The first roles that I would’ve heard Hanazawa Kana in, had I been able to ‘hear‘ seiyuu at the time, were Kajiwara Sora in Sketchbook ~full color’S~ and Potemayo from the eponymous anime, both of which aired in late 2007. The irony there is that the former is a character who’s too shy to speak aloud—so all of her dialog is mental narration—and the latter is a 2-foot moeblob who can only say two syllables per breath and mostly makes noises. —Not exactly roles that tell you if an actress is going to be good, in spite of being leads.
In a visual storytelling medium such as animation, character design is incredibly important, especially in this modern era where character goods make up a huge part of the anime market. Viewers have to be able to connect with a character design on some level in order to be able to connect with the character on some level. Many people let characters design largely factor into their willingness to watch a series, and I can’t say that I’m different – only that I’m very open to a wide variety of designs that will not limit my viewing too much. That said, even I have things that I find hard to watch when the designs repulse me enough (mostly graphically violent 80s and 90s OVAs), and of course, if I adore the designs in a show, it can do a lot to enhance my viewing experience. This post is about the shows that do this for me.
It is not, however, a post about individual character designs that I like. Indeed, there are a lot of shows that produce a single object of my adoration, or perhaps even a handful, but who do not extend this visual pleasure to the rest of the cast. One thing about the anime being produced today in the name of selling character goods is that most shows try and appeal to a broad range of people. For instance, while I love the designs of Lynette, Sanya, and Hartmann from Strike Witches, I am not as much a fan of the other designs, as they don’t hit into my ‘strike [witches] zone’. Even in a case like Bakemonogatari where I love most of the designs, I am still turned off by enough characters that I cannot truly say that I ‘love the character designs in Bakemonogatari.’ Therefor, I present this as a list of my favorite shows wherein I loved the designs of the entire cast.
You’ve heard it before – no one’s really sure about the origins of St. Valentine’s day, and historians have only found traces of various stories wherein someone named St. Valentine always gets horribly murdered by the end. And your candy hearts are stained red with his blood. This is not a post about the ‘greatest’ anime deaths – that would take forever. Rather, this is a post about five completely senseless, meaningless anime deaths to throw at the feet of your senseless, meaningless, bloody holiday. Lovebirds eat your hearts out… literally. Do it. These are, in fact, ranked by senselessness.
UPDATE Sep 4/09, this review is under revision!
This is another review post. Meaning there will be a non-spoiler review followed by my spoilerific thoughts at the end. Please enjoy. Just as a note, I had no idea there was this epic cross-blog rewatch of this show going on. It’s pretty cool, and just the introductory posts helped me a lot with formulating this review since I was a little unsure of myself at first.
The general theme in Darker Than Black is that everyone is being used. Every single character is being egged along by the characters around them who wish to fulfill their own purposes. They control others as if it were a game – however, it’s when the players start to make themselves a piece in that game that things get interesting. It’s a game of ‘who’s controlling who?’ and an exploration of what it means to be making your own decisions versus letting someone else make them. Through this theme, there is explored the idea of identity, social acceptance, the importance of will-power, and more all wrapped up in a cop-drama/action thriller with fantasy elements. Decent at worst and excellent at best, Darker Than Black has a good amount to offer in terms of entertainment and a little bit to offer for thought if you look for it. Mostly it’s a show to chill out and enjoy when you want something on the darker but fun side.