Initially daily but now sporadic blog about anime and world animation with a specific focus on the artists behind the work. Written by Ben Ettinger.
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Saturday, August 24, 2013

11:57:00 am , 373 words, 30888 views     Categories: Site News, Misc

I'm back

Hello world. Remember me?

I have to begin with an apology to everyone out there for dropping off the face of the planet for a year. I didn't explain myself because I actually expected to begin blogging again at any minute. It's just that, with other matters intervening, it kept not happening.

To be honest, it was nice taking a break. After 8 years straight of anime watching and blogging, I was feeling burned out on animation generally, and wanted a break. Most of all, I was tired of my own voice. I felt like I was repeating myself, and had little more insight to offer, and the community was mature enough that I was now superfluous. Does anybody even blog anymore? Blogging was the new thing when I started in 2004, but now it seems so old school.

Long story short, I miss writing here, so I'm going to rev things up here again. It might take me a while to get back into the swing of things, so bear with me. I'm not sure I'm any more enchanted with the current state of anime, but I'm sure there are still lots of nice pieces of animation being made here and there (you guys in the sakuga community are amazing at covering that stuff now), and interesting projects seeping through the cracks (I'm looking forward to blogging Space Dandy), and there's still lots in the back-catalog I want to explore or re-visit.

I haven't been paying any attention to anime news, so I have a question for everyone: What have I missed over the last year?

The only thing I've been watching has been Manga Nihon Mukashibanashi, because there are always more episodes I haven't watched, and it's the best TV anime ever. And re-watching Hajime Ningen Gyatorus from the beginning again, because it's just awesome and never gets old. I know there are a number of notable movies I have yet to check out, top of the list being Hisashi Mori's Rainbow Fireflies.

I am, of course, aware of Kick Heart, and intend to get to that soon.

Oh, and I wrote a little piece on Pop Chaser for Colony Drop fanzine #2. It's terrible compared to the other fine articles in the issue.

Permalink

30 comments

m-O
m-O [Visitor]

Welcome back Ben! Looking forward to your new posts!

08/24/13 @ 13:12
kraker2k
kraker2k [Member]

Wow hi there! Nice to see you back!
If I am honest, when it comes to talking about Japanese animation, I’m always reassured to hear your voice on the matter.

As for missed animation, there’s some of the works Bahi has been working on, though you’re probably aware of those via the thread in the forum. There’s the Anime Mirai projects to look out for, particularly LWA and Death Billiards.

Masashi Ishihama’s directorial debut, ‘From the New World’ was interesting. Umetsu’s got some directorial work in the line which looks neat from the previews (something Barristers).

There was the disappointing ecchi show, Photo Kano, directed by Akitoshi Yokoyama, who brought along Yuasa for a small part. Some decent camera work but given the source material it was just really horrible to sit down and watch.

‘The Eccentric Family’ has an interesting art style. Toshiyuki Inoue even popped in for a single episode as the AD.

Trigger/Imaishi’s Kill La Kill seems to be gathering a lot of talented people from over the industry. Ryo-timo’s Yozakura Quartet series also has some potential behind it.

There was the short OVA ‘Ippatsu Hicchū!! Devander’ that gathered various 80s Kanada style animators like Masahito Yamashita, Shin Matsuo, Obari and some of the younger ones like Jun Arai and Kameda among others. Aside from a few cuts here and there it wasn’t all that impressive. For 30 mins I guess its worth checking out.

That’s all I can think of for now haha.

08/24/13 @ 13:41
neshru
neshru [Member]

oh shit, Ben’s back. Best surprise of the month.

I’ve missed you man =)

08/24/13 @ 13:58
shergal
shergal [Member]

Good to see you back, looking forward to your blogging Space Dandy.

As for stuff, I don’t know if you’d like it but the recent Blue Exorcist film features art direction by Shinji Kimura and backgrounds by 4ºC. They’re quite breathtaking, and the film works too- nothing amazing, but the script is tight and the directing is skillful (by one of the assistant directors of Spirited Away, Atsushi Takahashi).
The animation is just competent, but there are some nice bits presumably by Takaaki Wada, Keisuke Watabe and some others.

