Tag Archives: anime analysis

Rei Kiriyama: The Perfect Example of Why Being Lost is Okay

I don’t think there are many times that I have come across a character I can relate to as much as Rei Kiriyama in March Comes in Like a Lion. Granted, I haven’t lost my family in a horrible accident, nor have I grown up with a strict stepfather, but I am 17 years old. Most importantly, though, I also feel a bit lost, to say the least.

It might also be that Rei’s sense of not knowing where he wants to go came from a much darker place in his life. After all, he grew up learning a game he didn’t even necessarily want to play, from a stepfather whose respect he never quite seemed to have, and has a sister who can only barely tolerate him. Rei chose Shogi because it was the only thing that connected him to his late father. His passion was never for Shogi, it might not have even been for just the game he played with his father. In fact, it’s fair to say that Rei might not have had passion for anything throughout his life.

I think what Rei has learned so far on his journey to becoming a master Shogi player is that being lost is ok. Rei spent almost all of his childhood on Shogi only to find out that he never really felt anything for Shogi other than a connection to his father. Rei eventually finds a newborn passion for the game when he realizes that he has friends that are there for him, but that’s only after the fact.

Rei’s journey, the quest to search for his place in the world, is the most realistic part of his character. While he may consciously admit he is on this journey, Rei realizes throughout March Comes in Like a Lion that getting outside of his comfort zone and dealing with the problems in his life is the only way to move forward.

For Me, I find a great deal of wisdom in Rei’s journey. His need to find what drives him and his determination to see that mission through to the end is inspiring. It has also made me realize that being lost is ok.

In this case, Rei Kiriyama being lost is very much the same as being vulnerable. Without people to both support him when he feels like giving up, but also criticise him when he does something wrong, I find it unlikely he would have been able to accomplish the things he did throughout the series.

Rei Kiriyama is a reflection of what it means to be a person: sometimes lost, and a lot of the time vulnerable, but he is also a prime example of why that’s ok. When Rei realizes that he isn’t going to be able to live a normal life without his friends and family, he doesn’t just retreat inward. Ok, well maybe he does for a little bit, but after a while, he figures out that trusting in others for help is acceptable, and the people that we value in our lives will always be there when we need them.

 

Note: I read Mechanical Anime Review’s OWL Post immediately after writing this. Not copying, I promise.

First Impressions: Bokurano: An Under Appreciated Thrill Ride

I’ve noted before on this blog that my experience with mech shows is limited, and that I had never really found a reason to explore the genre at all. After watching Eureka Seven, and also having seen just three episodes of this, I’m reminded that there plenty of great shows in the mech genre.

Bokurano’s story of a game turned reality involving 15 kids who get sucked into a war that they can’t leave is attention-grabbing. Not only are the kids very different in personality, their sense what to do in the situation that they are in is also diverse. Some are hesitant to start piloting a robot from a game that appeared without any explanation. Others, like Waku, innocently assume that it’s all still a game and that nothing will go wrong.

It’s also fairly obvious from this point which characters are probably going to be the most interesting. Masura, who’s arc looks to be coming up in the next episode, is implied to be very demented based on what he’s said so far. Although we don’t know much about, Yosuke also seems like someone who’s character will be a lot more interesting than implied. His shyness, while making him look innocent enough, might also be a sign that he is hiding something he doesn’t want others to find out about him. Takami, whose father is a member of the Japanese Diet, also looks like she is hiding something about herself in favor of appearing as a dignified daughter.

A topic that comes up in a lot of anime, this one especially, is the idea of doing something for the collective versus doing something for the individual. So far, the show has portrayed the idea of doing for the collective in a very negative light. After all, when they tried to work together to save the world from the first of the 15 aliens that are going to attack earth Waku ended up dying just for piloting the ship, even though he won.

