The month of September has been pretty crazy in the Anisphere, the industry, and the meatspace altogether. As a result of said craziness, Owningmatt93 was not able to join us in our monthly roundup post (RIP in peace), but we have persevered and found ourselves a pretty broad variety of fascinating content, so much so that we weren’t able to include all of the picks that we wanted to here!
You want an in-depth look at Mari Okada? It’s here. You want to strap back into the 2000’s and dig into a jazzy AMV? Bub, we’ve got you covered. Do you want some perspective on that Death Note movie that came out on Netflix? God help you, but we’ve got that for you, too. Do you want to get academic, or talk about love, or dig into some talk about taboo and masochism, or other neat stuff? Strap yourselves in, because boy have we got it covered. Whatever the case, you’re sure to find something that tickles your fancy here, so give it a look, and check out some of these pieces that we couldn’t get enough of this month!
How Mari Okada Went From Shut-In to Anime Director – Kim Morrissy
Mari Okada is one of those writers/directors we Backloggers genuinely enjoy in almost every place we see her name pop up. As a writer, Mari Okada has done script writing for Fate/Stay Night, Toradora!, Hanasaku Iroha, and Kiznaiver to name a few from a large list of quality credits, and she’s also done her own original script writing for The Anthem of the Heart and True Tears. She’s become prolific for engaging and realistic dialogue as well as giving life and weight to very emotional scenes. Now, after years of working under some incredible directors, she’s being given the director’s chair for her own originally written film called Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana o Kazarou, to be released in February.
However, life hasn’t always been good to her. Suffering from an abusive mother and an incredibly hard childhood, Mari Okada has gone through massively emotional and cutting hardship, fighting tooth and nail (sometimes literally) to get to where she is now. Kim Morrissy over at Anime New Network has managed to tell an incredible biographical piece on one of the most influential and important women in the Anime Industry and I truly feel everyone should read this.
How Classic Western Stories Shaped the History of Anime – Mother’s Basement
A lot of times we hear of the influence anime and Japan in general has had on the Western market, whether it’s The Matrix’s love for Akira and Ghost in the Shell to how The Magnificent Seven wears its “I’m a Seven Samurai adaption” t-shirt as a badge of honor. However, we don’t always get to see the opposite, how the West has had an effect on the East. I’ve written before very briefly about how the Magical Girl genre owes a lot to Bewitched from back in the day but here, Mother’s Basement does a huge rundown of some incredible shows and films that were deeply inspired by the stories a lot of us know to some extent or another from our own cultures and histories. This was a joy to watch and see how the sharing of ideas is never one way, and how the influences of different cultures can lead to amazing creative works.
AMV So Happy – David Heli
It may be a bit of an odd choice for a shout out but I’d like to come out with an unpopular opinion in this community and say that I love Anime Music Videos or AMVs. A lot of that has to do with growing up with them, sure, but the idea of pairing a perfect song to some master class editing just feels so right for me and hits me in both of my two loves in the world, music and anime. When it’s your typical Linkin Park song done to a collage of images and scenes ripped straight from the show, yeah, it isn’t really impressive or interesting. But that’s not all AMVs can be and it’s unfair to group an entire genre of music video editing together as all the same thing. A great example is Hard-Knock Life by WhiteDex AMV, which is a masterpiece of editing that shows incredible talent and a dedication to knowing the ins and outs of cinematography. From the seamless cuts to the following of the motion on screen to bring us into the next part, allowing the audience’s eyes to follow along easily, it all flows beautifully. Plus that timing… Oh man.
So that said, I’ll probably mention a good one I may find every now and then. If it’s not for you, no harm done here. Just sharing stuff I think is cool.
Anyways, here’s another in a similar vein to “Hard-Knock Life” that uses clever techniques (and one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands) to bring an explosion of color and electro swing that assaults the senses in the best way possible. And if you’re a fan of KyoAni, you might enjoy this as well.
The lovable legend of lavish quality Bobduh has taken it upon himself to write about a wonderful show from this past season that I really enjoyed coming back to every week, Tsuredure Children. Here, Bobduh explains how the strong writing of the show carries each 7-minute episode as well as how carefully this comedy show treats the subject of love with very serious respect. Concise and always well-written when it comes to Bobduh, this one’s another very good read!
Not to toot our own horn but I really felt like this one deserves a second recommendation (and I know GeneralTofu is too humble to do it himself) so Imma do this. This article was a joy to read and is a great comparison of how to tell stories based around food. Each anime mentioned brings something new to the table, and while some succeed better than others, I loved the ideas expressed by Tofu on how Isekai Shokudo takes the best concepts from Rispara and Shokugeki no Souma to make it’s own interesting twist on food anime. A really good read.
