The Chuuni Corner

Anime reviews, Chuunibyou, and other writings

Category: Writing

Fune wo Amu and the Words of Dialogue

Fune wo Amu / Episode 2 / The Daitokai dictionary in figurative form

What does dialogue do for a story?

“To be or not to be, that is the question.”

That’s the start to one of Shakespeare’s most famous soliloquies, and it’s arguably his most well-known line. It comes from Hamlet, a play about the titular prince as he attempts to uncover the unjust death against his father (the king) while he contemplates life and semi-devolves into madness.

It’s been on my mind because I recently finished 1948’s Hamlet [1], starring Sir Laurence Olivier as the prince himself. (He also directed and produced the film; he could do it all.) The acting was great, and the specter was spooky, but it was really Shakespeare’s words that drove the entire story. Puns, memorable quotes. More specifically, the dialogues — be that with a group, one other person, or with themselves — created the drama and breathed life into the characters.

Shortly after completing Hamlet, I also finished an anime that went somewhat undetected during the Fall 2016 season: Fune wo Amu. This anime likewise places heavy emphasis on words but to a more thematic level. So, it got me thinking. How does Fune wo Amu use its own words to craft dialogue?

The following essay will investigate dialogue. What it is, what it can do, and ultimately what it creates. Hopefully, by the end of this piece, you will not only have a better appreciation of Fune wo Amu but also a greater understanding of dialogue as a whole.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

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Banjo’s Top 10 Summer 2016 Anime

91 Days / Episode 1 / Angelo looking down with a menacing grin dominating his face

Which earned attendance this Summer 2016?

Anime inspires me.

It’s one of the reasons why I love this medium so much. It doesn’t always happen with every show I watch, but there are those times when an anime connects with me, going beyond the fancy visuals or comedic asides on screen.

I had this connection happen in a tremendous manner with this season’s set of shows. After finishing the infamous Orange, it inspired me to approach my once-per-season mega essay differently. I made it less strict and more personal. I called my essay Orange and Learning Life Lessons, and it targets precisely what the title details.

Now, in the end, Orange messed up its execution quite a bit (and barely did not make my list), but I nonetheless found myself inspired by what it presented. I saw part of myself in Naho. I empathized with Kakeru. I found that its thoughts on life and living aligned with my own.

Yes, this prologue is an easy excuse to (shamelessly) self-promote that piece of mine once again. But it also serves to highlight something a lot more important. That is, from the top-tier diamonds to the bottom-of-the-barrel chaff, anime can inspire in ways not thought possible.

Maybe an ultra-grotesque show gets one thinking about religion. Maybe a complete life do-over makes one wonder what could have gone differently in their own. Or maybe it causes one to try out a new style of writing. It doesn’t matter if the show is “good” or “bad.” What does matter is that a strong connection has been made, inspiring like never before.

In keeping with the spirit of inspiration, this season inspired me to (yet again) compose a list of the best of the best. In total, nineteen different anime vied for a coveted spot. Ten tickets were handed out, and only one among them was given the title of Best Anime of Summer 2016.

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Orange and Learning Life Lessons

Orange / Episode 1 / The group having fun together

A letter from me to you

Like many people, I have ideals. Tenets that I uphold and morals that I adhere to. One of my biggest is summed up as a singular phrase: no regrets.

I do my best to live a life that I can be proud of. Where I can get up, think about yesterday, and say to myself, “That was a good day; I have no regrets.” Often times, I will step back from what I am currently doing and make sure that it’s something worthwhile. Something that I won’t worry about later.

That’s not to say I don’t have regrets. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to avoid them. I regret staying up too late despite having work early in the morning. I regret not keeping my hobby of reading books going strong. I regret not visiting with my grandmother more as she lay lonely in hospice.

I do regret, I have regretted, a lot in my life. I have made small mistakes that have kept me up at night, and I have made royal screw-ups that impacted the very paths I would eventually walk.

However, as Orange claims — and as I reinforce — having regrets is not the end.

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Banjo’s Top 10 Spring 2016 Anime

Flying Witch / Episode 12 / Makoto flying with Chito in the sky

And the winners of Spring 2016 are…

I should preface my list here by saying that it’s kind of weird.

For the first time since I started writing these Top 10 posts, I am including anime that I technically wouldn’t recommend to others based on how I score. In fact, the tenth-ranked show is the lesser of three evils.

These less-than-ideal anime are still included because the criteria for the list is simply being the best from the season. For me, though, such a development says a lot about how much I got out of this set of shows.

Positives still exist. Shows featuring the number one-hundred or massive metal trains have a lot of flaws attached to them, but that doesn’t mean they lack strength whatsoever. Maybe they have a particular scene that is super memorable. Maybe they try for something unique despite failing. Maybe they connect only with a niche group of people.

