Archive for the ‘Spørg John’ Category

A number of years ago when I was regularly a guest and panel lecturer at the Glass City Con and other small anime conventions, I took pride in creating and offering unique, educational anime panels. Moreover, I made a point of never repeating myself. Each presentation was only given once. But as years have passed, I think it’s a bit of a waste not to share some of these presentations with a wider audience.

So with my very rudimentary video creation & editing skills, I turned one of my PowerPoint lectures into a self-contained YouTube video. This presentation highlights the origins of some of the homages and visual references that repeatedly come up in anime. Some of the references are easily recognizable, some not so much. But knowing what the references are, and what they’re references to, will allow viewers to better understand and appreciate the jokes and influences embedded within anime.

Share

A number of years ago when I was regularly a guest and panel lecturer at the Glass City Con and other small anime conventions, I took pride in creating and offering unique, educational anime panels. Moreover, I made a point of never repeating myself. Each presentation was only given once. But as years have passed, I think it’s a bit of a waste not to share some of these presentations with a wider audience.

So with my very rudimentary video creation & editing skills, I turned one of my PowerPoint lectures into a self-contained YouTube video. This presentation highlights the origins of some of the homages and visual references that repeatedly come up in anime. Some of the references are easily recognizable, some not so much. But knowing what the references are, and what they’re references to, will allow viewers to better understand and appreciate the jokes and influences embedded within anime.

Share

Spørgsmål:
I know you had a column recently on Battle Angel Alita and you’re probably impressed with the reception where fans and some film critics are commenting this is the truest adaptation of a live action film based on a manga to date by the film Director Robert Rodriguez andAvatarcreator James Cameron, even the manga creator Yukito Kishiro was impressed in your opinion what factors that the writers and producers gotten right with this adaptation compare to others in the past like say the live action Ghost In The Shell, Dragon Ball Evolution, Crying Freeman and what does that mean to ‘Development In Hellprojects like Ninja Scroll, Akira, Bubblegum Crisis and a rumoured Hellsing live action (just speculation)

Svar:
The lessons to be learned from the success of Robert Rodriguez & James Cameron’s Alita: Battle Angel movie are multiple and subtle, which is why I’m afraid that they likely won’t be learned from this film alone. Reflection upon particularly Western live-action adaptations of manga suggests that an initial concern of great importance is the adaptability of the original narrative. Manga series including Gunnm og Crying Freeman are action titles starring a singular character. While these titles exhibit some characteristics of Asian and particularly Japanese philosophy and culture, they’re not inextricably tied to Asian philosophy. Dragon Ball & Death Note, for eksempel, are much more intrinsically steeped in Asian culture. Dragon Ball is essentially Akira Toriyama’s hybridization of the Chinese Saiyuki legend. Death Note is fundamentally grounded in the pagan concept of shinagami. On one hand Ghost in the Shell is an action title starring a singular character, men GitS is also a concentrated philosophical, meditative, and reflective drama deeply in the vein of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Interconnected with the original material itself is also the nature of the screenwriter and director chosen to handle the adaptation. Rodriguez & Cameron are an optimal choice for a number of reasons. Both men have made a career of creating crowd-pleasing action films. Moreover, their skills and experiences balance and complement each other well. Rodriguez has made a career of maximizing low budgets, of being ingenious and inventive. Cameron, on the other hand, has made a career of sparing no expense to capture complete believability. Both creators have been fans of comics & sci-fi for decades, so both were clearly committed to visualizing and adapting Yukito Kishiro’s original vision, not necessarily creating their own interpretation of Kishiro’s work. 2017 Ghost in the Shell director Rupert Sanders admirably attempted to largely stay faithful to Mamoru Oshii’s 1995 original (as the 1995 movie is far more Oshii’soriginalfilm than a direct adaptation of Masamune Shirow’s manga). But particularly screenwriters Jamie Moss, William Wheeler, and Ehren Kruger, who do not have much experience in the sci-fi field, implemented some small but very significant alterations that fundamentally changed the nature of the Ghost in the Shell concept. Instead of depicting Motoko Kusanagi as an experienced veteran leader, she was depicted as an inexperienced rookie, thereby robbing the film of its central source of power. In effect, det 2017 Ghost in the Shell had the visual aesthetic and some of the plot points of the 1995 original but didn’t retain the original characterizations and many of the original concepts. It’s a film without enough faith in the source material to literally adapt the source material. Rodriguez & Cameron, moreover, deserve great credit for entirely ignoring potential external criticisms over whitewashing, sexism, or diversity. James Wong’s Dragonball: Evolution adapted a Chinese legend while stunt casting a single Chinese actor in a supporting role. Moreover, Wong clearly succumbed to external and studio pressures, resulting in a heavily compromised film bearing little resemblance in character, personality, and theme, to its source material. Rupert Sanders, while directing GitS as only his second feature film, defended against claims of whitewashing yet still made the principle a narrative turning point in his film when the concept was never part of the source material. Rodriguez & Cameron simply adapted the manga literally, as they saw it, resulting in a picture (largely) unburdened by external social criticisms.

Unlike Rupert SandersGhost in the Shell, which fundamentally re-envisioned the character of Motoko Kusanagi, or James Wong’s Dragonball: Evolution and Adam Wingard’s Death Note (2017) that drasticallyAmericanizedtheir source material, the most successful Western manga adaptations, including Christophe Gans’ 1995 Crying Freeman and Robert RodriguezAlita, have been especially faithful to the themes and characterizations of their sources. James Cameron’s Alita screenplay cut and pasted liberally from Kishiro’s manga and its anime adaptation, but Cameron’s original additions were very minor and were careful not to alter the spirit and tone of the source story. So a simple lesson is, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.If the original manga is good enough to be worth adapting, it’s likely good enough as is, without tune-ups and vast alteration by someone who is not the original creator. For example, Tatsuo Yoshida’s Mach Go Go Go has been popular since 1966. The Wachowski Brothers’ 2008 Speed Racer movie was vibrantly colorful and entertaining but was only loosely inspired by Yoshida’s original manga.

Toho has specifically requested that J.J. Abramsforthcoming Your Name adaptation beWesternizedrather than a literal adaptation of Makoto Shinkai’s original movie. So approaching that film as a manga adaptation may be a moot point. Possible American live-action adaptations of titles including Lupin III, Cowboy Bebop, One Piece, og Mobile Suit Gundam could potentially succeed artistically and critically, if not financially, if they’re handled faithfully with care. These titles are ones that have an inherent global appeal, that aren’t necessarily grounded in Asian perspective. To be truly successful these adaptations need to be produced by creative principals who respect and appreciate the integrity of the source material, principals who actually want to adapt rather than re-write. These franchises also need sufficient budget to look fully convincing. The Alita movie was reportedly a very expensive $170 million production. And it’s been universally praised for putting its budget up on screen. By comparison, det 2017 Ghost in the Shell cost $110 million and does periodically suffer from under-production. Men, I’m far more skeptical over the possible American adaptations of titles including Lionsgate’s Naruto and Warner Bros.Akira, Attack on Titan, og Bleach. Jubei Ninpucho ~ Ninja Scroll is a very traditionalist samurai story, albeit one with over-the-top violence and supernatural aspects. But Hollywood is capable of producing a convincing samurai film, either traditional (2003’s The Last Samurai, or fantastical: 2013’s 47 Ronin). A revisionist, cartoonish ninja movie, imidlertid, is unlike anything ever before attempted by Hollywood. Naruto obviously works well in manga and anime form. But my instinct suggests that a mainstream American movie producer will immediately presume that American moviegoers won’t suspend disbelief for a ninja who wears an orange jumpsuit. I simply have a lot of difficulty imaging an American Naruto movie that remains faithful to the spirit of Masashi Kishimoto’s manga. Likewise, Bleach is another manga grounded in the same paganistic concepts as Death Note. If Death Note needed to be heavily Americanized, I shudder to imagine how much Bleach, with its traditional Japanese hakama costumes, samurai guilds, and impractically exaggerated swords, would be altered and Americanized to conform to the assumptions of mainstream American taste. Akira isn’t necessarily an inherently Japanese story, but conceptually it’s a highly complex, moral and political thriller about human rights, discrimination, politics, and the nature of humanity. In effect, it’s thematically comparable to Ghost in the Shell. Yet I immediately envision an American adaptation concentrating on biker gangs, drug abuse, and exploitative psychic horror. Sadly, even Japan wasn’t able to craft a faithful Shingeki no Kyojin movie franchise. If Japan can’t create a faithful live-action adaptation of Attack on Titan, I must wonder how heavily the original manga may be altered for an American adaptation.

