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So Ra No Wo To
Some of the most gorgeous art this side of Yoshitoshi ABe; characters who’re instantly endearing and have a natural chemistry; an engaging central narrative that pushes it one step farther than shows of its like—Sora no Woto wasn’t only great, but surprising. I loved it from the first episode, but it constantly found new ways for me to love it—for the art and animation, the impressively developed characters, engrossing world, fantastic directing, and consistently interesting episodic plots—tied together by an even-more-interesting dramatic plot. What makes Sora no Woto my favorite anime of 2010 is that there are so many aspects which I adore, and which have kept me rewatching the episodes, finding new things to say or to think about them. It’s a show that nags at the back of my mind, asking me to watch it again and find the next gem of knowledge or interpretation that’ll make me love it even more. This is the kind of show I’ll still be blogging about years down the line, and I love that, because it’s so much fun to blog.
Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 1st
Never has the tale of a girl winning the friendship of her rival looked so god damn good! The Nanoha movie is special not just for being amazing, but for being amazing in replacement of a shitty series, and creating a magnificent springboard into the second season, which it rivals in brilliance (perhaps surpassing it by way of production quality). This film is wildly fun to watch and easily rewatchable, not to mention a perfect excuse to introduce my friends to the wonder of mahou shoujo anime. I love the genre, and Nanoha takes everything that makes it great and writes it for an adult audience without losing any of the magic. The final scene is one of the best emotional climaxes in anime, even if it was already done in the original show. What the original doesn’t have, however, is one of the best aerial dogfights I’ve seen.
Posts I did on this anime: Recommendation
The dialog and seiyuu performances in this series almost transcend anime as I know it. I can’t think of any pair of characters whose interactions are as entertaining as those that Satou Satomi and Toyosaki Aki create in Ritsu and Yui respectively. I single them out for their godliness, but that’s not to mistakenly forget that the other actors and their characters are all superb as well. Kyoto Animation continues to prove that they’re amongst the best production studios in TV anime. No other studio has the sheer attention to detail that they do, nor the general brilliance in directing. K-On is always entertaining, and at times even profoundly emotional. It has an unmistakable stage presence not unlike its own characters, which is no-doubt intentional. Add to that some excellent openings and endings, which are vitally important, because while a weak opening or ending can rarely hurt an anime, a strong one can make it all the more legendary. The only thing holding me at bay with K-On is that not every episode is equally brilliant. There are definitive god-tier episodes, great ones, a slew of average ones, and a couple of rather poor ones. The great outweighs the merely good, though, and rewatches should prove vital to the series’ strength.
Strike Witches 2
I couldn’t have prepared myself for how much awesomeness would come from season 2 of Strike Witches. I enjoyed the first series a lot, even if I never thought of it as something special, so I was expecting the same kind of laid-back enjoyment from this. Instead, I got a show that constantly kicked ass from start to finish and left me begging for more. The only thing that could’ve been better about Strike Witches 2 is that it could’ve been longer. Besides that, every episode had a crowning moment of awesome for one of its characters, and all of those characters etched their names into my heart. From a special attack that rivals the awesomeness of a super robot move to one of the most ingenious action scenes of the year, I was always impressed. Episodes flew by and made me look forward to watching them again, which I’ll be doing sooner rather than later with the uncensored blu-ray rips coming out. This is the best kind of popcorn entertainment, and something I want to show my friends.
Posts I did on this anime: Moments
Pocket-diary, because this post is gonna be short. Part of the Diary of an Anime Lived series.
Being a show about otaku, it’s no surprise that Ore no Imouto is full of relatable moments to any fan. My favorite is the argument in episode 2 between Kirino and Kuroneko over whose favorite anime is better—been there plenty of times. My arguments have usually lead to burnt bridges and unfriendliness, but I also know how people that don’t agree on things can be friends (plenty of people I talk to on Twitter are willing to debate anime in a more friendly manner.) —That’s not what this post is about, though.
The moment from Oreimo that I related to most was when Kirino’s father told her to get rid of her hobby in episode 3 and she ran away, later telling Kyousuke that she’d never change.
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.
(Scroll for actual Ore no Imouto content~)
Yes! The hiatus is over! Rejoice! This was by far the longest I’ve ever been down. Digital Boy’s Anime Blog/Euphoric Field/Fuzakenna!/My Sword Is Unbelievably Dull has been around for nearly four years and suffered three major drags: first in June of 07 when I stopped watching anime for a month; next, two and a half weeks in January 08, which felt like forever; things got a lot more consistent last year when I *almost* reached 365 posts, but the gears rusted until they jammed over the course of 2010.
