anime, life

Two Movies

Last Friday was the coldest day of this winter in Seoul; it was -15 Celsius (5 in Fahrenheit). Luckily I had a dinner appointment in Tokyo that day and could fly out from the cold storm. But the real luck was not my escape from being frozen to death: it was that I had a great chance to watch two anime movies that I dearly wanted to: “Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! Take on Me” and “Mazinger Z Infinity.”

1. 中二病でも恋がしたい!Take on Me (Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! Take on Me)

I’m a huge fan of this show. Expressing my affection to characters of this series is a real challenge to me with my poor English: especially to Rikka(六花). They always made me happy with reminding me of my old Chunibyo-days. The battle of Rikka and Shichimiya made my eyes weepy. The ending of the second season of the TV show was a great deal. It was a bright, lovely and happy ending. And three years have passed, and the entirely new sequel story has come as a theater movie.

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‘Three years’ is a long time, and it is enough time to make our memories fade. Even for me, it was hard to grasp the character of Nibutani. But when I heard the call “Mori-sama,” a sparkling was sprout out from deep inside of my brain, and everything of her got settled down inside me. (same with Kumin-senpai) Believe me, it won’t take more than 10 minutes for everything is in order if you watched the previous seasons.

Although Kyoto Animation might want to make all around of Japan as holy places, it does not matter to us. The story was 6 months later from the end of 2nd cour (Ren – 戀 / Heart Throb). It engraves lovely characters – that love came out through 26 episodes – on us again, and it gives us the finale that we all wanted. It should be the right way to end a most beloved series.

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One thing interesting to me was that there is a ‘photo time.’ Right after the movie begins, there is a time that we can take a picture of a scene and post to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and so on. It was my first time to take a picture in a movie theater freely, and it is Japan! (I’ve heard that there was the same photo time in the Euphonium movie. It might be a genius move of Kyoto Animation to motivate virals.)

As usual, the theme songs are created/performed by ZAQ. Yes, she is also one of my favorite artist and songs of Chunibyo was always the best. Sparkling Daydream is still one of my best numbers.

I think this is the last of the Chunibyo series with considering other Kyoto Animation’s history. And I think this is the real and true happy ending ever after for original fans. I strongly recommend that this is a must watch, especially if you are a fan of the original series. And if possible, the movie theater is the best place to watch; because you can watch it with your comrades who can share their loves with you.

 

2. Mazinger Z Infinity

I was (maybe) nine year old when I first watched the show. The show was on-air 1972 in Japan and 1975 in Korea. In 1975, I was one year old and that must not the time I watched it. It should be sometime in the 1980s.

Mazinger Z Infinity is planned for the 50th anniversary of the debut of Nagai, Go (the original author) and the 45th anniversary of the show. There were some tries to make a sequel to Mazinger Z. But I don’t like those until now because I couldn’t feel any connection from the original series in them. I thought they were something of parallel universe that just borrowed the name and shape of the original. Considering positively, I think they were entirely new interpretations of the theme of the original: “You can be either God or Daemon with Mazinger.”

However, this is the real sequel to the Mazinger Z: precisely, Great Mazinger. The story is a 10 years after the final of Great Mazinger. The stage and characters are from the original series as they were. Although those figures are attractive ones, Mazinger Z was more a story-oriented anime than character-oriented anime; and the story of only one hero and one villain – Kabuto, Kouji (even there is Tetsuya – the hero of Great Mazinga) and Dr. Hell. And this Mazinger Z Infinity is the right period of the original story and the story of them.

IMG_0895The action sequence is marvelous. With contemporary 3D technology, the battles with Mechanical Beasts cannot be better. You can see all (indeed!) weapons and skills of Mazinger Z and Great Mazinger in this one movie. The completion of the 2D part is also excellent. The character design is glittering but still has the scent of the original.

The original character – Lisa, might be a little short. But we must understand that it is tough to set up a wholly new character just in a short 2-hour movie among long-time beloved characters. And we can now understand the real objective of Dr. Hell – why he has been bothering to conquer the world.

Someone might not like the last word of Sayaka (now she is the director of New Photonic Energy Lab). Yes, a great power always brings a risk also. Sometimes we fail. But we will get used to it and overcome it. That is the way we make the future. I will be on her side.

anime

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
(小林さんちのメイドラゴン)

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
(亜人ちゃんは語りたい)

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.

anime

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…