Alita: Battle Angel has proven that the secret to a successful manga adaptation is so simple that it’s easy to overlook. Select a title for adaptation that doesn’t need to be heavily altered for mainstream American consumption. Base the adaptation decision on the characteristics of the material itself, not on its transitory popularity. Then adapt the original material as faithfully as possible. One of the reasons why anime are frequently so popular is because they virtually use their original manga as storyboards. American adaptations shouldn’t seek to Americanize the source manga. If the source material needs to beAmericanized,” then it’s not ideal material for adaptation. Instead just license the title for a complete American re-interpretation, as Abramsupcoming Your Name theoretically will be. Dragonball: Evolution proved that an American Dragonball movie just isn’t Dragonball when Son Goku’s personality is completely different. Ghost in the Shell (2017) demonstrated that an American Ghost in the Shell isn’t as satisfying when Motoko Kusanagi’s role and personality have been completely undermined. Men, Alita: Battle Angel is possibly the world’s most successful live-action manga adaptation. And it’s as literal to the original manga as practically possible.

Share

Spørgsmål:
I know you had a column recently on Battle Angel Alita and you’re probably impressed with the reception where fans and some film critics are commenting this is the truest adaptation of a live action film based on a manga to date by the film Director Robert Rodriguez andAvatarcreator James Cameron, even the manga creator Yukito Kishiro was impressed in your opinion what factors that the writers and producers gotten right with this adaptation compare to others in the past like say the live action Ghost In The Shell, Dragon Ball Evolution, Crying Freeman and what does that mean to ‘Development In Hellprojects like Ninja Scroll, Akira, Bubblegum Crisis and a rumoured Hellsing live action (just speculation)

Svar:
The lessons to be learned from the success of Robert Rodriguez & James Cameron’s Alita: Battle Angel movie are multiple and subtle, which is why I’m afraid that they likely won’t be learned from this film alone. Reflection upon particularly Western live-action adaptations of manga suggests that an initial concern of great importance is the adaptability of the original narrative. Manga series including Gunnm og Crying Freeman are action titles starring a singular character. While these titles exhibit some characteristics of Asian and particularly Japanese philosophy and culture, they’re not inextricably tied to Asian philosophy. Dragon Ball & Death Note, for eksempel, are much more intrinsically steeped in Asian culture. Dragon Ball is essentially Akira Toriyama’s hybridization of the Chinese Saiyuki legend. Death Note is fundamentally grounded in the pagan concept of shinagami. On one hand Ghost in the Shell is an action title starring a singular character, men GitS is also a concentrated philosophical, meditative, and reflective drama deeply in the vein of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Interconnected with the original material itself is also the nature of the screenwriter and director chosen to handle the adaptation. Rodriguez & Cameron are an optimal choice for a number of reasons. Both men have made a career of creating crowd-pleasing action films. Moreover, their skills and experiences balance and complement each other well. Rodriguez has made a career of maximizing low budgets, of being ingenious and inventive. Cameron, on the other hand, has made a career of sparing no expense to capture complete believability. Both creators have been fans of comics & sci-fi for decades, so both were clearly committed to visualizing and adapting Yukito Kishiro’s original vision, not necessarily creating their own interpretation of Kishiro’s work. 2017 Ghost in the Shell director Rupert Sanders admirably attempted to largely stay faithful to Mamoru Oshii’s 1995 original (as the 1995 movie is far more Oshii’soriginalfilm than a direct adaptation of Masamune Shirow’s manga). But particularly screenwriters Jamie Moss, William Wheeler, and Ehren Kruger, who do not have much experience in the sci-fi field, implemented some small but very significant alterations that fundamentally changed the nature of the Ghost in the Shell concept. Instead of depicting Motoko Kusanagi as an experienced veteran leader, she was depicted as an inexperienced rookie, thereby robbing the film of its central source of power. In effect, det 2017 Ghost in the Shell had the visual aesthetic and some of the plot points of the 1995 original but didn’t retain the original characterizations and many of the original concepts. It’s a film without enough faith in the source material to literally adapt the source material. Rodriguez & Cameron, moreover, deserve great credit for entirely ignoring potential external criticisms over whitewashing, sexism, or diversity. James Wong’s Dragonball: Evolution adapted a Chinese legend while stunt casting a single Chinese actor in a supporting role. Moreover, Wong clearly succumbed to external and studio pressures, resulting in a heavily compromised film bearing little resemblance in character, personality, and theme, to its source material. Rupert Sanders, while directing GitS as only his second feature film, defended against claims of whitewashing yet still made the principle a narrative turning point in his film when the concept was never part of the source material. Rodriguez & Cameron simply adapted the manga literally, as they saw it, resulting in a picture (largely) unburdened by external social criticisms.

Unlike Rupert SandersGhost in the Shell, which fundamentally re-envisioned the character of Motoko Kusanagi, or James Wong’s Dragonball: Evolution and Adam Wingard’s Death Note (2017) that drasticallyAmericanizedtheir source material, the most successful Western manga adaptations, including Christophe Gans’ 1995 Crying Freeman and Robert RodriguezAlita, have been especially faithful to the themes and characterizations of their sources. James Cameron’s Alita screenplay cut and pasted liberally from Kishiro’s manga and its anime adaptation, but Cameron’s original additions were very minor and were careful not to alter the spirit and tone of the source story. So a simple lesson is, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.If the original manga is good enough to be worth adapting, it’s likely good enough as is, without tune-ups and vast alteration by someone who is not the original creator. For example, Tatsuo Yoshida’s Mach Go Go Go has been popular since 1966. The Wachowski Brothers’ 2008 Speed Racer movie was vibrantly colorful and entertaining but was only loosely inspired by Yoshida’s original manga.

Toho has specifically requested that J.J. Abramsforthcoming Your Name adaptation beWesternizedrather than a literal adaptation of Makoto Shinkai’s original movie. So approaching that film as a manga adaptation may be a moot point. Possible American live-action adaptations of titles including Lupin III, Cowboy Bebop, One Piece, og Mobile Suit Gundam could potentially succeed artistically and critically, if not financially, if they’re handled faithfully with care. These titles are ones that have an inherent global appeal, that aren’t necessarily grounded in Asian perspective. To be truly successful these adaptations need to be produced by creative principals who respect and appreciate the integrity of the source material, principals who actually want to adapt rather than re-write. These franchises also need sufficient budget to look fully convincing. The Alita movie was reportedly a very expensive $170 million production. And it’s been universally praised for putting its budget up on screen. By comparison, det 2017 Ghost in the Shell cost $110 million and does periodically suffer from under-production. Men, I’m far more skeptical over the possible American adaptations of titles including Lionsgate’s Naruto and Warner Bros.Akira, Attack on Titan, og Bleach. Jubei Ninpucho ~ Ninja Scroll is a very traditionalist samurai story, albeit one with over-the-top violence and supernatural aspects. But Hollywood is capable of producing a convincing samurai film, either traditional (2003’s The Last Samurai, or fantastical: 2013’s 47 Ronin). A revisionist, cartoonish ninja movie, imidlertid, is unlike anything ever before attempted by Hollywood. Naruto obviously works well in manga and anime form. But my instinct suggests that a mainstream American movie producer will immediately presume that American moviegoers won’t suspend disbelief for a ninja who wears an orange jumpsuit. I simply have a lot of difficulty imaging an American Naruto movie that remains faithful to the spirit of Masashi Kishimoto’s manga. Likewise, Bleach is another manga grounded in the same paganistic concepts as Death Note. If Death Note needed to be heavily Americanized, I shudder to imagine how much Bleach, with its traditional Japanese hakama costumes, samurai guilds, and impractically exaggerated swords, would be altered and Americanized to conform to the assumptions of mainstream American taste. Akira isn’t necessarily an inherently Japanese story, but conceptually it’s a highly complex, moral and political thriller about human rights, discrimination, politics, and the nature of humanity. In effect, it’s thematically comparable to Ghost in the Shell. Yet I immediately envision an American adaptation concentrating on biker gangs, drug abuse, and exploitative psychic horror. Sadly, even Japan wasn’t able to craft a faithful Shingeki no Kyojin movie franchise. If Japan can’t create a faithful live-action adaptation of Attack on Titan, I must wonder how heavily the original manga may be altered for an American adaptation.

