With the start of a new year and the new decade, I wanted to kick everything off with a more informal post than I normally do. To remind myself and others of a simple truth.
Anime would be nothing, a void on the screen if not for arguably its most inherent, important element: visuals.
Art and animation grant the characters, the audio, and everything else the chance to shine. They’re that next step beyond the pages of a book or a passing conversation with a friend. If nothing else, “anime” literally stems from the word “animation”, indicating quite plainly how vital these visuals are to this medium.
It follows, then, that visual storytelling is the crux of anime. When an anime gets it wrong, a clouded journey ensues. When an anime gets it right, stardom awaits. Koi wa Ameagari no You ni is one such brilliant star in the sky. But why is its visual storytelling so powerful?
This essay will attempt to explain the power behind visual storytelling. First, an understanding of what it is, how it works, and where it comes from will take place. Afterwards, relevant analysis of examples from Koi wa Ameagari no You ni will reinforce the claims made. Hopefully, by the end of this piece, you’ll not only have a better grasp of this idea but also a better appreciation of this wonderful show as well.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
I can finally put my Fall 2017 anime season behind me!
Not that I’m going to forget about it anytime soon. Since my last list, I became an uncle for the very first time in my life, I survived a medical procedure which luckily gave me a clean bill of health, and I finally passed the 300 review milestone in my writing career. I’m extremely grateful for these three outcomes, and, since I’ll be remembering them for the rest of my life, I’ll subsequently be remembering this interesting season in which they all happened, too.
In turn, these past few months also enlightened me to a rather simple fact: I grow to love this medium more and more with each passing year. Whether I’m watching an ultra-grounded drama about a bunch of college-bound students or a rom-com featuring two gamers at heart, anime always has a new, exciting experience waiting right around the corner.
On that note, let’s take a tiny trip down memory lane for this season. Eleven separate shows were competing for the five spots available. However, only one has claimed the title of Best Anime of Fall 2017.
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!
Thinking about these past few months, a lot has happened for and around me.
Some of it was good, like indulging in other hobbies and being recognized at my day job. Some of it wasn’t so good, like a recent medical scare (which thankfully turned out to be nothing) and the passing of a close family member. In the end, life’s responsibilities shift and sway in importance and priority, and so anime cannot always be the foremost thing on my mind.
Despite the above detours and difficulties on both sides, though, an apparent truth has surfaced: Anime itself isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. A tale about a mysterious interdimensional restaurant or a story about a psychotic gambler are here to stay no matter how late I myself happen to be in posting these various threads.
As such, it makes perfect sense for me to finally reveal my favorite anime from this interesting season. Fourteen separate shows had the opportunity for glory. While seven spots were available, only one has claimed the title of Best Anime of Summer 2017.
I’ve had the great fortune of visiting Walt Disney World multiple times over.
True to the name, it’s a world all its own. A place where I seriously lose myself and leave my worries behind me. It achieves this effect by meticulously building itself up piece by piece, brick by brick. The mythical kingdoms. The delicious foodstuffs. The silly characters. These aspects and more combine into a park-away-from-home, a special experience unlike any other.
Stories enjoy building their worlds, too. We cannot visit them in person, of course, for they are stuck behind a computer screen or printed onto paper. But they build their worlds just the same, hoping to achieve a similar, captivating outcome.
Last year, during the Summer 2017 season, a “little-known” anime by the title of Made in Abyss arrived with splendor in tow. To put it lightly, this show swept the community off their chairs with its grand adventure and intense direction. However, almost none of the praise it received would have been possible without the story building the world in which it was contained. So, the anime got me thinking two major questions.
What does building a world mean, and how is Made in Abyss so effective at it?
This essay will attempt to convey the idea of world-building. First through a general description, then with its specific functions derived from other mediums, and finally leveraging the anime Made in Abyss to bring everything together. Along the way, the presented research should hopefully address what world-building is, how it is used, and why it is important for a story.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
I’m just now finishing up Spring 2017 season, but I’m slowly catching up!
It takes me so long because, to me, every anime deserves a shot. I don’t care what it is; I will give it its fair shake and try it out. From a dramatic story about two unfortunate people to a kindhearted tale about a grandfather and his granddaughter, I find it important to approach everything with fairness and respect and professionalism. It’s how I’ve always behaved as a writer and critic, and it’s how I’ll continue to behave for as long as I take part in this awesome medium.
Thus, with fairness in mind, we look back on this season and all that it offered. I myself tackled and reviewed eleven series in total. Of these eleven, only five earned a spot on this list, and just one claimed the prize of Best Anime of Spring 2017.
Anime gives me everything I want in stories and then some.
One story may have compelling characters whose traits make me laugh. Another story may take on a completely different artistic style that dazzles my eyes with its strangeness. Then there could be a story that entertains me outright with moments of solid drama, crazy action, or sweet romance.
On that note, and just recently, I finished Little Witch Academia, Trigger’s famous and beloved anime from last year that won the hearts of many. A story about a girl’s dream to become as great a witch as her role model, the characters, the style, and the moments therein impressed me.
However, like always, I took a keen interest in the “…and then some” part of my original statement. And so I wished to know: What is this anime really about on a deeper level?
As everyone contemplates their favorite anime of the year and looks forward to what the next one will bring, I’m over here still in Winter 2017!
Mind you, I’m not complaining, for this season was strong. Perhaps the strongest I’ve ever reviewed in my three-year writing career.
Best of all, out of the thirteen anime I watched and completed, I handed out not one but two — yes, two — perfect scores. That has never happened for me before in a single season and may never happen again. Hopefully this rarity should be evidence enough for its strength
At this point, I normally provide a relevant anecdote that gives me a nice segue into the crux of this post. But, this season is so good, that we’re just going to get right into it. After all, I know you are really here to see which anime I found to be the winners — and the one among them that earned the coveted title of Best Anime of Winter 2017.
I am (gasp) an adult.
I have my own desk at work. I manage my monthly bills. I buy my own ice cream. The regular grown-up stuff. After having this greater sense of responsibility for a while now, I wouldn’t trade it away for anything.
Sometimes, though, I reminisce about my younger days. When I was but a kid, hanging out in the basement of my parents’ home to escape the sweltering summer heat. I’d watch cartoons all day and play video games all night – a perfect use of my time.
It’s tough to feel like a kid nowadays. I’m way too busy, and life in general riles up for one reason or another. Then along comes Kemono Friends. An anime about a child, her anthropomorphic animal companion, and their small journey together.
This show contains an incredible amount of charm. Charm that it uses to try and make its audience forget about adulthood for approximately four hours total. The fact that I’m here writing out this essay is evidence enough that the anime’s strange affinity for charm stood out to me in an interesting manner.
And so it got me wondering: What makes Kemono Friends so gosh darn charming?