Why It Works: Dragon Maid’s Yamada Touch, Part Two

Today I conclude my article on Dragon Maid’s recent Yamada episode, spending a good thousand words to break down maybe a minute of animation. LIVIN’ THE DREAM.

This episode very easily supported this close of a reading, and I was happy to get the chance to write about it. This also offered me a chance to articulate how animation is inseparable from storytelling in a more general sense, and how thinking of animation as “wasted” is generally a pretty absurd idea. I doubt this will fix the general mess that is discussions of KyoAni dramas, but hey, gotta try.

Why It Works: Dragon Maid’s Yamada Touch, Part Two

Why It Works: Dragon Maid’s Yamada Touch, Part One

Today I’ve got the first of a two-parter all about Naoko Yamada’s recent episode of Dragon Maid. This one offered me the chance to do something I love doing, but only infrequently get a chance to – breaking down a massive number of visual choices made for one specific scene, exploring how all of them facilitate the sequence’s dramatic intent. Not all shows or episodes reward that kind of close look, but Yamada’s stuff and Kyoto Animation’s work in general do it all the time. Good anime are fun to talk about!

Why It Works: Dragon Maid’s Yamada Touch, Part One

Why It Works: Tanya the Evil’s Unlikely Conscience

I turned back to Tanya for this week’s Why It Works, exploring what was easily the show’s most unexpectedly powerful episode yet. It’s pretty tricky to make a war story that actually, successfully embodies the awful nature of war, but somehow I think the fascist loli show nailed it. Partitioning was the key – Tanya is normally a pretty fun watch, but this episode was intentionally sober and dispiriting from start to finish. It was a pretty great episode!

Why It Works: Tanya the Evil’s Unlikely Conscience

Why It Works: Kemono Friends’ Unstated Worldbuilding

Today I finally tried my hand at a Kemono Friends article, focusing specifically on the compelling style of worldbuilding that’s ultimately just one of the show’s strengths. It feels just a little awkward to highlight this in particular, since so much of the show’s appeal is just “goofy characters having fun times together in horrible CG,” but I suppose that can always be another article. Either way, hope you enjoy the piece!

Why It Works: Kemono Friends’ Unstated Worldbuilding

Why It Works: Dragon Maids and Magical Realism

For this week’s Why It Works I returned to Maidragon, and dug into the specific kind of fantasy world the show presents. Magical realism is actually one of my favorite kinds of fantasy, and though its greatest exemplar in anime is likely The Eccentric Family, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is pretty great too. I hope you enjoy the piece!

Why It Works: Dragon Maids and Magical Realism

Why It Works: Rakugo and the River’s Pull

Today on Why It Works, I finally get around to a dedicated Rakugo article! I ended up pretty happy with this one – I switched from Why It Works’ generally conversational tone to a more dramatic, show-based one, and I think it worked out okay. Why It Works lets me experiment in all sorts of ways, and making a weekly column-sized version of one of my big thematic writeups was a lot of fun. Rakugo certainly offers plenty to talk about!

Why It Works: Rakugo and the River’s Pull

Why It Works: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid and the Power of Adorable Daughters

Today on Crunchyroll, I use the perfection that is Kanna to take a look back at wonderful anime daughters of days past. I guess it’s because I’m an old man now, but it turns out that a fantastic anime daughter is one of the fastest ways to my heart. I’m very grateful I have Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid to ease the passing of Nichijou, even if nothing will truly replace the professor in my heart. And for now, please enjoy this celebration of one of anime’s greatest treasures!

Why It Works: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid and the Power of Adorable Daughters

Why It Works: Saga of Tanya the Evil’s Snappy Cuts

Yep, Tanya gets a Why It Works. Before ACCA, before Maidragon, before Rakugo, here’s the friggin’ fascist loli show getting top billing. What can I say – Tanya is a well-constructed piece of entertainment. It feels professional in the way Hollywood films feel professional, and that gives me a lot of fundamental craft stuff to talk about. So here we are, starting off my Crunchyroll deep dives of the winter season with Saga of Tanya the Evil!

Why It Works: Saga of Tanya the Evil’s Snappy Cuts

Why It Works: Nick’s Picks for Winter 2017

Today on Why It Works, I establish one of those most reliable of column structures: a seasonal tradition. With all the premieres accounted for, I figured the Crunchyroll audience might also appreciate some recommendations for navigating the new crop. If I were writing this article right now, I’d probably also include Tanya, but I’m sure I’ll find a way to rep that awful little show eventually. Here’s the piece!

Why It Works: Nick’s Picks for Winter 2017

The Secret of Studio SHAFT

It’s time for another big one! Today I dive into studio SHAFT, exploring a number of the things that set the studio apart. From the history of their current incarnation to their stylistic proclivities and key creators, this is a broad look at one of anime’s most singular studios. It was actually pretty fun doing the research for this one, and I was significantly helped by our recent glut of excellent creators interviews. I hope you enjoy the piece!

The Secret of Studio Shaft