I simply ran out of things to say. At this point, I’ve exhausted all the broad concepts I can think of. Things that would’ve made a full post in the past can now be condensed into 140 or 280 or 420 characters. My personal life has been completely shoved over to tumblr. Eventually, the well ran dry, so I took up my shovel and dug until I hit oil.
So why the name and site change?
In early 2009, I was faced with graduating high school and having to enter the world. In my naive and desperate mind I thought, “what if I could turn anime blogging into a career?” I also wanted a better page design than what WordPress offered, so I bought hosting and a domain name (very cheaply, I might add.) Eventually, I realized that nothing was marketable about my blog and that my web design sense was shit, and by now, I don’t feel the need to make a statement with my blog anymore. Plus I kept crashing the host server, so I had to hide some posts and shrink my front page.
The first idea to change hosts came when I set up a different blog using wordpress and discovered the Under the Influence theme, which didn’t exist “back in my day.” I thought “fuck, if this theme had existed back then, I never would’ve had to buy hosting!” (Not true, back then I wanted a three-column, elastic layout, but whatever.) Feeling like I was wasting money on a blog that was ugly and hard to maintain, I came back to wordpress.
I wanted to change the name because I do so at every opportunity. If you were reading me when this was Euphoric Field, you might remember how I changed the full name constantly to things like “Euphoric Field ~Suspended Animation Dreams~” and “Euphoric Filed ~ULTRA BEATDOWN~”. (I stopped when I realized it was fucking up my google ranking.) However, Fuzakenna was such a perfect brand that I didn’t want to throw it out.
fuzakenna.wordpress.com was unavailable, though, so I said fuck it, changeroo!
The theme for this change in style is returning to my roots. I want to get back to being a guy who basically talks out loud to himself and is super-happy when someone turns out to be listening. Discovering other blogs changed me irreversibly, which I’m glad for, but over time I’ve stopped reading other blogs and have begun to distill my style to a core that pleases me. I don’t blog for anyone but myself anymore—I do it because I love it. I’m happy if you like my stuff, but I’m not going to try to appeal to you anymore. From now on, I’ll post things that’re more obscure, more ‘who the hell cares kono-otaku!’, and less hipster stuff. That said, I’m totally covering this entire season in a number of ways.
The best title for my new blog, I thought, would be a reference that was very important to me as well as very obscure. I almost used a Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou cross-reference in the form of “Does Alpha Dream of Electric Sheep?”, but besides it being a little too muddy, I haven’t read the book nor the manga, so I’d look like a poser.
After much deliberation, I turned to a different kind of ‘favorite’ of mine: Garzey’s Wing. I love Garzey’s Wing to death, and there’re so many lines from it that’ve become memes among my friends. My favorite part of the OVA is how the main character constantly complains about his shitty weaponry, including the randomly-shouted line, “My Sword Is Unbelievably Dull!” —And there you have it.
Now, since I’ve gone and made the title of this post a reference, and because I’d hate to kick off my new blog with a boring status post, here’s some actual anime blogging!
Meditations on Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai!
The prevailing conversation on Imouto has been about the underlying incestual themes present in the series. This was to be expected, and while it’s disappointingly predictable, I admit there’s not a whole lot else to talk about in the show. That’s why I’m covering my angle on the issue.
For the sake of alleviating confusion in this post, I will refer to my 17 year-old brother as “Zack” (since he’s playing Zack Effron in a school play), and to my 13 year-old brother as Cirno (because he worships Cirno.)
I don’t have a sister, so I can’t claim to understand what real brother-sister relationships are like. Moreover, my sibling relationship isn’t like any that I’ve seen in anime (except maybe FullMetal Alchemist and Binbou Shimai Monogatari, for Zack and Cirno respectively.)
My brothers and I are all ultra-super close. We all know each-others’ business, spend time together every day, and get along very well (although I constantly aggravate Zack because I’m an ass.) I don’t know what it’s like to have siblings that you don’t pay much attention too, don’t know very well, or don’t like, which seems to be how most siblings work.
I do, however, have two very close friends with younger sisters that fall into the same age gap as Kirino and Kyou-chan. The younger friend (17) has a terrible relationship with his little sister. The two of them are hardly on speaking terms, so they’re not a good example for this. However, the older friend (19), AKA No Name, has a younger sister in the 9th grade, and with his family also being Asian, they make for an easier comparison to Imouto (albeit they’re Vietnamese.)