I’m not sure if you know about it because it’s a film, but an under-the-radar franchise film. I don’t think it’s something you MUST go out of your way to see, but if you have the time it’s pretty cool.

08/24/13 @ 15:37
JacobYBM
JacobYBM [Visitor]

Welcome back Ben, I keep checking the main page every day to see if you have returned.

While sifting through some of your older works I noticed Studio Pierrot’s Yamashita Hiroyuki caught your eye. On that note I figured you might want to check out Naruto Shippuuden #322. Yamashita made his debut as episode director for that episode and brought along Kouda Masayuki and Fujisawa Ken’ichi for some incredible key animation. Kouda did a wild forty-three second sequence I think you’ll love.

Speaking of which there was also Naruto Shippuuden #290-295, five consecutive episodes written and directed by Tsuru Toshiyuki with movie-quality visuals. Fujisawa provided a big six minute battle scene at the beginning of episode #293, too!

Anyway, I can’t wait to see you return to regular posts again. I’ve been meaning to read your posts for Lupin III: Mine Fujiko but have been waiting to watch the series myself, first. Oh well!

08/24/13 @ 19:25
Ben [Member]  

m-O:

Thanks. :)

Kraker2k:

Excellent! Nice overview. Just what I was looking for. Thanks so much.

Somewhat disappointing to hear about Yokoyama squandering his talent like that, but I guess he has the right to direct whatever he wants. I just hope he gets back to doing more exciting fare soon.

I will definitely give Eccentric Family a glimpse. PA Works seems to have its heart in the right place, even if they’re not terribly adventurous.

Devander sounds very fun, will check it out. I miss one-shot OVAs like that.

neshru:

Thanks man! Good to see you’re still around. Nice seeing so many familiar faces again. :)

shergal:

Thanks for mentioning Blue Exorcist. It’s something I would not have sought out without your recommendation, but I definitely want to check it out based on what you say. In particular, I enjoyed Atsushi Takahashi’s work on Kemonozume, and hoped to see him do more like it, so I’d like to see what he does with the film. Based on what little I’ve seen of his work, he’s a talented director with a flair for atmospheric directing.

JacobYBM:

Thank you so much for the Naruto update! I was hoping someone would clue me in on what good bits have transpired in Naruto since a year ago. 322 sounds amazing. I particularly relish what Kouda was doing before, and I assume he’s only gotten better now. 5 episodes in a row by Tsuru? Yes, please!

08/25/13 @ 01:31
kraker2k
kraker2k [Member]

Ah yeah, the Tsuru episodes JacobYBM mentions are really quite good. I recall one of the guys on Twitter saying there was speculation those episodes were actually meant to be a movie, but issues meant it got relegated to being TV episodes. The home DVD/BD release has it all together with a bit more footage and a couple of fixes.

I’m sure some of the other guys can clue you in on One Piece, HxH and some of the other battle anime. There have been some highlight moments over the past 12 months.

D’oh, I forgot the one anime that caused intense controversy this year and that was Flowers of Evil! An entire show based around rotoscoping live-action footage.
I saw a lot of discussion coming from both western anime fans as well as many animators on Twitter chiming in their thoughts on using rotoscoping.
It’s something you may enjoy reading up on.

Oh and sadly Ryutaro Nakamura died a few weeks ago. http://www.mangauk.com/?p=ryutaro-nakamura-1955-2013

08/25/13 @ 04:13
Jevanni
Jevanni [Visitor]

Nice to see you again, can’t wait to read your post about Kick-Heart. Didn’t you backed the project ?

08/25/13 @ 04:39
Muffin
Muffin [Visitor]

Welcome back Ben, it’s nice to hear you’re doing alright. I think some of us were slightly worried at your sudden and long absence.

Though I can certainly understand the difficulty of keeping up the enthusiasm to write about the latest five seconds of great explosions on any random anime show. The work of good animators these days also seems(for good or worse) to be more buried in the texture of the overall project than it did in the 80’s/90’s.(except, I suppose for those instances when it stands out in a much more self-conscious way)

Though I certainly appreciate that there are people willing to write about that stuff. But I would most of all just like to see a nice *series* or *film*.

