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Feb 14, 2024
Around the time of the First Great War, when many others had come to similar conclusions, Hemingway spoke out against the notion of patriotic sacrifice, saying that “in modern war, you will die like a dog for no good reason.” But as far as Zeta Gundam is concerned, Hemingway’s comment is missing one piece of critical context – having to live through a war is not much of an improvement.

As a direct sequel, Zeta Gundam makes no hesitation in reaffirming itself within familiar territory, establishing a new war from the perspective of an isolated ship, whose mobile suit pilot, Kamille, is inexperienced in combat, ...
Nov 19, 2023
Joshiraku (Anime) add
Superficially, Joshiraku presents itself as the lesser cousin of Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei, making sure to incorporate many of author Koji Kumeta’s previously established elements into its repertoire: traditional iconography, heavy emphasis on kanji puns and cultural references, and Ionescian dialogue. But while it does includes many aspects already present in Zetsubou-sensei, it also omits plenty of the points that made it especially effective, most critically by replacing its large cast of trait-based characters in favour of the more standard treatment of 5 main characters, all of whom meet the expected archetypes within the standard anime comedy format.

The most notable aspect of Joshiraku is perhaps its formatting, ...
Oct 22, 2023
Mobile Suit Gundam is a work that understands and applies the principles of Aristotelian tragedy, although in contrast to many later works that borrowed its iconography, it is not a tragedy. It may have tragic elements, but it does not overbear in emphasising the victimhood status of its main character, which may be Gundam’s greatest strength. It contains a mixture of many elements – action, comedy, tragedy, and political intrigue, which it is able to deftly flow between, while always maintaining the emotional core that makes each of its components effective and engaging on an individual level.

The DNA of Space Battleship Yamato runs through Gundam, ...
Sep 9, 2023
Flag (Anime) add
Mixed Feelings
Flag is a bold venture, committing entirely to its realistic pseudo-documentary style, which means omitting an emotionally charged main character, elaborate robot-vs-robot battles, or any of the other genre conventions that would typically serve as points to sell the series on. In that regard, it is a series that can’t be easily sold or summarised via a poster or tagline, but it can at least be summarised accurately with a familiar phrase: it is boring. For that matter, it is very committed to being boring, and it is respectable in its endeavour to reject almost every narrative convention that it is expected to perform, but ...
Jul 3, 2023
The first season of Yuru Camp was remarkable for two predominant reasons – its authoritative and confident audio-visual direction, and the clear intersection of its activity/subculture as a point that directly relates back to its main characters, a technique that enhanced both aspects of the production. However, in many areas, its second season does not feel like an extension or even a sequel, but a step backwards, foregoing any points of interest to retread the same iconography but without approaching any significant ideas in doing so.

Nebulous concepts notwithstanding, it is at least consistently competently made, and never outright generic. The direction displays an understanding of ...
Jun 8, 2023
VOTOMS director Ryosuke Takahashi’s career is uncharacteristic in that, of the many series he has authored or directed, VOTOMS is the only one to ever receive sequels of any sort, and it was not until the release of Pailsen Files in the 2000s that it managed to receive a full 12-episode anime rather than sporadic OVA releases. Equally uncharacteristically for a sequel, Pailsen Files is a largely unique entity, one that displays an interest in taking the series and setting in a new direction, rather than furthering the same ideas that its original entry had already conceptualised.

One area in which this new approach is made ...
Apr 30, 2023
Preliminary (5/12 eps)
Onimai is a non-entity, vapid and hollow in every aspect of its production. In order to work, it relies on two points, its application of cliches and intertextuality, which are not addressed in significant enough detail nor with any semblance of original commentary that would justify their inclusion, and its use of colour and cinematography which only accentuate its emptiness, which itself reveals the problem therein, with only form to fall back on (and not even all aspects of form), they fail to create anything that they could expand upon or provide any aspect of interest.

As for the use of colour, that is the only ...
Apr 15, 2023
A Place Further Than the Universe comes across as an exercise in equal distribution, which is exhibited in character, in setting, and in tone. In doing so, it is able to certainly cover a lot of ground, but despite its wide dispersion of content, it is rarely poignant in its application, and in many ways, it feels simultaneously like both a departure from the conventions of the slice of life genre, as well as a series that overuses certain conventions to its detriment.

The elevator pitch of "high school girls go to Antarctica" is one that doesn’t need much further elaboration, at least until one reaches ...
Mar 17, 2023
Akira (Anime) add
Akira, despite its age, remains a highly recognised and canonical work, which is a status that very few are able to achieve. However, as is often the case with canon, it is more fondly remembered for its status and historical impact than for its actual content. A remarkably large portion of its screentime is devoted to scenes in which people fall over as the ground underneath them crumbles, which in many ways is representative of the viewing experience it creates, as just like a bridge, if a film lacks a solid foundation to build itself on, it is only a matter of time before it ...
Feb 25, 2023
By 1988, there had been a total of three separate OVAs for the VOTOMS series, which while serviceable, did little to distinguish themselves or make themselves truly feel distinct from the original anime and its accomplishments. Armour Hunter Mellowlink marks a change in that trajectory, as it doesn’t take the easy route and retread familiar territory, instead opting to take a new approach to the series, which while just as focused on action as its previous entries, manages to markedly improve the action through a much greater production value, providing it with a more potent emphasis on detail and immersion than its predecessors.

In a similar ...

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