Shirobako, New Game, Stella, Seiyuu: Workin’ it out – Punished Hag
Early this month, Hag put together this delightful read about several different anime in the “Cute Girls Doing Cute Things” category (or CGDCT, as she shorthands it). Her particular focus for this piece, that of examining CGDCT-type shows that don’t stick to the traditional high-school setting, is particularly interesting, in that she instead focuses on series that focus on working women doing things that they are passionate about. As she covers Shirobako, New Game!, Magic of Stella, and Seiyu’s Life, she takes time to examine how the women in the show deal with relatable workplace problems, work towards becoming better as employees, deal with the struggles of continued creativity, and own feelings of fragility, among other things. Overall, it’s a nice little look at a few working women shows, so if you’re looking for a change of pace but still want some of that CGDCT flavor, check out this post and give some of these series a go.
Int’l Anime Research Project – 2017 Anime Survey – Mikhail Koulikov
Mikhail runs the blog “Anime and Manga Studies”, which follows academic and scholarly forays into anime and manga. Often the blog posts calls for papers, covers new books regarding scholarly writings on anime and manga, and other related topics. This particular post, however, highlights the International Anime Research Project 2017, headed by Prof. Stephen Reysen of the research-based institution of Texas A&M University-Commerce. While the article itself doesn’t go into any extensive analysis or detail – which is common for posts like this, since they’re only meant to highlight the presence of studies like this – it gives access and attention to the study itself, and also highlights a few accessible papers that some of the study’s members have published in recent years. It’s all really fascinating stuff if you’re curious about taking a scholarly look into anime and fandoms, so if this is your thing, give it a look!
Peter’s piece touches on one of the factors that made this season’s Classroom of the Elite so intriguing – the lack of specificity in how the school’s main system and indicator of success truly works, and by extension, the paranoia and misconceptions that arise from the nebulous nature of the rules. The piece itself mainly focuses on a specific arc in the show, and exhibits how the characters engage with this unknown system in different ways, whether they are trapped by the lack of knowledge, or whether they use that lack of knowledge as leverage in order to manipulate their peers. It really does get to part of the heart of the matter for Classroom of the Elite, and reading this again only cemented in my mind why the show was so consistently interesting to watch this past season. Hopefully, if we end up seeing a second season, these uncertain rules continue to be a driving factor in the drama of the series.
JekoJeko’s piece begins by questioning a particular assertion made about Eromanga-sensei – that its status of being called considered “trash” is so extreme that “[nobody] could have been passionate about it.” Throughout the piece, Jeko considers the nature of Eromanga-sensei as a “trash show”, how it basks in the taboo nature of its content, and how it most certainly can have those that are passionate about the show, and perhaps, as he terms it, masochistic in their pleasure and enjoyment of it. He discusses the nature of masochism in relation to the desire to be punished, and links that to the idea of a modern otaku who basks in the taboo and in the punishment that subsequently comes from enjoying it. It’s a fascinating perspective, and attempting to summarize it in this short forum simply won’t cut it for the minutiae of the discussion and sheer amount of textual interplay that goes on in the piece. Eromanga-sensei is of course a bit of a polarizing topic at this point, and there is certainly heated discussion on both sides, but regardless of whether or not you end up agreeing with the presented perspective, it’s a fascinating read.
Karandi ended up reviewing the Death Note film adaptation that hit Netflix last month, and her piece here attempts to review the film with as neutral a perspective as possible, trying to disassociate the film itself from its source material. This is something that I personally did not adhere to in my viewing of the film, and so her two separate viewings, one as an adaptation of the manga, and one as a set-apart film, offers some interesting perspective on some of the narrative choices that the movie takes, as well as whether or not it actually makes for an enjoyable and worthwhile piece of entertainment. If you haven’t yet seen the film and are looking for a review to give yourself some perspective, or you already have and you want to take another look at how the film might be viewed, this is right up your alley.
Hey, Mythos here to wrap this post up. Honestly, there was a ton of great content this past month, which is clearly seen in the breadth of it we picked out in this post, so I feel guilty we weren’t able to talk about a lot of quality stuff out there, especially from some of our favorite peeps. Rest assured, we read/watched/listened to a bunch of y’all out there and loved every minute of it. This community of bloggers, Youtubers, and podcasters is crazy and is probably one of the best out there when it comes to content and just some gosh dang genuinely great people. Love you all.
Welp, aside from our own writing, hope to see you all next month for some choice pieces to share. Thanks for stopping by!