Aside from the ideological aspects of the show, it still has some things to like about it. while the animation is older, and the CG doesn’t look as good as it probably did, It still holds up in quality. The character designs overall are a little plain, and at times it can be hard to tell characters apart.

Musically the show is nothing to ride home about so far. It works for setting up the scenes that it needs to, but aside from that, it hasn’t shown any outstanding qualities so far. The opening is nice to listen to and is somewhat reminiscent of Evangelion’s opening, albeit much less up beat.

I’m definitely excited to move forward with the show. I doubt I will be excited with anything animation or music wise that the show has to offer, but I am genuinely curious to see what the show does with its setup and what it has to say about that setup.

 

Review- From the New World(Shin Sekai Yori): One of the Greats(SPOILERS)

When I first started this blog for sharing my watching experience I wrote a review of Eureka Seven and said that it was one of the best shows I’ve seen to date. Two months later and I’ve watched another near perfect show. From the New World is not only one of the best anime I’ve ever seen, It’s also a piece of art that should be recognized for its wonderful dystopian story and masterful presentation.

To say that the writing is good is to sell this show short. Its brilliance begins with its premise: a story of a world torn apart by a war against a group of people who, in the course of human evolution, developed the ability to manipulate reality with his or her mind. In a new society set a millennium after the war tore apart the world, a town made up of humans with reality manipulating powers lives in relative peace.

What makes From the New World’s writing so interesting has a lot to do with the town itself. Most of the struggles in our main character Saki’s life come as a direct or indirect result of the leaders of the town, who generally comprise either the Ethics Committee and the Education Committee. Under the authority of these groups, the town has become what can only be described as a hyper-authoritarian state. The ability to move outside of the spiritual barrier that has been setup around the town is highly restricted. It is also found out later that the ethics committee has hypnotized all the groups of children accept Saki and her friends in order to make sure that they do not go against the committee’s wishes. This setup serves to show just how seriously the powers that they hold are taken. Someone with their Psychokinetic powers could easily kill thousands of those without it. As such, the Ethics Committee felt as though they had to protect their peace.

The show does make sure to call into question the morality of their policies of the Committees often. After all, they send out Trickster Cats to eliminate those who they feel are a problem, and they are openly hostile to those who question their authority. These actions are always shown in much darker and unforgiving light.

Saki and her friends ultimately carry the show. It is through their eyes that we see the corruption of the town’s leadership throughout all stages of their lives. Saki, the shows main character, is portrayed as someone who is constantly the learning. As she grows up she learns more and more about their town Kamisu 66 and what really goes on behind the scenes. It is through her that we find out about the trickster cats, the leader of the ethics committee Tomiko, and the treatment of the Monster Rats. She is both our main perspective of the world and also herself a bystander to its tragedy. It is also through her that we see a loss of innocence, both in herself and her friends, as they learn about the horrors of their history and about the society they live in.

Wataru is also an important character and one that complements Saki well. When she is in a moment of hesitation and she feels like she can’t move on it’s Wataru that snaps her out of it. We also see the world through his eyes, to a lesser extent, but as he grows up with her Wataru becomes a bit more cynical of the world than Saki. He is constantly making Saki evaluate the decisions she is going to make while also being there to protect her.

The Music in the show isn’t what I would call the greatest, but it is by no means bad. It does well to complement the tones of the scenes they are used in, whether those tones are romantic or horrific. I do have to mention one song, in particular, Kage no Denshouka Daisanbu, which while being one of the most prominent songs in the show is also the best song and is definitely worth listening to on its own.

It’s very hard to find fault in a show like From the New World given how perfectly executed it is, but then we get to the animation. Admittedly it gets better as the show goes on, but it the beginning it is really jarring inconsistent some of the characters look, especially during scenes when the characters are the focus. Although, I can definitely see an argument of this being intentional. As the show goes on the animation of Saki and her friends becomes more rigid and structured, mirroring her conformity to the society of the town.

