Yep, it’s that time once again folks! We’re still trying to get the remaining spooks out of our system as October finishes itself out, but just like the many, various candies of Halloween being handed out, we at the Backloggers are handing out sweet, delicious anime articles! Yeah, they’re not exactly tasty like candies, but hopefully you’ll find a post that fits your tastes just like that favorite candy of yours.
I’m gonna be honest right now, I am probably the last person in the world that knows anything about fashion, especially Harajuku fashion, but every time I learn something new about it, I’m completely enthralled by how unique and crazy it is. URAHARA is in that same vein for me, and Emily’s article about how they’re both connected with this crazy and bizarre style just seals the deal about why I find both so fascinating. I realize both are kind of niche topics, but if you’re interested in crazy fashion designs or the art styles of URAHARA, then this article is informative and very clearly show the connections between the two.
To Another World: Why I Love the Isekai Genre — Lethargic Ramblings
It’s been a long-going discussion in parts of the anime community about the isekai genre for a while now, with everyone having their own opinions and takes about how overdone it might be or how almost every story any more is an isekai story. I feel though the genre itself gets a lot more flak than it needs to though, as there are some really interesting stories that come from this sort of genre, as Lethargic Ramblings mentions in his article. Personally, I think that while we do need to continue to criticize stories when they need to be, we also need to leave some room for the genre to grow and expand on its own, as all sorts of stories have their own “bad apples”, so to speak. I’m with Lethargic Ramblings in that isekai as a genre can be very interesting and enjoyable to watch to just take your mind off of things for a bit, as that’s one of many reason we engage with media to begin with.
Anime: The Art of First Episodes — Peach’s Almanac (Chris)
I always find different takes on how people engage with the medium of anime fascinating, and discussions about the “first episode” or the “three episode rule” are one of the more common debates I see, although that doesn’t make them any less interesting. Chris of Peach’s Almanac talks about the importance of the first episode in the grand scheme of a show, and while I don’t personally follow the rule of “first episode has to be good or it’s dropped” all of the time, the first episode can tell you a lot about the nature or traits of the show. Those traits can be discovered via direction, art style, how the characters act, ect., and it’s often uncommon to see shows that go completely off the projected path after the first episode (although shows that do that can be quite the spectacle). The qualities can vary from person to person as to what makes a piece of media important to them, but that’s one of the fun aspects of going into a new piece of media, as seeing the new potential and how it plays out in the first episode is one of the experiences I enjoy the most about anime.
Little Witch Academia Represents What is Wrong with Education in Japan — Rai’s Anime Blog
Honestly, there’s always this feeling while going through Little Witch Academia that the world seems a bit stacked against Akko, even if her headstrong personality doesn’t do her any favors in succeeding. And it turns out, that feeling is pretty spot on. However, while I thought the schools of witchcraft and wizardry were bad, Rai uses them as a great comparison to the whole mess that is the Japanese schooling system. This was a fascinating read and a very interesting perspective on schooling in other countries, what can be good about them, but also what definitely needs to change.
Brainiacs need useless girls – Analysis of the popular romantic trope — Marion from Otaku, She Wrote
One of the most prevalent tropes I can think of for media I consumed growing up in the 90s would definitely have to be the completely useless girl who falls in love with the completely useful man. It’s a trope I’ve never been a fan of, even as a kid, which is why I love Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun’s clever parodies of it. Sadly, it still seems to have found places to stay alive. Here, Marion dissects what this trope is, what issues it creates, and how it’s unfortunately proliferated across not just Western and Japanese media, but also other Eastern media as well, finding footholds in Korean and even Taiwanese shows.
Made in Abyss: A history of going down — Punished Hag
Finally, I wanted to end on Punished Hag’s honestly incredible in-depth discussion on humanity’s love for verticality. Moving from Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy to Norse myth to Lovecraftian lore to even Silent Hill and Dark Souls, Punished Hag uses Made in Abyss to discuss our fascination for mystery and the unknown. PH runs the gamut of how we’ve explored this through giant holes in the ground and how these influences have seemingly made their way into an incredible show from this past season which no doubt will influence many more underground worlds to come. Also, the ending reference was a blast from the past I never needed to remember but still nervously laughed at anyways.
(Quick Note: The original link posted for this article linked directly to the Maho Shojo Gakuen blog, which appears to be down as of the time of editing this. The current link now directs to a cached version of the article, which is available through WordPress Reader.)
Kind of thematically piggybacking off of a post I picked for last month’s rotation, it should come as no surprise that a post about anime-focused academic writing would be totally within my wheelhouse of interest. N’Donna Russell put together a piece earlier this month partially to commemorate the publishing of her MA thesis, as well as to talk about the process of getting into the particular magical girl-focused research she engaged in for it. As someone who wrote a bit about anime during my time in grad school (and wishes I had done so a little more), I really dug the perspective that N’Donna takes to approaching anime as an academic pursuit, how to tackle writing about anime within academia, and how her experience with a medium she once examined cursorily turned into one of deep reading/textual analysis. It’s a cool read, and if you’re even remotely interested in promoting the critical study of anime, I highly suggest checking it out.
The Meaning of WorldEnd’s Title — Frog-kun
Speaking of deep readings, Frog-kun put out a deep dive into SukaSuka / WorldEnd’s deeper themes earlier this month which is fascinating. We covered the show as it aired earlier this year through our episodic posts, and though it wasn’t the best show I had seen that season per se, I deeply enjoyed what it brought to the table. However, Frog-kun’s post thinks about the show in terms and ways that I didn’t even really consider at all during my viewing of the show, and specifically tackles the idea of heroism in a world that doesn’t seem to really have heroes as many would define them any longer. The way in which he examines how the show focuses so much on those left behind in war, of those who do not go to the front lines, of those who are brave and heroic by simply trying to retain a sense of normalcy in the face of the seeming impending end of the world, is pretty incredible, and it really made me go back over the show and re-consider the time I had watching it. Honestly, after reading this, I feel as though I want to watch back through the series with this frame of mind, and I get the feeling that I might be better off for it.
Hana wa Nisemono and Isolation Together — Alex Jackson
The last post I want to talk about here is a guest post by Alex Jackson (site-runner of his blog Hippo Talks About Stuff) for Wave Motion Cannon, wherein which he discusses, in fairly broad strokes, the manga Hana wa Nisemono. Setting the stage by briefly summarizing the gender-bender love plot at play involving two young gay men, where one is turned into a girl, Alex goes about discussing the fascinating intricacies of the the stresses this introduces to the two main leads, and the deep, multi-layered sense of isolation that develops over time. It’s a brief, smart, and nuanced discussion of the piece’s overall plotline, and though it covers most of the major twists and turns of the series itself, I came out of it still very much interested and wanting to give it a read.
We hope you enjoyed that little bag of content that this post has given you. Hopefully you found some sort of content that interests you, but if you ever feel like we missed something, then feel free to plop a message down in the comments, on our site, or on Twitter. We love seeing new blogs, bloggers, and content, so if you know of anything we missed such as a great blog or post, feel free to share them too!
Also, as an update, we promise to deliver a bit more content, as we’ve been dealing with some major life adjustments this month. Moving forward though, we have different sorts of content lined up as the end of the year rolls around, and as always, our normal scheduled seasonal Just Because! posts will continue in two episode blocks similar to the first one. And who knows? We might have some additional analytical posts thrown in there too, as we enjoy writing those the most.
And as always, thanks for reading and hope everyone enjoys the upcoming holidays!