The most important thing for any film adaptation is to recreate the feel of the original work. Slavishly adhering to the original plot is not necessary as long as the main features of the story are retained and its essence is transferred from the page to the screen. The 1978 Urusei Yatsura accomplished the task of retaining the essence of the manga in spades. One wonders why the new 2022 version was ever made. Many people are put off by older styles of animation, and I suppose that the animators thought that they could render the story palatable to new audiences. The 2022 version changes the veneer of the tale without replicating the soul of it. The result is that people are still better off watching the 1978 version of Urusei Yatsura–if they can’t stand the animation, tough!
Category Archives: Anime
Rating the Anime of Spring 2022
You know, there were too many anime worth watching during the spring season. Only one ranked as high as four stars in my opinion, but the ten anime I watched were quite enjoyable. Conversely, only three anime struck me as worth watching the Summer 2022 season: When Will Ayumu Make his Move, Call of the Night and Lycoris Recoil. Maybe I’ll add Cyberpunk: Edgerunner and Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth to that short list. I love most of what Trigger has done. The first Utawarerumono is still one of my all time favorites. Even though Utawarerumono: The False Faces was a complete disaster, I still feel compelled to try out their most recent attempt to craft a tale within this world. Feel free to recommend some new titles to me below.
At any rate, Vivaldi’s La Stravaganza plays in the background. Let me get on with rating last season!
- The Executioner and Her Way of Life ★★★1/2
Fantasy anime are a dime a dozen, and only rarely does the setting really stand out for me. The Executioner and Her Way of Life sets itself apart by containing a setting where…well…I don’t want to say it, even though it’s not actually a spoiler. You just won’t be shocked and appalled the way I was during episode one. The unique conceit with this isekai is that Japanese people are immediately slaughtered as soon as this world’s church discovers them. Otherworlders all carry special powers, which have gotten out of control in the past and have caused mass destruction, e.g. one entire continent being turned to salt. At the same time, the people of this world have adopted some Japanese technology (enough to give the world an early 19th century feel) and the Japanese language for its common tongue.
Our heroine, the priestess and assassin Menou, a.k.a. Flarette, discovers that some royals have summoned a Japanese high school girl named Akari inside one of their castles. Having infiltrated the castle, Menou claims to Akari that she wants to rescue her–only to assassinate her in the middle of the “rescue.” However, Akari has the power to turn back time, which leads to her reviving moments later. Menou realizes that she needs special help to liquidate Akari. So, she continues their pretend friendship as she takes Akari on a journey to her death.
There’s a dark setting for you! However, the characters tend to be very amusing to watch. There are some great fight scenes. I can promise you a unique fantasy anime experience with this show.
Quick Takes for a New Year
Let me wish you all a much belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! If I was a proper blogger, you’d have heard from me twice ere now and November (NaBloPoMo) would have been filled to the brim with posts–instead of just the last one. My New Year’s resolutions include writing a post once a week–here or on another blog. The causes for me slipping in regard to post output were a greater workload and too much concern for prosaic matters (money, work, health, etc.).
Another cause lay in me suffering from acedia, which is defined as sorrow in regard to spiritual goods. Prayer, the Holy Mass, and reading Catholic books became so difficult that I started cutting corners, which of course only increased my spiritual sloth. This spirit of acedia oppressed me such that I prayed a deliverance prayer found in Fr. Chad Ripperger’s book Deliverance Prayers: For Use by the Laity. You know what? All of the spiritual works above became easier and produced more joy afterwards. Having been delivered from acedia, I hope to engage myself more in writing and other things I have neglected.Continue reading
8th Anniversary Quick Takes
This blog’s eighth anniversary came and went on April 5th without comment. Oops! Hopefully, I blog a little more regularly next month. May these quick takes in some way make up for my lack of posting!
I have finally made progress in Ashita no Joe II. Joe Yabuki is almost in position to fight his greatest rival to date: Bantamweight World Champion Jose Mendoza. (It’s funny to consider that most of the strong and tough boxers in this anime weigh 118 pounds or less!) The buildup to this fight has been even more intense than the one between Rikiishi Touru and our hero.
