Here in the continental United States (at least on the east coast), March has been a pretty frigid, unpredictable season for us. However, it seems that the Aniblogger community has been heating things up to balance that out this month! We’ve got some hot posts about topics from all across the board, it seems, ranging from this season’s big picks like Violet Evergarden and Yuru Camp, to a postmortem for musical group Kalafina, to some important, current discussions about our larger anime community as a whole, and how we can look to shape ourselves and our perspectives going forward. There’s a little something for everyone here, so stay a while, check out our picks for the month, and hopefully find something that speaks to you!
The Politics of Gatchaman Crowds – Zeria
Zeria is someone that I was very new to until recently and immediately subscribed to after just a few videos. Each video is filled with amazing in-depth analysis and brings a completely new perspective to the shows I enjoy. This time around, Zeria looked at Gatchaman Crowds and it’s sequels, showing what the show has to say about modern-day politics, interestingly depicting both the good and bad of democratic systems and leaving us room to come to our own thoughts and conclusions. This one is great!
Violet Evergarden: History and Feminism – Punished Hag
Punished Hag brought up a lot of things I and a few others have talked about for Violet Evergarden but in such an incredible and deeply critical way, much better than what I have written. Specifically, she looked at VEG’s representation of war children, PTSD, and the use of the pseudo-historical setting of VEG. The latter of these was very interesting to read and see how that has influenced the representation of Violet and other women in the show, paralleling real life and other fiction based in the post-WWI era and their ideas on working women but possibly in a more positive representative note. I love Violet Evergarden and deeply enjoyed this piece, dissecting the pros and cons of Violet and how she as a female character is portrayed. Definitely give this one a read.
Shelter is Poetry in Motion (and a project for us) – Drunken Anime Blog
To finish my favorite three this month, Drunken Anime Blog did a wonderful post about Shelter and how it’s able to tell such an incredible and emotional story in six minutes with almost no dialogue. Refraining from spoiling anything about it, the post instead dives into how extremely delicate and hard it can be to emotionally touch someone in a short amount of time as well as how art like this gives so many interpretations. I loved reading this and have cried multiple times to the music video for Shelter. Give it a read and please go watch the music video as well (it’s linked in the article).
Rin and Her Space – CrunchyRoll Blog (Nick Creamer/Bobduh)
It should come as no surprise that my first pick for this month is about Yuru Camp, given the fact that it has pretty solidly cemented itself in the position of my anime of the Winter 2018 season. A large portion of this is because of the show’s deep appreciation and deft deployment of its comfy aesthetic, but I have to give it this distinction more so due to its handling of the traditional slice-of-life club hijinks genre. Bobduh makes an excellent case in this piece for how Yuru Camp works consistently to celebrate not just the fostering of new passions and friendships found through said passions, but also the joy and wonder that comes from solitude, as well. Much of the piece is spent discussing how Rin’s love of solo camping is not diminished, changed, or shamed by the bombastic addition to her life that is Nadeshiko and her own new-found love of camping. Much as Bobduh himself says in the piece, I am for sure a person that, for all of my own social tendencies, has a distinct love and need of solitude, and it’s great to see a show that does not look to “fix” the loner character. There’s far more to this analysis than just that, however, so give it a read!
Speaking of analysis, Grant The Thief (Grant) composed a thought-provoking and genuinely important thread earlier this month regarding the ways in which media in general, but specifically anime, is critically analyzed, and the pitfalls that folks often encounter when engaging in some form of media critique. In particular, this thread hones in on the ideas of critical analysis through “lenses, perspective, and approaches to works,” and the ways in which there is often a great deal of misunderstanding or miscommunication between fandom members viewing and expressing said views.
There’s a lot of important points made here, but one of the most crucial, in my view is that there are many different, massively divergent ways in which to view and examine media, and it is greatly beneficial to be able to read and examine a piece of media through these numerous lenses. One does not necessarily have to agree with those readings, but it is important that we acknowledge that others can do so, and that having open critical discourse with divergent views can make our overall discussion of a piece of media far richer.
It is also important to note that a huge point that Grant mentions is that these different viewpoints are generally not presented as the way to view any given work; they are simply put out there as a particular way to view a piece of media (an example he uses is that someone highlighting a feminist viewing of a show may be doing so solely to emphasize one particular aspect of it; it is not necessarily representative of the entire view of the piece). Given how reactionary and caustic some discussion of anime can be within our fandom, especially when it comes to the idea of critical analysis, I think this thread is a very valuable read – even if you are of the same mind, have already thought thoughts like this, etc., it still serves as a good reminder that we can still be open and cordial in our discussions of the media we consume, despite having differences in the way we view media.
On gatekeeping in the anime community – Thoughts That Move
I didn’t really mean for my posts that I picked for this month to trend towards the anime community specifically instead of anime itself, but here we are. If you had been anywhere around Anitwitter around the beginning of the month, you likely saw some discussion of the “MAL profile link or it didn’t happen” Tweet that went out in response to celebrities talking about enjoying anime, specifically with, for instance, Kim Kardashian attributing her then-current hairstyle to being inspired by Darling in the Franxx’s Zero Two. While there has been quite a bit of, shall we say, heated discussion over this, Thoughts composes a solidly measured response to this, discussing how even though this is obviously a joke, it is one that is indicative of a culture of gate-keeping that seems to be a cornerstone for so many within the anime community.