One of my favourite anime from the past year was Studio Trigger’s “Little Witch Academia” short. Which, despite a vaguely generic-sounding premise was really the most consistently exciting and engaging application of the Gain*x(?) style since FLCL.

The other thing I really loved was Naoko Yamada’s “Tamako Market". Which is probably the best thing from Kyoto Animation so far. Not just technically, but as a genuinely beautiful, creative and witty anime series with broad appeal.
Also recently discovered this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YU5O1fgjb1A

08/25/13 @ 06:30
JacobYBM
JacobYBM [Member]  

I should note I goofed, Naruto Shippuuden #290-295 is actually SIX episodes. :p

Also, Shingeki no Kyo-jin: attack on titan has been a big talk in the fandom as of late. Definitely worth checking out. Imai Arifumi’s cuts are incredible.

08/25/13 @ 08:59
hosanna
hosanna [Member]

Welcome back! I may not always agree with your tastes, but I greatly respect your thoughtfulness and incredible knowledge when it comes to anime and enjoy reading your writing. I sincerely hope you can manage to rekindle your interest in animation.

I may as well throw in my thoughts on recent and upcoming highlights. The best animated works I’ve seen over the past year are Little Witch Academia and One Piece Film Z, both of which are a tour-de-force of technical accomplishment. I’m not a big fan of them as complete works, but I’m sure you’ll love them. Moving on to other films and specials, there’s Mamoru Hosoda’s Wolf Children, a breathtakingly moving meditation on motherhood with joyous animation and music - Toshiyuki Inoue’s sledding scene is alone worth the price of admission. I join in the recommendation of the Blue Exorcist film, which I consider a must-see simply for Shinji Kimura’s art direction, which has to be among the best art direction in anime I’ve ever seen. It helps that the rest of the film is so strong as well. I’d also recommend Rie Matsumoto’s Kyousogiga shorts from 2012, which expand on the original 2011 concept in fascinating ways and features creative direction and animation. Kyousogiga is getting expanded into a TV series this October with the same staff, which I’m greatly looking forward to.

As for TV series which have caught my attention, there’s first of all Hyouka, the pinnacle of KyoAni’s productions in both the excellence of its visuals and the strength of its storytelling and characterization. Yasuhiro Takemoto proves himself the most mature director at the studio. It’s worth watching for the school festival arc alone, an incredibly lively depiction of a great variety of events that puts any other school festival in anime to shame. Not as great but still good is Code:Breaker, a fun throwback cheesy action show featuring good effects animation with copious Yasunori Miyazawa work. I haven’t watched much of From the New World, but I understand that it’s an interesting, if very inconsistent series.

Flowers of Evil got a lot of negative reaction due to its rotoscoping, and while the process used has its flaws for me the show was very successful, mostly due to the meticulous direction of Hiroshi Nagahama, and the atmospheric art and animation. I don’t know if you’d like it, as animation focused as you are, but it’s something to keep in mind. Eccentric Family is worth watching, and can certainly be described as adventurous, both in its visuals - arresting layouts, striking art direction, the general liveliness of the animation - and its content, taken from a novel by the author of Tatami Galaxy. It’s very unlike anything else P.A. Works has produced, so much so that the most common reaction to it I’ve seen is “I can’t believe this is a P.A. Works show.” After the underwhelming Ninninman, Masayuki Yoshihara has outdone himself, storyboarding most episodes himself with flair. Finally, there’s the new Rozen Maiden, which firmly marks Shinichi Omata (or Mamoru Hatakeyama, the pen name he uses as series director) as the most exciting directing talent to emerge while I’ve been actively following current anime (which, admittedly, is only since 2011). He wasn’t able to fully deliver on his potential in Sankarea, but he’s matured a lot in the year since. There’s a power and confidence in his oversight and storyboarding that you rarely see.

As for upcoming anime, by far the most exciting is Takahata’s Kaguya-hime. Takahata and Kenichi Konishi have taken the outlines of the style they used on My Neighbors the Yamadas and further enriched it, drawing on traditional Japanese art for something that looks to be extremely memorable. His colleague Miyazaki’s Kaze Tachinu recently released in Japan, and despite the baffling decision to cast Hideaki Anno as the lead character looks to be worthwhile. If you look up the trailer you can see that the animation has the polish you’d expect from Ghibli, with the scenes of the Great Kanto Earthquake being especially impressive. Also looking good is Takayuki Hirao’s Majocco Shimai no Yoyo to Nene, which looks to be a lush, light-hearted, well-animated family film.

