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!
Today we conclude our journey through the many worlds of Flip Flappers! This article ended up being more or less a two-part version of the sort of thematic breakdowns I used to cap off each season with. This half starts to stray away from breaking down worlds and get into analyzing Cocona, but that’s pretty much how the show itself works, so it seemed fitting to me. I hope you enjoy the piece!
I’m still crushed under preview week at the moment, but the Why It Works show must go on! Unsurprisingly, I’m sending off the fall season with a two-part episode on Flip Flappers’ various mindscapes. It becomes much harder to map these worlds to specific characters as the show goes on, but they all reflect Cocona in their own ways, so I think I’ll manage. Here’s the piece!
Today I return to Euphonium for the second half of my column on Asuka Tanaka! This one offers a bunch of close reading of her scenes all throughout the second season, because why not, Asuka’s great. She’s definitely one of my favorite characters of the year, and I’m very happy Why It Works offered me a chance to explore her wonderful characterization. Asuka may be kind of a jerk, but she’s our jerk.
At last, I’m aiming a Why It Works post at Sound! Euphonium’s second season. I’ve been reviewing the hell out of this show for ANN, so it’s been hard to think of topics I haven’t already covered for Crunchyroll. But Asuka Tanaka clearly deserves many more words, and so here we are. Part One covers her understated sprinkling of characterization from the first season, where we basically only learn about her feelings in the context of unrelated conflicts. While I was certainly happy to see her get direct focus in the second season, the work done in the first is impressive as well. As I’ve said before, Asuka is a character who’s remarkably well-suited to a Kyoto Animation production – hiding her true feelings behind pleasantries and snark, the show’s close focus on body language and framing is instrumental in bringing her character to life. I hope you enjoy the piece!
Alright, so this one technically isn’t another Flip Flappers article – it instead focuses on Studio Pablo specifically, whose gorgeous background art lends the show so much of its power. But Pablo aren’t only associated with Flip Flappers, meaning I got to have a lot of fun digging around through their history to find even more highlights of their work. As someone who often appreciates shows for their mastery of tone more than anything else, background art is pretty dang important to me. I hope you enjoy the piece!
There are a lot of anime out there! Literally thousands, with over a hundred more being released every year. There are new hits every season, and old favorites that have slowly lost their topical sheen. Given all those shows, it can be understandably hard to pick what to watch next – anime, like every other medium, is full of stuff that will disappoint you, and everyone’s tastes are different.
My own tastes in particular are a little weird – I like arthouse stuff and intimate character studies and occasional cathartic message-focused shows. But fortunately, there is indeed such a thing as “normal” taste in anime, or at least the most common preferences shared by fans outside of Japan. And today, I’m hoping to help that audience – or more specifically, hopefully, You.
Couldn’t keep myself away from Flip Flappers, as it turns out. The Why It Works articles are actually very well-suited for exploring the show, since its ideas are all relevant across episodes, and so it’s handy to analyze single threads that have carried between them. This time I talk about the show’s use of visual symmetry, which essentially expands on my earlier writing about the show’s generally stellar visual storytelling. Take a look!
Hello again! For this week’s Why It Works, I focused on a roughly three minute scene from the latest March, and basically unpacked it into an investigation of Rei’s personality and the nature of teaching and media salesmanship. It’s always nice when some offhand element of a show gestures towards a larger topic like this, and I had a bunch of fun writing this one. I hope you enjoy the piece!
On this week’s Why It Works, I finally found an angle for digging in to Girlish Number, one that basically highlights the show’s favorite things – insults and character writing. Girlish Number isn’t a fantastic show, but it certainly has strengths worth talking about! Hopefully next season offers some reasonable critical fodder – I’m already wondering exactly how I’m gonna fill my column without JoJo to always lean back on. Oh wait, Rakugo is coming back, nevermind. There’s always something to cover!
ANYWAY. This article’s about Girlish Number. I hope you enjoy it. Here’s the piece!