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Posts with the “yoko kanno” tag

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A very quiet rebellion

A review of Zankyou no Terror

It would be false to say that there are mainstream and niche anime series when anime as a medium is niche, its audience perhaps even more so. Beyond the One Piece’s, with their absurd viewership, there is a definite split between the popular, attention grabbing series - the Code Geass’, the Sword Art Online’s - and the smaller, less broadly approachable ones. Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance, Terror in Tokyo) is firmly the latter, but starts out as the former.

teenage savants, using technology to outwit and outmaneuver the police

With the bombing of the iconic Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building the first episode builds sublime tension while simultaneously introducing the principal cast members; and for the next few episodes at least, the series pitches itself as a cat-and-mouse style detective thriller, with adolescent terrorists Nine and Twelve goading the police while destroying key locations within Tokyo. Kenjirou Shibazaki, a hard-boiled but relegated detective, meanwhile might just be smart enough to catch them. What doesn’t become apparent until much later is that this structure, “catch us if you can”, is not even close to what Zankyou no Terror is about.

Please note: the remainder of this review contains spoilers for the entirety of the Zankyou no Terror series.

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Opening move

Ninety seconds. Just under 2,200 frames. That’s how long the majority of anime openings have to stick in the mind, set the scene and contribute to the microcosm that history has created for them. Right back to what some would consider the dawn of modern anime with Astro Boy in the 1960’s, the prototype for modern anime openings was there, continuing through the seventies and eighties through to recent history of the nineties and 2000+.

setting the tone for bombastic score of the series itself

By now you’ve mostly likely seen the “Every Anime Opening Ever Made” video which cycles through a lot of the tropes and visual motifs that are (over)used, set to remixed trance music. Like a lot of pithy satire its humour and truth doesn’t hold up to scrutiny and even a limited exploration of openings from any time period would highlight how wrong it is. That wasn’t what got me thinking about anime openings though but an offshoot when musing on the slow burning RahXephon one. Originally this was going to be a dissection of the hidden meanings in the visuals and mentioning other similar openings. Then I got lost in a endless loop of watching an opening, then remembering just one more and before I knew it I was attempting to sort the openings I had seen into some kind of system.

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Eyehack

Thoughts on the upcoming Ghost in the Shell: Arise OVAs

Information about the new Ghost in the Shell anime (subtitled Arise) is being drip fed from its Production I.G. stewards and the vocal reaction has been... disparaging. The voice cast has changed, the character designs are too moe, the soundtrack isn't Yoko Kanno. Etcetera.

To them I say: excellent.

And I don't say that lightly as I am an ardent fan of GITS in all of its forms, including the divisive second Mamoru Oshii movie, Innocence. I am a person who painstakingly tried to translate and decipher Standalone Complex and 2nd GIG when there were no fansubs or English releases for them. I am a person who bought the special edition DVDs as they came out in America (and then again in the UK) for the superior DTS audio version, only to realise I was now knee deep in tachikoma figurines. I am a person who could tell you that there is a "Directed by K. K." message on the ring of a cybernetic iris on a bit character in the second episode of SAC. I know and love Ghost in the Shell.

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Sunday matinée

Sunday is all about putting your feet up, turning the volume up and queuing some music to get wholly lost in. During the week music always seems to accompany doing something: programming, walking, writing, pretending you can't hear the other people in the office talking about you. It seems somewhat of a lost past-time to simply sit and listen.

there's something alluringly infectious about this sentai inspired quintet

What better way to celebrate this than the release of the Kids on the Slope soundtrack? Any Yoko Kanno release is a cause for celebration; that this has jazz ensembles from Takashi Matsunaga, a noted master of the genre, as well as vocal tracks from well-known artists such as Aoi Teshima is a special treat. I can't claim to know the first thing about jazz or how to approach it for a better appreciation, but as the adage goes, I know what I like. It's still on heavy rotation so my final opinion is still gestating but the tracks effortlessly blend easy listening and jazz sessions with Kanno's signature background melodies - unique but not overpowering.

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Aural pleasure

A few years ago I almost lost the hearing in my left ear. The gory details are best omitted, but I was left with (what the doctors claimed) was 20-30% hearing and only two thirds of the bones I should. For all intents and purposes I was deaf in that ear, a lopsided and mono world where car alarms didn't exist (a boon at 3am) but wearing headphones was painful.

Two years and two operations on I have most of my hearing back. All of this is just context for me to say: my hearing is precious to me and I am precious about it. It is a cliché to say that you don't know what you've got until you've lost it, but when it's personal it really brings it home.

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