Then you’ve got interesting looking shows like the aforementioned Kyousogiga TV, Imaishi’s Kill la Kill, Umetsu’s two original series Galilei Donna and Wizard Barristers, Ryo-chimo’s Yozakura Quartet TV, Takahiro Omori’s Samurai Flamenco, the web-gen led Robot Girls Z, etc. And you know about Space Dandy.

I’ve gone on for a while, but I hope this helps!

08/25/13 @ 09:30
tim_drage [Member]

Welcome back! ^__^ Look forward to reading the new posts.

08/25/13 @ 09:53
overbite
overbite [Visitor]

Welcome back! It’s always a pleasure for me to read your articles.
I’m looking forward to your “Rainbow Fireflies” review.
I couldn’t find any interesting and detailed reviews about the film yet.
Ohira and Hashimoto animated very interesting parts, specially Hashimoto’s part had a very special animation technique.

08/25/13 @ 12:19
fe2cruz
fe2cruz [Member]

Yami Shibai is a cheaper punk version of Mukashibanashi. Ookami Kodomo no Ame was better than Kotonoha no Niwa, with Sakasama no Patema feeling like a mix of the prior & Jin-Roh. Uchouten Kazoku, Saint Onii-san & Genshiken are all adorable, but nothing’s been as interesting and engaging as Aku no Hana while you’ve been away; not even Kick Heart. The Flowers of Evil music is still in heavy rotation for me.

It’d be great to read about any insight you have around the talent behind all the latest Mukashibanashi installments.

08/25/13 @ 12:56
Ben [Member]  

Kraker2k:

Ah yes, some people had mentioned Flowers of Evil in the forum and I was intrigued. I am a fan of Hiroshi Nagahama, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt and give it a shot. He’s one of the best directors out there at adapting manga in a way suited to the material.

Jevanni:

Thanks, I’ll try to get to that soon. Yep, I backed it. It would have felt wrong not to back it.

Muffin:

So great to hear from you again. Glad to know you’re still around. Sorry if I worried you guys. I have this bad, irresponsible compulsion that grips me occasionally to want to drop everything and leave, and for once I acted on it.

You’re right that I don’t have it in me any more to obsessively chase all the latest episodes to pick out the choice tidbits. Luckily, there are many fine folks in the sakuga community who are doing that for me, so I don’t need to. And now it’s not just talk like it was before - watch episode x at minute x - you get to see the animation in gif clips or MADs without even needing to seek out the episodes anymore. Quite different times we live in from when I started out.

Little Witch Academia I watched already a while back, actually. I guess it was one of the few things I couldn’t resist watching because everyone was talking about it, and, well, it’s Yoshinari. I had to see that. Most impressive technically, there is no denying that. But the story and tone didn’t do much for me. I would have liked something a little edgier and darker and not so conventionally cutesy and whimsical. Tweeny Witches comes to mind as the sort of thing I would have preferred.

jacobybm:

I kept hearing about Shingeki no Kyojin, so I guess I will have a look at it. Imai Arifumi is a new name to me.

Hosanna:

Thank you for that incredibly thorough overview, and for the kind words. It’s an honor to know that I can offer something to even people who don’t entirely agree with me about everything. We can’t all agree about everything.

I will gladly check out One Piece Film Z, as the animation level of the previous films had already begun to attain impressive heights, and it sounds like the TV show has continued to foster a lot more in-house talent than before.

I am looking forward to seeing Hosoda’s Wolf Children film. I’m incredibly late on that one. I didn’t like the preview when I saw it way back when, so I’m hoping I will like the film better. Great to hear there’s a good Toshiyuki Inoue scene in there.

Shinji Kimura is a real genius, I can’t wait to see his work in the film, even if I know not to expect the same level of explosive creativity as he displayed in Tekkonkinkreet.

I didn’t know there was more Kyosogiga, I will check that out. Definitely one of the more creative and original visions I saw in anime in recent years, albeit still fitting within the basic conventions.