Regardless, it’s important (perhaps necessary) to not only have one’s own perspective on anime but also have an understanding of the other side (whatever that may be).

Yes, there will be those shows that we view as so deplorable that it’s basically impossible to do so. And, no, that doesn’t mean we must automatically concede and flip opinions. But so long as we do our best to think beyond our mindset, we will certainly find our anime-watching adventures a lot more worthwhile.

Keeping all this in mind, this season, eighteen different anime stepped up to the plate. Nothing managed to hit a home-run, but some hit a nice double and a couple even a noteworthy triple. Yet only one walked away with the title of Best Anime of Spring 2016.

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Boku no Hero Academia and How to Hype a Fight

Boku no Hero Academia / Episode 1 / First meeting with All Might

How can the build-up of a character hype what’s to come?

There’s a lot to talk about with Boku no Hero Academia. The crazy Quirks. The show’s theme on heroes. The fun character designs.

The anime does a lot to capture the audience’s attention. However, one of Boku no Hero Academia‘s greatest moments comes near the end of the first season: All Might’s first true fight.

Many were taken in by the flashiness of the combat and the overall feeling of triumph. (At least, I was.) And rightly so. Those are qualities of the fight that made it so awesome.

But, perhaps unbeknownst to some, there was a lot of hype, a lot build-up to that fight beforehand. In fact, it was happening throughout the entire season. With All Might’s character.

The question is, what did the anime do?

The following essay will be a small dissection of how All Might’s character is slowly built over the course of the season and the hype such building brings. Hopefully, by the end of my piece, you’ll not only have a greater appreciation of All Might but also a greater appreciation of Boku no Hero Academia overall.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

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Banjo’s Top 10 Winter 2016 Anime

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans / Episode 1 / The first appearance of the Gundam Barbatos

And the winners of Winter 2016 are…

Not too long ago, I had a conversation with one of my uncles about films. We were watching Pixar’s Up at the time, and he said something that caused us to get into a (calm) argument.

“Animated stuff will never make for top-tier experiences.”

It is his belief that films like Schindler’s List and Rain Man will always be better than something like Toy Story or Finding Nemo — simply because the former are “real” while the latter aren’t.

Obviously, I disagreed.

How could I not? While the conversation was geared at computer-generated animation, my mind instantly went to anime. It’s the same principle. Yes, anime about giant, metal balls or high-school kids competing with hover boots may not be the next All About Eve. But anime has the capacity to tell intricate stories. The rationality to explore relatable characters. The ability to simply be downright fun.

I could not change his viewpoint (which I tried to do), but, through our small debate, I grew even more fond of this medium that I have come to adore so much.

So it is that, on this day, we look back on the Winter 2016 anime season to reflect on the best of the best, those that prove anime (and other animated media) can be and are top-tier experiences.

This time around, twenty-two anime showed up to fight for a spot. Ten succeeded, but only one claimed the title of Best Anime of Winter 2016.


Before diving into the list, it is important to know two ideas: what counts and the reasoning behind everything.

First, I am an advocate of an anime counting in the season in which it completed. Meaning, whether it is fantastic or not, something like Assassination Classroom Second Season has no place here despite starting in Winter 2016. On the opposite end, an anime like Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen does have a shot since it concluded in Winter 2016 despite starting the season prior.

Meaning, if you do not see Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen here on my list, that means I either did not see it or it was simply not good enough. (It’s the latter!)

I’m going to repeat this statement one more time: An anime counts if it completed in Winter 2016.

Some of my wonderful readers miss this important detail that I adhere to, so, now having said it twice, I get to call them goofballs should that happen again (here and forever after).

Second, each anime has a personalized review that demonstrates why it deserves to be here in the first place. Simply click on an anime’s name to be linked to its review to read my complete thoughts on it. For every review that I wrote for this season, follow this link to my Winter 2016 Reviews page!

With all of the introductions, formalities, and rules out of the way, it is time to get to my Top 10 Winter 2016 Anime!

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KonoSuba and Comedy Through Theory

Konosuba / Episode 3 / Kazuma, Aqua, Megumin, and Darkness sitting down for dinner following the mass-cabbage attack

What makes something comedic?

What do you call a Japanese upperclassman who is good at math?

Sen-pi.

That’s a variation of a joke I found on a discussion thread where people provided anime-related funnies. I like the joke. It’s short, contains wordplay, and uses a vital mathematical concept. But for others, the joke falls as flat as a circle.

Why is that? What makes one person grin at a joke or a pie to the face while the next person barely reacts at all?

Take another example: KonoSuba. Hilarious characters and silly situations turn it into a really funny anime. At least, to many of those that have watched the show, including myself.

