Today on Crunchyroll, I broke down the various ways Juni Taisen makes its visions of war tangibly horrific. War stories always have to manage a difficult balance of portraying violence without glorifying it, and Juni Taisen feels more dedicated than most such stories to emphasizing that war is brutish and inhumane, and that its violence is often less awe-inspiring than mercilessly sudden and utterly final. I hope you enjoy the piece!
This week’s Crunchyroll article focuses on something I briefly alluded to in a Week in Review a few weeks ago: the way romantic comedies are essentially built out of a series of inherent misunderstandings, or gaps in understanding, that are then consumed one by one in order to both create drama and keep the audience invested. I feel it’s an interesting way of framing narratives that really highlights the distinction between natural and artificial drama. I hope you enjoy the piece!
For this week’s Crunchyroll article, I embraced the silliness of character listicles and made a very ridiculous Juni Taisen article. I’m actually pretty happy with my breakdowns of all the character psychologies here, but I can’t say I’d rely on my findings for any personality horoscoping. But hey, if you like Rabbit and also murdering, I guess follow your bliss.
Today on Crunchyroll, I’ve got a piece focused on how well March articulates the difficulty of actually reaching out for help when you find yourself in a bad place. The topic is just a small element of March’s much larger dramatic aspirations, but it’s a tough issue that I deeply relate to, and I was happy to celebrate how March handles it. The show has been low-key excellent for forever, and it’s always nice to find another reason to promote it for a wider audience.
Today I conclude my journey through Juni Taisen’s early episodes, talking about how well the show executed on Chicken’s story and also how episode four set up a variety of dramatic tentpoles for the show to come. This is pretty much as far as you can go with an article series like this – as episode six has gleefully demonstrated, we are now in the part of the narrative where all bets are off, and characters will be dying quickly in order to make way for the final confrontations. At least I got half an article dedicated to Monkey before that bastard Nisio killed her off :(((
Today on Crunchyroll, I dug into how well Juni Taisen has balanced the assumptions of its premise and the general demands of dramatic characterization. The show isn’t wasting time killing off its contenders, but those contenders are being used well – their deaths are all meaningful in their own way, and the fact that I actually felt very sad for Chicken and Boar is a testament to the show’s overall writing. You can check out my full piece over at Crunchyroll!
Isao Takahata boasts a catalog so laudable that it seems strange to see him as any kind of “unsung” director, but given he spent so much of his career working alongside Hayao Miyazaki, it makes sense that he’d end up coming off as the quiet genius of Studio Ghibli. In contrast with Miyazaki’s universally appealing and often family-friendly films, Takahata directs stranger, more idiosyncratic productions, from the devastating Grave of the Fireflies to the nostalgic Only Yesterday, and even a passion project about a series of rural canals. So it remains with his final film, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, which was released close enough to Miyazaki’s own The Wind Rises to again be dwarfed in public consciousness. And yet, like so much of his work, Kaguya possesses an incredibly distinct beauty, and in its own way speaks to the rustic, nostalgic sensibilities that seem to unite Takahata and Miyazaki.
This weekend on Crunchyroll, I highlighted some of the major strengths of this season’s unexpectedly excellent Recovery of an MMO Junkie. It’s always nice when a show that wasn’t on my radar at all turns out to be great, and between MMO Junkie and Just Because!, this has been a good season for confirming that anime can definitely still surprise me. MMO Junkie might actually be the show I most anticipate each week, particularly after last episode’s agonizing cliffhanger. I must see these two get together damnit!
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.