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

Mothers and Demons – The Women of Cross Ange


Cross ange 8The history of Japan is filled with female figures, mythical and historical that are as powerful as they are dangerous. They are mothers, demons, and gods, holding the power of life and death in the palms of their hands, and for that reason they are worshipped and feared in equal measure. The story of Japan’s creation, and the roles of its gods demonstrate the power that women hold within Japanese belief and mythology. The Brother and Sister called Izanagi and Izanami are said to have created the islands of Japan and its deities. Izanami gave birth to the Japanese islands as well as to a large number of deities, but giving birth to the fire god Kagu-tsuchi was too much for her. During this painful birth, she was badly burnt, and after one final effort she bore the gods of metal, clay, and water from her vomit, faeces, and urine, only to perish and disappear into Yomi-no-kuni (the underworld). Izanagi in his grief chose to enter the underworld in an attempt to return Izanami to the world of the living. But, instead of following him back, Izanami instead begged him not to look at her in her current state. However, Izanagi could not resist and looked, but seeing her putrefying body, swarming with maggots, he exclaimed: ‘What hideous and polluted land have I come to unawares!’ Read more of this post

Comedy, Carnivalesque, and the Naked Body in Anime: Why the issue of ‘Fanservice’ is more complex than it first appears


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Japanese culture has long been viewed as a curiosity, from the period of European colonialism when The Orient was a place of exotic otherness, to modern day society where Japanese popular culture is viewed as extreme, perhaps hedonistic, as opposed to the more refined tastes of the west. When viewing anime, it is possible to see how it, as a cultural medium, promotes an orientalist view of Japan with its astonishing visuals, along with the numerous exotic and strange creatures and creations. Part of the exoticism within anime is the explicit use of nudity, and more revealing situations where male and female characters are seen in their underwear, or in a more exposed, even fetishistic light. Read more of this post

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