Ξ March 21st, 2009 | → 4 Comments | ∇ The Anime Annals |
For those visitors wondering about why the anime-centric tilt of Alastor’s recently, the reasons are that it’s really the only medium capable of distracting me from Real Life Issues. Presently I can’t feel comfortable playing computer games, listening to music, watching movies, reading, or especially managing the concentration necessary to write while my life is in such turmoil (see posts below for further explanations), therefore entries on those topics have been rare. Only the study of anime has proven sufficient to pull me out of my crisis-mode; it’s the only remedy that keeps me from staying stuck in this depressing rut I’ve been in since last March. Without going into further detail, it’s really gotten so very tiresome to continually be dwelling on the survive-or-die routine that I need what relief and delight that this form of entertainment provides. Besides, if I repeatedly kept posting about Things That Aren’t Changing (such as current RL events or the novel’s lack-of-publication progress), it would bore you silly. So, this:
Now that The 2009 International Saimoe League is in full swing with three rounds of the first period under its belt, I wanted to add a voice of dissent here. Although there are quite a few series that do have characters that can be described as being moe, there are many others featuring mature, feisty, aggressive, and independent women who most likely would righteously kick your ass if described with any of the gentler attributes of moe. A few that come to mind are Revy from Black Lagoon, Madlax from her self-titled series, and even Lucy from Elfen Lied (although “little Lucy” and Nyu, her alter-ego, certainly do have their considerable “moe-ments”).
And while the moe-centric series do seem to focus on younger protagonists, there are many other genres that put on display the startling diversity that anime provides with regard to differing character-types, which amid all this prevalent focus on moe gets lost in the shuffle. This includes such dark fare as Ergo Proxy, Gilgamesh, and the latest mind-blower of a series, Kara no Kyoukai (aka “Garden of Sinners”), to name but a few. (Note that the wiki links contain spoilers!)
For those of you who still assume that anime is only suited for children and immature people, I have two things to say: When you ASSUME, you make an ASS out of U and ME. It’s true. Second, these following anime music videos (AMVs), featuring Shiki from Kara no Kyoukai, should shatter any remaining misperceptions (though they’ll spoil you a bit if you plan to watch this series of seven movies, of which five have been translated and subtitled). Neither of them show off the clever writing, ingenious storytelling, or dialogue though; I’ll leave it to you to discover
First up, courtesy of pixeltune, is a tribute to Ryougi Shiki using the hauntingly beautiful “Shiki’s Theme” by composer Yuki Kajiura as the background music (watch both of these in HD and Full-Screen!!!):
Next is an AMV made by RadicalxYue entitled “Incubus”, using as the BGM “Can’t Sleep” by Above and Beyond. It focuses more on the complex relationship between Shiki and Kokutou Mikita, as explained in his video’s YT page:
Both of these videos employ rapid cutting and editing to provoke the same sense of disorientation and wonder that the series does, using the music as a second layer of “canvas”. Kara no Kyoukai really is at the pinnacle of anime today, due in no small part to the amazing direction and studio ufotable’s masterful techniques in storytelling, combined with its highly dramatic score and empathic, convincing voice-acting.
For those visitors unfamiliar with the medium/hobby/lifestyle, please bear the following in mind as you set out on your journey of discovery: Anime is just like any other medium; you have to wade through a lot of crap to discover the gems, but those jewels that you do find will be quite memorable and so very much worth keeping (and buying when possible). Really, it’s very similar to reading any similarly-themed (choose your own) book or story, or any other movie or show, only animated, and consisting of genres and characters of all stripes. You can appreciate CGI films such as Finding Nemo or WALL-E, can’t you? Well… it’s not so far a stretch. Due to budgetary restraints and the costs of producing the average 12-26 half-hour episode series the animation is simply simpler; more importantly, you get stories easily as moving and wonderful, and as memorable as those fancier movies. And in many cases, more so. Substance over flash is a good thing
Note that many film directors, writers, actors, and musicians (not to mention countless numbers of your fellow-citizens) already have long-held favorites and are well aware of the many merits inherent in anime. Ask yourself: what do they know that you don’t? They know this: It is much more than the heavily-promoted and merchandised juvenile pap that is the rule over here in the West
So, go forth and seek! What I’d suggest to newbies is the following:
(1) Find a good general-purpose encyclopedic and ratings site such as Anime News Network to view rankings, synopses, and genres, and pick a title that might suit you.
(2) Download the latest Combined Community Codec Pack and install it to play the episodes through its Media Player Classic app at high quality (which I highly recommend). Much better than Real Player or Windows Media Player is (and not as obtrusive). And, safe
(3) Google search the titles for the initial subtitled episodes to direct-download and sample, and if what you find suits you, either buy the series or if unavailable (as many seem to be) obtain the rest in like fashion. Torrenting may be more your style, but most likely if that’s the case then you won’t need this primer Finding a reliable site might take some doing but they’re out there; regard the resulting addresses carefully for consistency and content. Be smart about it! (And I want to add that by supporting the artists and creators the hobby will continue to survive and grow, so don’t just leech simply because the episodes are “free”. This is a sore subject with me but will remain on the table for discussion at a later date. It’s a very slippery slope nowadays and balance is required.)
(4) Finally, ENJOY! Find a good site for discussion (and etc) such as AnimeSuki Forum (my favorite; but pay as little attention as possible to those jaded, cynical, and egotistic trolls; you know how The Internet is these days :-/
Expand your horizons; you’ll find that they go much farther than your eye can see
And that, also, is a Very Good Thing…