EM: First Thoughts on Your Name

First Thoughts on Your Name

I recently saw Your Name for the third time, and plan on a fourth if I can scrounge up the money for another ticket. I’ve only ever seen two movies multiple times before this: La La Land and The Dark Knight, and for good reason. Movie theaters have become the Russian roulette of the entertainment industry. After emptying my wallet for a ticket, I have to smuggle in life-sustaining water like a convict bringing drugs into the pound. If I manage to avoid being scolded by an usher for not buying the meal-priced water they sell, then I’m still only looking at a 50-50 chance for a pleasant viewing experience. It’s up to fate whether or not you sit next to a fatally rude movie-goer.

I kind of sound like a grumpy old man, but it’s just to make my point: a movie has to be exceptional for me to make a second or third trip back. And Your Name was exceptional. I don’t usually write these early reaction, emotional response kinds of posts, but I’ll try give a sense of my pure reactions to the movie before I start talking about specific aspects that impressed me.

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The setting, namely Itomori, is probably the most emotionally moving part of the film for me. Beyond the beautiful background work and lighting that fills every frame, Itomori’s culture and history (and the way they’re presented and developed) absolutely floored me. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a rural town where you knew everyone you saw, and kids got singled out for being part of this or that family, and each season was filled with traditions that (while usually not religious in nature) no one could remember how each started in the first place. There were more bars than gas stations and you had to drive at least half an hour to get to any place of interest. There was even a large lake at the edge of town! Like Mitsuha, all my classmates wanted to escape to the city as soon as they graduated. It was a desire I shared for a while, too.Read More »

Wolf and Forgotten Message

Wolf and Forgotten Message (Spice and Wolf Long-form Analysis)

Spice and Wolf is no doubt widely and thoroughly enjoyed. The show appears frequently on recommendation lists or in recommendation threads and sits comfortably with a 8.4 rating on MAL, not to mention ranking as the 68th most popular anime in that same database (at time of writing). Yet, that seems a shallow metric to judge this show by. Come to think of it, all of the praise for Spice and Wolf borders on shallow. With the exception of Mother’s Basement’s fantastic (and ultra in-depth) analysis of the show’s two openings, anything resembling a critical opinion on the show boils down to “moe economics” and “great romantic chemistry”. If you ask me, that’s selling it insultingly short.

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Though, I’ll admit, the two immediate draws of Spice and Wolf are its ability to turn a medieval economics lecture into riveting dialogue and its ever-developing romance. I mean, the series is titled Spice and Wolf for a reason. While I’m at it, let me also admit that the show does suffer from light novel syndrome in that only a third of the source material ever saw adaptation. However, despite the number of people praising said economics and romance, I’ve never seen any kind of meaningful discussion or analysis of why those elements succeed.

Hopefully, throughout this essay, I can expand upon those praises, as well point to several less-appreciated elements of the series that are, in my opinion, equally important to the show’s success.Read More »

Winter 2016 First Impressions

Winter 2016 First Impressions

A new season begins and brings with it a slew of new shows for me to write about. I wasn’t lying when I said 2016 was the year of opinions, so we’re going to start the year off right with some nice, near-baseless opinions. I’ve watched the first episode of everything I plan to keep up with this season and only tabbed out once per show. It’s safe to say I’m an expert on the anime of Winter 2016.

If a show isn’t listed here, that’s because I’m confident I won’t enjoy it, it’s a short, or it’s had seasons in the past. I’m trying to keep these quick, so I’ll have to leave out a few of my compliments and complaints for each.

I’m going to regret this, but I’ll give a predicted score for each of these. If you’re interested in what these scores correlate to, check out my MAL profile.

Prince of Stride: Alternative

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