Rural Japan in Anime – Beautiful, Powerful, and the Root of Japanese Identity


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One aspect of anime that I find particularly interesting is the depiction, and use of the countryside. There are a number of series such as Durarara that focus exclusively on the big city, looking at under classes, dark dealings, and the more shadowy elements of society. But when a series is set in, or uses the countryside, we are often presented with a very different vision of Japan, especially if the series also focuses on school children (which a significant number of them do). Read more of this post

Idols in Anime – An Idealised Vision of Perfection


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Every country has idols, those artists and boy or girl bands who are often portrayed as the ideal, the perfect incarnation of what it means to be human. Their public image attempts to show a clean personality, somebody without any character flaws or little vices that might bring them down to earth like mere mortals. Read more of this post

Fate Stay/Night: Unlimited Blade Works – How to Make Anime Boring


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I have never been a big fan of Fate, or even Type-Moon, quite the opposite. The stories tend to be overly complex, and set in a world that is potentially interesting, but ultimately ignored in favour of boring, one-dimensional characters that achieve very little. Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works is simply another in a line of Type-Moon adaptations that fail to create any sense of excitement or entertainment from a convoluted, and empty world. But, before I get onto that, let us look at some of the elements that mean watching a Fate anime will always be an exercise in endless frustration for me. Read more of this post

Behind the Façade: Hibike Euphonium and the Pressures of School Life


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Hibike Euphonium provides us with a snapshot of school life, and the ordinary, everyday workings of an afterschool club and those who are a part of it. We are given the opportunity to look at how complicated a social group this club is, and the myriad different attitudes, ideals, and ideas that something apparently as simple as playing in a concert band can be. Like most anime, the afterschool club is a focal point for all the drama, human interactions, problems, tensions, and character growth. Rather than examination and studying – although we can assume they still exist – these characters are preoccupied with their club. Some may continue to participate out of force of habit, others may be very serious about their club, and there are also those who may simply have nothing better to do, and had to join a club anyway. The school space within anime like Hibike Euphonium remains central to character development, acting as the focal point for all of their hopes and worries, and serving as the one space where they are capable of exploring new ideas and approaches to life, seemingly without worry. Read more of this post

Horror, Ghost Stories, and Mischievous Spirits – Tales of The Strange and Anomalous in Anime


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This post was partly influenced by comments I have seen on forums, and twitter in the past criticising horror anime for its inability to scare the viewers, alongside problems with writing and characters. Horror in Japanese culture can be both terrifying, but also seem somewhat benign – it deals with a variety of different themes, but the most important, and arguably the most used is that of spirits and the effect they have on the human world. Having said that, I also believe that the term ‘horror’ when it comes to describing Japanese ghost stories is somewhat misleading, and feeds a series of assumptions about the stories content and whether or not it might be scary. Read more of this post

Least Interesting Anime of 2014:


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Now that my favourite anime of 2014 are out of the way, its time for a post on the anime I found least interesting this year. Read more of this post

Favourite Anime of 2014:


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Like previous years I wont be putting these series into any particular order, which is probably the hardest thing I can think of doing – partly because I don’t like scores, and also because I don’t really have a particularly favourite anime this year.  Read more of this post

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