Fractale premiered in January of 2011 as part of the noitaminA animation block on FujiTV. The series’ inclusion in noitaminA led to high expectations. The block, putting aside its lame name (animation spelled backwards), has a reputation for interesting and innovative shows, including Honey and Clover, Eden of the East, and House of Five Leaves. Fractale looked like it would fit that mold, as an original fantasy story with beautiful visuals. Unfortunately, while Fractale is set in an interesting world that is well animated, it doesn’t successfully address the interesting and timely problems posed by a world reliant on technology.
Although I’ve been writing this anime blog for a long time now, over 6 years, in fact, I’m still not sure of the kind of blogger I am. I’m not disciplined enough to write every few days, nor do I enjoy deep analysis of anime. I don’t even really enjoy discussing it to any great lengths. But even still, here I am. This has become my home, and I don’t know why. An anime blog.
It’s fair to say that, critically, 2011 was a poor year for Noitamina and (with Guilty Crown in tow) is currently at its lowest ebb. It’s now suffering from an identity crisis, no longer the bastion of josei anime it once was. Chihayafuru is a good example of what’s meant by that; a series that would be a shoe-in for the old Noitamina, but that now, especially in comparison to Guilty Crown, just underlines the confusion one feels about its current state.
It’d be hard to watch No. 6 and not notice how homoerotic it is. I’ve now seen up to episode 5 and it’s notable how blunt it’s becoming in suggesting that Shion and Nezumi are in love. This is not a yaoi series though, it’s not a sexual or pornographic thing, I’m not sure it’s even shōnen-ai, it’s merely homoerotic in the sense that Shion and Nezumi are yet to take things that far.
That ‘yet’ is important, because it strongly feels like No. 6 is heading in that direction and, quite frankly, I hope it does. This is a mainstream series; not some low-budget trash produced for the fans-only, but a noitaminA series animated by the famous Studio Bones, to be seen by all (well, all adults.) For the most part, anime is not the best at dealing with male homosexuality, I mean, just look at the gay characters (or should I say caricatures?) in Gurren Lagann and Tiger & Bunny. No. 6 has the opportunity to become something unique, because Shion and Nezumi are relatively normal people (that ‘relatively’ is important, given Nezumi is bat-shit!)
bateszi: The hope is that this post will be the first in a new monthly feature. I say ‘new’ as if we’re bursting with regular features here, but no, this is more like our first attempt to do anything that isn’t a one-off blog post. Awkward introductions aside, then, welcome to the rare sight of another (and long-overdue) group post on this here blog, which collects our varied thoughts on Blue Exorcist, Toriko, AnoHana and Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko.
Think of this as a Diary of An Anime Lived post if that tickles your fancy.
As much as I love Kuragehime, and as much as I have to say about it, I find it a little bit hard to write about. It hits a little close to home for me, and sweet as it is I really wish I didn’t relate to it as strongly as I do. The girls depicted in the series are less-than-ideal. They’re too short, or too round, or don’t pluck their eyebrows and wear old gray tracksuits. Moreover, they’re all completely obsessed with their own niche interests, shunning the world around them and the company of half the human race in the process.
I’m a fairly proud person: I take two showers a day, have plucked my eyebrows meticulously for years now and get too-expensive haircuts. The reason I relate to “the Sisterhood”, as Funimation refers to them as, is because I completely understand how they ended up that way (so to speak). Simply put, they can’t figure out how to be girls, and so they hide in their otaku-doms, sneering but avoiding the Popular Crowd.
My confession is that I can’t figure out how to be a girl either, irreverent of my pride or my grooming. Let me show you how those misfit girls become who they are.
Although the vast majority of my recent scribblings concern mostly older series, I am (and have been) keeping up with some newer anime, too.
Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu is a name that suggests parody, but this new fantasy series is surprisingly serious, with magic, monsters and adventure. 4 episodes in, it’s difficult to see whether or not it’ll follow through with its potential, but at least the characters are interesting. I picked this up because it’s referred to as Berserk-lite elsewhere and, indeed, it has a very Griffith esque destined-to-go-wrong personality in the smooth-talking, crazy ambitious Sion Astal. I’m holding out for some fascinating character arcs in the future, but it could fast devolve into light-hearted, generic monster-slashing too. Patience is the key, I guess.
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!)
People regularly whine about “ugly” anime, complaining that if a series is ugly, then it’s not worth watching. Natsume Ono‘s style is the finest modern example. Her latest work can be seen in the new House of Five Leaves (which began only last week on noitaminA,) but you may also know her as the creator of Ristorante Paradiso.
Her trademark, polarising style lays in her character design: big, round eyes; wide, thin mouths; pointy noses; they inspire a certain sense of revulsion (with their ‘shark’ eyes and rubbery facial expressions) and would never be considered attractive in the conventional sense, but then, that’s the point; Ono is doing it on purpose, therefore, complaining that her characters are ugly is like complaining that the sky is blue; it’s just her style, so why get so hung up on it? At least it’s trying to set itself apart from the rest (originality.)