(EDIT: Ironically (I suppose), upon completing AnoHana’s season I found that YouTube had gone on a rampage and yanked most of the videos in this post from its “service”. Since blank black boxes are so annoying, I’ve removed them from this innocent post, and replaced them with… well, nothing. Season’s over; show’s ended; highly recommended and wonderful anime; nothing else to see here except for everything else there is here. In which case, happy reading )
I just watched episode 9 of Ano Hi Mita no Namae o Bokutachi Wa Mada Shiranai(aka We Still Don’t Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day; check out the ratings on that linked ANN page) and am compelled to force gently entice my Visitors who are into the slice-of-life and drama genres to check it out ASAP. It’s just that good… if you like that sort of thing. And I do
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I love that song so much I could (and have!) play it repeatedly. That ED version is sung by the voice actresses Ai Kayano, Haruka Tomatsu, and Saori Hayami; there are at least a couple of other longer versions as well, by the J-pop bands ZONE and Scandal. You’ll probably see them here and there, most likely here *cough below cough* LOL Incidentally, view these vids right away, as Sony/Columbia (or whateverthefuck they’re calling themselves these days) are pulling them off of YouTube quickly. So get ‘em while they’re hot! Way to promote your show, suits :-<
It’s been awhile since I’ve watched an anime that I out-and-out loved through and through; probably not since Clannad/After Story and ef-a fairytale of the two. In anime terms, “love” is a very strong word and should only be used to describe a show that succeeds in reaching your heart, with characters you care deeply about. I’ve come across many many shows that I fully enjoyed and some masterpieces as well, but finding a series, OVA, or movie with characters so rich in palpable feelings and …well… “human-ness” (with all its flaws) is a rare thing indeed. That they have fleshed-out backstories and motivations integral to the main story adds layer upon layer of discovery and delight (and dismay) in witnessing them develop as the series progresses.
I dislike telling too much about plots, preferring the Viewer discover these things for themselves. That precious element of delight is diminished when you know what’s coming or what to expect, and many of a story’s surprises are ruined along with the calculated expositional twists and pacing when spoilers are revealed. AnoHana is still doling out the revelations and backstories even at ep 9 and is likely to continue through to the end in the two to come. So I suppose you might add “Mystery” to its mish-mash of genres. There’s also a very definite and quite singular thread of a ”Supernatural” element as well…
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What is it about Menma which makes her so special? She’s adorable to be sure; the animation and direction definitely add a final and beautiful coating to this cute little flower. YMMV (of course) but for me it’s the core combination of youthful innocence and adolescent willfulness, unabashed clumsiness and serene grace, and a dogged determination to reach the end of her path, her story, her destiny. One that we all must deal with, but perhaps not in her own way as we each have our own way towards That End. She hasn’t accepted it yet, it seems, and neither has her friends…
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All six of the leads are carefully drawn and quite different from one another; seeing them as children in flashbacks and then as teens in the present reminds me of how much people can change over time, especially (formerly) close-knit friends like these. I really enjoy stories of companionship, love, and reflection; in fact, these are also central to UNBOUND which was written well before I was exposed to anime. Most of the favorite anime on my list are stories like these; I like stories in which the characters behave selflessly in spite of great adversity, care about others, and who Do the Right Thing despite the risk of losing it all. Bravery. Courage. Devotion. Love…
While in The Grand Scheme of Things the small stories of six individuals have no great (apparent) significance, but when viewed simply, by a human who can relate to the familiar elements and emotions the characters display in both their good and bad behavior, it becomes a Big Story in a small world, because it reflects who and how we are, and were, before we changed. Because Life is change; everything changes as does every one. It is a small world. The six gathered here in AnoHana played as children in their Secret Base, and drifted apart after a tragic accident, which we still haven’t been shown. When they meet up again (I’m assuming ten years later) they’ve become young adults and are still dealing with the baggage from that incident, along with the remnants of their childhood relationships with each other. How much has changed between them, and how will it affect them in the present, expecially Menma?
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Still two episodes to go, so we’ll see
Oh. I have one left to share, if you enjoyed the ED version of Secret Base at the top; here is Scandal’s live subtitled cover of ZONE’s original version, if I have the facts straight. Which, since I got the info off YouTube, is doubtful Even though the lyrics were (apparently) written before the anime, they fit it so perfectly! Anyway, please enjoy it
(EDIT: Well, that didn’t take long, did it? The f#<}!^$ Control Freaks do it again When I have time I’ll look for a suitable replacement using the same music if not video.)
(EDIT 2: The above Edit made obsolete due to aforementioned C.F.s doing it all over my AnoHana Post )
(Therefore, EDIT 3: I scoured YT for an even better “Secret Base” version, and included it below!)
