For today’s Why It Works, I focused on how Laid Back Camp manages the very different goals of its Rin- and Nadeshiko-focused segments, an interesting contrast that I felt nicely illustrated the dramatic range that exists within the larger slice of life genre. This discussion actually helped me sort out my own feelings on the genre a bit; I definitely prefer the Rin-style material exemplified by shows like Flying Witch, but can still enjoy really exemplary articulations of Nadeshiko’s style, like a lot of K-On! Always fun to learn something new about your own tastes.
Today on Crunchyroll, I finally took some time to poke at Darling in the Franxx’s big thematic contrast, the conflict between the sterile world of Franxx’s overseers and the intimacy its actual stars attempt to bring to that world. As far as this conflict goes, the show is doing a pretty solid job of establishing a coherently puritanical society, and the ways the kids push back against that order feel natural as well. The main problem so far is that the character writing just isn’t there yet – shows predicated on a concept like this need the “human element” of the kids’ interactions to dramatically sell their perspective, and Franxx’s stars still feel too archetypal to get there. But if Hiro can be turned into an actually compelling protagonist, there could be a reasonable show here yet!
Got another sort of peripheral-to-ongoing-shows article today, considering I already wrote initial pieces on my other two airing Crunchyroll shows, and Franxx hasn’t yet given me enough in-show material to write about. It’s always nice to find a season to rep great old shows, and hitting both Toradora and Idolmaster made me feel pretty good about this one. The nice thing about watching too much anime is you’re always full of recommendations!
Today on Why It Works, I basically went through a craft grab bag of interesting tricks Laid-Back Camp uses to make its wide-open settings feel as familiar and approachable as the classic slice of life club room. The show has a stunningly good control of tone, an effect that’s communally fostered by all its various aesthetic choices. This is a tremendous season for slice of lifes, but even here, Laid-Back Camp feels like something special.
Welp, bit late in getting this one on the blog, mostly because I’m still swamped by preview week work. I basically took all the craft stuff I found most compelling about A Place Further Than the Universe’s first episode and formatted it into a munchable listicle format. Alright, off to my next piece!
I’ve got a very Preview Week article up for Crunchyroll this week, basically taking a tour back through Trigger’s catalog in the leadup to their promising new creation. Trigger have been an exceedingly hit or miss studio for me, largely because almost all of Imaishi’s dramatic sensibilities are anathema to my own, but the sense of, well, cartoonishness that permeates all their shows seems hard not to love. I love their sense of visual energy and fun, I just don’t love dick jokes and punches quite as much as Imaishi apparently does. That means I’m in a pretty good position for Franxx, considering its own director, and I hope the show turns out well.
I managed to find one more Juni Taisen topic to send the show off this week, and was pretty happy with the result. Juni Taisen’s finale was pretty much exactly what I’d hoped for, an episode that managed to celebrate the show’s excellent cast without undermining the legitimacy and finality of their choices. The show hit a rough patch from Monkey’s death through the twins, but it came together well enough for me to forgive the stumble. I’m gonna miss these murders.
Today on Crunchyroll, I returned to March comes in like a lion to plot out the biggest thematic thread of its most recent arc. Considering how long and well-observed Rei’s initial journey out of total dependence was, it makes sense that the show dedicates equal care to demonstrating how even when we want to help others, we’re often not really able to do that much. Rei’s Newcomer Tournament match managed to hinge on that concept while simultaneously offering a satisfying win for Rei, which was a very tricky balance. March is just a remarkably solid show altogether.
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!