Alita: Battle Angel has proven that the secret to a successful manga adaptation is so simple that it’s easy to overlook. Select a title for adaptation that doesn’t need to be heavily altered for mainstream American consumption. Base the adaptation decision on the characteristics of the material itself, not on its transitory popularity. Then adapt the original material as faithfully as possible. One of the reasons why anime are frequently so popular is because they virtually use their original manga as storyboards. American adaptations shouldn’t seek to Americanize the source manga. If the source material needs to beAmericanized,” then it’s not ideal material for adaptation. Instead just license the title for a complete American re-interpretation, as Abramsupcoming Your Name theoretically will be. Dragonball: Evolution proved that an American Dragonball movie just isn’t Dragonball when Son Goku’s personality is completely different. Ghost in the Shell (2017) demonstrated that an American Ghost in the Shell isn’t as satisfying when Motoko Kusanagi’s role and personality have been completely undermined. Men, Alita: Battle Angel is possibly the world’s most successful live-action manga adaptation. And it’s as literal to the original manga as practically possible.

Share

2018 will not be remembered as a remarkable year in anime history as the year didn’t produce any television series of historical significance. No avowed masterpieces rose from this year. Even the year’s finest productions are not “all time best” caliber shows. Nor did 2018 produce any memorably awful shows that will go down in history’s flames. Excluding continuing series and shows seemingly officially recognized as continuing seasons rather than new series, and also excluding a record high number of Chinese productions broadcast in Japanese dubs, including Jikken-hin Kazoku, To Be Heroine, Onmyouji: Heian Monogatari, Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai! 2, og Hora, Mimi ga Mieteru yo!, 2018 premiered 249 new terrestrial broadcast & web streaming anime series and one-shot specials. I was fortunate enough to watch a sample full episode of 243 of them. I even managed to watch 75 of this year’s new anime to completion.

My personal selections as the finest TV anime of 2018 begin with Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho, the story of four high school girls who vow to visit Antarctica. Privately, each of the four harbors a tremendous personal anxiety, so their collective journey allows them the opportunity to challenge and overcome their most intimidating fears. The story, which is ostensibly a slice of life drama, rapidly blossoms into a far more substantial and rewarding viewing experience thanks to Jukki Hanada’s script and Atsuko Ishizuka’s exceptional direction. The series concentrates equally on character development and depicting the small, realistic daily nuances involved with teenagers joining and participating in a civilian Antarctic scientific expedition. Subtle details including the parallel of both teen girl Shirase Kobuchizawa and adult leader Gin Todo struggling through survivor’s guilt emphasize thematic depth. Likewise, for eksempel, the framing of the separation between Mari & Megu at the shrine in episode five is one of the most symbolically meaningful composition shots I’ve ever seen within an anime. And theirbreakupsceneparticularly the way distance between the two girls is utilizedis impactful and makes excellent use of visual symbolism. Like the whole series, the climax of episode 12 is much more nuanced than it initially appears. On first impression, it’s a heartwarming conclusion. But upon further consideration viewers may realize that it’s actually quite bittersweet and perhaps even an outright tragedy. From episode to episode, nothing about the show is particularly flashy or arrestingly impressive, and the show isn’t a memorable landmark in anime history, but consistently the show’s animation quality, direction, editing, characterization, story development, and attention to detail are exceptional.

Masao Otake’s 2010 comedy manga Hinamatsuri is fine, but it’s director Kei Oikawa’s 2018 anime adaptation that vividly brings the manga to life and imbues much greater impact and emphasis to within it. The story is a sitcom hybrid of traditional yakuza politics and psychic teenage battle. A yakuza underboss has a time-traveling psychic teen fugitive literally materialize in his apartment, so he adopts the disaffected and lazy teen as a surrogate daughter. Young Hina’s disinterested and weary attitude is great source for comedy, but the anime series’ strength actually lies in its supporting characters and themes. Hina’s self-proclaimed rival Anzu initially seems like a typical “yankee,” a female version of Yu Yu Hakusho’s Kuwabara or Rurouni Kenshin’s Sanosuke. But her story arc reveals her unexpectedly conscientious personality and allows the show its rare opportunity to extensively examine Tokyo’s homeless population that’s frequently excluded from anime for being too weighty and uncomfortable of a subject to deal with. Likewise, Hitomi’s story shines a satirical light on frustrations of the Japanese employment system. And Mao’s story allows the show to let off steam with kung fu movie and Castaway parody. Ultimately the anime series, far more than the originating manga, uses animation, characterization, editing, and scripting to deliver a hilarious goofy comedy that also devotes a lot of attention to empathetic concepts including family, consideration for the underprivileged and homeless, and empathetic personal responsibility. Hinamatsuri is a raucously hilarious comedy that’s also frequently deeply heartfelt and moving.

I have to acknowledge Koi wa Ameagari no You ni with a significant caveat. The May-December romantic drama revolves around a teen girl who harbors a crush on her divorced middle-aged family restaurant manager boss. The show is uniquely interesting in several ways. Immediately and obviously it looks like an early 90’s production. Despite being 2018 animation based on a 2014 manga, the show visually most resembles Madhouse’s 1989 Yawara television anime and Studio Deen’s 1988 Patlabor. So while the dated-looking art design may deter some contemporary viewers, it’s also a pleasant breath of fresh air compared to the look of every other contemporary anime. Particularly lead characters Akira Tachibana and Masami Kondo are deeply nuanced and faceted because the storytelling spends so much time on them. Viewers get to know and care for these two characters who both suffer an emotional stumbling block that obstructs their progress. But roughly half-way through the series the story changes from a romance to a drama when the show concentrates on depicting the two characters individually yet in parallel challenging and overcoming their own psychological hurdles. The series may be admirable for respecting its characters, but being faithful to the characters at the expense of viewer satisfaction leaves viewers rationally impressed but emotionally unsatisfied. On a side note, the show’s ending theme, Aimer’s “Ref:rain,” may be the best anime theme song of the year.

Planet With is literally a hybrid of Gadguard, Genma Taisen, og Star Trek. The 2018 original series felt very reminiscent of the “kitchen sink” unpredictability of golden age anime including Ai City, Harmagedon, og Battle Royale High School. Interesting, dynamic characterizations from a diverse cast and lovely, exciting animation from studio J.C.Staff make the show eminently gratifying, although its brisk pace may actually have been better served with a longer two cour length that would have allowed for more suspense and given the story some breathing room. Seeing characters including Soya, Benika, Yosuke, Takezo, and even Generalissimo reveal their secret motivations and change allegiances and philosophical values multiple times as their perspectives change adds fascinating nuance to the show. But all of these changes occurring so rapidly compromises their impact. Like all of this year’s best anime, Planet With isn’t flawless, but it is highly enjoyable for many reasons and in many ways.

In fact, I don’t have a top fifth pick. Rather, I have a number of runner-up picks worth brief mention.

Asobi Asobase & Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro were both outrageously and unpredictably hilarious at their best, but neither show had grand aspirations nor was either solidly consistent. Similarly Pop Team Epic was brilliant when at its best but largely too esoteric and limited in its scope to elevate its status sustainably. Netflix’s ten-episode Aggressive Retsuko leaves viewers wanting more, but minor changes from the earlier web series aggravated me. Despite being a bit derivative, Darling in the FranXX is arguably the year’s most ambitious and unique mecha anime. Yet it still felt like it never quite symphonized the way it wanted to. Masaaki Yuasa rarely disappoints. Devilman Crybaby delivered everything viewers expected and hoped for, but ultimately the show is just a greatest hits remix of elements from the prior Devilman adaptations. Hanebad exhibited exceptional animation but wildly uneven storytelling. Violet Evergarden is arguably the year’s most exceptional looking show, but the series’ script didn’t rise to its lush visual and animation quality. Hisone to Masotan & Kokkoku are among the year’s strongest unique narratives, but unfortunately both suffered underwhelming final acts. Uma Musume: Pretty Derby far surpassed low expectations with strong characterizations and a great amount of respect for audience intelligence. But exceptional execution isn’t sufficient to elevate a story with middle-of-the-road ambitions. Yuru Camp is this year’s best iyashikei anime, but it’s a bit redundant and limited in scope compared to series including Non Non Biyori, Natsume Yujincho, Amanchu, og Kemono Friends. While I enjoyed Yuru Camp quite a bit, Hakumei to Mikochi was my favorite iyashikei anime of the year.