I will have to watch Code:Breaker even if just to see Miyazawa’s animation. I’m amazed that he continues to be given venues like this to produce such volume of animation in his own highly individualistic, abstract style on shows that are otherwise not particularly experimental.

I suspect that Hiroshi Nagahama will know how to make the rotoscoping serve the material, so as long as the visuals make sense to tell the story, then I have nothing against using rotoscoping. Waltz With Bashir is one of the best animated movies ever made as far as I’m concerned.

Oh, so Eccentric Family is Yoshihara Masayuki. I know he’s an incredibly talented storyboarder/director, I guess it’s just that, like Akitoshi Yokoyama, the projects he winds up having to do to get by don’t always provide him with the opportunity to show those skills off. I’m looking forward to seeing it even more knowing he’s behind it. It’s nice to see P.A. Works trying to do something a little more creative and unusual for once.

I’m excited to know Takahata’s long-talked-about Kaguya Hime is finally in production. It must have been almost a decade ago that the rumors first surfaced, or so it feels. I saw the trailer for Kaze Tachinu. It’s impressively restrained. Miyazaki is deliberately going in the opposite direction of Ponyo. I’m eager to see what he will do with purely realistic material for once. (or is it?)

Wow, there are quite a few other upcoming shows worth keeping an eye out for. Thanks for pointing them all out! Kill la Kill will no doubt be the next big thing.

Tim Drage:

Thanks, Tim. :)

overbite:

Thank you! I have really been looking for this for a few years now, so I’d have to say of all the big movies that came out recently this is the one I’m most looking forward to, even though I don’t have high expectations about the story.

christiaan:

Another upvote for Flowers of Evil then, I will definitely put that one near the top of the to-check-out list, which is already getting ridiculously long I must say. I thought there wouldn’t be much to check out, but it turns out there is quite a bit.

You’re quite prescient, my next post is about a Mukashibanashi episode.

You guys are great. Thank you all for the info. This is exactly what I was looking for.

08/25/13 @ 17:29
Galap
Galap [Visitor]

For me, the standout from the last year would definitely be From The New World, which for me at least joins the ranks of my individual few works of art ever, in any medium. It was truly standout in both in a narrative sense and a visual sense. It’s the kind of anime where you only see this level of quality once every decade or so.

The most interesting things from an animation perspective were segments and episodes that were radical departures from the show’s usual aesthetic that showed off the style and vision of an individual artist.

08/25/13 @ 19:36
shergal
shergal [Member]

I’d especially recommend episode 19 of From the New World. It’s some of the most convincing suspense I’ve ever seen in anime and I think it can stand more or less well as a self-contained entity.
It’s worth checking out for Ishihama’s ultra-precise storyboard and the fairly interesting animation.

Oh, and you probably saw it at its time but the first ED by Shingo Yamashita IMO ranks among his best efforts. There’s an NC version now:
http://vimeo.com/64037918

08/26/13 @ 02:19
neshru
neshru [Member]

Speaking of From The New World, you should absolutely check out the first ending (you can find it on episode 2) done by Shingo Yamashita.
Other Shingo Yamashita openings/endings worth checking out are Naruto Shippuden ending #20 (on episode 248) and Naruto Shippuden opening #13 (on episode 322).

08/26/13 @ 05:55
melchizedek
melchizedek [Visitor]

Welcome back!
I’m a green-eyed monster over Kick Heart. Missed my chance (due to a rather stupid issue between my credit card company and Amazon; now resolved, TG). But I’m unable to be cross for long, when I hear it being talked about in various circles. Makes me happy for everyone involved. Ah, well!
I think everybody here’s covered all the good stuff… oh! There’s Short Peace. I’m excited to see other people working on Otomo’s material again. Seriously, Morimoto and Otomo again? Woo! That it’s another anthology doesn’t hurt, either. 5 shorts and some, uh, game tie-in according to the website.