I’ve had a lot more to say about this show because I feel like it deserves a good explanation of why it’s so great, and I hope this review has done it the justice it deserves. From the New World is a show that will stand the test of time because of its quality storytelling and ability to portray tragedy in all the complexity and nuance that a story like it requires. It is definitely a must-watch.

What Do Classroom of the Elite And GAMERS! Have In Common? Disappointment.(SPOILERS)

After watching episode five of both Classroom of the Elite and GAMERS!, I’ve noticed that both of the shows seem to be going downhill. I’m honestly not sure whether this is because of the source material, or because of the lack of directorial and writing skill, but either way its really not looking good for either of these shows.

Of the two, GAMERS! was the one who’s decline I was expecting. It had a strong episode one, and an interesting plot twist, but as I’ve pointed out on this blog before that twist really didn’t amount to much. Looking back, the show honestly might have been better if it had stuck to the plot it was setting up. At least, in that case, it would have been campy and fun.

Now, However, GAMERS! is nothing more than a mediocre Rom-Com. Its main appeal has become the intertwining relationships between Amano and the others. The problem with this is that in only five episodes, I haven’t had enough time to care. None of these characters have been on screen for long enough or been interesting enough for me to want to know who is going to end up with who.

I’m a bit more sad about Classroom of the Elite. It had an interesting premise about being locked in a school in which everyone thinks that they’re being treated like royalty when in fact they just being tested. When everyone realized that they had just made themselves poor by spending all their points, that’s when the show good have gone a thousand different routes. But, of course, the show has chosen to take the least interesting route.

So far, the show has tried to do everything while accomplishing nothing. It has meandered around, following a character story about Sudo that is not that interesting. The reason why they’re doing it makes sense within the context of the show, but it still isn’t as interesting as the writers would like to think it is.

It really is a shame that both of these shows look like they’re going to end up among the boring drivel of the rest of the season. They started out very well, but I can’t see a good ending with the directions they’ve decided to take. I hope I’m proven wrong within the coming weeks, but it doesn’t look like that will happen.

 

 

Opinion: Does Eureka Seven have a Feminist Streak?

Thinking back a few months to when I watched Eureka Seven, a pattern started to emerge. Often times people complain about the lack of strong female characters in entertainment, and anime is no exception. While many of those criticisms are valid, the idea that anime is lacking in strong female characters is one that I take with a grain of salt, and Eureka Seven is one of the reasons why.

From the outside looking in, it might seem like a show dominated by its male leads, but often times this is not the case at all. Even though Renton is the main character most of the time, the majority of the focus of the show is on Eureka and the struggle she faces as a member of the Gekkostate. Renton most of the time is portrayed as young, dumb fourteen-year-old who more often than not both admires and looks up to Eureka for guidance about the Nirvash and his role on the Gekkostate. Tolho is another strong female character who helps support Holland in much the same way. She is there for Holland when he needs her, but is also a pilot of the Gekko. Both of these relationships in the show are treated as equal partnerships rather than the males constantly supporting the females.

Another place where Eureka Seven’s feminist streak shines through is in the dynamics of its romantic relationships. In the beginning, when Renton joins Gekkostate and falls in love with Eureka, he treats her more so like an object to be desired rather than valuing her as a person. As time goes on, he realizes that this way of loving Eureka only serves to dehumanize her. Not to mention that this way of thinking often gets him in trouble with both Eureka and the other members of the gekkostate, who are protective of her.

Renton eventually realizes that in order to really love eureka in a meaningful way that he has to get to know her as a person. Throughout their journey on the Gekkostate and as the pilots of the Nirvash, Renton and Eureka come to love and respect each other. Their relationship is not one built on a desire for one another, but rather, as the show beautifully puts it, as a family. They do not operate independently of each other. They rely on each other caring and understanding in order to succeed.

For these reasons, if you are looking for entertainment for strong female characters and respect for women, then Eureka Seven is a show not to be missed.