I don’t relish recognizing bad anime, men 2018 seemed to produce an inordinate number of sub-par TV productions ranging from bad to near unspeakably abysmal. Among them: Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory, Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens, Hero Mask, LadySpo, Ore ga Suki nano wa Imouto dakedo Imouto ja Nai, Satsuriku no Tenshi, Sora to Umi no Aida, RErideD: Tokigoe no Derrida, og Tenrou: Sirius the Jaeger.

List of 2018 TV & Web anime (The titles I didn’t watch any of are boldfaced):

25-sai no Jyoshikousei
3D Kanojo: Real Girl
A.I.C.O. Incarnation [Netflix anime]
Aggressive Retsuko [Netflix anime]
Aguu: Tensai Ningyou
Aikatsu Friends!
Akanesasu Shoujo
Akkun to Kanojo
Akuma no Memumemu-chan [web anime]
Alice or Alice
Amai Choubatsu: Watashi wa Kanshu Senyou Pet
Amanchu! Advance
Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki
Anima Yell!
Aru Zombie Shoujo no Sainan
Asobi Asobase
B: The Beginning [Netflix anime]
Back Street Girls ~Gokudolls~
Baki [Netflix anime]
Bakumatsu ~Ren’ai Bakumatsu Kareshi Gaiden~
Bakutsuri Bar Hunter
BANANA FISH
BanG Dream! Garupa?Pico
Basilisk: Ouka Ninpouchou
BEATLESS
Beelzebub-jou no Okinimesu mama.
Beyblade Burst Chouzetsu
Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Happy Kiss!
Butlers: Chitose Momotose Monogatari
Caligula
Captain Tsubasa (2018)
Cara to Otama Jakushi Shima
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card-hen
Cardfight!! Vanguard
Carnival Phantasm Selection
Chihayafuru Syuukasen
Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro
Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa
citrus
Comic Girls
Conception
Cutie Honey Universe
Dagashi Kashi 2
Dakaretai Otoko 1-i ni Odosarete Imasu.
Dame × Prince Anime Caravan
Darling in the FranXX
Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku
Devidol!
Devilman Crybaby [Netflix anime]
Devil’s Line
Dorei-ku The Animation
Double Decker! Doug & Kirill
Duel Masters!
Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan
Fate/EXTRA Last Encore
Free!-Dive to the Future-
Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory
Fumikiri Jikan
Future Card Shin Buddyfight
Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-san
Gakuen Babysitters
Gakuen Basara
Gan Gan Ganko-chan second series
gdgd Men’s Party
Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro (6th series)
Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu: Die Neue TheseKaikou
Gintama: Gin no Tamashii-hen
Goblin Slayer
Golden Kamuy
Grancrest Senki
Grand Blue
Gundam Build Divers
Gurazeni
Gyakuten Saiban: SonoShinjitsu,” Igiari! Season 2
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens
Hakumei to Mikochi
Hakyuu Houshin Engi
Hanasaku Kizuna no Romantan [web anime]
Hanebado!
Han-Gyaku-sei Million Arthur
Happy Sugar Life
Harukana Receive
Hashiri Tsuzukete Yokattatte.
Hataraku Onii-san!
Hataraku Onii-san! På 2!
Hataraku Saibou
Hero Mask [Netflix anime]
High School DxD Hero
High Score Girl
Himote House
Hinamatsuri
Hinomaru Zumou
Hisone to Masotan
Hoshi no Shima no Nyanko
Hugtto! Precure
Hyakuren no Haou to Seiyaku no Valkyria
Idolish Seven
Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls Gekijou 3rd season
Inazuma Eleven: Ares no Tenbin
Inazuma Eleven: Orion no Kokuin
Ingress [Netflix anime]
Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara
Isekai Izakaya: Koto Aitheria no Izakaya Nobu [web anime]
Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu
ISLAND
Itou Junji: Collection
Itsuka Aeru Kimi ni [web anime]
Iya na Kao Sare Nagara Opantsu Misete Moraitai [web anime]
Jashin-chan Dropkick
Jingai-san no Yome
Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken: Ougon no Kaze
Joshi Ochi!!: 2-kai kara Ero Musume ga Futte kite, Ore no Areni!?
Juushinki Pandora
Kaijuu Girls: Ultra Kaijuu Gijinka Keikaku 2nd Season
Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi
Kamisama Minarai Himitsu no Cocotama: Natsu da! Oohashagi Special
Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san
Karakuri Circus
Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru
Kekeroke
Ken En Ken: Aoki Kagayaki
Killing Bites
Kimi no Matsu Basho e [web anime]
Kirakira Happy?Hirake! Cocotama
Kiratto Pri?chan
Kishuku Gakkou no Juliet
Kitsune no Koe
Koi wa Ameagari no You ni
Kokkoku
Koneko no Chi: Ponponra Dairyokou
Kuroneko Monroe
Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou no Holmes
LadySpo
Last Period: Owarinaki Rasen no Monogatari
Layton Mystery Tanteisha: Katri no Nazotoki File
Live Animation Heart x Algorhythm 2nd series
Lord of Vermilion: Guren no Ou
LOST SONG [Netflix anime]
Lostorage conflated WIXOSS
Lupin the Third: Part 5
Mahou Shoujo Ore
Mahou Shoujo Site
MAJOR 2nd
Mame Neko
Märchen Mädchen
Marvel Future Avengers Season 2
Megalo Box
Merc Storia: Mukiryoku Shounen to Bin no Naka no Shoujo
Miira no Kaikata
Mitchiri Neko
Mitsuboshi Colors
Muhyo to Roujii no Mahouritsu Soudan Jimusho
Nanatsu no Bitoku
Nanatsu no Taizai: Imashime no Fukkatsu
Nani Iro no Nani [web anime]
Nil Admirari no Tenbin
Okojo to Yamane
Okoshiyasu, Chitose-chan
Omae wa Mada Gunma wo Shiranai
One Room second season
Ongaku Shoujo
Ore ga Suki nano wa Imouto dakedo Imouto ja Nai
Ore-tacha Youkai Ningen G
Oshiete Mahou no Pendulum: Rilu Rilu Fairilu
Oshiri Tantei
Otona no Bouguya-san
Overlord II
Overlord III
PERSONA5 the Animation
Phantom in the Twilight
Piano no Mori
Planet With
Pochitto Hatsumei: Pikachin-Kit
Pop Team Epic
Puzzle & Dragon
Radiant
Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san
Release the Sypce
RErideD: Tokigoe no Derrida [Netflix anime]
Robot Girls Neo [web anime]
Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori
Ryuuou no Oshigoto!
Saiki Kusuo no ?-nan 2nd Season
Sakura no Chikai ~Marronni ? Yell Higashi no Asuka Shimotsuke-shi o Yell!~
Sanrio Danshi
Saredo Tsumibito wa Ryuu to Odoru
Satsuriku no Tenshi
Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai
Senjuushi
Senran Kagura: Shinovi MasterTokyo Youma-hen
Sentai Heroes Sukiyaki Force: Gunma no Heiwa wo Negau Season e, Mata
Shichisei no Subaru
Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion
Shinya! Tensai Bakabon
Shoujo ? Kageki Revue Starlight
Shuudengo, Capsule Hotel de, Joushi ni Binetsu Utawaru Yoru.
Slow Start
SNS Police [web anime]
Sono Toki, Kanojo wa.
Sora to Umi no Aida
Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho
Souten no Ken: Regenesis
Space Bug
SSSS.GRIDMAN
St. Seiya: Saintia Shou
Steins;Gate 0
Sunohara-sou no Kanrinin-san
Super Dragon Ball Heroes [web anime]
Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online
Sword Art Online: Alicization
Swordgai The Animation [Netflix anime]
Tachibana-kan to Lie Angle
Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai
Takunomi.
Televi Yarou Nanana
Tenrou: Sirius the Jaeger
Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken
The iDOLM@STER Side M: Wake atte Mini!
Thunderbolt Fantasy second season
Toaru Majutsu no Index III
Toji no Miko
Tokyo Ghoul:re
Tonari no Kyuuketsuki-san
Tsukumogami Kashimasu
Tsurune: Kazemai Koukou Kyuudou-bu
Uchi no Maid ga Uzasugiru!
Uchi no Oochopus
Uchuu Senkan Tiramisu
Ulysses: Jeanne d’Arc to Renkin no Kishi
Uma Musume: Pretty Derby
Usagi no Mathew
Violet Evergarden
Virtual Buzz Talk
Wakaokami wa Shougakusei!
Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii
Yagate Kimi ni Naru
Yakiniku-ten Sengoku
Yakusoku no Nanaya Matsuri [web anime]
Yama no Susume 3rd season
Yami Shibai 6th Season
Youkai Watch: Shadow Side
Yowamushi Pedal: Glory Line
Yume Oukoku to Nemureru 100 Nin no Ouji-sama
Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san
Yuru Camp
Zannen na Ikimono Jiten
Zoids Wild
Zoku Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru
Zombieland Saga

