Thanks Jusuchin of A Journey Through Life for nominating me for the Sunshine Award! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these award posts, and I have a couple of others which I need to do–including rating Spring 2019 and telling you all what I intend to do about this season. At any rate, please give Jusuchin’s blog a visit. He tends follow one or two anime a season. His choices always have plenty of action and come near to my own tastes in anime.
Here are the rules:
Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog so that other people can visit them
Answer the 11 questions put to you by the nominator
Nominate 11 bloggers of your choosing and provide them with a new set of 11 questions to answer
Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their blog posts
List the rules and display The Sunshine Blogger Award logo within your post or on your blog site.
Now, let me answer those eleven questions.
1) What got you into anime and how old were you?
My recollection places me at age fifteen around my sophomore year of high school. Millennials have been dubbed “the Cartoon Generation,” so it seems only natural that I would eventually discover that anime existed as a separate genre of cartoons. Coming across Vampire Hunter D and Rurouni Kenshin on Toonami kindled my interest in anime and the rest is history.
We’re more than halfway through The Rising of the Shield Hero, and two things have been consistent: the quality of Kevin Penkin’s incredible soundtrack for the show, and the outrage of many Western anime fans, bloggers and critics over the story’s ‘controversial’ elements. From the first episode alone, many denounced the series for its use of a false rape accusation to establish it’s central conflict, claiming this to be outright misogynistic or simply in poor taste in the wake of ‘#MeToo’ activism. But beyond that initial furor, another outcry has been consistently present on social media.
Delaying this post to the middle of Spring 2019 inclines me to brevity. (God willing, I shall be able to give my dear readers a proper mid-season review!) A good number of you may have already forgotten some of what you watched by now! Well, this post concerns what I thought best of Winter 2019, and I hope that some of your own favorites are below.
5) That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime ★★★ 1/2
I love the characters in this anime, but this half of the season lacks the tension of the first. Much is made of Rimiru being overpowered, but the first season offered us more real stakes and real hardship. One feels like the second part should be retitled “The Daily Life of a Slime” or something else as benign.
At any rate, I love the worldbuilding and characters enough to look forward to the next season. The preview offered at the end gives me hope of some good conflict to come.
I’ve been too tired to write about my favorite anime from Winter 2019, i.e. the top 5. While my dear readers are patiently waiting for them, I thought to myself that I would quickly scribble about what I’m watching in Spring 2019. There are nine anime in total–one less than I watched last season. So, I’d like to invite my dear readers to comment below about what anime should be my tenth. (Nine is the elvish number for luck, but ten strikes me as a nice round number.) You can make multiple suggestions, but whatsoever anime is mentioned by the most people is the one which I will add.
At any rate, I’m continuing to watch four shows from previous seasons:
Bungo Stray Dog
The Rising of the Shield Hero
The following are the five new ones premiering this season:
It seems cliche to choose BTS’s new title song as the song for this week but I did it because of the Korean title – 작은 것들을 위한 시, literally meaning in English, “A Poem for Small Things.”
It’s about a lover who is entirely absorbed in their beloved and wanting to know everything about them. It’s not deep in the sense of being the most beautifully made iteration of this idea, but it’s a pleasant, joyous, euphoric one. And despite what some might say, it completes a logical progression plot-wise from “Boy in Luv” and even through “DNA” and “Fake Love.”
“Boy in Luv” is the angsty adolescent love focused on self; “DNA” revels in the romance and speaks as if it’s fated, de-emphasizing choice; “Fake Love” reveals that destiny and feelings might not be the best way to determine love; and “Boy with Luv” is…
Here begins the first part of a long set of reviews–at least, of what I call reviews. I tend to describe the facets of each show which I found enjoyable or deplorable. After all, the other anime reviewers have covered all the technical points by now, and I’d likely only be repeating myself.
The following six out of the eleven anime watched in Winter 2019 rate from 2 1/2 to 3 stars. For me, two and a half stars refers to a mediocre anime which disappointed me, but not enough for me to consider it to have been a waste of my time. Three stars designates a decent anime which I enjoyed but will not watch again. Three and a half star anime are good enough to be worth watching again in the future and contain aspects which make them memorable. I’m inclined to be generous with that last rating. Thankfully, I did not run into any anime I’d rate two stars or less this season, which are all levels of poor quality.
Wow! Seven years of blogging! It’s been fun getting to know all of you out there and hearing about how my posts piqued your interest. Thank you for your support and your interest! It seems like I have not really done enough with the present winter season, but I have finished watching all the shows I set out to watch. You should see a couple of posts soon where I review all eleven shows in two parts.
