The first episode of Tamayura ~hitotose~ is quite good. I’m going to go ahead and drop it.
One of the things that anime is surprisingly not very good at is creating a fully-realized fictional ‘world.’ When you open up a fantasy book (and fantasy is of course the best genre for fictional worlds) you are often confronted with a ‘world map’ right off the bat. You will be given details about all sorts of countries and locations and customs, etc., to bring this world to life as you read. The reason that this doesn’t really happen in anime is for the same reason it does happen a whole lot in JRPGs – time.
Genres are always a tough subject to discuss because they are based on the decisive reasoning of a group in an attempt to classify something and thereby give it a place in the greater database of human thought. Genre debates are a pain in the ass because many people seek to diversify the definitions of a genre, which doesn’t make any sense because the entire point of a genre title is to be absolute and objective.
On the surface (no pun intended) Umi Monogatari looked like an Aria spin-off almost. For obvious starters, it’s directed by Junichi Sato (Aria, helped on Sketchbook, Kaleido Star, Magic User’s Club, Princess Tutu), has some focus on beautiful background art (Shichiro Kobayashi is art director (Simoun, Angel’s Egg, Ashita no Joe 2, Berserk, Detroit Metal City, Figure 17, Castle of Cagliostro, Melody of Oblivion, REVOLUTIONARY GIRL UTENA, Space Adventure Cobra) and he’s definitely one of the best – I talked about him more in my Simoun review), has quiet, soulful piano songs by composer Ken Muramatsu (Kurenai and Sketchbook), and some extremely familiar character personalities. However, Umi Monogatari seems to be hiding a slightly darker card up it’s sleeve.
There were three initial factors that got me into anime – Ninja Scroll, Cowboy Bebop, and the very first volume of Anime Invasion, which has a list of everything deleted from the dubbed DBZ, a lost of all the Gundam shows, a Macross episode guide, and more. The magazine later changed it’s name to Anime Insider and over the years I grew to consider it a magazine for anime n00bs. However, when I picked up the latest volume, I was actually impressed by the content.
Character designs are very important. There are characters out there who exist solely based on their design. More than anything, it is what makes a character them. No matter how much a doujin or fanfiction may change their personality, the character design remains itself to define the identification of that character. I want to take the chance once a week to spotlight one of my favorite character designs. This week, after watching episode 8 of Aria the Natural which had a lot of focus on some key points of Akari’s design, I decided to post about her.