A Love Letter to Mafuyu

WARNING: this post will be NSFW. The writer has attempted to lean away from it as much as possible, but due to both the subject matter and the character featured, discussion of sexuality is unavoidable. It will contain links, images, and text related to sex. You will likely find it weird, awkward, and a little uncomfortable. Your opinions of the writer may be tarnished. If any of these things are things you don’t wish to see, please turn back now.

Falling in love is weird and painful. Falling in love with a fictional character is really weird and really painful. But there are few things as painful or as weird as falling in love with a character from animated pornography. Continue reading “A Love Letter to Mafuyu”

Re:Zero – Earning its Reputation

Re:Zero isn’t a show that should work on paper.

After all, it’s yet another light novel about a genre-savvy protagonist who ends up in a fantasy world and ends up surrounded by a bunch of cute girls. Nothing we haven’t seen multiple times a year for the past few years. Even on paper, its gimmick doesn’t seem particularly fresh or groundbreaking. It’s a Groundhog Day loop, a type of narrative so common that I can refer to it as a Groundhog Day loop without having to define the term for most readers. What’s more, the characters aren’t particularly well-developed or compelling, and there’s a whole lot of ugly CG.

And yet, somehow, it works. Somehow, despite it being like so many other soulless things we’ve seen before, the show is actually–against everything I assumed–legitimately compelling. Continue reading “Re:Zero – Earning its Reputation”

Born With a Silver Spoon: The Themes of Silver Spoon

A quick note: if you haven’t already read it, I would highly recommend reading my previous blog post on the setting of Silver Spoon, as the setting is a highly important lense the themes of the series are viewed through. In addition, this post will contain spoilers for the manga past the point the anime covers. As it’s a slice-of-life, there aren’t any groundbreaking plot twists, but if you want to experience the manga entirely for yourself, you should do so before reading this article.

Silver Spoon, as a slice-of-life, has a plot that’s going on mostly in the background. However, it does have very strong themes that are presented almost immediately.

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“There’s a saying in other countries that saying those born holding a silver spoon will never want for food as long as they live. It’s like a symbol of prosperity.”
“I’ve heard that in some places, they give a silver spoon to a newborn in the hopes that they will never have to worry about going hungry. Times are hard right now in this recession, but you could say that all the kids born into farming families had a silver spoon because they don’t have to worry about not being able to make their livelihood.”
~Mayumi Yoshino and Aki Mikage, Chapter 63

The idiom “born with a silver spoon in his/her mouth” is generally used to describe someone as being born into wealth and privilege. It’s a good idiom in a lot of ways. Silver implies money. The fact they’re born with it in their mouth implies that no work needs be done and that others will provide for them. But, most importantly for this series, it implies that the subject will not want for food, one of the most basic needs of humans.

Silver Spoon focuses on that last part and consequently twists the meaning of the idiom a bit. You don’t need a lot of material things other than food. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have money; if you can eat, you can survive. And if you can produce that food by yourself, that’s what truly makes someone blessed. That’s why the school hangs a silver spoon above the dining hall: to tell the students–and the reader–that wealth is not nearly as important as self-sufficiency. Continue reading “Born With a Silver Spoon: The Themes of Silver Spoon”

Pokemon Origins: A Failed Adaptation

Disclaimer: I have not actually watched much of the Pokemon anime and am largely going by gathered second-hand knowledge and a few random episodes I’ve seen here and there. However, I feel like that little bit of knowledge is enough for me to be able to accurately make the points that support my argument.

When Pokemon Red and Green Versions launched in Japan in 1996, they launched what would quickly become one of the largest franchises of all time. Barely a year after the Game Boy games’ release, an anime adaptation began airing. The anime adaptation managed to make it to North America shortly before the slightly updated (but still infamously glitchy) Red and Blue versions did.

The anime adaptation of Pokemon began to diverge from the canon of Red and Blue fairly early on. The anime’s changes were simple enough at first, and were even incorporated back into the games with Pokemon Yellow, but ultimately, the story ended up going in a very different direction. Eventually, even the characters who appeared in both the games and the anime were given drastically different portrayals. While I’m sure that many young players named their protagonist and rival “Ash” and “Gary” when they first played Pokemon Red and Blue, Arceus help you if you refer to the game characters by their anime counterparts’ names in their presence today. Red’s the badass one. Ash is the annoying idiot. Gary and Blue are both awesome, but we have to distinguish between Red and Ash so we have to distinguish between those two as well.

During the initial Pokemon craze of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, both the games and anime managed to maintain popularity and relevance. The games managed to maintain that relevance by improving on old features and adding new ones. Those who had initially been drawn to collecting and strategy fell in love with breeding and training, and the main game remained simple enough for new players to discover and enjoy the experience. However, the anime failed to maintain the fanbase it once held. Former fans found it repetitive and childish, and were often upset by just how far it had gone from its roots.

These same fans were consequently ecstatic when Pokemon Origins was announced. Origins was meant to be a retelling of Pokemon Red/Blue that remained as faithful as possible to the original games. It promised to be a nostalgic experience for those who were part of the initial craze.