That Lame Fight in In/Spectre
I’ve highly enjoyed the past few episodes of In/Spectre, but the battle of Steel Lady Nanase vs. Kuro has much for me to gripe about. If you haven’t watched this anime, you might want to stop reading now. The problems of this fight can’t be discussed without spoilers.
Happy Yankee Thanksgiving!
Happy Thanksgiving to all of my dear readers! If you’re not a U.S. citizen, then may you have a pleasant November 28th and a happy Thanksgiving when a similar holiday rolls around for you.
I know an American History professor who refers to today as “Yankee Thanksgiving.” There are two Thanksgivings which took place prior to the one celebrated by the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony in 1621. You may hear Floridians brag that their state boasted the first Thanksgiving in what would become the United States. On September 8, 1565, Spanish explorers and the Timucuan tribe held a Thanksgiving mass in St. Augustine–the oldest city in America. As for the other one, English settlers in Virginia held a Thanksgiving event on December 4, 1619, beating the Pilgrims by almost two years. But, it is just as well that our holiday hearkens back to the harvest festival put on in Massachusetts: the other two do not give a ready excuse for eating tons of food!
While I thank God for His innumerable blessings, I want to write a Thanksgiving post which rectifies my long, long hiatus. For the first time, I did not participate at all in National Blog Posting Month. So, I thought that I would write blurbs on all of the anime which I’ve watched in the past few months. After all, just because I have stopped writing about anime does not mean that I have stopped watching them! The list is long, but I promise to limit myself to five sentences per anime. If you don’t see a rating, that means that I have not watched that anime until the end.
1) Arcadia of My Youth ★★★★1/2
I love Leiji Matsumoto’s work. This movie acts as a prequel to the events of Captain Harlock. An alien race has subjugated the Earth. Captain Harlock, a new friend, and a resistance network must give the men of Earth hope. Anime fans with a love of bushido are sure to find this film very moving. (Tubi TV, Amazon Prime)
2) Buddy Complex ★★★
Buddy Complex offers some excellent fights and a plot which keeps you glued to your seat. We follow a high school boy dragged against his will into a mecha conflict in another world. The one person connecting him to Earth turns out to be an enemy pilot who wants him dead. I’m very happy to have watched this anime, but I can’t see myself re-watching it. (Hulu, Tubi TV)
Reblog: Dororo and Child Sacrifice–Ancient and Modern
Hello, my dear readers! Here is my latest post on Beneath the Tangles. It deals with child sacrifice and Dororo‘s presentation of it. The link is below. Enjoy!
Dororo and Child Sacrifice–Ancient and Modern
Rating the Anime of Winter 2019, Pt. 2
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.
What to Watch in Spring 2019
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
- Karakuri Circus
- The Rising of the Shield Hero
The following are the five new ones premiering this season:
Rating the Anime of Winter 2019, pt. 1
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.
Let’s begin, shall we? Spoilers ahead!
Commentary on a Shield Hero and Slavery Post
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:
Guest Post: When a Shield Hero Becomes a Slave Owner
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.
Five Favorite Anime of 2018
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 Isekai Izakaya 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.
Pro Deo et Patria & What is Your Country?
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.
Biting off More Anime than I Can Chew
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?
A Samurai Anime You Should Watch: Angolmois
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.
Dropping Golden Kamuy
Here’s a show which I feel sorry to drop. Golden Kamuy stood as one of my favorite anime from two seasons ago. I loved the aspects of it which dealt with the Ainu, the beautiful backgrounds, Hokkaido, and turn of the century Japan. The action was great, and the characters interesting and fun.
Yet, one unfortunate element intruded itself towards the end of season one: the author’s interest in serial killers. Our heroes’ trip to the fishing village in search of more clues introduced a seriously disturbed fisherman, Henmi Kazuo, who became sexually aroused at the prospect of murder and death. I found myself enduring rather than enjoying these couple of episodes. And so, it probably comes as no surprise that I dropped the anime after the second season begins with introducing yet another crazed serial killer: Yasaku Edogai the taxidermist.
