The Eccentric Family posts start in earnest this week, opening with a piece bringing all those who missed the first season up to speed. Convincing an audience raised on titans and punch men to watch the second season of a slow-burning drama about the importance of family is a pretty tall order, but I gotta do what I can. The Eccentric Family deserves nothing less!
Today on Why It Works, I once again parlay my forced familiarity with this entire new season into a series of speedy recommendations. My choices here shouldn’t be too surprising to anyone who’s read the retrospective, but hey, gotta make sure all potential audiences are hearing the good anime news. Here’s the piece!
Today on Why It Works, I plot out the groundwork for how season two will start to mess with the first season’s general thoughts on heroism. I’m kinda cheating, since I’ve actually read through the next couple arcs, but it was still nice to see how the first episode established so many of the conflicts that will play into this arc’s major themes. I hope you enjoy the piece!
As the season winds to a close, it’s time once again for me to scramble for Why It works topics. Last season gave me the infinitely unpackable Flip Flappers, which made this easy, but winter’s selections were a little more thin on the ground. Fortunately, I still had plenty of scattered feelings on Kemono Friends, so that’s what you get today. TIME FOR KEMONO FEELINGS.
For this week’s Why It Works, I offered one more sendoff to what I feel has been an sadly underwatched anime. March’s adaptation has had some obvious issues of pacing and occasional points where the studio style hasn’t meshed with the material, but overall I’ve felt it’s been a very rewarding show. The awkward comedy that held down some of the early episodes largely disappeared after a while, and the more time its cast had to grow together, the stronger the drama became. Unless the rest of the year has far more highlights than I anticipate, it seems pretty likely March will slot into my top ten of the year.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!