Eleven? That’s right. I added one more show to my watch list: Karakuri Circus. This show does not seem to have gotten that much attention, but it’s a very well done shonen. It excels in both action and characters, making even certain minor characters compelling. Perhaps the oddest thing about Karakuri Circus, however, is just how much of the action takes place in the past. I can’t remember the last anime I watched which indulged so much in flashback episodes. This can be annoying when one would like for nothing more than for the story to advance. At the same time, it’s fascinating how the action extends from Medieval Europe to Meiji Era Japan to modern America. The anime is on Amazon Prime, and I highly recommend it.
Here is a short list of what I want to post in the near future:
Review of Winter 2019, Part 1
Review of Winter 2019, Part 2
Quick Takes on other anime
A post on Karakuri Circus and Charity’s Relationship to Virtue
Finally read Dante’s Divine Comedy to the end
What the anime Caligula was actually about
Spring 2019 Watch List
If anyone gets what the main theme of Caligula was, feel free to comment on it below.
Look forward to these posts and one which I hope will appear on Beneath the Tangles soon. Dear readers, thank you once again for all your support!
Recently, Beneath the Tangles featured a very long and well-written post on the topic of slavery in The Rising of the Shield Hero. It is worth your time to read when you have a good chunk of free time:
Slavery is a very interesting topic in regards to Christianity, because the Bible never condemns it in explicit terms. This has led to epochs where rulers and nobility saw slavery as permissible, especially in the Age of Exploration and when the wars between Christendom and Islam became more advanced. Thus, the papacy had to condemn the practice several times in encyclicals and statements in the years 1462, 1537, 1639, 1741, 1815, and 1839. (See Slavery: A Problem in American Institutional and Intellectual Life by Stanley M. Elkins.) I might also add the 1435 encyclical commanding that Canary Islanders be freed from the condition of slavery. That slavery could be countenanced is rather odd when one considers that Medieval society had made great strides in eliminating slavery with its borders so that it was virtually non-existent by the 11th century, which coincides with the end of the Viking Age.
Now comes the post to sum up the highlights of 2018. Last year did not have the same quality as 2017, which saw every anime in the top five rated 9/10 or 10/10. Yet, 2018 was still a great year, offering plenty of four star anime to choose from. It was difficult to choose between them. In the end, I chose #3 – #5 based on how much enthusiasm I felt for these anime when they came out. Honorable mentions go to Hinamatsuri and Golden Kamuy.
5) Isekai Izakaya ★★★★
I cannot imagine giving a short more than four stars, but part of me wanted to make an exception for Isekai Izakaya. Dagashi Kashi II stands as another example of a well done and hilarious short from last year. (It’s ironic that the original Dagashi Kashi was too long and the sequel too short. If only season one had been a series of shorts, and the second season used full length episodes!) But, where IsekaiIzakaya trumps Dagashi Kashi II lies in how the former excelled in more than comedy and lovable characters. Isekai Izakaya builds a great fantasy world using the Holy Roman Empire of the High Middle Ages as a basis–just as Isuna Hasekura did for Spice and Wolf. In addition to exploring the world of Japanese cuisine in the anime, it offered some bonus segments alternating between a young chef showing the viewers how to make the dishes portrayed in the anime and an old gourmand touring various Japanese eateries.
Below is a link to a little reflection I wrote on Boogiepop and Others. In particular, I concentrate on how the Imaginator mimics the devil and on how death might be seen as the enemy of Satan. May you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Here’s a great and well-written post on episode 4 of The Rising of the Shield Hero. The author is new to the aniblogosphere, but this is a great start. Who would have thought that Naofumi and Motoyasu suffer from the same defect?
Today’s guest post comes from The Varangian, a writer and podcaster who comes to us through his friend (and yours and ours), Medieval Otaku. I hope you enjoy his excellent reflections on the most recent episode of The Rising of the Shield Hero which, if you haven’t seen it yet, in turn demonstrates just how special this series may be.
The Rising of the Shield Hero has been a trial by fire both for our heroes and for the audience, as best shield boy Naofumi has endured betrayal, false accusation, slander, ostracism, and a good deal of bad manners. The only bright spot in this very dark place has been his relationship with Raphtalia, who might be the salvation of him yet—as long as she’s given the chance. In the fourth episode, “Lullaby at Dawn” they (and we) are subjected to an agonizingly severe test of their bonds, a test…
Now for the good stuff. In rereading Ulysses and dipping into Finnegans Wake and Richard Ellmann’s biography of James Joyce, it’s become clear that the man is one of those artists who I have a foundational, yet utterly complicated and baffling relationship with. It will take some time to completely hash things out.
