The Chuuni Corner

Anime reviews, Chuunibyou, and other writings

Review/discussion about: Houseki no Kuni

Houseki no Kuni / Episode 1 / Phos responding to and listening to Cinnabar

Make way for CG stardom

(For a better fundamental understanding of characters, please check out my previous essay on this exact topic, “Houseki no Kuni, Toy Story, and Understanding Characters”.)

The geological timescale views singular months and years as unregistered blips on a radar.

To us regular folk, though, even just a tough few hours at work can seem like an eternity. We value our time greatly, thinking about that joke we heard the other day or looking forward to that cool party in the weeks to come. And, as the saying goes, “Time flies when you are having fun.”

That’s why the here and now is so precious; the present is a valuable existence we can almost never take for granted. In this time, a curious anime titled Houseki no Kuni emerged, and the fact that we’re lucky enough to have it around should not go unnoticed.

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Houseki no Kuni, Toy Story, and Understanding Characters

Houseki no Kuni (left) / Toy Story (right) / Phos and Woody smiling

Can a character be understood in a more refined way?

What does an anime about a bunch of gemstones and a film franchise about a box of playthings have in common?

If you said, “They both feature talking inanimate objects,” you’d be correct. If you said, “They both are really awesome projects,” you’d be correct as well. And if you said, “They both represent landmarks in the CG space within their respective mediums,” well, guess what? You’d be correct once again.

There’s at least one more major commonality between them: Houseki no Kuni and Toy Story each host a diverse cast of characters who build their tales into how we view them today. So, having recently finished the former and having always being a big fan of the latter, a question arose in my brain: What really does go into making a character?

This essay will take a look-see into characters. How they are defined, what impact they contain, and why understanding the distinctions among them is worthwhile. Furthermore, for comparative purposes, relevant examples from Houseki no Kuni and Toy Story (what with its fourth iteration on the way) will attempt to illustrate the topics at hand.

Hopefully, the approach and the examples will make it easier to grasp these concepts while also adding in a bit of extra fun. If nothing else, it should serve as a primer for those new to these points and a refresher for those who already have a knack for them.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

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Review/discussion about: Fate/Apocrypha

Fate/Apocrypha / Episode 5 / Jeanne looking out over a valley

An average destiny

The online definition of “apocrypha” from Merriam-Webster states the following: “writings or statements of dubious authenticity”.

For those people in-universe who somehow got their hands on Shakespeare’s perspective of the trials and tribulations within Fate/Apocrypha, they would most likely agree that such a word fits his work all too well.

But for the Masters and Servants who underwent these troubles themselves, they would obviously disagree, stating that fate decreed it so.

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Review/discussion about: Just Because!

Just Because! / Episode 2 / Mio and Eita standing together at the aquarium

Loudness begone

Like a couple of the characters in Just Because!, I too went through the grueling process of test taking in the hopes of earning high scores and favorable university-related invitations. They went to cram school, so they have a one-up on me in terms of drive, but, as someone who empathizes with their position, I don’t envy them one bit.

As for the tale told around them and their close friends, the results may just barely pass the mark.

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Review/discussion about: Sword Art Online Movie: Ordinal Scale

Sword Art Online Movie: Ordinal Scale / Kirito, Yui, and Asuna standing together

The big screen for a big franchise

As technology advances, so do the ways in which we consume its generated content.

Two of the more intriguing concepts warp our very perceptions: virtual reality (called VR) and augmented reality (called AR). VR puts us, the player, into a computerized world as if it were all we have ever known. AR keeps us in our understood space but instead adds those computerized elements as if they were a natural extension.

Both have their cool points and oddities, their benefits and detriments. In Sword Art Online Movie: Ordinal Scale, AR becomes the prominent vehicle, and its usage leads down the next crazy path for this isekai-centric series.

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Review/discussion about: Love Live! Sunshine!! 2nd Season

Love Live! Sunshine!! 2nd Season / Episode 12 / The girls of Aquors standing side-by-side

An average encore

Each sunrise brings sunshine. But, eventually, that sunshine must give way to a sunset.

The same similarly goes for Love Live! Sunshine!! 2nd Season, a metaphorical sunset for the school-idol group Aquors and their hard-fought journey. While it does not sing nearly as loudly or as proudly as its prequel, a few rays of hope sneak in nonetheless.

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Review/discussion about: Ballroom e Youkoso

Ballroom e Youkoso / Episode 24 / Tatara smiling wide at all that he has accomplished in his dancing career thus far

Dances towards victory

For as long as I have known my older sister, she has been a dancer through and through.

Everywhere has counted: at the school talent show, at her local studio, at numerous recitals, at different states. Everything has counted as well: tap, ballet, hip-hop, Latin. Across her entire leg-driven journey, she has claimed enough awards and cheers and experience to last a lifetime.

Basically, she has seen and partaken in nearly all that dance has to offer. Despite her dancing expertise, though, I have yet to hear any mention of ballrooms. And after watching the entirety of Ballroom e Youkoso, I can confidently say, as someone with zero dance moves whatsoever, she is seriously missing out.

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Review/discussion about: Konohana Kitan

Konohana Kitan / Episode 9 / The caretakers of Konohanatei standing outside, waiting to greet their next guest

Rest and iyashikei-tion

Circles, triangles, and rectangles begone. In Konohana Kitan, rhombuses rule as queen.

A peculiar shape, that. Some people refer to it as a diamond (hence the royalty). Others, with technical knowledge of Euclidean geometry, are quick to point out that squares are special exceptions (to said rule).

No matter which side jousts first, this anime makes two ideas clear. One, a rhombus for a mouth makes for a darn cute reaction. And two, our lives have many sides and corners to hold dear.

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Review/discussion about: Blend S

Blend S / Episode 9 / Maika with a warm smile on her face

Order up and opposite

I like to think that I’m an okay kind of dude. So, my opposite alter ego, if I were ever to have one, would be someone downright dastardly. He would perform misdeeds like wearing mismatched socks and inserting a silent “m” at the beginning of every word he spoke out loud.

Such super-evil antics would befit his own motives and contrast my own personality. If I could control this hypothetical alternate self of mine, I could then potentially earn a job at Stile, the fictional maid café of Blend S where the employees’ own personas balance out into a straightforward experience.

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Review/discussion about: Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara

Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara / Episode 1 / Erina getting mad at Souma (per usual)

More treat than trick

Onions taste delectable.

I didn’t always believe so, though. For a long time, I avoided their presence, viewing them as a white blight upon the meals they complemented. But now? I try to get them on everything (where it makes sense). Burgers. Pizza. Tacos. Onions no longer go unwelcome but instead have won me over, earning a seat at my table any day of the week.

Just as taste buds change, anime can do the same. For Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara, some of its own changes both help and hurt what once was.

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