The Spring #anime season is well underway and I've settled on the shows I'll be watching. Despite the large number of new and returning shows this season, I'm actually watching fewer shows than I did for Winter season. I even stopped watching a couple of continuing shows I lost interest in.
That doesn't mean there aren't some real standouts this season though! Read on in the thread for more.
It's Sunday and that means I can get my weekly dose of Non Non Byori.
This week's episode focuses on Konomi, a first for this season. And that means it plays up her foibles and her pattern of over-confidence, screwing up, realizing she screwed up, and then falling apart.
For your typical #anime comedy this is all you need; the jokes flow from Konomi's angst at her own incompetence.
I really look forward to Sunday mornings and a new episode of Non Non Byori. And then, when it arrives, I feel disappointed because the episode is over and the half hour I spent watching it seems more like five minutes. Sometimes I think I should just wait until the season is over and then binge the whole thing…
This week was another Konomi-focused episode, but it's the first one I've seen where she didn't mess with someone's head; instead the story went for full-on heartwarming.
Regarding watching the dub, let me explain: I actually PREFER subtitles. I started watching #anime back in the 'trade VHS fansub tapes at Denny's once a month' days. And I'm convinced the original seyiou (Japanese voice actors) are generally better than the unknown actors who do most English dubs.
This means I generally watch subs. But this time I thought, Ghibli gets good dubs … maybe I should try it?
(BTW, I'm not the only one who really likes this film.) https://www.cbr.com/only-yesterday-best-ghibli-film/
Since I seem to be on an #anime rewatch binge, I rewatched one of my top-three or four favorite Ghibli movies last night.
And you've probably never seen it. Yes, seriously… Even if you're a huge anime fan.
Yes, it's a Ghibli movie, but it's not a Miyazaki and it's from 1991. And it's a romance, not a fantasy or comedy. And hard to find. (Netflix?)
I'm talking about 'Only Yesterday'. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Only_Yesterday_(1991_film)
(And it's got 2 great production back stories, which I'll get to later.)
5. Despite the fact K-On! (both the #maga and the #anime) represents the Ur-text of every modern 'let's start a band/idol group' anime, there is a significant difference from ALL the imitators: there's no attempt to force a plot – no school to save, no contest to win, no auditions with EVERYTHING riding on them – it's just teenage girls having fun and playing in a band is only one way they do it
Here are the elements that make K-On! work so well:
1. The characters are deep, multilayered, and the characterization – both animation and voice acting – brings them to life; not something you expect from a Cute Girls Doing Cute Things (CGDCT) #anime
2. It's a production of Kyoto Animation, and the production, writing, and direction staff was nearly all female – something I believe was responsible for (1)
A little more than three years ago I watched K-ON! for the first time. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K-on
I'm currently rewatching the entire series (two seasons and a movie). Third rewatch actually. An you know what? I was laughing at jokes I missed the first two times. It really stands up to multiple viewings, something rather amazing for an #anime that doesn't actually have a plot.
I made some notes about K-ON! that first time and–starting from them–I'm going to explain why I like it so much.
It's Sunday morning – and that means I can watch the latest episode of Non Non Biyori.
So far this new season has focused each episode on one or two characters and their personal foibles. Episode 4 looks like it is focusing on Ren-chon (Renge), but it is also introducing a new character.
Unrelated: for me, part of the experience of watching Non Non Biyori is thinking, and even saying out loud, over and over, "I want to live there."
The art and scenery of the show are so amazing…
And then there is 'Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki', which has an intriguing premise – but which has only one more episode to prove itself to me. As of episode two, it isn't looking like it will. https://www.funimation.com/shows/bottom-tier-character-tomozaki/?qid=#about
In any case, the winter 2021 #anime season is still looking pretty good. If only because they brought back so many of my favorite shows.
The winter #anime season includes a bunch of older shows I love finally getting belated second and third seasons and a few renewals from the fall season I'm happy about. But, generally, the new shows this season mostly seemed like duds.
Of the few new shows I'm giving the 'watch three episodes' treatment, one really stands out – and it's only on episode two: Horimiya. https://www.funimation.com/shows/horimiya/?qid=#about
Horimiya's 'about' blurb gives no clue just how … well … nice the show is. Slice of Life with a heart.
5. Renge owned this episode, just as she did the first episodes of previous seasons – and the bit with the frog was beyond precious (only, why didn't she feed Gu in the opening?)
6. All of the main seiyū cast returned for this season and seemed to have slipped right back into character
7. Also the director and production team seem to be largely the same as before (including the background artist – Kusanagi is a fucking genius and I want to live in his worlds)
Non Non Biyori is an #anime where nothing happens. So much nothing happens, in fact, that the second season was actually set in the same year as the first; just different days. And it made sense.
This winter we will finally get the long-awaited third season of Non Non Biyori and, so far as I can tell, they are finally moving on to the following year. https://www.hidive.com/news/2020/12/31/watch-non-non-biyori-season-3-this-winter-on-hidive
I'm tempted to say you can probably watch it without watching the first two seasons and the movie. But don't skip them!
Do you think #Anime is full of nothing but swordfights, giant robots and panty shots?
Non! I say. As in Non Non Biyori and other Iyashikei; Anime best described as 'wholesome and pure'. https://aminoapps.com/c/anime/page/blog/my-top-healing-anime/nktL_uMwd4lZ83rJW1Djzkra5jDLb
One of my favorite Iyashikei is
Laid-Back Camp; a simple slice-of-life, character-driven show about camping. https://www.crunchyroll.com/laid-back-camp
Yes, Laid-Back Camp is a CGDCT (Cute Girls Doing Cute Things), but with high artistic value (backgrounds, music).
And it's getting a 2nd Season in Jan!
Studio Ghibli released an extensive gallery of screenshots from various films on its website on Friday. The notice included a personal signed message by co-founder Toshio Suzuki stating that the public is free to use the images for personal use "within the bounds of common sense." https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2020-09-21/studio-ghibli-releases-film-screenshot-gallery-for-free-personal-use/.164267
Joy in the Apocalypse: Ruminations driving through desolation. https://www.animefeminist.com/joy-in-the-apocalypse-ruminations-driving-through-desolation/
Post-apocalypse #anime as a metaphor for our current slow-motion Armageddon.
I'm halfway through Just Because! and it's been very good so far. I took a peek ahead at episode descriptions (I'm not spoiler adverse) and it looks like it will even pull off a satisfying ending.
Just Because! is a high-school romance #anime, but one where the characters and the motivations are more realistic than usual. I like that there are no bad guys here. It's well done, with just enough emotional complexity to engage you – like Kids on the Slope, but not quite as amazing or gritty.