Saturday, 16 March 2013

Spring Break Anime: Science Fiction

This is Day 5 in a series. You might want to checkout the previous day, or start at the introduction.

Alright, so after finishing this show, I decided that it really required a full essay to be written about it. It was so complex and deep, and such layered story that can only be described as an epic, that it needed to be given special treatment. It is absolutely steeped in themes and meaning, so I figured that I'd try and write a thematic analysis essay, something that I haven't done since Grade 11 English class, for the book Who Has Seen the Wind?, so we'll see how this went. I've been writing it on and off for several months, with the finishing touches written in the van on the way up here, so it may seem a little disjointed at times. Please bear with me on this. Without further ado, I give you my MLA formatted essay!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Spring Break Anime: Existential

This is Day 4 in a series. You might want to checkout the previous day, or start at the introduction.


What does it mean to be human? I love it when shows ask that question, especially in connection with technology. It probably has something to do with the whole being-a-computer-science-major thing. It's a question asked by many different TV shows and movies. The Matrix looks at what reality is, while Ghost in the Shell examines what separates man from machine. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is one of my top anime because it is so thoughtful. It raises real philosophical questions about life and tries to engage its viewer to consider them. The other day, I was feeling like watching a philosophical show like that, and I stumbled onto Serial Experiments Lain. It's an older show, but it had some pretty good recommendations, so I figured that I'd check it out.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Spring Break Anime: Action

This is Day 3 in a series. You might want to checkout the previous day, or start at the introduction.


Alright, this is one that I didn't really want to review, but I feel so strongly about it that I have no choice. The most popular show of the past year was probably Sword Art Online, with everyone and their uncle talking about it. It was a very polarizing show as well. If you go to the Anime News Network website, you can see that it is #16 in the "Most Diverging Opinions" category, even with more than twice the number of votes for its score than anything else in the top 50, and well over 10 times the votes of almost all of the rest of the top 50. There's a really simple explanation for why opinions are so spread out: the show started out amazing, and ended horribly, on several different levels.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Spring Break Anime: Folklore Anthology

This is Day 2 in a series. You might want to checkout the previous day, or start at the introduction.


If you've ever talked with me about TV shows, you'd know that I really don't watch procedural shows; I tend to spend all of my time watching serial shows. If you don't know the difference, procedural shows are shows like CSI or Seinfeld where nothing really changes from week to week. Something may change over the course of a season or two, but the viewer can usually skip an episode or twelve without missing anything at all. Sitcoms and crime dramas tend to be procedural, so I tend not to watch them. Serial shows, on the other hand, are shows where there is an overarching storyline that persists from week to week with new developments each episode. Examples of these would be Lost or Heroes.

It's probably because I put too much of an emphasis on story in media, but I can't stay interested in a procedural show. If there is nothing that reoccurs each week, I can't be bothered to tune in again. Which is why it's strange that I love Mushi-shi so much. Mushi-shi is an anthology, which is a step even further abstracted from procedural shows. Not only do the episodes not have any connection besides the same main character, but they are so unrelated they could be shown in any order and still make the same amount of sense. There is no over-story, no mystery to solve. It's simply the adventures of a man from week to week. It's not entirely fair to say that the show has no main story, but the story is only brought up twice. It's the mystery of where the main character came from, so nothing earth shaking, but it is fascinating.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Spring Break Anime: Slice of Life

This is Day 1 in a series. You might want to start at the introduction.


Let me start off by explaining what the Slice of Life genre is for those of you who are unfamiliar with it. Basically, it is when a show takes a cross-section of a character's life, and that is its entire purpose. There is no quest to save the world; no ultimate battle between good and evil; no grand mystery to solve. Some of those elements may be present in some form or another, but they are not the focus of the show. The Slice of Life genre exists simply to let us see the ordinary life of its characters.

Most shows in this genre end up being teen romances set in high school (Clannad, Toradora, etc.), but there are almost as many that aren't romances at all (K-On!Tari Tari, etc.). Because of the audience they are targeting, they do tend to be almost exclusively set in high school though. The two shows covered below aren't your typical Slice of Life shows though. They're very different from each other, but they're both examples of one of the things that I like the most about anime: whoever made them had guts.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Spring Break 2013: Anime

Last Spring Break, I decided to do some writing and give my personal top 10 list of video games from the year before. This year, I can't really do that, because I haven't played all that many new games. If you really want to know, I would probably choose The Walking Dead, Journey, Spec Ops: The Line, and a couple of others as my best games from last year, but I haven't even played Journey or Spec Ops yet, so who knows. (Actually, now I have played some of them, and I've written up an analysis of both The Walking Dead and Spec Ops: The Line.)

No, this year I figured that I'd tackle a different form of geeky media: anime. I watch a fair amount of anime in my spare time, and I've covered several shows in the past year. Actually, that's one of the reasons I love the anime genre so much: the shows are usually short. They're planned to run for only a season (13 episodes) or two, and then they wrap up nicely. An entire story, planned from start to end, can be started and finished within a week! Of course, there are some like Naruto or One Piece that never end, but that's a whole different animal.

So, over the course of this week, I will be posting my thoughts on different anime that I have watched this year. I'm also going to try and talk about the less watched, more interesting shows that I've seen, so not Gintama or Steins;Gate or the like. These won't all be shows that I would recommend or would watch again, but they all are interesting, I can guarantee that.

Right, so, starting tomorrow, one post per day for five days. I did it last year, so I can do it again, right?

p.s. Watch Steins;Gate. Please.

Full Series

Intro: Anime
Day 3Action
Day 4Existential