The Chuuni Corner

Anime reviews, Chuunibyou, and other writings

Tag: Writing

Little Witch Academia and Thematic “Magic”

Little Witch Academia / Episode 1 / Akko smiling bright

What theme does Little Witch Academia explore?

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?

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Banjo’s Top 7 Winter 2017 Anime

Demi-chan wa Kataritai / Episode 12 / Hikari attempting to reminisce her way out of trouble

A stacked Winter 2017, but which ones overtake the others?

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.

Sequels brought their A-game. Adaptations could not be quelled. Even a semi-original managed to make the mix. From dragon maids to reincarnated classical geniuses, this season had a lot to offer.

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.

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Kemono Friends and Nostalgic Charm

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What makes Kemono Friends so gosh darn charming?

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?

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Banjo’s Top 5 Fall 2016 Anime

Fune wo Amu / Episode 3 / Kaguya looking both mature and beautiful

And the winners of Fall 2016 are…

I got to see something yesterday that I never have before: a solar eclipse.

Many parts of the world and half the Internet were abuzz with the phenomenon; it got me that much more excited. Thankfully, our workplace handed out those special protective glasses, and they allowed the entire office to step outside for around ten minutes.

While just one celestial body moving in front of another, and only partial coverage occurred from my location, it was truly an amazing sight. An event hundreds of thousands of miles away that manages to get people looking upwards and thinking for a brief period about something that almost anyone can agree on as being downright interesting.

I’m lucky enough to encounter a similar sort of experience all the time with anime. Yes, I get to see more anime than I do eclipses. But when I start up a story that centers on an impassioned ice skater or that blazes ahead in occult fashion, I can’t help but get excited about what interesting events are in store for my viewing pleasure.

Thus, it has also come time for us (mostly me because I’m seasonally behind at the moment) to celebrate what interesting anime Fall 2016 had to offer. Ten anime got into position, and five stood out above the rest. But only one eclipsed the others, earning the grand title of Best Anime of Fall 2016.

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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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