Thanks for reading and visiting; please feel free to leave your comments about this great show
I was greatly saddened this past weekend to read thatTomoko Kawakami, one of my favorite voice actresses, passed away at the young age of 41 from cancer. It’s kind of funny how one can feel such sorrow for someone you haven’t met, but regardless, the tears fell from my eyes even though I wasn’t weeping, even though I never knew her. I thought of all the roles she played and the characters she voiced so well, among them several favorite girls from very different anime. I thought of making a tribute to her career through the images of the characters she played so well…
Of course I have to lead off with AIR-TV ‘s Misuzu Kamio, my favorite anime girl (along with Clannad‘s Nagisa Furukawa). Tomoko totally owned this challenging role, effortlessly going from silly to solemn, from flustered to wise, and grows from a clumsy girl to (ultimately) a graceful swan both dramatic and dignified as her fate becomes ever more apparent. There’s so much to love about Misuzu that it defies explanation; just listen to Tomoko bring this poor, but very brave girl, to life, in the following spoiler-free compilation of scenes from the first half of AIR (and never search YouTube for more unless you want to be completely spoiled or have seen it already). Protip: expand these videos to Full Screen for maximum effect
And yes… I DO own a “Gao Gao Stegosaurus” shirt just like the one Yukito is wearing
My second-favorite role she voiced was Clannad‘s Girl From the Illusory World, a fairly thankless role for which she didn’t get many lines, but so beautifully portrayed the few she did have. This next video contains many of the brief clips stitched together from multiple episodes of Clannad (but no spoilers!), and probably won’t make sense if you haven’t seen it. But you will get the gist of it, and hopefully will pique your interest in this superb anime. Everything is significant Again, I’ll warn you against searching YouTube for more clips, since it is VERY easy to get spoiled, and we definitely don’t want that to happen, right? Seriously, if you’re attracted to the series concept and genre, just buy the darn thing already!
Kanon‘s Sayuri provided Tomoko with another juicy role; she is a kind, sweet, and reflective sort of girl, not too different from Misuzu. Less clumsy, for sure LOL In the series, Sayuri is Mai’s (the sword-wielding demon hunter) best friend and constant companion, and they have several cute scenes showing their devotion to one another. But her shining moment occurrs in revealing her backstory, which is depicted in the next clip. She effortlessly switches between her “current” and “younger” voices with ease, and does a wonderful job of it in this very poignant story:
It’s no coincidence that Tomoko Kawakami appears in central roles in each of the KEY/Kyoto Animation “Triple Crown” shows of Air, Kanon, and Clannad, and no coincidence that these are amongst my favorite stories of all time, as well as these other favorite shows included here.
On a completely different note, and role, is that of sadistic little Mariko, one of Elfen Lied‘s Diclonius mutations. Believe me, this role is 180 degrees from her previous characters! It took quite awhile to find a video that didn’t have music (after all, I’m looking for Tomoko’s speaking parts), but could only find one that contained a very spoilerish scene. So: SPOILER WARNING!!!: This is Elfen Lied, so be forewarned regarding the violence and heartwrenching emoting, and depiction of key character deaths in this next video. Briefly, Kurama is head of a government-sponsored detention facility for the mutant Diclonius, who are intent on destroying humankind. Mariko is one of the most advanced and dangerous, Number 35. She is Kurama’s daughter… and the story will kind of tell the rest. Fasten your safety belts:
(EDIT: Okay, unfasten them; the control freaks pulled it already *vid snipped* :-( )
I tried without success in finding a video of Tomoko voicing Athena Glory from the serene and beautiful ARIA series, only finding clips of her singing two or three songs that were actually performed by the late Eri Kawaii. Athena speaks very little (she’s a quiet and clumsy girl!) but surprisingly to her friends has pipes of gold. Sad that both of Athena’s seiyuu have passed away… but we are left with such lovely memories such as these, and this:
Since Tomoko didn’t sing on that anime, here’s a final video of her singing a beautiful version of “Natsukage” from AIR-TV, featuring (of course!) a Misuzu slideshow! So relaxing and sublime… we’ll just leave it at that, shall we? Much gratitude to her for her excellent work that shall live on…
Okay, I just finished replacing the “Removed due to blah blah blah” YouTube videos in the below post (regarding the Spring 2011 Anime Season); what a pain. Normally I just leave them as dead, but those black blocks are so damned annoying and ruining my feng shui
I think from now on I’ll just replace them immediately with duplicate videos of the same quality (I hope). These Control Freaks are really annoying me. NOBODY’S MAKING ANY MONEY, CLAIMING OWNERSHIP, OR TRADING FOR ILLICIT CONTRABAND! We’re just sharing, right? No harm in that, at all. In fact, it used to be considered a good thing to share, before this selfish, greedy, and self-centered epoch was entered (probably in the late ’70s – early ’80s). I used to tape songs from record albums onto cassette and share them with my friends, cleverly leaving one or two songs off to provoke them into buying the whole album (emph. on “BUYING”; Control Freaks take note). The idea is to get the listener/viewer into BUYING the product! How stupid do you have to be not to get that?
