2017 C1 Animes Wrap Up – The Differences

Due to my condition (partly), I couldn’t complete many animes in this cour. However, there were some impressive ones (as always). This cour can be remembered as the themes prevail over characters. I will talk about it at the conclusion.

Saga of Tanya The Evil (幼女戦記)

This is my personal best of this cour. At the first impression, I thought it was another typical alternative history anime. But watching the second episode, I was shocked. It was very similar feeling of when I looked at the end of the third episode of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

Historically animes have had the themes about the relative justice and understanding different stances of each other. This show also has the same awareness but (interestingly) it does not tell it directly; it just presents the situation and makes the audience think about it themselves.

The character design of the anime (left) and the original (right).

This show has more strength in settings than characters. I think the staff intentionally weaken the ‘moe’ style of characters. The anime character design is much more like Chucky-style comparing with the original illustrations. There was almost no exhibitionism – no swimsuit scene.. ah.. actually there was one scene, but it was of men-soldiers. But on the contrary, it makes us more concentrate on the situation itself.

The acting of Aoi Yuuki as Tanya is marvelous (as always). It was very fun that I could find the mix of Tatsumaki (of One Punch Man) and Clementine (of Overlord). However, I think the characters of this show are relatively monolithic (and it also makes us more concentrate on the settings).

The animation studio is ‘NUT, ’ and it is their first production. (Yes, the name of production is NUT…) You can check the mini animations ‘ようじょしぇんき’ (a little different pronunciation of the original Japanese title) which is from studio Pu-Yukai (the production of mini anime of Overlord).

Favorite Character: Viktoria Ivanovna Serebryakov – I couldn’t help laughing a lot when I saw this shot.

Visha +… Moomin?

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

This is from Kyoto Animation this cour. It might look like a comedy because KyoAni has made comedy animes from time to time such as Lucky Star and Nichijou, but it is more a serious one. The art style is different from the usual KoyAni’s works, but on a closer look, we can find it is very high-quality. I love the cut in the opening that Tohru rushes into Miss Kobayashi.

It looks like just a love comedy, but it shows many good perspectives about how we can face for differences; It is abstracted as the difference between species (human and dragon). One thing impressive for me is that it is ‘Miss’ Kobayashi, not ‘Mr.’ Kobayashi. It extracts the ‘usual love’ property from the story and makes us more think about the theme.

It was a warm and lovely story. Especially the last episode was touching, and I really want to see another season coming.

Favorite Character: Elma

Interview with Monster Girls

It was another anime about the differences. The world of this anime is just very contemporary human society except there are demi-humans such as vampires, dullahans, snow women and so on. Although they are well accepted into human society, there are still mental distances and subtle discriminations. The course of understanding each other is the theme of this show.

There was a good balance between the topic and characters. The four main demis had lovely character settings. The tone was not so severe but not so light also. With the abstraction of demis, it reflects our days with minorities. It does not claim anything exaggeratedly but let us think about it by ourselves.

Most of all, the opening theme “Original” by TrySail is my best opening song of this cour.

Favorite Characters: Yuki Kusakabe

Kemono Friends (けものフレンズ)

This is a huge hit of this cour in Japan. (I’m not sure about the other countries though) You can easily find tweets from Japan that start with ‘Wa~i,’ ’Sugo~i’ and so on.

This is a kind of a road movie style and a cartoon-rendered 3D animation. I cannot tell the quality is great. It seems to be a low budget B-movie. It is so painful to see the line distortion (especially) on a big TV screen. But I think the weird(but attractive) world settings and unique characters ignite an unexpected success.

The central theme is well expressed by a phrase in the opening theme: “There are ‘kemonos’ but no ‘nukemono’; Nukemono means the ‘outcast.’ The world setting is somewhat gloomy (not disclosed at first) but everyone is going to understand the others, and they are ‘friends.’

I heard that it was originally a media-mix project of comics, games(mobile) and the anime. However, the anime was delayed more than a year (somewhat rare case in these days) while the game was released (by Nexon) on schedule (also rather rare case…). Unfortunately, the game service didn’t get good numbers, and the service was shuttered. But the anime comes later and get a big hit. (What an ironic!) We can expect other games of Kemono Friends with this popularity (and there was one announcement a few days ago).

