The other day I was rewatching The Garden of Words and noticed something significant that I left out of my original post. As with every viewer, I can only analyze a story from my existing beliefs, understandings, and knowledge. That said, it is difficult at times to observe, interpret, and understand everything from a Japanese viewpoint when I was raised in Canada and taught western culture and literature. Therefore, I hope that this addendum will help others who grew up in a similar environment as me to better appreciate the beauty of The Garden of Words.
Archive for the ‘Anime’
It’s good to be able to have time to go to another anime convention. After missing the big 20th anniversary of Animethon last year, I was happy to be able to attend this year.
If you haven’t seen my previous posts on Animethon, here are some quick facts:
- It’s a 3-day convention held annually in Edmonton, Alberta.
- It’s the oldest anime convention in Canada that’s still going.
- It’s the largest anime convention in Western Canada.
One of the nice things about Animethon is that it’s probably the most over-looked anime convention by big companies, making it large while still maintaining a close-knit community feel. I think it’s largely due to Edmonton’s lack of global recognition compared to Calgary and Vancouver, but that’s not a discussion for this blog.
It has been a month since the summer season started so it’s time to do another round-up. With one exception, I’m only providing commentary on the new series (a whopping 27 this time), which excludes sequels, remakes, spin-offs, etc. If you aren’t familiar with my round-ups, this is where I offer my initial thoughts on new anime based on the first 1-5 episodes, followed by my recommendation and whether I thought it was worth watching.
The summer hasn’t officially started, which means it’s still spring and there’s time to do another anime season round-up! Here I offer my thoughts on the anime airing this season and whether I’m watching them or not. I’ve left out sequels since it wouldn’t make sense to start a series in the middle of the story. Keep in mind that my opinions are from the point of view of a mid-20’s male who’s been watching anime since the mid 90’s so there are some biases.
For my regular readers who are wondering why this is so late, I have legitimate excuses: my program stuffed 16+ courses into 8 months so my final exams didn’t begin until everyone was done theirs; I had to attend a conference for a week after finals; I went to NYC for a week after the conference; I had to pack up and move back home for the summer, and I just settled back in to work. Enough about me though, let’s talk anime.
The other day I made this tweet with the following image:
It seemed to draw quite a bit of attention so I decided to write a post and ask the anime fans reading this to share any images you might have showing how your room has changed over the years. As with community projects I’ve done in the past, I invite anyone with a blog, webpage, social media account, etc. to share your experiences. Send me a link and I’ll make a list at the bottom of this post.
Another year comes to a close and it is time again to list Nopy’s top 10 anime girls. This is the fourth year in a row that I’m making this post, so you guys should know the drill by now. Any girl in a series that aired this year and that I watched is eligible for my list. I try not to select girls that had a shot at the list in previous years. My criteria for selection is overall likability, meaning it could be anything from they look cool, have interesting personalities, make me laugh, or are just pure awesome. Here are my top 10 anime girls of 2013:
10. Ryuuko Matoi (Kill la Kill)
Ryuuko just barely made it onto the list with the help of the last few episodes of Kill la Kill. With only one transformation, she was starting to get boring, but now that we know she and senketsu can change into different forms, it makes her so much cooler (not to say she wasn’t already cool). Her guts and determination to avenge her father make the battles worth watching and who could ignore that outfit.
I wasn’t able to get around to my Summer 2013 round-up post so it looks like now I’m doing a wrap-up post. For those wondering where I’ve been, doing an MBA is more work than I thought. I finished my finals for the first term on Friday and I have this weekend off before school begins again on Monday (yes, having a weekend now counts as “time off”). Its been a productive weekend with me being a shut-in by only going to 2 of the dozen or so networking/social events and spending the rest of my time playing Atelier Meruru and catching up on anime. These aren’t complete reviews, but as my professors all say, “you should be able to sum up everything into one sentence or a 30-second elevator pitch,” so these paragraphs will give you a good impression of how I saw each series.
Since the first airing of a mahou shoujo (magical girl) anime, Mahoutsukai Sally in 1966, the genre has had its up and downs with its most recent success being the Puella Magi Madoka Magica series. Originally intended for young female audiences, the mahou shoujo genre has evolved over the years to cater to both genders, and in some cases even have a larger male than female following. Some mahou shoujo have achieved unimaginable popularity around the world whereas others have fallen into obscurity, so what are the elements of a mahou shoujo series that makes it so appealing, particularly the fighting-focused ones?
There are several elements that are present in many mahou shoujo series that involve fighting: attractive appearances, a source of magic, an animal sidekick, transformations, character growth, and an adherence to ideals. These elements alone, however, do not constitute all of the parts needed to create a successful mahou shoujo series. Tokyo Mew Mew, for example, had many of these elements but many people probably haven’t even heard of it. To determine what really makes a good mahou shoujo series, lets examine three titles: Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura, and Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha.
Sports anime used to be a mainstay of the anime industry with huge titles such as Slam Dunk, Captain Tsubasa, and Prince of Tennis. Nowadays you don’t see as many sports anime, but their influence lives on through anime based on what I would consider traditional games. When I talk about traditional games, I’m not so much referring to old games, but ones that you would expect seniors to play during their free time. Games such as go, mahjong, and karuta tend to have more aged players due to stereotypes, though a number of young people do gain interest in them. Despite the stereotypes associated with these games, they have spawned very popular anime such as Hikaru no Go, Saki, and Chihayafuru. What made them so popular, and can that be applied to any game?
Since the release of Makoto Shinkai’s latest film, The Garden of Words, the general reaction to it has been positive with unanimous agreement that it is a visually stimulating work of art. Unfortunately, there also seems to be a number of people who think that The Garden of Words is lacking in story, character development, and closure. I have to disagree with those people as I found the 45 minute film to be bursting with hidden meanings that address all of those things. In fact, I think The Garden of Words is Shinkai’s most thought-out and deliberate film and I will discuss why by offering some of my interpretations.
I have structured this post to cover aspects in roughly the same order that they make a significant appearance in the film. It may seem awkward with the way they’re connected, but it helps to highlight just how much is going on in the background.