08/26/13 @ 18:07
Cameron Koller
Cameron Koller [Visitor]

Be warned with Shingeki no Kyojin. It’s somewhat of this generation’s SDF Macross, as in the animation quality wavers between outstanding and dreadful. Poor planning on WIT’s part, though it’s not as bad as it could be thanks to some solid art direction and a great thick-thin inking style. Generally, the better animation is shrewdly spared for the large scale battle sequences, which Imai is involved with most of the time. Ryutarou Makihara also pops in there for a few episodes.

Besides all that, I think this show’s popularity is sustained through its production problems by its gripping narrative and Tetsuro Araki’s bombastic direction, which I’ve found in the past to sometimes lapse into camp but works well here.

Movie wise, there’s Okiura’s lovely Letter to Momo, which I had certain problems with on a narrative level but has enough great work in it to be an overall success. Rainbow Fireflies is spectacular and even devastating when it trusts its animators to get its emotions across more than its sometimes manipulative tricks, some of the best animated acting since Tokyo Godfathers. Shinkai’s Garden of Words has some of the masterfully applied digital animation I’ve seen in anime, and I’d recommend that.

Also would like to throw in a mention for the upcoming 2 Queens, a French-Japanese co-production that features Toshiyuki Inoue on AD duty with some help from Takeshi Honda. Bahi JD is involved as well. It looks like nothing I’ve ever seen, arguably the best use of realism in an animated film of that scale I can think of. You can see the leaked trailer here:

http://vimeo.com/72091569

08/27/13 @ 14:23
h_park
h_park [Member]

Welcome back, Ben!
You deserved a break.

Despite your absence, I’m glad that BBS didn’t veer to off to some weird direction. New people are courteous and stayed relevant to the subject matter. (Sigh of relief)

Even if you can’t offer much, it’s your thoughts that matters. I fell love with your blog because it’s not about matching artists with certain scene, but about the impression that you get from the art.

Anyway, the blog is getting some spams though…

08/27/13 @ 19:37
Ben [Member]  

Galap:

That is high praise indeed. I am very curious now to know what all the fuss is about.

shergal:

I’m very curious to see this episode, it sounds really cool. But I’ll be trying to watch the show from the beginning to truly apprecaite it, so if that works out and I am enjoying the show, then I’ll have to wait until I get to 19.

That is a very nice ending. I like the subdued visual scheme. Yamashita is as good as ever.

neshru:

Thanks for the tips, I’ll check those out asap!

melchizedek:

Thank you! Glad to be back. That’s unfortunate to hear, but at least you tried. Hopefully you will have another opportunity to fund a worthwhile anime project. Ah yes, Short Peace! I knew about that one. I saw the preview, but it all seems a bit too CG-ish to me. Is that the point? Hmm. Regardless, I am still looking forward to that, particularly for the piece de resistance, Hidekazu Ohara’s short. Didn’t realize Morimoto was involved. That’s great. It is definitely lovely to know we’ll be seeing more Otomo. (I hope it’s better than Freedom)

Cameron Koller:

Thank you for the warning. If the story engages me, I am willing to overlook uneven production. Many of my favorite shows fall into this category. Even Haibane Renmai had a lot of shoddy animation between the good episodes. Knowing Ryotaro Makihara is in there makes me excited to check it out. I’ve missed seeing more work from him.

Your comments make me even more excited to see Rainbow Fireflies. I wasn’t planning on checking Shinkai’s Garden of Words, but perhaps I should give it a chance. I’ve never given his later work a chance since being turned off by his early work.

2 Queens I know about since it involves Bahi. It looks to be quite remarkable both in terms of animation and story, like a more historical and realistic Run, Melos! I’m very proud of Bahi’s work on the film and eager to see the results.

h park:

Thanks, H Park! Great to hear from you again. Sorry for going silent like that without any notice. And thanks for keeping an eye on things and helping keep the forum and comments section alive while I was away.

And thanks for the continued support… My blog has evolved over the years as I follow my blogging instinct, and hopefully it’s been in a direction readers continue to find worth reading.

Luckily there wasn’t much spam while I was away. At least it waited until I returned so I can delete it right away.

08/27/13 @ 20:20
Neil
Neil [Visitor]

Good to see you writing again! I’ve gotten a bit out of my burnt out phase too and am somewhat watching again. I’ll second the recommendation of Aku no Hana, without spoiling anything the ending of episode 7 is the best thing I’ve seen in anime in years.