Favorite Characters: Kaban-chang

Recently, (especially after the hit of the Puella Magi) there are many animes present radical settings and radical retroflection. Among those, there are some propagandas that try to instill inappropriate ideology (at least, from my point of view). There have been some universal values that the anime has pursued. I believe they are the relativeness (there is no only one answer) and the understanding of others. It is about embracing other minorities, and it is the stance of Otakus who are also in a kind of minority. However, those propagandas aim at the more opposition and blame them; which I firmly object to.

Therefore, it was really happy to watch those animes this cour. They reflect the real world in a marvelous abstract. The good works make us think and decide by ourselves.

Diko’s Anime review – 4C 2016

It is my routine that leave a brief report about animes of the cour (cour – usually pronounced as ‘cool’ in Japan – is a word used to describe a span/unit of TV anime episodes. It usually consists of 12 or 13 episodes and runs for 3 months.) on my Facebook. It was usually very short description of one or two lines per each anime but this time I want to make it a little longer version and put in this blog.

Izetta: The Last Witch (終末のイゼッタ)

This is an alternate history of WW2. The name of every country is changed into the other fictional name: the main stage ‘Eylstadt’ is the changed name of Austria and the capital city ‘Landsbruck’ is Innsbruck, ‘Germania’ is Nazi Germany, ‘Britania’ is UK, ‘Atlanta’ is USA and so on. Wilhelm Donko wrote a great article FEATURE: Anime vs. Real Life – “Izetta: The Last Witch” about the real places of this show.

To tell the truth, this is not my personal best of this cour; It is my runner up. But I want to mention it first because I felt the theme of this anime was very similar to mine – Sid Story animation: the friendship and will of two girls – and I really loved it. I’m always impressed with girls who move forward at their own will.

I couldn’t watch it in a row; I paused once around episode 8 because the story line went too gloomy. But I think the ending was very good although the presentation of the final battle could be better. It would be my great pleasure if I can see Izetta and Fine’s peaceful daily life more in other supplement episodes (please OVA!).

My favorite character: Izetta

Scorching Ping Pong Girls (灼熱の卓球娘)

It is my personal best of this cour although many might not agree with. But I really pleased with this anime so much in this cour. It is a ‘netgetsu(hot-blooded)’ sports themed anime but has an ill-assorted character designs; they are very cute. However, I was really happy to watch these girls who filled with pure passion for the table tennis.

In 1986 Seoul Asian Games, the Korean men’s team won gold medals and the table tennis came in fads. I (in my 5th grade) learnt the table tennis for a while and this anime brought back my memories of those days. The ping pong skills in this anime are a little exaggerated in its presentation but they are not a total bluff. No, I think it is very well accorded.

I love the OP which gradually goes up-tempo. It always makes me high. You can watch the opening here:

My favorite character: Hokuto

Gi(a)rlish Number (ガーリッシュ ナンバー)

When I watched the first episode, I thought it could be the grand best over ‘SHIROBAKO’. However, soon I really disappointed (more fed up with).

It is an anime about the nowadays anime industry itself. But unlike SHIROBAKO, it is about the dark side of it. Some friend of mine in the industry said that it was too painful to watch these gloomy facts in this way, but the reason why I was really disappointed was different (it might be because I’m not totally in the industry yet); in subsequent episodes, almost all the absurdities came from just one heroine. Chitose Karasuma, the heroine of this show, was the source of all evil. Although it is painful to face the facts we don’t want to confront, it is too cruel to make it a problem of an individual. Chitose almost got to become my worst character ever (worse than Kirino) but she was well grown up and turned into a really better (yes… better.. ) character in the last three episodes. However, I think the problem remains; the personal development concealed the industry problems.

Anyway, Chitose has been reborn as a better character (sorry Kirino, you are still my worst;;; ) and I really want to see the next stories. I’m going to check the original novel… but I don’t expect Wataru-sensei provides usual bright and pleasant stories.

My favorite character: Momoka

Sound! Euphonium 2 (響け! ユーフォニアム 2)

I expected the title would be ‘Sound!! Euphonium” but it just used simple numbering of 2. I think there would be no need of explanations for whom loved the first season. I’m always happy when I see these well crafted and beautiful animes from Kyoto Animations.

The whole story of this season can be summarized simply: The yorozuya (よろず屋/knows everthing) Kumiko-san and her colleagues. Kumiko settled all conflicts in the circle. The theme was about the various human relationships and all stories were very touching; the final competition – the outward theme – seemed to be trivial. I really love the acting of Kurosawa-san (acting as Kumiko). Listening her voice (always-crying-like but) carrying various emotions makes me always happy.