The question still lingers: why? What makes KonoSuba so gosh darn funny? And for others, what makes KonoSuba not so funny?

The following essay will, with KonoSuba‘s help, investigate comedy — where it came from, why it works, and how it gets applied. Hopefully, by the end of this piece, you will not only have a better appreciation of comedy but also a better appreciation of KonoSuba overall.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

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Banjo’s Top 10 Fall 2015 Anime

One Punch Man / Episode 5 / Saitama waving goodbye to Genos

Who leads this Fall 2015?

Finally, Fall 2015 is done like dinner! For me, anyway.

Anime always gets me thinking (and I’ve had a lot of time this time). Obviously for my reviews and writings, but also about the medium in general. Like how I can take it for granted. I get to sit at home in my comfy chair while my computer streams animations created halfway across the globe.

Often times, I would never be able to experience the stories told. Like using bone-related knowledge to solve strange death-related cases or joining a school where the classy learn to become commoners. Going forward, I plan to be more grateful to the anime I watch — no matter how sweet or sour they may be.

To this end and on this day, I take a look back at the best of the best from Fall 2015. Eighteen anime showed up to fight for the title of “Best Anime of Fall 2015,” and, while ten have made a claim, only one walked away with it in its clutches.

Before diving into the list, it is important to know two ideas: what counts and the reasoning behind everything.

First, I am an advocate of an anime counting in the season in which it completed. Meaning, whether it is fantastic or not, something like Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans has no place here despite starting in Fall 2015. On the opposite end, an anime like Kekkai Sensen does have a shot since it concluded in Fall 2015 despite starting many seasons prior.

So, if you do not see Kekkai Sensen here on my list, that means I either did not see it or it was simply not good enough. (It’s neither!)

Second, each anime has a personalized review that demonstrates why it deserves to be here in the first place. Simply click on an anime’s name to be linked to its review to read my complete thoughts on it. For every review that I wrote for this season, follow this link to my Fall 2015 Reviews page!

With all of the introductions, formalities, and rules out of the way, it is time to get to my Top 10 Fall 2015 Anime!

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Owarimonogatari, Symmetry, and Asymmetry

Owarimonogatari / Episode 9 / Izuko Gaen explaining the current situation involving Araragi, Shinobu, Kanbaru, and the first minion

How strong can symmetry and asymmetry really be?

The Fall 2015 anime season saw another entry in the always-popular and often-strange Monogatari series: Owarimonogatari. And with it came the fun characters, the interesting plot lines, and the comedic ecchi material.

Unsurprisingly, Owarimonogatari also brought its signature visual style. Framed head-tilts, various camera orientations, and weird angles appear constantly throughout the season. Simply put, the men and women over at SHAFT (the studio behind the anime) are masters at their craft.

But it also targets other techniques. More relevant and thematic ones.

Symmetry and asymmetry.

The following essay will investigate symmetry and asymmetry. What they are, what they do, and what they create. Hopefully, by the end of this piece, you, the reader, will have a better understanding of symmetry and asymmetry as well as a greater appreciation of Owarimonogatari overall.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

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Banjo’s Top 10 Summer 2015 Anime

Rokka no Yuusha / Episode 1 / Adlet declaring his need to be one of the Braves

Who are the winners this Summer 2015?

I finally finished reviewing every anime (that I was watching) from Summer 2015!

What this five-month-long journey has taught me is that anime is timeless. It does not matter when you watch an anime. Be it while it is airing, several months after it finishes, or ten years down the line, that anime will still be itself. An anime about a boy trying to become king or an anime about a world where everything lewd is censored will not change. They will still hold the same stories, the same characters, and the same messages. And that is pretty awesome.

Today, however, we are concerned with the best of the best from Summer 2015. After reviewing twenty-nine different anime, ten have proven their worth more so than the rest, and only one has earned the title “Best Anime of Summer 2015.”

Before diving into the list, it is important to know two ideas: what counts and the reasoning behind everything.

First, I am an advocate of an anime “counting” in the season in which it completed. Meaning, whether it is fantastic or not, something like God Eater has no place here despite starting in Summer 2015. On the opposite end, an anime like Kyoukai no Rinne does have a shot since it concluded in Summer 2015 despite starting the season prior.

So, if you do not see Kyoukai no Rinne here on my list, that means I either did not see it or it was not good enough to make the list. (It is the latter!)

Second, each anime has a personalized review that demonstrates why it deserves to be here in the first place. Simply click on an anime’s name to be linked to its review to read my complete thoughts on it. For every review that I wrote for this season, follow this link to my Summer 2015 Reviews page!

With all of the introductions, formalities, and rules out of the way, it is time to get to my Top 10 Summer 2015 Anime!

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