Goblin Slayer and the Root of Horror
The Halloween season has given me some impetus to think about the horror genre. A while back, an academic named E. Michael Jones was on the Patrick Coffin show explaining how he thought about the horror genre. He has written at least two works on this subject: Monsters from the Id: The Rise of Horror in Fiction and Film and Sex with Monsters. Jones believes that the modern horror genre arose as a reaction to the free love movements of the 19th century and reached its full flowering following the Sexual Revolution. Many persons were hurt by the myriad problems which inevitably arise from sexual licentiousness and enjoyed a cathartic reaction from a central message of many horror stories: sex can kill you.
School Days might be the anime locus classicus for such a theme, but my dear readers know–know even a priori–that playing Don Juan for a length of time is going to lead one to embarrassing, painful, and even dangerous situations. People don’t like being used as playthings, and the relatives of the playthings take an even dimmer view of such conduct. The fact that one’s partner consents to the relationship does not take away from the feeling of being used. The Sexual Revolution tried to paint promiscuity as a desirable thing, even promoting contraceptives and abortion so that women could participate in “consequence- free” sex.
Further Ruminations on Old School Anime
My thanks to all who have commented and participated in the poll below. Your comments have forced me to think a little more about just what counts as old school anime. In particular, I needed to think about how to separate it from both ancient anime and modern anime. An old school anime has the following qualities:
- Not black and white
- Uses cel animation
- Character animation is less influenced by Disney’s style, usually with a sharper look
- Has a story which appeals to teenage and older anime fans, which appeal is proved by current fans of anime still seeking out these stories
- First aired between 1970 and 1999
The fifth point likely surprises some of my readers. My old parameters for old school anime stretched from 1960 – 1989. This was based on the misconception that Ashita no Joe, an old school anime par excellence, aired in 1967, and I expected to find many others like this show in style. Ashita no Joe actually only officially aired in 1970 (a pilot episode did appear in 1969), and only two anime exist in the in 60’s to which do not strike me as ancient: Tiger Mask (1969) and Star of the Giants (1968). Not enough to classify the 60’s as an old school decade!
What is Old School Anime?
This is just a little question for my dear readers. I once argued with someone about the definition of Old School anime. He argued that the term covered 90’s anime, while I said that it did not apply to 90’s anime. I’m curious what the consensus is on what qualifies as Old School anime. So, I’m placing a poll below asking about which decades you think this term applies.
My opinion is that the 90’s counts as a transitional period from the old, hand-drawn cell method of animation to the more computerized version of animation we see in the 21st century. I just refer to anime from that decade as “90’s anime.” (You might say that we’ve entered another transitional period starting in around 2015, where CGI animation is becoming more used and accepted.) I call 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s anime Old School, while anything before the 60’s is simply ancient. (I ran a search on anime made during the 50’s on Anime-Planet, and the only thing I recognized was Hakujaden, aka The Legend of White Snake or Panda and the Magic Serpent.) But, I imagine that some of my readers might call 60’s anime or even 70’s anime ancient. At any rate, please satisfy my curiosity below.
Thanks for participating!
Quick Takes for Old Anime
It’s been a little while, my dear readers. It looks like the regular anime season is past the mid-point, so I should write something up about what I’m up to. If you recall, most of my current watch list consists of old anime on my backlog. I did make an exception for Cells At Work, which was recommended by MIB of MIB’s Instant Headache–an excellent recommendation.
Most of you are familiar with the idea and the format of Quick Takes, so I’m just going to jump right in.
Vampire Princess Miyu TV (1997-98) comes pretty close to being a masterpiece at ★★★★ 1/2. The closest anime to compare with this show has to be Hell Girl. Both share a female protagonist bound by fate whose closest companions are otherworldly beings–called Shinma in Vampire Princess Miyu. (The English translation simply used the Japanese word. “God-demon” is the most literal translation and the most confusing one. Often, one will see creatures like this just called demons despite the Japanese equivalent for what is usually meant by the word demon is akuma. Subbers should just borrow the term longaevi from the Latin, as this is the most accurate term for a host of beings in Japanese mythology.) While Ai Enma is summoned to send usually wicked people to hell, Miyu works by keeping her territory clear of stray Shinma. She’s often willing to ignore the presence of stray Shinma as long as they behave, but she’ll send them into the demon realm within a fiery inferno should they choose to prey on humans.