Monday, April 21, 2014

Bakemonoallegory: A Premise for the Thematic Work Occurring in the Monogatari Franchise


Or, Has it Really Been 2 Years Since My Last and Only Other Post

Shh It's Just You and What's That About a Lain Article? Hah No That's Not Me Yo 


     
          Getting started is the hardest part of writing. But there, it's done.
          Because I'm self-conscious, or maybe because I'm highly introspective – is there a difference between those two things? - I find the need to justify, or rather contextualize, everything I talk about. It should be clear by now that the topic at hand is Bakemonogatari, a Shaft production from the 2009 Summer season that aired beside the third installation in the Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei franchise. I'll say now that I can write forever about this franchise, it's what motivated me into putting something down on paper, as usually this stuff just happens in conversation. This all being said, I have a long series of articles on the series planned, so I'm here to talk a little (a lot) about what work Bakemonogatari is doing.
          For the uninitiated, Bakemonogatari is a juicy little project, an anime adaptation by the singularly established Shaft, at the hands of its lead creative force Akiyuki Shinbou working again with character designer Akio Watanabe (Uchuu Senkan Yamamoto Yohko, Soul Taker, The World God Only Knows). The original is the first two part installment of the Monogatari Series by Nisioisin, known also for his work on Medaka Box and Katanagatari. I may not need to tell you this, but it's pretty great.
I love Shinbou, isn't he dreamy~
          It's not my intention to be a reviewer, but considering the topic here is slightly more general, I feel it wouldn't be amiss to give you a little on that end. Bakemonogatari really has the full suite, excelling with a variedly quirky and emotive score, paired with a frenetic, humorous, and never-boring visual style. This franchise moreso maybe than his other work showcases Shinbou's eccentricity and hyper-active timing, while also showcasing and sometimes introducing signature shots. His use of silhouette, abnormal framing, as well as his wonderful sense of balance and usage of lighting give us one impeccable frame after another. Just take a screen shot at any moment in the show. Make it a desktop background. Print it and put it on your wall. You'll never regret it. 
          Even then, as a story Bakemonogatari is pretty unique. It's one of the few modern fantasies that feel less like a shoe-horning of fantasy concepts into a modern world and

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Unspoken, Understood, Unrequited: Polite Rejection in Acchi Kocchi

Or, Making  Acchi Kocchi Fans Mad



The appropriately named Acchi Kocchi makes a simple offer to its viewership: easy-going, conversational humor spiced with a healthy dose of slap-stick, not unlike the many shows of this nature that have come before it. Despite the similarity of its content to other such laid-back comedies, Acchi Kocchi provides an extra element that, while seen elsewhere, may not been seen in such a specific manner; that is, the romantic entanglements of the cast. Most often this is found in a blossoming relationship between a shy, straight-man male lead and his various archetypal female companions, an element played for laughs as the male lead flounders about, put off-balance by his situation and his suitors react with certain levels of indignation at each other’s perceived advances according to their temperament. Ultimately, the truly dramatic developments of these relationships are isolated in single episodes towards the back-half of the series, or a scene or two throughout its run.
            This is where Acchi Kocchi stands apart. It is most apparent in that the aforementioned straight-man male lead is really put in a supporting position to his primary suitor, and that this suitor is really the primary focus of the show. In dramatic elements we are provided her introspection rather than that the male, and more often than not she is the focus of dramatic turns of events as well as the shots in which they occur. This is due primarily to the fact that the entirety of the cast considers the figurative ‘deal’ between the two ‘sealed.’ So rather than seeing a span of events where the girls make comedic attempts to win the male lead, we see the cast make comedic attempts to have the female lead win the object of her affections.
            Beyond that, Acchi Kocchi finds its dissimilarity from its genre in its structural differences. As denoted by its name – literally, ‘here and there’ – each episode is split down the middle between two different, unrelated skits depicting the cast at their daily routines, be it lunch time conversations or after school activities. While this ‘sketch comedy’ structure is nothing new alone, it is how the romantic elements of the story are interspersed throughout these skits that differentiates the show from other, primarily comedic plots. Romance between the romancers is often the source of the humor in each segment, and these segments themselves become sources of romantic development further cemented in primarily developmental scenes that frame the episodes.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Hey There.

You.

Don't Leave Yet.


Chances are, if you ended up here you meant to be elsewhere. That being said, if you stick around and humor me there are a few things I can offer you: anime and analysis. You might be inclined to call it over-analysis, but that’s a subject for another time. As this is my first attempt at writing something of this nature, I’ll take a minute to make my agenda explicit: entertainment. Mostly mine, and I can’t promise you’ll enjoy it, as I’m not that entertaining. However, it may be that what entertains me could be somehow insightful or informative on the subject in question for you - and I do hope the wording of that phrase softens my arrogant tone. This could be in one of two ways. As someone who considers himself slightly more than a layman on the subject of critical analysis, maybe I have a thing or two to bring to the table on the matter at hand that the average gentleman anonymous does not. Furthermore it may be that my asinine theories could be just asinine enough to not have crossed your mind before, and in that perhaps you could be lent a new perspective. Or a few laughs. Or not.

This all being said, you can look forward to my ranting, raving analyses and crack pot theories on shows old and new from all different genres. Expect Neon Genesis one day and Nichijou another, who knows. But however unadvised it may be, I'll bring the same scrutiny to bear on it!

However, if you should bother to follow up on this any time in the future, don't expect any sort of schedule to develop, or consistency in topic. Namely, you can expect my opinion, however unwanted. Also, influential men who were tragically assassinated.

But just this once.