Wednesdays Watching Anime – The Vision of Escaflowne

April 1, 2020 § 1 Comment

I know, I’ve been gone for over a year, but social distancing is getting to me and my plans for a big comeback aren’t quite together yet. It’s not an April Fool’s prank, though! Instead, I have a real gem to share with you today: the OP for The Vision of Escaflowne, “Yakusoku wa Iranai” by Sakamoto Ma’aya.

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Wednesdays Watching Anime – (Zan) Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei Bangaichi

December 12, 2018 § Leave a comment

Hey, come on in. Sorry I missed you last week, but sit down and let’s talk about the second OP for the (Zan) Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei Bangaichi OVAs, “Ringo Mogire Beam!” by Ootsuki Kenji and the Despair Girls. I know that I’ve already done this one before, with (Zan) Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, but bear with me.

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Net Flux

November 28, 2018 § 1 Comment

In case you missed it, yesterday Netflix made a series of anime-related announcements that shook the foundations of the internet… or, at least, they should have.

Ikari Shinji cradles a wounded Ayanami Rei in Neon Genesis Evangelion

First and most significant, if you ask me, is that Netflix managed to get the rights from Studio Khara to stream Neon Genesis Evangelion worldwide, after years of people assuming that FUNimation would someday pony up the cash to put the TV series in their catalog next to the three installments of Rebuild of Evangelion for which they’ve surely paid dearly in money and in effort. We’ll never know why the Texas-based company didn’t take the plunge, especially after they were bought by Sony last year, but perhaps they saw it as a zero-sum competitor to the new movies and therefore something that’d be best to remain a rarity. If so, it’s sure to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, seeing as this is the first time since the release of the bizarre “Limited Edition Holiday Special” version of the Complete Platinum Collection in 2008 that people have been able to pay money to watch the original show in full—including Evangelion: Death(True)2, better known as Evangelion: Death & Rebirth outside of Japan, and End of Evangelion, which have always been relatively hard to find both new and used thanks to a separate release by Manga Entertainment! After so much time, there is undoubtedly a hunger in Western markets to watch one of the most celebrated anime of all time, especially as it seems like it’ll be available in HD for the first time ever, and Netflix will be the one to reap the benefits of that.

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Wednesdays Watching Anime – Tonari no Seki-kun

November 21, 2018 § Leave a comment

Just a short one today, since I’ve barely gotten over the flu and yet Thanksgiving is already bearing down on me. Why not the OP for Tonari no Seki-kun, “Meiwaku Spectacle” by Hanazawa Kana.

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Key Frames, Episode 38: A Massive Conglomeration of Wizards

November 7, 2018 § Leave a comment

I’m sick with the flu, so I couldn’t write a post for Wednesdays Watching Anime even if I wanted to! Why not listen to the latest episode of Key Frames: A Podcast About Anime instead?

Tatsumi Koutarou performs in the OP for Zombieland Saga

We cover the beginning of the winter 2018 anime season, with some highlights being how bad A Certain Magical Index III is, how good Run like the Wind and Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken are, and how controversial Zombieland Saga is. Afterwards, we choose Another as our spotlight for the next episode, which should interest some of you seeing that I’ve never talked about it on this blog yet really enjoy it both as schlocky horror and as a work by Mizushima Tsutomu, my third favorite director of anime. We’re sure to have something interesting to talk about!

Honestly, I wasn’t very satisfied with how the conversation about Zombieland Saga, but I do think that it’s probably the best thing airing this season. In addition to being very funny, both in its zombie hijinks and its outsized personalities, I’m almost certain that it has something to say about the idol industry, specifically in how the zombie “idols” in the show must be sheltered from the public, need to wear makeup to prevent from sparking outrage, are expected to practice tirelessly, ought never to age, are allowed no inner life, and aren’t really considered “human” like everyone else. It may not be a particularly clever critique, certainly not when they’re breaking their necks headbanging to death metal or attacking a guy in a chicken costume, but it adds some texture to the experience.

I definitely won’t get tired of people blasting the show for the flat, stiff CGI of its idol performances, as if it’s not intentionally taking the piss with non-zombie idol anime like Aikatsu! or early Love Live!. Next they’ll be telling me that they cast Mitsuishi Kotono as Tae-chan exclusively to grunt and growl…

Wednesdays Watching Anime – Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water

October 31, 2018 § Leave a comment

Today we’re doing the OP for GAINAX’s 1990 anime Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water. Go ahead and listen to “Blue Water” by Morikawa Miho!

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Wednesdays Watching Anime – Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge

October 24, 2018 § Leave a comment

That’s right, I’m back and I’ve brought an OP with me to discuss! Let’s talk about “Slow” by Kiyoharu from the anime Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge.

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Wednesdays Watching Anime – Mysterious Girlfriend X

September 19, 2018 § Leave a comment

Sorry about missing last week, but I’d thrown out my back and couldn’t sit at the computer long enough to type. It was exceptionally unfun. No matter, onward and upward! This week, we’re doing the ED for Mysterious Girlfriend X, “Houkago no Yakusoku” by Yoshitani Ayako.

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Space Enough to Grow

September 5, 2018 § 3 Comments

The initial attraction of anime for me was the sense of limitless possibilities. As many people, from Scott McCloud to rabid fanboys on 4chan, have observed, the medium of animation lacks the constraints of reality that afflicts film, even after the popularization of CGI made fantastical sequences commonplace. Animation trumps CGI in its power to represent the symbolic and the abstract. Things that would be utterly implausible in the light of day are empowered by less detail to exist fully formed in our imaginations.

All of that is to say that I was most immediately drawn to sci-fi anime as the genre that served the above strengths of the medium the best.

The Fourth Battle of Tiamat in Legend of Galactic Heroes

Most people who watch anime would agree that, if you’re looking for breadth and depth, the 110-episode OVA series Legend of Galactic Heroes is the place to go for sci-fi, with a plot that involves dozens of characters and a decade of intergalactic conflict between the two empires that they serve. This epic scale, with the feeling of the sweep of history that it imparts, is the first thing on anyone’s lips when they try to talk about Legend of Galactic Heroes, but really its appeal is in the relationships between individuals. People fall for the brash charisma of Reinhard von Lohengramm or the easygoing erudition of Yang Wen-li, or for their respective interactions with Siegfried Kircheis and Julian Mintz. I bet there are even fans of the merchant prince Adrian Rubinsky, with his amorality and his turtleneck.

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Wednesdays Watching Anime – Ergo Proxy

August 29, 2018 § Leave a comment

Another quick one! This week is “Kiri” by Monoral, from the OP for Ergo Proxy.

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