The older I get the more I realise the less I know

Well, this is weird. This is the first time I’ve sat down to write something for a really long time, too long for a blog that inexplicably still has some readers. For that, I thank you. Whenever I hear from one of you, it truly boosts my spirits.

Over the years of writing for this place, I’ve tried to make sure that the writing is future proof. Even still, whenever someone links an old post, especially one that’s been collecting dust over the years, I’ll flinch in embarrassment. I mean, god, there are posts from 2006! That young me and my opinions! Because I’m so much wiser now, right?!

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The best decoy ever

Haikyuu!!

Is this the era of the sports anime? Without doing the research, it really feels like it, more so than at any other point in recent history, and what’s more, most of it’s really quite good! I’ve already written about Ping Pong the Animation, but in short, I love(d) it. Then again, I always knew I would, but Haikyuu!! was a different case. In the past year alone, I’ve watched Ping Pong the Animation, Hajime no Ippo: Rising, Yowamushi Pedal and Kuroko’s Basketball (both seasons,) so you could say that I’m primed for a sports anime burn out. I keep waiting for a show to push me into that abyss and thought that Haikyuu!! would be the one, but spoiler: it wasn’t. Haikyuu!! is really flipping good.

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Blood tastes like iron

ping pong the animation 1

Even when there’s a guy like Masaaki Yuasa handling the adaptation of one of your favourite stories, there’s always a small worry that something won’t click. In Ping Pong‘s case especially, pairing Yuasa with mangaka Taiyou Matsumoto was almost too perfect, because as any one who has read Matsumoto’s other works will know (Tekkonkinkreet and Sunny amongst them,) his drawing style is really unique, favouring jagged and uneven lines, an aesthetic that’s also much like Yuasa’s own for Mind Game, Kemonozume and Kick Heart.

Visually then, these two guys go against the grain, but that in itself is just a superficial thing and not reason enough to care. They also happen to be masters of their respective crafts. Kaiba, The Tatami Galaxy, Tekkonkinkreet, Ping Pong and Sunny. These two are amongst the best working in animanga today, so when the Ping Pong anime was announced, it felt too perfect; too much like a dream; something had to go wrong, right?!

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Unspeakably beautiful

Devilman - The Birth

A belated new year’s resolution for me is to publish more posts this year than last, but rather than try to come up with a bunch of boring editorials, I went through MyAnimeList and picked out twelve anime that I want to try and write about, bringing me first to Devilman (both The Birth (1987) and The Demon Bird (1990) episodes,) the closest that anime has come to replicating the feel of an H.P. Lovecraft story, that of aeons-old demons and lost civilisations.

Like one of Lovecraft’s most famous stories, it even begins with an ill-fated scientific expedition into a distant mountain range. The children of those scientists, Akira and (the totally insane) Ryou, are the protagonists, with Ryou leading Akira towards his fate as Devilman, mankind’s only opposition to the hordes of demons hell-bent on reclaiming Earth for their own. There’s nothing remarkable about that premise and there are dozens of other stories just like it, but Devilman has some fascinating, deeper hues to it than most.

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Anime blogging 2015

Over the last four or five months, I’ve written half a dozen new articles for this blog that haven’t made it through to being published. I don’t know why I’m now dithering so much, but as its now been two months since I last published anything new, I just wanted to say that I’m still here and won’t be giving up any time soon. Just to emphasise that fact, in December I renewed this website’s address for another two years, so you’ll be stuck with us until late 2015, at the very least!

When I started anime blogging in 2006 (ignoring some obscure attempts in 2005) it was such a new and shiny mode of communication and felt like being on the crest of a wave of something special. And it was, just look at Anime News Network today in comparison to 2005. Blogging has completely changed the world of publishing, for better and for worse, but if 2006 was the Spring of anime blogging, what we’re in now is the Autumn.

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Kill la Kill and (my) great expectations

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Kill la Kill defies comparison. It’s from the writer and director duo that brought us the beloved Gurren Lagann and it reads a lot like the classic Revolutionary Girl Utena but come into Kill la Kill expecting a series like those two and you’ll be disappointed. It’s its own animal, albeit with a twist of parental DNA from Hiroyuki Imaishi, but even still, part of the fun is in starting each episode thinking I know what’s coming, only to have all of those expectations shoved back down my throat.

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Rin’s labyrinth

Manji and Rin (Blade of the Immortal)

“If you were stronger, I don’t know how this would have ended. But I know one thing. That woman would be dead. Those who gain power must pay a price, something in exchange. If you seek to be stronger than others you may have to lose what you value above all else. Remember this well.” –Giichi, Blade of the Immortal

In Blade of the Immortal, being strong means everything. When Rin loses her parents, looking on as they are humiliated and butchered right in front of her, she vows to avenge them, but talk is cheap. When your enemy’s strong, you’ll need to be that much stronger, but what does it mean to be strong, anyway? If it weren’t for what happened to Rin’s parents, she’d have just been another normal kid. Timid, likes sweets, curious about boys. Instead, she’s now walking this dangerous road with Manji.

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