Sengoku Basara is pretty simple and easy to understand. It’s far from being complex in nature and it’s wonderful that it doesn’t try to be. Each character epitomizes very general personality characterizations, and with artistic license that appeals to most fans of the fantasy/sci-fi fans genre, the series gives each character a theme color. Such decisions really tickle your insides due to how it makes complicated, epic fight scenes more streamlined, crazy, and fun to watch. Read More
It’s not too often that I watch live dramas during my free time. It seems like I’ve seen a lot since each episode is an hour long and existentially is more exhausting to plow through than 20 minutes anime episodes, but the truth is that I can count all the live action dramas I’ve seen on basically one hand (maybe two). Based on my limited experience, dramas tend to follow similar constructions and pot devices, but Autumn’s Concerto proved to be an utterly new experience in many ways. Read More
In high school, I was a pretty conservative music listener. Rarely did I expose myself to the modern pop music, and even when friends would share their ear pieces to show me a particular song, I’d immediately express distate and say how I only listened to classical music. After many years of watching anime and movies, my taste has grown, reflecting the relatively wide amount of styles of music that Japan has. It’s strange to think how I began to expand my musical tastes started with whatever an anime show had attached to the opening or ending sequences. To be honest, my first “rock” song was Haruka Kanata from Naruto. Though it can still be considered J-Pop, the screaming and intense bass rocking edges towards the side of J-Rock. I didn’t particularly like the music at first, but the animation sequence and series itself got me hooked on the mood that Asian Kung Fu Generation set for every episode. From then on, anime slowly introduced me to slightly different styles (you can imagine how romance shojo would use different music styles than jump shounen). I still listen to mainly J-Pop, but my tastes have grown to soundtracks, jazz, a capella, K-Pop, and the occasional western artist of today, such as Adele or Train. Read More
Entertainment media has constantly wrestled with the challenge of overcoming the barriers that lay between the viewer/user and presented material. Successfully transporting a person from reality into a different is typically not easy, and to do it seamlessly is even more difficult. Perhaps this is why the growing movement and push for 3D is ever more forceful. With the (not so) recent AVATAR by James Cameron, 3D has captured some support for being a viable next option in film making. And with Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit marketing itself having super 5K definition its own 3D craziness, the age of 3D may actually be in sight. Read More
Make way for a new year and make way for yet another seasonal playlist. These playlists, I found, have provided me with incentives in discovering and learning new music that I otherwise would not have, or at the very least, listen for music where I normally do not. A similar effect occurred after having taken my Music and Computers course this fall semester; I had consequently become more aware and sensitive to the sounds in my daily life. It is both strange and wondrous to have your world opened in such a vast way with only a small paradigm shift. Now, while the music I will present here is not eye-opening at all (perhaps for another time), hopefully the melodies and styles will evoke certain feelings and emotions within your gut.
Usagi Drop is a breath of fresh air from the copious amounts of fanservice, placid character structures, and excessive moe that permeates anime series of recent times. It’s a rare series (from my limited knowledge) that touches upon issues in a serious and honest manner, while simultaenously having the ability to subtly include right amounts of lightheartedness and humor that prevents the series from adopting too heavy an atmosphere. There exists a synergy and expert balance rare in such a form that weaves an empathizing and heartwarming tale.
Two weekends ago, I spent way too much time not studying and watching Dennou Coil, an anime I had sitting in my hard drive for years. I never began Dennou Coil since each episode I had skimmed looked pretty average, with no standout elements that caught my eye. Having finally completed the series, however, I quickly realized that Dennou Coil did not need any of the flashy peripherals to prove its worth.
On average, anime that causes the type of addiction where you marathon 26 episodes in 2 days are the ones with plot twists, cliff hangers, or eccentric action scenes, which happens to be some qualities kept in mind by anime producers who want to create instant-popular series. Dennou Coil, on the other hand, is completely different. It is neither bombastic, nor boring, but always takes itself seriously and deliberately balances every aspect of its story, art, and music with great expertise. It’s a series that is easy to under-appreciate despite the numerous things that Dennou Coil does right, and overcomes its very few faults by delivering the most solid series I have ever scene to date. Read More
Hiromasa Yonebayashi, close friend of Hayao Miyazaki, founder of Studio Ghilbi, brings his very first movie to the screen and what a treat it is. Studio Ghibli well known for it’s rather large portfolio of family movies and Karigurashi no Arrietty ( The Borrower Arrietty) deserves no less to be on that list. Though this is Yonebayashi’s first time directing his own film, the Studio Ghibli art and Miyazaki-style of storytelling are present and familiar. Ghibli movies range in both scale and theme, ranging from fantasy adventure to family slice-of-life and though the film definitely cannot be considered a grand epic (maybe one of miniature proportions) like Princess Mononoke or Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Karigurashi no Arrietty is a movie full of heart and quiet charm. Read More
The Harry Potter movies were never really about making the best piece of film, they were about bringing a fantastical world to live and invigorating the dreams and thoughts of those who read the Harry Potter book series by J.K. Rowling. When the books initially came out, the magical world where Hogwarts existed felt, at times, more tangible than our own world. So confident and fleshed was all the lore and history in Rowling’s universe (undoutedely inspired by a great wealth and ancient myths and mythology) that slipping into the magical wizard or witch slippers was as easy as picking up the book and reading from page one. This all started 14 years ago and the Harry Potter series, books and movies, have spread throughout the world like no other, capturing the hearts and imaginations of people young and old. But sadly, as Rowling had to put down the pen for her closing chapter, so must the long saga about The Boy Who Lived draw to a close with its eighth and final film installment in the Harry Potter franchise.
[warning; minor spoilers] Read More
Pixar Animation Studios is a studio that I have loved ever since I was little, and to show my intense enthusiasm and love, have always attempted to haul all my friends to every movie release since A Bug’s Life. I was even ballsy enough to apply for Pixar’s undergraduate program, which was met with limited success. Animation studios like DreamWorks and Blue Sky pale in comparison to Pixar in almost anyway (though DreamWorks did produce one of my favorite movies of all time, How To Train Your Dragon), but Pixar’s seemingly permanent position as perhaps the most well known animation studio in the world was not easily achieved. This year, Pixar celebrates their 25th anniversary this year with a Cars 2, with director John Lasseter (Toy Story 1, 2 and Cars) back at the helm.
Pixar may have dug itself into a hole when it began its reputation of making gorgeous animated films that packed great story, tangible emotional value, and appeal to both children and adults. Though these expectation for Pixar are wonderful, it acts as a double-edged sword, having recently caused Cars 2 to have abysmal reviews on RottenTomatoes and overtaking its predecessor, Cars (2006), as the runt of Pixar’s collection of films. I find most upsetting is that most people who have hopped on the Pixar Bandwagon of recent years are completely disillusioned to what makes Pixar so great.