Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – The Simpleton and The Master


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Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu represents one of the few times when anime have explored the post-war period in Japan, presenting it’s audience with a glimpse into a period of immense change and modernisation, where old is replaced by new, and traditions are either pushed to one side, or forgotten. It is a series about Rakugo, a very Japanese, and highly distinctive genre of comic monologue that can be described as Japan’s ‘talking art’. Read more of this post

Shoujo-tachi wa Kyoua wo Mezasu – Choosing Your Path in Life


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I’ve always had a soft spot for anime that focus on school life, its just one aspect of the anime medium that fascinates me. Many may complain about its almost never ending presence, perhaps justifiably so, given the numerous generic, even poorly constructed series that have been released over the years. But even then, the actual school setting remains one that interests me; it is arguably one of the most important aspects of anime, and the stories that anime portray. Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu uses this familiar setting to explore ideas of careers, and what one wants to do after high school, and important question in Japanese society where success is expected, but conformity remains central to its social fabric. The careers form that we briefly glimpse, and the importance placed on choosing a path after high school are very important aspects of school focussed anime. Read more of this post

Boku Dake ga Inai Machi – The Memories of a Ten Year Old


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Now this was an interesting first episode, with some interesting little details, and all the elements of a thriller. But, I couldn’t necessarily approach it as a thriller, or even a murder mystery, rather it starts off as a story that deals with memories and the effect they can have on our current lives. As the series central character, Satoru is clearly controlled by his past in one way or another, and is largely incapable of delving deeper into his memories, thus resulting in failed manga projects. I wouldn’t call him apathetic, or emotionally stunted, but he is certainly a very closed individual who keeps to himself. Read more of this post

Musaigen no Phantom World – The Ghostbusters go to High School:


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I do love Kyoto Animation – they have produced many of my favourite anime over the years (although I’ve never been a big fan of Haruhi), and may well continue to create series I enjoy watching for many more years. Saying that, Musaigen no Phantom World is a step back when compared to recent series like Hibike Euphonium, and yet, I still rather enjoyed the first episode. As setups go it’s a fairly standard Light Novel story, with a school, phantoms or ‘youkai’, and a plot that allows our central characters to interact with these phantoms, and even capture them. Read more of this post

Show by Rock – Pure Madness


screenshot-00201Well, that was certainly an experience, one of those moments when all the collective insanity hidden deep within the anime industry is given the opportunity to see the light of day. As a concept I rather liked the episode, and even the weird CG wasn’t particularly distracting, perhaps because it was more of the ‘cute and cuddly’ variety, rather than attempting to use CG in creating realistic looking characters. Also, Tarou turned into a heart-shaped talking guitar, which was the natural career path given his many, and hilarious failings in anime production. Read more of this post

Arslan Senki (The Heroic Legend of Arslan) – Ignorance is Bliss


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Arslan Senki got off to an interesting start – introducing us to a country resembling medieval Persia. The story deals with some interesting themes revolving around the consequences of slavery on a society, the issues that having an absolute monarch who views ordinary citizens as little more than cattle, and the problems with religious fanaticism and obsession. Through all of this we follow Arslan, the prince of Pars (the country roughly based on medieval Persia) as he tries to understand the world he lives in, and how he, as someone who is supposed to rule must deal with the intricacies of medieval politics and religious beliefs. Read more of this post

Aldnoah.Zero – What was once merely stupid is now even worse


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It’s hard to describe how utterly ridiculous, ludicrous, stupid, and often downright insulting Aldnoah.Zero is. As a series it has a lot of promise, with elements of the narrative, plot, characters, and setting lending themselves to an interesting story that explores themes of envy, social and cultural isolation, and a sense of superiority instilled in a population in order by the ruling elite to maintain their control. Other series such as Aquarion Evol, Yamato 2199, and to a lesser extent Rinne no Lagrange have all dealt with similar themes and they have all been entertaining, with well rounded characters, and a story that doesn’t lurch from one bizarre and unnecessary reveal to another. Read more of this post

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