The spaces in between

The non-verbal storytelling of Zankyou no Terror

I mentioned on Twitter while watching the third episode of Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance, ZnT) about the “non-verbal storytelling” in it and felt that it needed some elaboration because it’s something that is rare to find in anime.

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Wizard in a blizzard and a mystical machine gun

A review of the Zetsuen no Tempest anime series

First released: October 2012
Version reviewed: TV

Invoking Shakespeare in your story is risky business because like one comedian making reference to another, it invites comparison. And being compared to the stories of whom many would consider is one of the greatest writers ever is not a battle many writers are up for. This is true from a predominantly Western context, but from an Eastern point of view? A Japanese point of view? Shakespeare perhaps doesn’t hold the same reverence having not cast a shadow over several hundred years of literature.

have a good ol’ magical scuffle and lay waste to a not insignificant chunk of Japan

This is all academic really because regardless of its overtures towards Shakespeare, Zetsuen no Tempest: The Civilization Blaster (Blast of Tempest) is below par. It starts out intriguingly enough with the awakening of something grand and unknowable leading to the quiet annihilation of an entire town. Only Mahiro survives thanks to his estranged friend Yoshino and a voice from afar, Hakaze. From there the trio must evade the attention of the Kusaribe clan and try and stop the awakening of an even greater power which threatens the world.

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A review of the Canaan anime series

First released: July 2009
Version reviewed: BluRay

A lot of media start right in the thick of things, in media res, but Canaan is the only series I’ve seen that seems to start at the end of things, ad finem. As if all of the interesting development has already happened and this is the epilogue where the elves are sailing west. Wikipedia informs me however that Canaan is in fact a sequel to a Japanese-only Wii game and “conceptualised” by Type-Moon (of Kara no Kyoukai and Fate fame) co-founders Kinoko Nasu and Takashi Takeuchi. Whether having played that game helps in understanding the series is unknown, though unlikely given it shares only a few characters, one of whom is secondary at best.

everything scrapes against each other like rusty clockwork

The broad strokes though: photographer Maria Osawa and journalist Minoru Minorikawa travel to Shanghai to cover an anti-terrorism summit. Maria reunites with an old friend, Canaan, who is a mercenary for hire and possessed of the gift of synesthesia, allowing her to see odours and hear colours (amongst other things). A fine setup, but proving the exception to the rule that anything Type-Moon touches turns to gold, Canaan as a series is like the parade in the first episode: colourful, chaotic, and thoroughly unintelligible. How could it go so wrong?

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Caring for your introvert

Thoughts on introversion in Kawaisou and anime in general

1924 | Stu_dts [pixiv]

Personally motivated posts really aren’t my forte, the reasons for which I won’t elaborate on because that would paradoxically make this post more personal. Regardless, introversion is a topic I take an active interest in primarily because I have been medically identified as introverted and I suppose my Meyers-Briggs INTJ classification would make me lean towards introspection as a pastime. I rarely talk or identify as introverted because doing so would put unconscious constrictions on my behaviour and because it naturally invokes thoughts in other people as to how I will act; neither situation I find favourable.

whose introversion isn’t treated as a social malady

Watching Kawaisou recently though did make me think more about introversion in anime because the lead, Ritsu Kawai, shows a lot of the “classic” symptoms: seclusion, tiredness from social interactions, overthinking situations etc. I found it odd because I had never consciously “spotted” an introvert in anime before.

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A review of the Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin anime series

I’ve found myself saying numerous times before in reviews that how a series starts isn’t necessarily how it continues. Putting aside first episode budget splurges, the tendency to cram as much into those first precious twenty or so minutes means that sometimes story, characterisation and continuity can be left by the wayside. Often this is just an innocent enough attempt to grab attention before settling in to a more measured pace. Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin (Nanana’s Buried Treasure) is only the second series I can think of - the other being the underappreciated Ga-Rei Zero - that purposefully builds up your expectations and then mercilessly subverts them.

Enter Juugo, our slightly meat-headed protagonist who has just run away from home and travelled to the ultra-modern island built according to the vision of one girl genius. When he moves into his modest apartment he finds out, to his horror, that it is already occupied by the ghost of a young, beautiful girl. Whatever will he do? Chair back, spin down brain, prepare for quirky love comedy where Juugo finds out who killed this girl and bittersweet love blossoms. First episode closing credits roll, commence disinterested “hmph”.

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