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

Why It Works: A Worlds Tour of Flip Flappers, Part Two

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!

Why It Works: A Worlds Tour of Flip Flappers, Part Two

Why It Works: A Worlds Tour of Flip Flappers, Part One

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!

Why It Works: A Worlds Tour of Flip Flappers, Part One

Why It Works: Sound! Euphonium’s Tempestuous Muse, Part Two

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.

Why It Works: Sound! Euphonium’s Tempestuous Muse, Part Two

Sound! Euphonium

Why It Works: Sound! Euphonium’s Tempestuous Muse, Part One

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!

Why It Works: Sound! Euphonium’s Tempestuous Muse, Part One

Why It Works: Sculpting Worlds with Studio Pablo

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!

Why It Works: Sculpting Worlds with Studio Pablo

Flip Flappers