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


screenshot-00072

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


Hibike! Euphonium - 01

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

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


screenshot-00105

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