Share

2018 will not be remembered as a remarkable year in anime history as the year didn’t produce any television series of historical significance. No avowed masterpieces rose from this year. Even the year’s finest productions are not “all time best” caliber shows. Nor did 2018 produce any memorably awful shows that will go down in history’s flames. Excluding continuing series and shows seemingly officially recognized as continuing seasons rather than new series, and also excluding a record high number of Chinese productions broadcast in Japanese dubs, including Jikken-hin Kazoku, To Be Heroine, Onmyouji: Heian Monogatari, Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai! 2, og Hora, Mimi ga Mieteru yo!, 2018 premiered 249 new terrestrial broadcast & web streaming anime series and one-shot specials. I was fortunate enough to watch a sample full episode of 243 of them. I even managed to watch 75 of this year’s new anime to completion.

My personal selections as the finest TV anime of 2018 begin with Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho, the story of four high school girls who vow to visit Antarctica. Privately, each of the four harbors a tremendous personal anxiety, so their collective journey allows them the opportunity to challenge and overcome their most intimidating fears. The story, which is ostensibly a slice of life drama, rapidly blossoms into a far more substantial and rewarding viewing experience thanks to Jukki Hanada’s script and Atsuko Ishizuka’s exceptional direction. The series concentrates equally on character development and depicting the small, realistic daily nuances involved with teenagers joining and participating in a civilian Antarctic scientific expedition. Subtle details including the parallel of both teen girl Shirase Kobuchizawa and adult leader Gin Todo struggling through survivor’s guilt emphasize thematic depth. Likewise, for eksempel, the framing of the separation between Mari & Megu at the shrine in episode five is one of the most symbolically meaningful composition shots I’ve ever seen within an anime. And theirbreakupsceneparticularly the way distance between the two girls is utilizedis impactful and makes excellent use of visual symbolism. Like the whole series, the climax of episode 12 is much more nuanced than it initially appears. On first impression, it’s a heartwarming conclusion. But upon further consideration viewers may realize that it’s actually quite bittersweet and perhaps even an outright tragedy. From episode to episode, nothing about the show is particularly flashy or arrestingly impressive, and the show isn’t a memorable landmark in anime history, but consistently the show’s animation quality, direction, editing, characterization, story development, and attention to detail are exceptional.

Masao Otake’s 2010 comedy manga Hinamatsuri is fine, but it’s director Kei Oikawa’s 2018 anime adaptation that vividly brings the manga to life and imbues much greater impact and emphasis to within it. The story is a sitcom hybrid of traditional yakuza politics and psychic teenage battle. A yakuza underboss has a time-traveling psychic teen fugitive literally materialize in his apartment, so he adopts the disaffected and lazy teen as a surrogate daughter. Young Hina’s disinterested and weary attitude is great source for comedy, but the anime series’ strength actually lies in its supporting characters and themes. Hina’s self-proclaimed rival Anzu initially seems like a typical “yankee,” a female version of Yu Yu Hakusho’s Kuwabara or Rurouni Kenshin’s Sanosuke. But her story arc reveals her unexpectedly conscientious personality and allows the show its rare opportunity to extensively examine Tokyo’s homeless population that’s frequently excluded from anime for being too weighty and uncomfortable of a subject to deal with. Likewise, Hitomi’s story shines a satirical light on frustrations of the Japanese employment system. And Mao’s story allows the show to let off steam with kung fu movie and Castaway parody. Ultimately the anime series, far more than the originating manga, uses animation, characterization, editing, and scripting to deliver a hilarious goofy comedy that also devotes a lot of attention to empathetic concepts including family, consideration for the underprivileged and homeless, and empathetic personal responsibility. Hinamatsuri is a raucously hilarious comedy that’s also frequently deeply heartfelt and moving.

I have to acknowledge Koi wa Ameagari no You ni with a significant caveat. The May-December romantic drama revolves around a teen girl who harbors a crush on her divorced middle-aged family restaurant manager boss. The show is uniquely interesting in several ways. Immediately and obviously it looks like an early 90’s production. Despite being 2018 animation based on a 2014 manga, the show visually most resembles Madhouse’s 1989 Yawara television anime and Studio Deen’s 1988 Patlabor. So while the dated-looking art design may deter some contemporary viewers, it’s also a pleasant breath of fresh air compared to the look of every other contemporary anime. Particularly lead characters Akira Tachibana and Masami Kondo are deeply nuanced and faceted because the storytelling spends so much time on them. Viewers get to know and care for these two characters who both suffer an emotional stumbling block that obstructs their progress. But roughly half-way through the series the story changes from a romance to a drama when the show concentrates on depicting the two characters individually yet in parallel challenging and overcoming their own psychological hurdles. The series may be admirable for respecting its characters, but being faithful to the characters at the expense of viewer satisfaction leaves viewers rationally impressed but emotionally unsatisfied. On a side note, the show’s ending theme, Aimer’s “Ref:rain,” may be the best anime theme song of the year.

Planet With is literally a hybrid of Gadguard, Genma Taisen, og Star Trek. The 2018 original series felt very reminiscent of the “kitchen sink” unpredictability of golden age anime including Ai City, Harmagedon, og Battle Royale High School. Interesting, dynamic characterizations from a diverse cast and lovely, exciting animation from studio J.C.Staff make the show eminently gratifying, although its brisk pace may actually have been better served with a longer two cour length that would have allowed for more suspense and given the story some breathing room. Seeing characters including Soya, Benika, Yosuke, Takezo, and even Generalissimo reveal their secret motivations and change allegiances and philosophical values multiple times as their perspectives change adds fascinating nuance to the show. But all of these changes occurring so rapidly compromises their impact. Like all of this year’s best anime, Planet With isn’t flawless, but it is highly enjoyable for many reasons and in many ways.

In fact, I don’t have a top fifth pick. Rather, I have a number of runner-up picks worth brief mention.

Asobi Asobase & Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro were both outrageously and unpredictably hilarious at their best, but neither show had grand aspirations nor was either solidly consistent. Similarly Pop Team Epic was brilliant when at its best but largely too esoteric and limited in its scope to elevate its status sustainably. Netflix’s ten-episode Aggressive Retsuko leaves viewers wanting more, but minor changes from the earlier web series aggravated me. Despite being a bit derivative, Darling in the FranXX is arguably the year’s most ambitious and unique mecha anime. Yet it still felt like it never quite symphonized the way it wanted to. Masaaki Yuasa rarely disappoints. Devilman Crybaby delivered everything viewers expected and hoped for, but ultimately the show is just a greatest hits remix of elements from the prior Devilman adaptations. Hanebad exhibited exceptional animation but wildly uneven storytelling. Violet Evergarden is arguably the year’s most exceptional looking show, but the series’ script didn’t rise to its lush visual and animation quality. Hisone to Masotan & Kokkoku are among the year’s strongest unique narratives, but unfortunately both suffered underwhelming final acts. Uma Musume: Pretty Derby far surpassed low expectations with strong characterizations and a great amount of respect for audience intelligence. But exceptional execution isn’t sufficient to elevate a story with middle-of-the-road ambitions. Yuru Camp is this year’s best iyashikei anime, but it’s a bit redundant and limited in scope compared to series including Non Non Biyori, Natsume Yujincho, Amanchu, og Kemono Friends. While I enjoyed Yuru Camp quite a bit, Hakumei to Mikochi was my favorite iyashikei anime of the year.

