Can Japanese idols save politics?
Can Japanese idols save politics?
The conceptual imagery for the setting in A Lull in the Sea is really quite astonishing when the first episode starts. In the story there are more or less two worlds. One is the surface, which is mostly similar to many towns that exist near the ocean. It’s a decently animated town, but the other “world” is underneath the ocean. It has common attributes to the surface, but fish fly by like birds and people can take off and swim to wherever they need to go instead walking. This concept mimics the fish, and it’s intentional because the people who live under the sea have a power unique to them which allows the ability to breathe freely underwater, a gift that the people on the surface are not granted. The animation and direction help with the visuals as well. The daylight has an overwhelmingly fresh, clean feel (perhaps the true fantasy element in contrast to the amount of trash found in the real world’s ocean) but at night even the slightest presence of light becomes luminous and firefly-like. If the design for a fantasy setting was the only criteria for a successful show, then A Lull in the Sea would certainly excel, but to make a good anime it’s going to take more than just pretty backgrounds. The landscape is beautiful, and the writing is decent, but the overload of emotion starts to render things dull by the end.
I didn’t expect the end of March Comes in Like a Lion to wind up with a trip on the Galaxy Express 999, but that’s what happened. Yeah, this is just a metaphor but it certainly does work considering the vast emotional journey that the protagonist had to deal with throughout what we have been following in these twenty-two episodes.
Anime is an art form with a lot of weird premises. Yurikuma, for example, is about bears attacking an all-girls school. It presented what happens when this tactic of including an outlandish idea is utilized in the right way. Another show with a strange setup is Rio Rainbow Gate, which involves fan service and magic battles with characters based off of pachinko games (needless to say, the writing wasn’t very good for Rio). Even something as nostalgic as Ranma can be considered incredibly strange to many people when they first get into anime. In the twelve episode television series from 2011 called Ben-to, the plot is propelled by the idea that high school students are brutally fighting each other within convenience stores, in typical shonen style, for half-priced packaged meals. The beginning of Ben-to seems to be an odd choice, but it grabs attention.
The Girl from Phantasia (aka just Fantasia) is a little known anime, and for good reason. I will basically spoil the whole thing for you, because it’s only one episode long and it isn’t even worth the twenty minutes of your time. However, if you are curious to see just how long the generic harem conventions have been at work for, this is certainly evidence of a concept that expired decades ago, despite being still used today.
Kiznaiver is a show with good production values. Compared to a lot of other studios, Trigger really hasn’t been around too long since its inception in 2011 as a result from the little Gainax disbanding, but the animators there certainly know what they are doing. The character designs for Kiznaiver are sharp and appealing, but it’s even better that the fluid, confident animation is there to back them up. In other words, Trigger managed to continue its penchant for quality visuals, and even threw in an excellent opening theme this time. The directing for this science fiction story is also quite good, with character framing being incredibly important considering the moments of talking heads. The writing is another story though, because while it’s still not a terrible script, it never quite gets to the point of becoming spectacular and instead seems to just run in circles.
I remember being bored in class a kid, wondering what it would be like if suddenly there was some sort of gravity malfunction and upside-down would become right-side up. I pictured myself stuck to the ceiling of the classroom, afraid to venture outside of the door and fall into the sky. This is the same dilemma the lead character in anime film Patema Inverted faces. No, it’s not that she is bored in a classroom, but the shift in gravity does become a problem when she ends up in an alternate world. I know I’m not the only one to think of this concept before, as I’m sure it’s a daydream thought that’s crossed the minds of many people, but there is a childish fantasy element to it. In this way, it was a good decision for the writers of Patema Inverted to make the movie for kids. In 2013, Patema came and went, but as it stands, it’s a fun children’s feature that has a nice element of mystical science fiction.