Browsing Tag

anime

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Why My Favorite RPG Isn’t a Videogame

Whenever I start growing bored of JRPGs, I reread the manga series Magic Knight Rayearth. Created by the legendary manga team CLAMP in 1994, Magic Knight Rayearth is a six volume manga series about three schoolgirls summoned to the magical world of Cephiro. There, they are told they must embark on a quest to save a princess named Emeraude from the clutches of the evil high priest Zagato.

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The Baseball Series That’s All About Mommy Issues

When you look at stories about sports, you start to see some commonalities pretty quickly, regardless of the sport in question. This is especially true when it comes to the question of why the characters are playing sports in the first place. “For the love of the game” comes up a lot. Right next to it is “to be the very best”, which you’ll find in a lot of shonen (young boys’) sports stories. For rivals or villains, the motivation will often be the baser desire to make money or an urge to dominate and humiliate their rivals. But one major motivation that pushes people ahead in sports—especially below the professional level—tends to be forgotten. Stories of high school athletes fighting rivalries or to win someone’s love, like you’ll find in Takehiko Inoue’s Slam Dunk or Oota Moare’s Teppu leave out a very important factor that deeply affects almost everybody’s participation in high school sports: our parents.

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Napping Princess Is a Fairy Tale for Car Lovers

My first encounter with Napping Princess was through a series of news pieces during its production. AlI I knew at the time was that it was a Kenji Kamiyama film, it involved a parallel dream world, and the trailer had a criminally beautiful cover of The Monkees’ “Daydream Believer” sung by the lead voice actress.

My intention had always been to watch it at some indefinite future point, as what little I saw in clips featured an appealing mix of technology and fantasy. So what could I expect from it? I’m not sure. But I do know that whatever you’re expecting, this movie isn’t it.

Gentle readers, Napping Princess is a car movie.

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Sigmund Freud Watches Death Note

Light Yagami, the protagonist of Death Note, is a perfect example of the phrase “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” In the world of Death Note, people can obtain powerful notebooks owned by Shinigami—Japanese Gods of Death. If somebody writes a person’s name in the notebook with that person’s face in mind, they will die.

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Frasier is Anime

Launched as a spin-off of the popular 80s sitcom Cheers, nobody could have seen Frasier coming. Of all of the characters populating the famous Boston bar—the dumb but sweet Woody, the biting Carla, the wry Sam—the bumbling, ineffectual psychiatrist Frasier Crane seemed the least likely to land his own series. And yet he did, kicking off one of the greatest anime of all time.

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The Anime Series That Deconstructs Itself

The key to a successful comedy series lies in establishing circumstances for characters’ antics and misadventures. When a series sets up a reliable framework, new episodes can build upon that identity while still staying fresh with new jokes. This can be seen in all sorts of episodic comedies including gag anime, which typically build their identity around a world ruled by bizarre logic or fantasy elements. The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. does just this by shaping an otherwise normal world around its hapless, psychic protagonist.

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The ’80s Anime Classic You Probably Haven’t Seen

If you’ve watched anime for a while, you know not to judge a show by its title. Cowboy Bebop doesn’t sound like it’s going to be about intergalactic bounty hunters, and Tiger & Bunny doesn’t bring to mind superheroes with corporate sponsorships. So it’s understandable that an anime called Bubblegum Crisis isn’t immediately going to sound like a love letter to 80s sci-fi films, packaged with hard-suited biker girls and an awesome soundtrack.

If you are good with context clues, you are probably picking up by now that yes, that is exactly what Bubblegum Crisis is: eight episodes of the best of the 80s, done up in a rough, neon cyberpunk setting.

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The Story of Anime’s First Blockbuster

A city of the future then, and of the “now” today. An oppressive metropolis lined with flashing neon. Relentlessly tough streets ravaged by teenagers consumed in a cycle of violence and debauchery intrinsic to their dystopian society, an ethos of cataclysmic revolution seeping up through the sewer grates and into the street.

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Expectations Vs. Reality: Hunter x Hunter

In a world where anime is bigger than ever… one woman hasn’t actually seen much of it.

Can she successfully piece together the premise of a popular series based on knowledge she’s absorbed from being online? Or will she endure the shame of believing that there is a talking dog which merely turns out to be an extremely hairy man?

Placing a poll on Twitter dot com, she puts her fate in the hands of the many. Whatever show they choose, she is honor-bound to describe what she thinks she knows, watch several episodes, and compare her knowledge to the cold truth.

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No Matter Where You Go, Everyone’s Connected…Serial Experiments Lain (1998)

Made during the sci-fi anime renaissance, Serial Experiments Lain (1998) is a hodgepodge of 90’s tropes that, even 20 years later, is still relevant.  The first of Yoshitoshi ABe’s cyberpunk projects and directed by Ryūtarō Nakamura, the series revolves around Lain Iwakura, a typical middle school girl living in suburbia. Representative of most 90’s thrillers and sci-fi dystopias, Lain slowly starts to become undone as a shadow organization working for something called the “Wired”, a Matrix-esque version of the internet, that is slowly bleeding into the real world.

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Hope, Change, and Monsters: The Legacy of Digimon Adventure

I’ll be honest—when I first encountered Digimon Adventure during its original US broadcast, I had the same response as a lot of kids: “what a ripoff!” While the animation was eye-catching, it seemed like a much slower-paced story than I was used to, you had to follow it closely to know what was happening, and the monster designs weren’t always cute—sometimes they were downright scary. But I gave it a chance, because back then we didn’t have Crunchyroll or Cartoon Hangover. We didn’t have much choice—we just hunkered down in front of the TV every Saturday morning, scarfing down a bowl of sugary cereal and dutifully watched whatever cartoons happened to be on the air.

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The Better Angels of Our Nature: Haibane Renmei (2002)

Beginning life as a short-lived dōjinshi before being adapted into an anime, Haibane Renmei (2002) is a story about loss, pain, and redemption couched in Christian symbolism and a complex mythology. Set in the walled off town of Glie, the world is populated by humans who live in the town proper, the Haibane, angel-like humans with wings and a halo, and from outside the walls, the Toga, a group of mute traders who is the only group that can move in and out of the town freely. For bookworms the show is replete with references to the work of Japanese author Haruki Murakami. From the concept of a walled off city, animals as guides towards epiphany or transformation, the site of a well being an important setting, and the magical realist aesthetic all make Haibane Renmei a cousin to Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World or The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.

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How an ’80s Sci-Fi Movie Changed the Destiny of Anime Forever

Rainy, cloud covered grey skies, towering skyscrapers, neon lights, muted colors and a dim prognostication of our future: if this type of imagery brings to mind certain anime titles, you may be surprised to learn that many of them share a unlikely common origin. While not the only film to ever influence anime, and certainly not the only sci-fi film to do so, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner shares an inordinate amount of importance in developing many of the anime classics we know today, and influencing many of anime’s biggest directors.