I don’t relish recognizing bad anime, men 2018 seemed to produce an inordinate number of sub-par TV productions ranging from bad to near unspeakably abysmal. Among them: Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory, Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens, Hero Mask, LadySpo, Ore ga Suki nano wa Imouto dakedo Imouto ja Nai, Satsuriku no Tenshi, Sora to Umi no Aida, RErideD: Tokigoe no Derrida, og Tenrou: Sirius the Jaeger.

List of 2018 TV & Web anime (The titles I didn’t watch any of are boldfaced):

25-sai no Jyoshikousei
3D Kanojo: Real Girl
A.I.C.O. Incarnation [Netflix anime]
Aggressive Retsuko [Netflix anime]
Aguu: Tensai Ningyou
Aikatsu Friends!
Akanesasu Shoujo
Akkun to Kanojo
Akuma no Memumemu-chan [web anime]
Alice or Alice
Amai Choubatsu: Watashi wa Kanshu Senyou Pet
Amanchu! Advance
Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki
Anima Yell!
Aru Zombie Shoujo no Sainan
Asobi Asobase
B: The Beginning [Netflix anime]
Back Street Girls ~Gokudolls~
Baki [Netflix anime]
Bakumatsu ~Ren’ai Bakumatsu Kareshi Gaiden~
Bakutsuri Bar Hunter
BANANA FISH
BanG Dream! Garupa?Pico
Basilisk: Ouka Ninpouchou
BEATLESS
Beelzebub-jou no Okinimesu mama.
Beyblade Burst Chouzetsu
Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Happy Kiss!
Butlers: Chitose Momotose Monogatari
Caligula
Captain Tsubasa (2018)
Cara to Otama Jakushi Shima
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card-hen
Cardfight!! Vanguard
Carnival Phantasm Selection
Chihayafuru Syuukasen
Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro
Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa
citrus
Comic Girls
Conception
Cutie Honey Universe
Dagashi Kashi 2
Dakaretai Otoko 1-i ni Odosarete Imasu.
Dame × Prince Anime Caravan
Darling in the FranXX
Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku
Devidol!
Devilman Crybaby [Netflix anime]
Devil’s Line
Dorei-ku The Animation
Double Decker! Doug & Kirill
Duel Masters!
Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan
Fate/EXTRA Last Encore
Free!-Dive to the Future-
Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory
Fumikiri Jikan
Future Card Shin Buddyfight
Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-san
Gakuen Babysitters
Gakuen Basara
Gan Gan Ganko-chan second series
gdgd Men’s Party
Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro (6th series)
Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu: Die Neue TheseKaikou
Gintama: Gin no Tamashii-hen
Goblin Slayer
Golden Kamuy
Grancrest Senki
Grand Blue
Gundam Build Divers
Gurazeni
Gyakuten Saiban: SonoShinjitsu,” Igiari! Season 2
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens
Hakumei to Mikochi
Hakyuu Houshin Engi
Hanasaku Kizuna no Romantan [web anime]
Hanebado!
Han-Gyaku-sei Million Arthur
Happy Sugar Life
Harukana Receive
Hashiri Tsuzukete Yokattatte.
Hataraku Onii-san!
Hataraku Onii-san! På 2!
Hataraku Saibou
Hero Mask [Netflix anime]
High School DxD Hero
High Score Girl
Himote House
Hinamatsuri
Hinomaru Zumou
Hisone to Masotan
Hoshi no Shima no Nyanko
Hugtto! Precure
Hyakuren no Haou to Seiyaku no Valkyria
Idolish Seven
Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls Gekijou 3rd season
Inazuma Eleven: Ares no Tenbin
Inazuma Eleven: Orion no Kokuin
Ingress [Netflix anime]
Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara
Isekai Izakaya: Koto Aitheria no Izakaya Nobu [web anime]
Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu
ISLAND
Itou Junji: Collection
Itsuka Aeru Kimi ni [web anime]
Iya na Kao Sare Nagara Opantsu Misete Moraitai [web anime]
Jashin-chan Dropkick
Jingai-san no Yome
Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken: Ougon no Kaze
Joshi Ochi!!: 2-kai kara Ero Musume ga Futte kite, Ore no Areni!?
Juushinki Pandora
Kaijuu Girls: Ultra Kaijuu Gijinka Keikaku 2nd Season
Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi
Kamisama Minarai Himitsu no Cocotama: Natsu da! Oohashagi Special
Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san
Karakuri Circus
Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru
Kekeroke
Ken En Ken: Aoki Kagayaki
Killing Bites
Kimi no Matsu Basho e [web anime]
Kirakira Happy?Hirake! Cocotama
Kiratto Pri?chan
Kishuku Gakkou no Juliet
Kitsune no Koe
Koi wa Ameagari no You ni
Kokkoku
Koneko no Chi: Ponponra Dairyokou
Kuroneko Monroe
Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou no Holmes
LadySpo
Last Period: Owarinaki Rasen no Monogatari
Layton Mystery Tanteisha: Katri no Nazotoki File
Live Animation Heart x Algorhythm 2nd series
Lord of Vermilion: Guren no Ou
LOST SONG [Netflix anime]
Lostorage conflated WIXOSS
Lupin the Third: Part 5
Mahou Shoujo Ore
Mahou Shoujo Site
MAJOR 2nd
Mame Neko
Märchen Mädchen
Marvel Future Avengers Season 2
Megalo Box
Merc Storia: Mukiryoku Shounen to Bin no Naka no Shoujo
Miira no Kaikata
Mitchiri Neko
Mitsuboshi Colors
Muhyo to Roujii no Mahouritsu Soudan Jimusho
Nanatsu no Bitoku
Nanatsu no Taizai: Imashime no Fukkatsu
Nani Iro no Nani [web anime]
Nil Admirari no Tenbin
Okojo to Yamane
Okoshiyasu, Chitose-chan
Omae wa Mada Gunma wo Shiranai
One Room second season
Ongaku Shoujo
Ore ga Suki nano wa Imouto dakedo Imouto ja Nai
Ore-tacha Youkai Ningen G
Oshiete Mahou no Pendulum: Rilu Rilu Fairilu
Oshiri Tantei
Otona no Bouguya-san
Overlord II
Overlord III
PERSONA5 the Animation
Phantom in the Twilight
Piano no Mori
Planet With
Pochitto Hatsumei: Pikachin-Kit
Pop Team Epic
Puzzle & Dragon
Radiant
Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san
Release the Sypce
RErideD: Tokigoe no Derrida [Netflix anime]
Robot Girls Neo [web anime]
Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori
Ryuuou no Oshigoto!
Saiki Kusuo no ?-nan 2nd Season
Sakura no Chikai ~Marronni ? Yell Higashi no Asuka Shimotsuke-shi o Yell!~
Sanrio Danshi
Saredo Tsumibito wa Ryuu to Odoru
Satsuriku no Tenshi
Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai
Senjuushi
Senran Kagura: Shinovi MasterTokyo Youma-hen
Sentai Heroes Sukiyaki Force: Gunma no Heiwa wo Negau Season e, Mata
Shichisei no Subaru
Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion
Shinya! Tensai Bakabon
Shoujo ? Kageki Revue Starlight
Shuudengo, Capsule Hotel de, Joushi ni Binetsu Utawaru Yoru.
Slow Start
SNS Police [web anime]
Sono Toki, Kanojo wa.
Sora to Umi no Aida
Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho
Souten no Ken: Regenesis
Space Bug
SSSS.GRIDMAN
St. Seiya: Saintia Shou
Steins;Gate 0
Sunohara-sou no Kanrinin-san
Super Dragon Ball Heroes [web anime]
Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online
Sword Art Online: Alicization
Swordgai The Animation [Netflix anime]
Tachibana-kan to Lie Angle
Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai
Takunomi.
Televi Yarou Nanana
Tenrou: Sirius the Jaeger
Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken
The iDOLM@STER Side M: Wake atte Mini!
Thunderbolt Fantasy second season
Toaru Majutsu no Index III
Toji no Miko
Tokyo Ghoul:re
Tonari no Kyuuketsuki-san
Tsukumogami Kashimasu
Tsurune: Kazemai Koukou Kyuudou-bu
Uchi no Maid ga Uzasugiru!
Uchi no Oochopus
Uchuu Senkan Tiramisu
Ulysses: Jeanne d’Arc to Renkin no Kishi
Uma Musume: Pretty Derby
Usagi no Mathew
Violet Evergarden
Virtual Buzz Talk
Wakaokami wa Shougakusei!
Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii
Yagate Kimi ni Naru
Yakiniku-ten Sengoku
Yakusoku no Nanaya Matsuri [web anime]
Yama no Susume 3rd season
Yami Shibai 6th Season
Youkai Watch: Shadow Side
Yowamushi Pedal: Glory Line
Yume Oukoku to Nemureru 100 Nin no Ouji-sama
Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san
Yuru Camp
Zannen na Ikimono Jiten
Zoids Wild
Zoku Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru
Zombieland Saga