Takahata’s film also looks exciting as does Miyazaki’s newest one which is taking a bit of a departure for him by takling a more realistic more somber subject. Takahata’s film still looks more exciting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIZsqo2Msu4

and

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/08/21/new-images-from-studio-ghiblis-kaguya-hime-no-monogatari/

08/29/13 @ 13:17
pete
pete [Member]

Weird. I had this night a dream that I met old acquaintances from my student days.

Thought of checking Anipages, which I havent done for a few months and suddenly I read “I am back!".

Glad to see you back and also kudos to the guys who kept posting here and in the forum to keep the discussion alive.

I too didnt bother with anime that much but decided to catch on with some of the new series.

Some were good, Flowers of Evil being the most noteworthy among them.

Since the site is also animation related,
you might also check Rooster Teeth’s RWBY. It has an anime style and looks interesting.

08/30/13 @ 01:59
Ben [Member]  

Neil:

Thanks, good to hear from you. I will check out Aku no Hana as soon as I can. It seems to be one of the more daring projects from the last year.

I’m quite happy to finally get to see another Takahata film, and with Osamu Tanabe heading the animation again to boot.

Pete:

Wow, that’s quite a story! Indeed, it feels like meeting an old friend hearing from you again after such a long time. Nice to see you still around. Thanks for the additional recommendation of Flowers of Evil.

09/02/13 @ 17:47
Muffin
Muffin [Visitor]

Might as well add my recommendation of Flowers of Evil. I haven’t watched all of it but it actually feels very well-conceived. I don’t know if it’s stylistically original as much as it simply feels like a imaginative director employing tools that step for step, bring his story alive in a compelling manner. I like how well the roto is Integrated into the visual language of “anime” for emotional impact as well as actually being aesthetically stylish and pleasing(as opposed to just distractingly off-kilter and ugly).

The other talked-about show of the season seems to be Tetsuro Araki’s Shingeki No Kyojin. A show that I’m considerably less enthusiastic about.
Well what can I say…wouldn’t claim the show has nothing going for it, and in principle there’s nothing wrong with intense, visually-oriented direction. But from the (admittedly)few episodes I watched it’s really pretty typical Araki in your face with high-intensity but generic and bludgeoning use of stock cinematic/design tools resulting in a rather one-note adtmosphere.
It basically feels like a more solemn Highschool of the Dead(a show that also outstayed it’s welcome, as well as utilizing Masayoshi Tanaka at his most generic).

I wouldn’t say it’s unwatchable, and maybe the story is pretty good. But I’m kind of wary of all the bludgeoning (and seemingly interminable)bickering and anguish and horror.
I think I’ll go re-watch some K-ON! while Araki continues to educate the public on the horrors of Zombie and Titan apocalypses.

09/04/13 @ 05:39
aaron_long
aaron_long [Member]

I’m delighted to see that you’re back on the blog, Ben! Your absence has definitely left a gap in anime writing, and I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts on a lot of recent and upcoming shows.

09/05/13 @ 22:39
Ben [Member]  

Muffin:

I know what you mean. The overwrought directing of Highschool of the Dead was a bit too much for me, so I think I can see what Shingeki no Kyojin might be like. I doubt I’d be able to watch the whole thing, but I’ll have a look at it just in case.

Aaron:

Thanks, Aaron! I appreciate hearing from you.

09/08/13 @ 22:58
Noah
Noah [Visitor]

Ben’s back! Thanks for the posts. Can’t wait to read everything. I’ve got some catching up to do.

09/10/13 @ 11:42
Muffin
Muffin [Visitor]

OK, I’ll be fair to Araki. I actually did watch all of Highschool of the Dead and thought it did a good enough job keeping up movement and being engaging. Even if I feel it might have been a more convincing “film” if they’d wrapped it up in about half the episodes.(the show just STOPS anyway once they reach the end of the one-season tv episode count)

And it’s a show that is just too easy to make cheap shots at.

Maybe the reason I brought it up was that for the decidedly more somber or serious-minded narrative of SnK, it’s really the same blunt tools and pile-it-on tactics that in this case seem to sour the experience in a more notable way.

09/14/13 @ 10:38