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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!