I spent a large part of my childhood in the north eastern part of Scotland which, to those who aren't familiar with the area would describe as “the middle of nowhere”. Those who are would likely nod and then call it something much worse. Summers were short and hot, the hills abundant and green and the winters biting and long. Water pipes froze, roads closed, and snow drifts towered over children sledging carelessly into them.
they wander from the warm light of the station into the vast, frozen night
It has a romantic appeal, being snowed in snug and warm beneath a blanket next to a crackling fire, until you actually want to do something productive like eat or travel anywhere. That child-like nostalgia persists however, so whenever a video game or anime does winter, I’m always searching for that ephemeral feeling that only a quiet, snowy vista can elicit.
Just having a good scene set during winter though doesn’t automatically make it a good winter scene - Guts versus Griffith (part two) takes place on a crisp, white morning and it’s understandably evocative, but doesn’t tickle memories of the past. Similarly neither does just setting a scene, or even your entire series, during winter - so Non Non Biyori, WWW.Working!! (the northern one), Noragami and Primsa Illya 3rei all feel frosty but don’t make the grade. And just faking winter snow is cheating, yes I’m looking at you Nagi no Asukara, salt flakes doesn’t count.
So to lead be example, here are six perfect winter scenes in anime.
I should know better really, I do it every year. The summer or autumn anime season rolls around and my interest in keeping up week-on-week ebbs as quickly as the long nights. It doesn't so much break a habit as press pause on a lifestyle, leaving other hobbies and interests fill the vacuum.
I would rather read a book about hikkikomori syndrome than I would about media theory and Nausicaa
As the source dries up, content for this blog follows suit like an abandoned tributary. As with anything you do for sixteen years, I never wholly stop. I follow hang-overs from the previous season (Accel World, Eureka Seven AO and Hyouka in this instance) in spurts and sprints but the impetus to write anything about them is vanishingly small. Though not for lack of trying. I've tried to elucidate my qualms with Hyouka no less than three times only to end with the digital equivalent of crumpling up a sheet of paper and hurling it towards the bin (pressing delete on a Wordpress draft).
Beginning Winter Sonata without knowing its lineage is opening oneself up for confusion. While superficially Japanese, the series originates in South Korea, adapted from a non-animated drama series of which Winter Sonata is the second of four which are collectively known as "Endless Love". The original television cast are brought on in voice acting roles and not re-dubbed which means that when broadcast in Japan, subtitles are included. Past the initial puzzlement as to the difference in language, the first episodes of the series turn out to be little more than a straight-faced romance story, albeit with a nostalgic twist.
a show that resolutely belongs on daytime television, aimed squarely at the unemployed and housebound
The first episode - commonly termed Episode 0 - is billed as a prelude to the main series and wastes no time pouring on the floaty piano music and longing gazes out onto cityscapes ravished by the weather. Joon Sang Kang is in New York suffering from a hematoma behind his eye which makes him permanently introspective and liable to fall over at inopportune moments; meanwhile Yujin Jung writes about the past in cosy Parisian coffee shops while thinking of Joon. With some stunning backgrounds and a genuine eye for emotional detail, the series gets off to a slow but determined start.