Out of the blue, some short impressions on stuff I will be following this winter.
Honourable mentions, good but probably won’t be keeping up with: Endro, HizaUe, Kotobuki
B class residents:
TateYuusha/Rising of Shield Hero: Isekai adaptation blessed with a motivated staff and a decent budget. I felt the opening was a bit too heavy-handed for its own good, but the series has more unique ideas later down the line. Now it is all a matter of whether a proper plot direction can be established and whether character chemistry can save the series from mediocrity. Very easy to follow, though, with a constant mix of action, humour and character development.
Kemurikusa: There is a lot to Kemurikusa that feels fresh, and that is its main forte. The setting, plot progression and dialogue flow are simply different from any other production of the season. That said, the pacing is on the…
Recently, I had the pleasure of reading TWWK’s post “For God or Country? Violet Evergarden and Divided Allegiance.” It was a very good post meditating on Violet Evergarden’s relationship to her country and also about the relationship between piety and patriotism. However, “For God or Country?” is a question which one should never have to ask. In that regard, it’s like the question “Liberty or Equality?” In these times of egalitarian extremism, we might be tempted to say “Liberty!” But, the fact of the matter is one cannot throw out either liberty or equality without the end result being tyranny. A society needs the proper balance of these two things to thrive: let’s say 70% liberty and 30% equality–if one can so quantify the two ideas!
In regard to God and country, the problem is not one of balance but of order, as TWWK avers: “…I understood the idea that my allegiance to God trumps all other allegiances, meaning I could still be loyal to my country, still treasure it, but not above all, not above God.” This is a very satisfactory answer and recalls the fact that some people reverse the order. America is such a great country that one does find Americans who seem to worship–worship in the archaic sense of to praise and to serve–their country more than God. This kind of patriotism exists as a vice rather than a virtue: love of God ought to come before love of country.
Long time readers have likely heard me complain that I can’t watch more than seven shows in a season and that four is the most I should follow. Well, Winter 2019 is shaping up to be an awesome season: yours truly went ahead and picked up ten anime. This amounts to 3.5 hours of anime per week or about 2% of the week. This seems doable. At any rate, let me get onto the anime without further ado.
1) Boogiepop and Others (Crunchyroll)
You know, I never watched the original series, Boogiepop Phantom; though, it’s on my list of things to do. Knowing about the original drew me to take a look at Boogiepop and Others. The opening arc kept me in my seat for the entire three episodes. It looks like your classic supernatural, monster-slaying anime set in a modern high school. The fights, the suspense, and the mysterious nature of the setting make for a very intriguing anime, and I look forward to more. Has anyone seen Boogiepop Phantom and would recommend it, by the way?
Happy New Year to my dears readers! You have not heard from me since Christmas, but I’m still around. My schedule for the near future promises to be freer than it has been for the past several months, so I hope to produce more content. This content will include my top five anime from 2018, a run down of what I watched for Fall 2018, and what I intend to watch this season. (So far, Boogiepop and Others, The Promised Neverland, and The Rising of the Shield Hero have caught my attention.) Two of those posts are late indeed, but better late than never!
In the current post, I want to encourage everyone to watch Angolmois: Record of the Mongol Invasion. Angolmois came out during the summer of 2018, but I did not discover it until December of last year. I love samurai anime, especially those with a strong core of bushido. Angolmois does not disappoint on this score as it drips with the virtues of the samurai. Any fan of samurai anime or medieval action would do well to pick up this anime.
Happy Feast of Christ the King! This is an excellent post describing how Christ built His Kingdom on the Truth, while the kingdoms of the world are more than willing to neglect the truth in favor of power.
We live in an era of conspiracy theories, fake news, and alternative facts. In the past falsehood competed with truth. Now it’s confusion. We don’t have to be convinced of a lie to be led astray. It’s enough to become cynical and doubt that we can ever arrive at objective, absolute truth. Truth becomes relative and personal: “You have your truth. I have mine.” The person who shouts the loudest seems to get the most attention nowadays. Into this charred, postmodern landscape comes a stranger and alien, Jesus Christ. When he finally got his day in court, the judge wanted to know if he was indeed a king. He was, but he said his kingdom was not of this world (John 18:33-37). This world loves power, not truth. Jesus gave up his power to bear witness to the truth.