident I feel, but I still remember, I like myself when I write. I will keep going.
Even when there’s a guy like Masaaki Yuasa handling the adaptation of one of your favourite stories, there’s always a small worry that something won’t click. In Ping Pong‘s case especially, pairing Yuasa with mangaka Taiyou Matsumoto was almost too perfect, because as any one who has read Matsumoto’s other works will know (Tekkonkinkreet and Sunny amongst them,) his drawing style is really unique, favouring jagged and uneven lines, an aesthetic that’s also much like Yuasa’s own for Mind Game, Kemonozume and Kick Heart.
Visually then, these two guys go against the grain, but that in itself is just a superficial thing and not reason enough to care. They also happen to be masters of their respective crafts. Kaiba, The Tatami Galaxy, Tekkonkinkreet, Ping Pong and Sunny. These two are amongst the best working in animanga today, so when the Ping Pong anime was announced, it felt too perfect; too much like a dream; something had to go wrong, right?!
Actually, no. Three episodes in and Ping Pong has been brilliant.
Of all the anime I’ve seen this year, probably the one that deserves blogging the most is The Tatami Galaxy. Life imitates art; and looking back on the past year, or the part of my life which, in many ways has abruptly stumbled to an end of sorts I can qualify the title. For me, it really has been a Tatami Galaxy kind of year.
I’m a follower of people in the anime industry, but mostly, it’s just the (good) directors I like to keep tabs on. I delve into their works and the more I find, the more I trust in those same people to deliver yet more good anime. Hayao Miyazaki is a popular example, and Masaaki Yuasa is another. I have faith his talent and I’m happy to sit here, passively, and take whatever he throws at me, which is why I now find myself both fascinated and horrified by some of the reaction to the first episode of The Tatami Galaxy.
I’m totally hyped about seeing the first episode of The Tatami Galaxy (Yojohan Shinwa Taikei). It finally aired this evening in the beloved noitaminA block and is already streaming on Funimation‘s video site, but… I’m region blocked! It’s been a while since I’ve been excited enough about a series to feel as frustrated as this, but, alas, rather than implode, I’ve decided to start writing this post instead! (However, if you’re based in North America, you can stream The Tatami Galaxy for free, like, right now! You guys are so lucky!)
I realise it’s been a long time since I last wrote, and I’m sorry if you’ve been hitting this blog every day since looking for a new post (Remember guys, that’s what RSS is for.)
I guess you could say I fell off the (anime) wagon; I was half-way through writing a post about Durarara!! when I realised I just wasn’t feeling it as well as I should (my writing, that is. Durarara!! is really good, but you knew that already.)
When something like that happens, that vague lack of inspiration, it’s usually as sure a sign as any that I’m burnt out and need a break (and this blog was going so well in 2010, too!) Alas, it’s now April already and a new season beckons.