Oh well. If they don’t want exposure to an ever-widening potential audience, it’s their loss. I’m just trying to turn Visitors on to some things they likely haven’t yet seen but might like to experience. I’m trying to support an industry that I love so that it will continue to grow and give us more wonderful stories to share. And buy. But I feel like I’m overstating the obvious here
I plan on eventually writing up a Deep Post on downloading anime and its changing face due to official streaming sites, but since that’s a very slippery slope it’ll take some time and thought, both of which are scarce at the moment. But it shall be done
Meanwhile, since I’m still feeling a bit spiteful, here’s a handful of goodies for you
“They” pulled the cute Nichijou (aka My Ordinary Life) OPening from YouTube, so I looked around for a replacement and while I was searching found a very cute music video of the full song. It kept a smile on my face the entire time! AND IT’S STILL THERE!
…I’d better not go outside LOL
Cute Japanese girls doing cute things… it never gets old. In 2D it’s quite nice, but in 3D it’s just YUMMY
Here’s another HQ version of the actual OP used in the show, this one has subtitles too! Enjoy the usual brilliant animation and quirky characters courtesy of Kyoto Animation; music by Hyadain:
This next pair is for Kholdstare. Well, it’s for you too (of course!), but we both really love this show, so I’m hoping to spread the “love infection” to those who might miss it otherwise. (Sorry for the sick analogy LOL) At the time of writing up the post below, I couldn’t find a good version of “Secret Base”, the lovely EnDing theme from my favorite show this season, Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai. There hasn’t been an anime in a while that has pulled and tugged at the heartstrings like this wonderful show has mine, and it’s hard to describe why, aside from just saying that it’s dramatically riveting and very effective. For my details, please see the post below this one, and if a fan of dramatic, reflective, and moving shows, be sure not miss this!
Speaking of music videos, here’s a subtitled and full version of “Secret Base”, performed by (I think) the show’s seiyuu, Ai Kayano, Haruka Tomatsu, and Saori Hayami, but credits for this version show the artist to be ZONE. It may be a case of the trio doing the actual ED and ZONE doing the video. In either case, it’s awesome. FYI, the video recreates the younger days of the show’s main characters as they played on, in, and around their “secret base”.
(EDIT: Wellll… “They” pulled this one from YouTube as well, so here’s another video to replace it using the same song, with subtitles. This doesn’t help my spitefulness in any way, but. It’s kind of a random AMV, but it uses characters from many favorite shows so… it’ll do )
Do you remember? What it was like to be that young and idealistic, when everything was still new and exciting, when exploration was a daily part of life? When you made friends, broke apart, and reunited after many years? When an integral part of your group left all too soon, and the memories of the time gone by, ten years gone, remain as vitally (if not literally) alive as if a beautiful ghost? Remember…
Many have mentioned the (apparently) cliched settings and environments of School Life and wonder why the protagonists are largely teens. I suspect that it’s because since so many viewers can remember and relate to those days, they can relate to how life was at that time. It’s also a more fitting “lab” for the characters to interact in, rather than, say, a boring workplace. I can easily recall and relate to the school settings and the experiences learned from ” my ordinary life”. Before we became jaded, cynical, and entangled in “adult life”. I’m trying not to be
The last show that had a video removed was Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, so I replaced it in the post below this one with a substitute AMV appropriately titled “Take Cover”. Not much to it; it basically serves as a character introduction of sorts, and hopefully an enticement for you to check it out. (For a better description, please see the post below this one.) Cute little Erio wraps herself up in a futon, so yeah, the title’s quite apropos. Also, her 39-year old “mom” (unclear at this point), Meme, is seen in her full moe glory
It’s SO difficult to find an OP/ED for this relatively-new show yet, so I’ll put another AMV here for your consumption. The visuals focus on Erio Touwa, who along with Ano Hana‘s Menma is probably the most moe girl of the season; she’s absolutely adorable and worthy of that “need to protect” gene in the moe DNA. Not really my kind of music (a bit too much pop/dance stuff, but it is catchy). YMMV It does serve as a nice depiction of the main characters and animation, including scenes from the ED. Hopefully soon I’ll find the originals to share.
Studio SHAFT and director Akiyuki Shinbo deliver yet another quality work here; a typical SHAFT blend of surrealism, reality, and fantasy to keep the Viewer guessing as to what exactly is going on. MAKE ME DIZZY; I LOVE IT! Plus, as is typical of SHAFT, cute character designs and legs. Lots of legs. Which is fine, ‘cos I’m a fan
See, it’s good to share
And it’s very good to support the anime industry (and Japan!) by buying the products and merchandise from the shows we love
Thanks for Visiting, and please feel free to leave a comment if you wish; all are welcome! Well, except from haters LOL
on the water
"When early youth had passed, he left his cold fireside and alienated home to seek strange truths in undiscovered lands. Many a wide waste and tangled wilderness has lured his fearless steps; and he has bought with his sweet voice and eyes, from savage men, his rest and food." (from 'Alastor, or, The Spirit of Solitude', by Percy Bysshe Shelley,1815)
For info on our novel UNBOUND, please see our website in the Blogroll!