Pokemon Origins was fairly well-received, but I’m going to present a bit of an unpopular opinion here and explain just why it is the inferior adaptation. Continue reading “Pokemon Origins: A Failed Adaptation”

The Setting of Silver Spoon

In the past few years, I’ve seen several anime that seek to capture the spirit of rural living, to varied success. No-Rin was fairly educational but its appeal was more in the characters and their hijinks. It was a pretty generic show that had the added bonus of farm-related punchlines. A big appeal of Non Non Biyori was the focus on rural living, but it was more for the pretty backgrounds than anything and it seemed to be a “how do we entertain ourselves in the sticks” show than what I was looking for.

I bring those up because they managed to get things half right. No-Rin knew what it was talking about and many viewers of Non Non Biyori apparently took something from the setting, but as someone who’s spent his entire life in a rural area they just sort of lacked something. Silver Spoon (Gin no Saji), on the other hand, is quite possibly the best portrayal of rural, agricultural life I’ve seen not only in anime, but in anything I’ve watched. Continue reading “The Setting of Silver Spoon”

Dropped! Spring 2016 Week 1

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to Dropped! This week we’ve started actually watching shows. We’ll be dropping some of them just as quickly. If you want to see how off our preseason predictions were, feel free.

Anyway, this will cover everything that aired from April 1st through April 7th, excluding a few shows that were not picked up or that were simulcast at a later date. In addition, while the titles we use may vary some, the order is based off of the Japanese titles as given by AniChart, with full-length shows first and shorts after. Continue reading “Dropped! Spring 2016 Week 1”

Dropped! Spring 2016 Preseason

Buggy: Hello, readers, and welcome to “Dropped!” With me is my good friend Chris, who will be joining me on a weekly journey through the Spring 2016 anime season as we figure out which shows are worth sticking with and which ones…aren’t.

Chris: Hello everyone. I just want to see that I am excited to see what the Spring 2016 season is going to have in store for us

B: Before we launch into things weekly, I figured it’d be a good idea to do a sort of pre-season runthrough of the shows, because, while we’re probably going to be giving almost every show a shot, there are some we aren’t for one reason or another, and since the point of Dropped! is to see how long all these shows can last, it’s only natural to include the ones that don’t even get a chance. But also because this allows us to give some of our first impressions, which, admittedly, could end up being very, very wrong.

C: Given how wrong we were with Rakugo, I’m honestly hoping wrong about a lot of shows that I have negative opinion on this season

B: Crazy, huh? I was expecting Phantom World to be my favorite show of the season and Rakugo to suck. But look where we are now.

Anyway, we’re using AniChart‘s list of shows to do this, so if you want more information on the shows you can check there. So shall we start at the beginning of the list?

C: Absolutely! Continue reading “Dropped! Spring 2016 Preseason”

The Writer’s Guide to Anime: One Piece and Structuring Long-running Stories

One Piece is perhaps the most well-regarded of the “Big Three,” the three most popular and longest-running Shōnen Jump weekly manga. These three are known largely for their impressive length. At the time of this writing, Naruto has recently ended with 700 chapters, Bleach is in the mid-600’s, and One Piece has just passed the 800-chapter mark. I can’t speak to the quality of Bleach or Naruto, because only One Piece has ever really interested me. Why? Well, upon reflection, I’ve realized that there’s one key reason that One Piece initially drew me in and has continued to hold my attention: no matter how drawn-out and long-winded the plot can get, I never feel like it’s wasting my time because the story is structured in such a way that it always feels like it’s going somewhere. Continue reading “The Writer’s Guide to Anime: One Piece and Structuring Long-running Stories”

It Bugs Me: Phantom World Interlude

In my previous Phantom World posts, I’ve been breaking down the episodes bit by bit and complaining about whatever strikes my fancy, but I’d like to take a moment to talk more broadly about why exactly Phantom World is failing so hard for me.

First of all, I suppose I should answer one important question: why do I care? Why bother tearing a show apart like this? Why get riled up about a show that, overall, is just “on the bad side” rather than “irredeemably awful?” I think it largely comes down to betrayal. I was expecting good things from the series before it was airing, and KyoAni has a pretty good track record. So when it ended up being bad, I got angry. The things you have high expectations for or that become popular are always the ones that are most infuriating.

So on to what’s wrong with Phantom World. Continue reading “It Bugs Me: Phantom World Interlude”

It Bugs Me: Phantom World Episode 8

Thought I was done with these, huh?

After the first four episodes, there wasn’t a lot to talk about in Phantom World. I’d covered the setup and worldbuilding, I covered the lazy writing, I covered the characters by not covering them because there’s nothing there, but after that initial surge of terrible, there wasn’t a lot to talk about. It just went back to being generically bad. You know, the type of bad where the fact that the show looks pretty is actually able to keep the show relatively enjoyable.

But then comes episode 8. Continue reading “It Bugs Me: Phantom World Episode 8”