Spørgsmål:
After watching some of the new anime series this season I couldn’t help mustering less than ambivalence for Production I.G’s two series Robotic;Notes and Psycho Pass. This came as a surprise since I had generally always looked forward to their shows which generally boasted stunning animation and interesting narratives. Lately though, their productions seem to be missing that wow factor of their earlier days. This too is so for Mangaglobe studios who seems to have jumped the shark from unique (if not entirely successful) thematically complex series such as Michiko E Hatchin , Samurai Champloo to Mashiro Symphony and The World Only God Knows. Definitely a far cry from their earlier productions. What is your opinion on the seemingly lack ofwowfactor that these studios had originally produced in their glory days? Is it due to new talents taking over, thus a downgrade in quality? Has any other anime studio such as Bones, Shaft, or Sunrise also seem to be creating series which are not nearly as interesting as their older shows?


Svar:
Anime productions require a year to several years, or in the case of Production I.G’s multi-award winning motion picture Momo e no Tegami, seven years of development time, so observers and critics should adopt a more long-term perspective of anime studio output than focus on trends within relatively short spans. Since its formation in 1987, Production I.G has been synonymous with high-end and exceptional anime, practically starting out of the gate with the impressive 1989 Patlabor motion picture, which was followed by fan favorite anime including Video Girl Ai, Dragon Half, and Please Save My Earth. It was only in 1995 that Production I.G established itself as an international animation powerhouse when it relesed the Ghost in the Shell movie. Men, examination of I.G’s output reveals a number of years with underwhelming output. The studio’s highlights from 1996 were the Shinesman and Blue Seed 2 OVAs. The studio’s most impressive anime production of 1999 was the relatively unimpressive Akihabara Cyber Team movie. The studio produced the exceptional 2008 TV series Real Drive, but that same year also released World Destruction, Sisters of Wellber Zwei, and Toshokan Senso. Similarly, two years ago Production I.G released the amazing TV special Shoka but also co-produced the atrocious Loups=Garous movie and the underwhelming Bungaku Shoujo movie. So 2012s mixed output of the technically impressive but narratively underwhelming Robotics;Notes and Psycho-Pass TV series are somewhat balanced out by the release of the affecting Momo e no Tegami movie. And a relatively down year like 2012 for the studio isn’t out of character for the studio from a historical perspective.

Anime studio Kabushiki-gaisha Manglobe was established in 2002 and initially produced a number of praiseworthy, esoteric productions including Samurai Champloo (2004), Ergo Proxy (2006), and Michiko to Hatchin (2008). Men, beginning with 2009s Seiken no Blacksmith, the studio has increasingly turned to animating more commercially friendly, conventional anime such as Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai (2010), Deadman Wonderland & Mashiroiro Symphony (2011), and Hayate no Gotoku. The studio’s only avant-garde production among its past eight titles has been 2010s Sarai-ya Goyo. From a long-term perspective, three years, from 2009 til 2012, may be insufficient to really gauge whether and how Manglobe’s characteristic style is changing. The trend appears to suggest that unlike the traditional ebb and flow of Production I.G, Manglobe started out focusing on unusual, unconventional anime and has shifted its focus to more commercially viable and sustainable mainstream productions, either by choice or necessity. But considering that the studio’s initial batch of avant-garde anime were produced at an average of two years apart and Manglobe’s most recent such production was two years ago, observers may want to see what Manglobe produces in 2013 before leaping to the conclusion that Manglobe hassold outand abandoned its production of nonconformist anime.

Upswings and lean periods are normal within the anime industry. Consider, for eksempel, prolific studio Madhouse. During the exceptional span of 2006-2008, Madhouse produced amazing TV anime productions including Death Note, Kemonozume, Shigurui, Denno Coil, Oh Edo Rocket, Kurozuka, and Kaiba. Men, in 2009 the studio released Needless, Rideback, Souten Koro, and Kobato. And in 2010 through 2012 Madhouse’s TV anime productions have included the four Marvel Anime series, Oda Nobuna no Yabou, and BTOOOM! Acclaimed studio Gainax has produced masterworks including Secret of Blue Water (1990), Evangelion (1995), Gurren Lagann (2007), and Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt (2010) but also, in recent years, humdrum shows including Dantalian no Shoka, Hanamaru Yochien, and Shikabane Hime.

Perhaps the only studio I can immediately recollect that could arguably be accused of genuinely declining consistently in creativity and integrity is AIC. The studio launched in the early 1980s with groundbreaking, evocative productions like Megazone 23 (1985), Gall Force (1986), Bubblegum Crisis (1987), and Tenchi Muyo (1992), but in recent years has been characterized by anime including Sora no Otoshimono (2009), Shukufuku no Campanella (2010), R-15 (2011), and Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate (2012). Men, even in its still prolific yet more conventional state, AIC has still periodically made some effort to surprise viewers with unconventional (and marginally successful) productions like Ga-rei Zero (2008), Geijutsuka Art Design Class (2009), Horo Musuko (2011), and this year’s Jinrui wa Suitaishimashita & Ebiten: Koritsu Ebisugawa Koko Tenmonbu.

Even the most prolific anime production studios typically only create three or four television series per year, so making the assertion that a studio is losing its creativity or becoming more conventional and mainstream within a span of a year or two, or based on overview of only a half-dozen or so titles is really too small of a exemplary sample to support such a conclusion. A year or two and a half-dozen shows may seem like a lot of material and time for observers to base judgement on, but it’s actually not a lot of time and output for a major studio to be typified by. Unusual, artistic, esoteric anime literally don’t appear every year, especially not from a singular studio every year, so before believing that a studio has lost its touch, fans should give the studio at least a three or four year span of time before rendering characteristic observations.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUponShare


Spørgsmål:
I’ve just watched Legendary Gambler Tetsuya and I really like it. The highly stylized high-stakes competitive gambling, the post-WW2 recovery period of Japan as it’s rebuilding…. I’ve never seen anything like this. Can you recommend anything similar to this in terms of atmosphere or gambling themes?