With a perspective that is highly positive, constructive, and informative, Thoughts discusses a number of the responses, fears, etc. that have surfaced in the discussion of this, ultimately working to discuss how instead of viewing “outsiders” becoming fans of anime as a bad thing, one might consider instead that doing so is ultimately a boon for the fandom/industry as a whole. It’s a wonderful response to the discussion that has swirled around the incident, and it’s one that I would say should probably be required reading at this point if you’re in any way invested in anime and its diverse communities as a whole.
I couldn’t say that I’m too knowledgeable about the idea of Class S within media, but what I can say that Citrus has been one of the more controversial anime in terms of why people enjoy the show this season, and for obvious reasons of its themes and its portrayal of them. ZeroReq goes above and beyond in this article, detailing about the ideas of Class S being this important backdrop for the show of Citrus and something that the audience should keep in mind as we watch the show unfold. Interestingly, he also talks about how the incest portion is related to the idea of Class S’s portrayal within Citrus as well, and while Citrus isn’t necessarily a formal part of the Class S genre, it has some aspects that make it heavily influenced by those ideas.
This article is definitely something that fans and critics should give a look regarding the show, as I understand even through watching it that Citrus is both problematic and also an important show to note in today’s societal and cultural discussion. ZeroReq has done an excellent job with this article, and if you have any interest in these sort of topics, it’s definitely an educated and informed view of these ideas that should be given a look.
A Tribute to Kalafina – The Moyatorium
One thing that’s a huge part of anime for me is all of the musical groups that perform the openings and endings for the show, along with some of the major composers for OSTs. It’s one of the smaller details of a show that I always enjoy the most when I hear some band I recognize for the opening, or when I recognize a particular style for the soundtrack in the show. Kalafina is one of these groups, and while I wouldn’t call them one of my favorites, they are definitely an iconic one, performing songs for many shows (most notably the darker Madoka ED, the Fate franchise, Aldnoah.Zero, and many others). This isn’t to mention that they were paired with Yuki Kajiura (composer of OSTs for Madoka, SAO, the Fate series, and most recently Princess Principal) as their main composer for their group.
This article reflects on some of the more intricate details of this group, in light of the recent news of their disbanding in the spring, along with reflecting on some of the more historical aspects of the group as well. This article touches on some of the aspects of why Yuki Kajiura and one of the singers decided to part from the group as well, delving into the issues of how artists view their work as an important part of themselves. There’s plenty of interesting details about the group within this article as well, and I heavily thank Moyatori for releasing an article like this. It really goes to show of how some of the production aspects behind an anime can really reflect how the show is made and can affect the tone, even if it’s a smaller detail like which singer group sings the opening or ending.
You will be missed, Kalafina.
How Dagashi Kashi Frames The Devitalisation of Rural Japan – Alex Jackson/Hoenn Hippo (Fighting for Nippon)
To highlight one of the anime from the season that’s been largely forgotten about, this article by Alex Jackson from Fighting for Nippon (AKA @theHoennHippo) is about Dagashi Kashi S2, a short comedy show about sweets. While there’s plenty of both positive and negative aspects that have been discussed about the show as the original show aired regarding its characters and comedy, Hippo decides to take a different approach regarding the show, talking about how an arc of Dagashi Kashi brings a bit of a tonally darker to the show regarding the dying culture of small towns. The loss of small cultural pockets within rural towns is something I can relate to due to the nature of the state that I live in being in a very similar position.
While in Japan its a population problem, in the state of West Virginia where I live, it’s more of just people leaving for better opportunities, which isn’t too far off from the sort of situation in Dagashi Kashi S2. Rural areas have a sort of culture to them which is a shame to lose, but it’s obvious to see why they’re dying out and sort of brings a melancholic inevitable goal towards their fate, something the town in Dagashi Kashi faces as well. This article really makes you think about these things, all within the aspect of a smaller comedy anime about Japanese snacks.
Thank you Hippo for this very poetic and informative read!
This was probably one of the more diverse and content-heavy months that we’ve seen from the community in a while and we would have loved to share about a dozen and a half more articles that we enjoyed with you guys, but I’m pretty sure we would have broken WordPress in order to do so. There was just so much content this month, and we’re glad to see that being the case! You guys just blew this month out of the park with the content, and while we can’t really say the same for ourselves in terms of volume of content, the quality has been top-notch all around the community.
Thanks for everyone that wrote pieces or created excellent discussion this month, as it’s great to have all of ya’ll in the community talking and discussing about the shows that you love and enjoy (or ones that you don’t, whatever floats your boat). We hope that the future months will be just as interesting and content-rich as this one!
As always, if you think your piece was interesting and we didn’t manage to see it, then link it below in the comments or reply to us on Twitter! We can’t promote what we don’t know about, so feel free to plug your own content as well.