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!
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!
Today I return to Tsuredure Children for one more Crunchyroll article, this time diving into its thoughtful take on the messier side of romance. I really enjoyed how even in a fairly farcical comedy, Tsuredure Children still managed to clearly respect the feelings and boundaries of its leads. Kana and Chiaki’s breakup fit cleanly within the show’s general atmosphere while never minimizing the serious nature of their actions. It was an impressively articulated arc, and I’m happy to celebrate it today.
Today on Why It Works, I jumped back to My Hero Academia for a pretty silly concept piece. My Hero Academia’s sturdy tactical foundations both make its action very satisfying and also make it a rewarding show to break down in a narrative sense, and today I spun that quasi-criticism into an after-action report. “Who would win in a fight, Goku or Naruto” is generally not the most illuminating genre of criticism, but My Hero Academia is actually constructed in such a way that it rewards such in-universe tactical discussions. I had fun with this piece, and I hope you enjoy it too!
Today on Why It Works, I took advantage of Crunchyroll’s recent slate of acquisitions to rep a few lesser-known but very beautiful shows. It was nice to return to .hack, even if I was just looking for background images, and scouring through Aria episodes convinced me yet again that I really need to find time for that show. There sure are a lot of terrific anime out there.