My best scene of this cour was the performance at the Kyoto station. Haruka’s sax solo was really great. You can watch that here (Haruka’s solo starts from around 2:10):

And you can also watch the real-world performance which was performed by Heian high school here:

I think the second season will also make other sacred places. Although I went to Uji once before, I want to go there again; this time would be for The dam. My friend Yun visited there recently and took a lot of great photos; Yes, it is really great!!! You can check them out here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/seoul-music/albums/72157673352724383

My favorite character: Kumiko

Long Riders! (ろんぐらいだぁす! )

It is very relaxing and fun anime show and the theme is about the road cycling. In this cour, there were many sports-themed animes and I think this one was the most ‘nichijoukei (日常系/everyday life)’ one. Although sometimes it seemed like a huge PPL (product placement advertisement), it was more an character focused anime like the studio’s big success of last year: Girls und Panzer.

It could be really better but seemed like suffering from the delay of Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars which was the studio’s work of previous cour. I wish I can watch more stories of these girls someday.

My favorite character: Alpaca-san

Keijo!!!!!!!! (競女!!!!!!!!)

I cannot complete this show yet but I cannot help mentioning about this show before I close this post. It was the weirdest and really out-of-mind anime show of this cour in my point of view. What the hell are those 8 exclamation marks at the title? I couldn’t hear almost any mention of this and I think it is because people don’t want to let others know they watched this show.

However, I have to say that I could feel creators’ great passion about this show. I could sense thier great pleasure and enjoyment from this work and it was relatively very rare experience in these days; feeling emotions of creators in the anime show so strongly. I will complete this show someday although it is very hard to watch this in public palces…

My favorite character: None yet. Sorry I cannot remember anyone…

“바람불다”와 미야자키 하야오

“바람불다”라고 번역되고 있는 “風立ちね”는 미야자키하야오의 신작이다. 미야자키의 마지막 작품이 될지도 모르겠지만 최근 이 작품에 대해 우리나라에서는 말이 많다.
위의 블로그가 대표적이라고 할 수 있지만 이 작품에 대한 우리나라에서의 시선의 기본은 이 작품의 주제가 2차대전의 일본 전투기인 ‘제로센[零戦]’과 이를 만든 호리코시지로(堀越二郎)를 그리고 있기 (사실 영화는 기본적으로는 호리코시지로를 베이스로 한 허구의 인물이다) 때문이라고 해야 할 것이다 (그리고 덤으로 성우가 안노히데야키라는 점도…). 하지만 위의 대부분의 비판의 내용은 실제 영화가 이를 어떻게 그렸나 보다는 ‘그렸다’라는 자체에 초점이 맞추어져 있다.

개인적으로(하지만 너무 이게 당연하지 않을까?) 비판의 대상은 실제 영화가 이를 ‘어떻게 그렸냐’에 맞추어져야 한다고 생각한다. 그렇기 때문에 아직 영화를 보지 못한 입장에서는 판단하기 어렵다. 어제(7/20) 개봉이었으니 이제 서서히 평가들이 나와야 하지 않을까 하지만 기존에 시사회 등을 본 반응에서 내가 들었던 것은 “반전을 이야기하고 있지 않지만 가장 강력한 반전영화” 라는 평가였다. 미야자키 본인은 기자회견에서 “자신의 꿈에 충실하게 정직하게 전진했던 인물을 그리고 싶었다” 라고 (오히려 이게 영화 흥행을 위한 공식적/형식적/중립적인 의견 표명이라고 생각) 이야기 했지만 최근 지브리가 직접 출판하는 잡지인 “열풍 7월호(http://www.ghibli.jp/shuppan/np/009348/)”에 미야자키가 직접 쓴 글에서 본인이 “헌법을 개정하는 것은 언어도단”이라고 말하고 있듯이(번역글: http://m.cyworld.nate.com/blog/postView.php?home_id=a4387674&post_seq=4011431) 미야자키는 기본적으로 반전론자이고 평화주의자이다. 물론 그가 일본인이기 때문에 가질 수 있는 다른 시각, 입장이 있을 수 있지만 그래서 그것이 소위 말하는 본심이고 다른 모든 것은 위장/위선이라는 주장은 매우 위험하다고 생각한다.

그렇기에 바람불다는 매우 보고 싶은 작품이고 반드시 본 후에 무언가 느낀점을 이야기 해 보고 싶은 작품이다. (주제 자체때문에 과연 국내 개봉이 될지는 걱정이긴 하지만…)