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Apr 5, 2019
Taniguchi often reads like some of the old impressionistic writers. Form, time, direction all seem to have their own shape; they breathe on their own accord. The world then is distilled down to sensory syllogisms, where truth and fiction really are just extensions of one another. Consequently, all that seems to matter is the continuity of perception and the exaltation of sense, transforming into ephemeral experiences embedded in some forgotten psychology. These are never presented as factual, but as fleeting moments offering glimpses into all that was lost. These stories are appendages of the self: ones that serve to internalize the world and externalize the ...
Oct 28, 2018
A corrupted woman is soaked in sin and gradually torn from her soul. Her purity that was once unscathed is now an unbounded commodity. Piece by piece, she is dismantled until the only thing that’s left is flesh and blood. From the ashes of unadulterated youth, now rises something else. The transformation from beauty to grotesque is immediate. A woman is either a maiden or a witch. A sin or a sinner. An unknowing victim or an unholy perpetrator. The existence of both is morally reprehensible. Here we have the scripture of ye old storytelling embedded in every culture, every time, and in every form.

Nonetheless ...
Apr 13, 2018
Nana (Anime) add
The background of NANA feels like an endless white night. Things seem to be continuously in motion; beginnings and endings wrapped up in an infinite wave of falling snowflakes waiting to melt into each other. The forefront sits in perpetual twilight; characters seem to be eclipsed by their own shadows with barely enough to catch a glimpse of who they are. The entire landscape depicts the frigidity of life rising from frosty gales to a calmer ether, only to revert to stormier lands. Movement here isn’t linear. Nothing is. NANA, as a whole, is pure kinetics; an explosion of emotional energy circling, clashing and always ...
Jul 16, 2017
Sennen Joyuu (Anime) add
The camera zooms towards a slowly-expanding earth from the eyes of the outer Celestials; it glides closer and closer until finally reaching stasis on a face bidding goodbye to her present domain.

As liftoff begins, the heroine speaks her last lines as the shot fades from the heart-clenching scene to a cluttered office, where one man watches the same scene on his little desk-television. Interrupted by the call of his coworker, he rewinds the tape and the one scene changes into a montage of the actress’s life - in reverse.

These scenes and the actress in them, the man watching the actress, and the co-worker beckoning the ...
Jul 11, 2017
Wrapped within the coils of the night, two young girls dance as if in a trance, illuminated by the crystal-white moon. They continue twirling; hypnotized by each other’s company as waves of cherry blossoms encircle them, following their every move. The two girls are distinct from one another. Kanako is a beautiful, intelligent girl with ideas beyond her years, while Yoriko is a timid girl who aims to be Kanako, in body and mind. Kanako offers Yoriko this chance as she tells her that they ‘are’ each other and that this life is just one of many conduits that hold their endless cycle together – ...
Feb 16, 2017
Saraiya Goyou (Anime) add
The streets glow with a crimson hue.

Upon closer gaze, a pattern of five-pointed leaves stained with a fiery red flutter in synchronized elegance, encapsulating the essence of an enigmatic tale told in the 12-episode anime titled Saraiya Goyou or House of Five Leaves. Based on the manga by Natsume Ono, Saraiya Goyou tells a slow-burning narrative revolving around an unemployed samurai named Masa, who in simple desperation, finds himself hired by Yaichi – the leader of a small band of thieves who call themselves the Five Leaves.

The bulk of the series focuses on the dynamics between the members of the Five Leaves, specifically Masa ...
Jul 8, 2016
Mononoke (Anime) add
The wooden curtain opens with a sinister smile revealing the first scene:

A wave of vibrant, whirling umbrellas cascade down the street; the rain continues to pour in assorted shapes, accompanied by the patter of hollow conversations latching on to the sounds of its perpetual fall. On top of the path rests a towering hotel embellished by color, wood, and ruse. Slowly, an enigmatic wanderer appears at the gate of the inn, with a wooden box strapped on his back requesting to stay there. He is identified as the medicine seller. Shortly after, a young pregnant woman, dressed in desperation, finds herself at the same inn; ...
May 23, 2016

Lands bound by Magic, Lore, and Myth brimming with fabled creatures and tall-tales are the life force of fantasy-based works. Works of Fantasy tend to be products of pure imagination; the bridge between “what is” and “what can never be” often makes these works innately tantalizing. They have the ability to transport the audience into the fantastic, the absurd, the unreal, but, magic and trickery of the imagination displayed in effective works can invert these “fairy-tales” into something that feels far more real.

The aforesaid effectiveness depends primarily on one element when it comes to Fantasy, and that is world-building. There is nothing that single-handedly matters ...
Apr 1, 2016
Under the dimly-lit canvas of a rustic theatre, surrounded by the sounds of slowly-plucked shamisen, waits an audience for a performance of great tradition. Gradually, a man wrapped in an dignified air approaches the center of the stage, sits elegantly on his knees, takes a slight bow to welcome his gazers, and proceeds. Thus begins a performance commonly known as Rakugo or the Japanese art of oral story-telling. Rakugo involves the storyteller to orate a comical account designated between two or more characters, generally playing all roles, distinguished only by slight nuances in behavior, tone, and gestures.

Rakugo has been a classical trait of ...
Mar 7, 2016
It’s not a surprise that Inio Asano (the acclaimed creator of works like "Oyasumi Punpun") cited Okazaki Kyoko as a heavy influence. For those unfamiliar with either Okazaki or Asano, both are revolutionaries within the medium. Their hard-hitting realism driven by “a need for truth” regardless of how bitter, and laced with explorative psychological power has shook and captivated the world with every frame. Both are truly masters of portraying various facets of the human condition and the world that shapes it. From that familiar cut comes Okazaki’s short but powerfully evocative piece titled ”Helter Skelter”.

The manga follows a high-fashion model named Liliko who is ...

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