The relationship between Kirino and Kyou-chan matches my outsider’s perspective of No Name and his sister very well. In their case, No Name is the super-god-level otaku and certainly doesn’t need a family member’s council, but pushing away the superficiality of the show’s plot, let’s look at the people that are the characters.
In episode 6 or 7, Kirino screams “you’ve ignored me up until now, and suddenly you start acting like my brother?!” or something to that effect. I thought, “oh, Kirino, you’re brother’s grown so much, and so have you!”
Kids are brats. Teenagers are angsty. Even the more mature teenagers only get level-headed around the 16-year-old range.
Growing up, my brothers never got along. Zack was always jealous and angry at the spoiled little brat who always got his way, and he grew up to be an impressively angry individual (not violent, just angry). Throughout his childhood, Zack treated Cirno like shit—I mean, he resented him to the point of bitterness—and Cirno, being a bratty, spoiled little kid, didn’t make it any easier on himself.
As time went on, Cirno became a big kid (and, having been spoiled, was much brattier than either of his predecessors had been), which inspired even more rage in a now-tween Zack who resented that a creature so bratty could’ve come from his family (I’m kinda dramatizing this).
Now, I was always the super-nice big bro to Cirno, so he grew completely attached to me and slowly learned to give Zack his angsty space. Finally, as Zack began to grow up, he learned about tolerance and recognized his responsibility as an older brother (a huge relief for me who’d been wholly responsible for both of them). It helped that Cirno was now entering double-digits and learned to be a lot more sociable.
There was a period of time where it seemed like Zack was coming into realization that he was, in fact, an older brother, and he attached himself to Cirno and started feeling it was his job to protect him, accompanying him to places and keeping track of what he was up to. It was kinda cute.
It wasn’t long-lived. Soon, Zack finally became social, and now, in his senior year, school consumes his entire existence, so I’m back to being the only one spending time with Cirno; but I’m sure you can still see how this comes back to effect my perception of Kirino and Kyou-chan’s relationship.
Getting back to No Name: he and his sister don’t have the ultra-gay, super-close relationship I have with my brothers, but they do in some way love one-another. I’ve heard them argue a lot over the phone and at home, and it sounds almost exactly like the shouting matches Kirino and Kyou-chan have.
(Aside: I love Kirino’s tongue-sucking sound whenever she’s irritated at Kyou-chan—totally an annoyed-little-sister thing to do.)
While I’ve mostly seen No Name and his sister stay out of one-another’s business, they still do things together and hang out every once in a while. No Name’s mentioned how his sister will just show up in his room and ask to watch some anime or play some video games with him. As he puts it, he doesn’t really get why, and probably no brother does, because, hey, little sisters, what can ya do?
My point in this whole story is that I don’t think Kirino and Kyou-chan’s relationship is incestual in the slightest, even if it implicates such for laughs because of the plot backdrop. Kirino’s discovering love for her brother is just that—love for her brother—sibling love that the two of them are only now mature enough to have together.
The fact is, siblinghood is full of ultra-gay moments. (Mine probably more than most, what with Cirno constantly fucking hugging me.) Siblings occassionally do things together out of boredom or loneliness that maybe they wouldn’t have thought they’d do with their sibling. I loved the scene in episode 7 where Kirino drags Kyou-chan to a love hotel, because I could completely see something like that happening.
Brother+sister doesn’t work quite the same as other sibling relationships—close sisters might do something like practice kissing together—close brothers might look at porn together (ah, youth)—a close brother and sister aren’t likely to get so embarassingly intimate, but really, who better to trust your visit to a love hotel with? A hell of a lot better than if she went with someone outside the family, right?
Siblings exist for stuff like this! Helping each-other out with things that we couldn’t possibly ask anyone else for! We torment each-other one minute, and the next, we’re asking for the most embarrassing help in the universe!
As a theater student, my brother knows how to apply makeup, and as much as I know my mom would love to do it, if I ever needed to know how, I’d come to him. Ultra-gay, but less embarrassing than my mom doing it!
So, uh… yeah. WELCOME BACK, DIGIBOY!
BONUS: If you haven’t seen this yet, you truly owe it to yourself.
Well, this is embarassing! I’m supposed to be on hiatus until December 3rd, but Ore no Imouto 8 warrants a post from me, and besides there being no point in waiting, I’ve got no room in my December schedule, so here’s a My Sword is Unbelievably Dull appetizer!