Today on Crunchyroll, I dug into the unique axis of magical intrigue that guides Magus’ Bride’s most beautiful and chilling moments. The show is extremely good at capturing a specific kind of Old World magic that you don’t often see in anime, and I was happy to explore the eccentricities of its style. I hope you enjoy the piece!
Rusted metal flakes tumble across a desolate plain. In the distance, vast shelfs of sand and stone stand like communal grave markers, the last enduring remnants of a lost civilization. What few creatures endure in this landscape are frayed themselves, joints creaking, eyes red with soot and sand. On the shores of a great sea, unnatural shapes rise like great gears or fossils, either truth telling of vitality long past. And in this strange place, a child’s laughter, echoing through brownish dunes before drifting away on the wind.
Tsubasa Tiger could be seen as the first ending of Monogatari, the moment when one of its central figures finally graduates from their apparition’s pain. Of course, in Monogatari, there’s no “escaping” your troubles. Oshino frames the inevitability of psychic pain, and the ways that pain is linked to our fundamental identities, as “we can only save ourselves.” In her audio drama letter to Black Hanekawa, Hanekawa frames this inevitability a little differently. When we tell the story of our pain, we tell the story of ourselves. Raised in a broken home, Hanekawa has herself become a broken home. She finds herself unusual and condemnable, but her story of familial abuse and emotional abnegation only reflects her profound, undeniable human worth.
Today I return to Tsuredure Children for one more Crunchyroll article, this time diving into its thoughtful take on the messier side of romance. I really enjoyed how even in a fairly farcical comedy, Tsuredure Children still managed to clearly respect the feelings and boundaries of its leads. Kana and Chiaki’s breakup fit cleanly within the show’s general atmosphere while never minimizing the serious nature of their actions. It was an impressively articulated arc, and I’m happy to celebrate it today.
Today on Why It Works, I jumped back to My Hero Academia for a pretty silly concept piece. My Hero Academia’s sturdy tactical foundations both make its action very satisfying and also make it a rewarding show to break down in a narrative sense, and today I spun that quasi-criticism into an after-action report. “Who would win in a fight, Goku or Naruto” is generally not the most illuminating genre of criticism, but My Hero Academia is actually constructed in such a way that it rewards such in-universe tactical discussions. I had fun with this piece, and I hope you enjoy it too!
Today on Why It Works, I took advantage of Crunchyroll’s recent slate of acquisitions to rep a few lesser-known but very beautiful shows. It was nice to return to .hack, even if I was just looking for background images, and scouring through Aria episodes convinced me yet again that I really need to find time for that show. There sure are a lot of terrific anime out there.
Today I conclude my journey through Monogatari’s various art styles, diving into its evolution in the post-Oishi era. This piece bounces between general style shift appreciation and digging into the actual dramatic effect of Monogatari’s various visual choices, and on the whole I’m pretty happy with it. I hope you enjoy the piece!
I wouldn’t call myself a person who likes mystery stories. Locked rooms, remote islands, strange killings with no earthly explanation – all of that stuff strikes me as arbitrary in a way I don’t really want to read. Part of it comes down to the fact that such stories are often liars, or at least not tellers of the whole truth. Sherlock Holmes stories are deceivers – Sherlock Holmes himself is not a detective, but a magician. When Sherlock Holmes pulls out a solution, we are astonished not because he used the same information we had in a more elegant or insightful way, but because his brandishing of new, unheard information was so dazzling that we believed in the trick anyway.
Today on Crunchyroll, I’m embarking on another two-parter, this time cataloging the shifting art design of Monogatari. I’ve collected so many damn images of this series that at this point, it’s fun just to sift through my own personal galleries, picking out the best representations of all of Monogatari’s myriad visual styles. This article only gets through the Oishi Monogatari material, but there’s certainly more than enough to dig into there!
Today on Crunchyroll I looked back on the Hero Killer arc, in an article that’s more or less trying to suss out my own feelings as to why this arc felt more effective in anime than in manga. The added material for the anime was all pretty great, but I also just felt the anime polished the Stain battle in a variety of ways, and it was fun to break those things down. Hope you enjoy the piece!