Svar:
Typically, gambling anime seem to polarize with either a very dark and threatening atmosphere or a light and fun atmosphere. Mahjong anime including the 1992 Super Zugan and 2009 Saki TV series and the 2010 Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku OVA are lighthearted and comical. The 2008 Ad Lib Ouji OVA revolves around rivalries between professional pachislo players, but the anime concentrates on goofy humor and depiction of bizarre personalities far more than competition and gambling technique. 2011′s Rio! Rainbowgate television series is set in a casino and stars Blackjack dealers but focuses exclusively on ridiculous, albeit entertaining, situational comedy rather than gambling strategy or suspense. Then there are the darker, more serious and dangerous gambling anime. Two titles immediately spring to mind that are very comparable to 2000s Shoubushi Densetsu Tetsuya TV series. Gainax’s little remembered and even less often seen 1988-1990 OVA series Mahjong Hisho Den: Naki no Ryu is set in the 1980s and splits its focus relatively evenly between rivalries among Japanese mobsters and the intense rounds of mahjong that they play. The anime series features the exact same sort of unsavory characters in dimly lit, smoky rooms that appear in Legendary Gambler Tetsuya. Men, since none of its three episodes have ever been translated into English, they’re now difficult to find and may not be very interesting to viewers that can’t understand the Japanese dialogue. Madhouse’s 2005 TV series Tohai Densetu Akagi -Yamini Maiorita Tensai- (Mahjong Legend Akagi: Genius Who Descended Into the Darkness) doubles-down on the foundation that Legendary Gambler Tetsuya laid. Akagi likewise depicts high-stakes mahjong games played between villains and criminals, but elevates the games to literal life and death stakes. The nearly mean-spirited narrative revolves around Akagi Shigeru, a self-serving, ruthless villain who employs relentless psychological manipulation and intimidation in conjunction with his amazing luck to crush and humiliate his mahjong opponents.

Creator Nobuyuki Fukumoto’s Akagi has been overshadowed by the success and popularity of his Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji series that got anime TV series adaptations in 2007 & 2011. The Kaiji anime series may appeal to a variety of viewers because Kaiji depicts a variety of high-stakes games instead of just sticking to mahjong. Kaiji may also be more accessible because its protagonist, Kaiji Itou, is a highly falible ordinary guy, unlike the sharp-witted, ruthless genius Akagi. Men, a viewer used to the skilled gamesmanship evident in anime like Legendary Gambler Tetsuya and Akagi may be disappointed by the extensive reliance on coincidence, deus ex machina, and authorial manipulation present in Kaiji that substitutes for intelligence and strategy.

The 2008 One Outs TV anime tonally falls in between Akagi and Legendary Gambler Tetsuya. This show about high-stakes betting on professional baseball stars a professional pitcher who relies on his incisive understanding of human nature more than the strength of his arm to torment and intimidate the batters who try to swing at his pitches. One Outs, like Akagi, is engrossing and addicting because of its smart, suspenseful writing. While a bit more psychological than Legendary Gambler Tetsuya, One Outs isn’t quite as bitterly wicked as the Akagi anime is. Once again, while One Outs may be a bit smarter than the Kaiji anime, it may not be quite as appealing to a wide audience because One Outs, like Akagi and Legendary Gambler Tetsuya, stars a prodigy rather than an ordinary guy.

Strictly speaking, det 2007 Shion no Ou television anime isn’t a gambling series, but its tone is very comparable to ominous gambling anime. Overtly, Shion no Ou resembles mainstream, encouraging hobby anime like Hikaru no Go, Chihayafuru, and Saki. Men, at its core, the show about an emotionally traumatized shougi prodigy literally haunted by the murder of her parents treads into some dark psychological realms and spends a considerable amount of time devoted to the strategy and culture of professional competitive shougi play.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUponShare

Spørgsmål:
What is your opinion on Gen Urobuchi’s writing? Even with Psycho-Pass airing and Expelled from Paradise to come, do you think we’ll see even more of his works make the leap to animated form?


Svar:
I must preface my response with the clarification that due to limited time and opportunity, I haven’t ever actually read prose written by acclaimed and popular Japanese authors including Gen Urobuchi, Tow Ubukata, Nishio Ishin, or Kinoko Nasu. Endvidere, I’ve watched the Gen Urobuchi scripted Madoka Magica and Fate/Zero anime TV series in their entirety, but I’ve only sampled episodes of Blassreiter, Phantom, and Psycho-Pass. I have a significant respect for prolific writers, and even greater respect for authors that compose in a variety of genres, as writers including Gen Urobuchi and Nishio Ishin do. Men, based on my extrapolation of their work, many of Japan’s contemporary popular writers in the anime industry may be more accurately described as craftsmen than artists. Particularly Gen Urobuchi’s greatest talent appears to be an ability to effectively combine and recycle established ideas and concepts. Phantom of Inferno was fundamentally a reimagining of writer/director Luc Besson’s earlier live-action film La Femme Nikita. Blassreiter borrowed ideas from Kamen Rider, Devilman, Mospeada, earlier Masami Obari directed anime, and a host of other media. Madoka Magica simple carried the tropes of the established magical girl genre to their logical ultimate conclusion. Psycho-Pass appears to conceptually borrow heavily from Steven Spielberg’s 2002 film Minority Report and earlier convicts-as-heroes media including Escape From New York and Yoshiaki Kawajiri’s 1990 OVA series Cyber City Oedo 808. Similarly, Nishio Ishin seems to have the dual ability to crank out books at a near superhuman speed and create complete novels based on simple wordplay puns.

I’m certainly in no position to criticize working creators. It’s no secret that I’m presently finishing up my own first light-novel-style book, so hopefully before too long readers will be able to determine whether I’m simply jealous or if I’m legitimately able to compose original writing that’s not a gimmicky as Nishio Ishin’s or as derivative as Gen Urobuchi’s. I think that writers like Gen Urobuchi have found and excelled within a particular, effective niche, and that practical, craftsman-like reliability ensures continued work. A time-sensitive professional industry like the anime industry absolutely requires writers that can meet deadlines and produce creative and even consciously derivative stories and scripts promptly and reliably. When a concept proves successful, producers want creators that can quickly script more of the same. Gen Urobuchi’s proficiency and efficiency, combined with his ability to compose in a variety of genresfrom action to horror to fantasy to sci-fimake him a very useful talent in the anime production industry. Sometimes, extremely prolific creators oversaturate the market. For example, for a span of roughly nine years, from 1999 til 2008 character designs from Hisashi Hirai seemed to be everywhere, appearing in Mugen no Ryvius, Scryed, Soukyu no Fafner, Giniro no Olynssis, Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed Destiny, Heroic Age, and Kurogane no Linebarrels. But viewers seemed to tire of Hirai’s distinctive style, and his character designs have been absent from any new anime franchises from the past four years. Particularly Urobuchi’s ability to write in a wide variety of genres will enable him to stay relevant and appealing to producers and consumers for a long time.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUponShare


Spørgsmål:
I was wondering if scars on a character’s nose means anything deeper than just a scar on the nose? The first character I can think of is Guts from Berserk, but then I saw Buso Renkin and was constantly wondering if the scar on the female lead’s nose meant anything, but it wasn’t significantly touched on in my opinion. The only other semi-prominent character I can think of is one of the captains from Bleach. It just always makes me wonder because I don’t see why the artist would choose to put a scar on their nose instead of their forehead, cheek, neck, chin, or any other body part.


Svar:
I honestly don’t know if a scar on the bridge of the nose has more figurative or symbolic significance than a similar scar elsewhere on the face, but it might. The obvious explanation for a scar on the nose instead of on the cheek is simply differentiation. Well known characters including Himura Kenshin, Sagara Sousuke, Bardock, and Rai Ryuuga have a cross-shaped scar on their cheek. Captain Harlock’s scar crosses the bridge of his nose but is most obviously on his cheek. Characters including Kakashi Hatake, Jet Black, Akagami no Shanks, and Zoro Roronoa have scars over an eye. Ageha Kuki from Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga Ore de is one of the few characters to have a prominent scar on the forehead. So placing a scar across the nose can be simply a less conventional position on the face to place a distinguishing scar. Scars on the face are effective character trademarks because they’re always prominent and visible, unlike scars elsewhere on the body that may be often covered up. Moreover, a scar distinctly on the bridge of the nose, or in Ageha Kuki’s case, the center of her forehead, may reveal a straightforward personality. Unlike a diagonal scar on the cheek that could have been rendered by a glancing blow or while the head was turned, a deep cut on the nose is centered, suggesting that the victim was injured while facing peril head-on. After all, characters including Captain Harlock, Buso Renkin’s Tokiko Tsumura, Gutts, and Ageha Kuki have very straightforward, pretenseless personalities while characters with scars on their cheeks, including Himura Kenshin and Sagara Sousuke tend to have bipolar personalities.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUponShare

Random pics
Find os på Facebook
Annoncer fra Google
Annoncer fra Google