Posts from 2011

Usagi Drop

Usagi Drop proves that good characters and a solid story never go out of fashion. It divorces itself from so many anime tropes - big eyes, sparkles, eyecatches - that it seems hard to understand why it was animated in the first place. With both the time-spanning manga and feature film recently released, like Kimi ni Todoke, you can now pick your particular brand of drama. But as the curtain closes on the final episode, it's obvious that without the watercolour palette, Rin's sparrow smile and the abstract perfection of animation, the series could only be half as charming and half as endearing.

it's just endlessly satisfying to have a story that doesn't stupefy, that deals in characters rather than archetypes

The story cheats somewhat by placing Rin as a cogent six year-old rather than a bratty teenager or howling babe, either end of that spectrum and moments such as losing one's first teeth, or going to school for the first time are lost and replaced by times far less adorable. Similarly Rin's demeanour as a mature proto-maid and Daikichi's chronic sensibility smooths over a lot of the abrasiveness that adopting a growing child would entail. Like all good stories though, it is brevity that keeps the story tight. Eleven episodes means omissions and dangling threads are many, but crucially these do nothing to alter the warmth at the heart of the series.

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Protagonists and you

I'm on a quest to understand exactly why I like the anime that I do. It's relatively easy to enumerate which ones I like more than others, MyAnimeList exists more-or-less exactly for this purpose, but that doesn't really explore what makes a show excellent beyond an attempt to pattern-match (studio, release year etc.) or to compare with others to find compatibility and recommendations.

...finding interest in the mundane or levity in the absurd.
Teasing an answer more meaningful than "I just do" means examining constituents, and for varying reasons - my continual battle to write creative fiction one - characters, specifically protagonists, stand more prominently than others. To enumerate all the different archetypes would be folly and missing the point: great protagonists - great characters - transcend the clich├ęs imposed upon them by genre or circumstance. All too often though anime lets the archetypes rule - why else would there be the existence of shortcut words like "tsundere"?

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