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:

  1. Not black and white
  2. Uses cel animation
  3. Character animation is less influenced by Disney’s style, usually with a sharper look
  4. 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
  5. First aired between 1970 and 1999

D and Doris

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!

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Abayo! : Time for a Hiatus

My dear readers know that I occasionally take breaks from blogging.  Essentially, I have a millions hobbies and pursuits, many of which suffer neglect.  At present, reading and fiction writing have been given too little attention.  To myself, my writing style appears to have ossified of late, and I feel like my articles draw on fewer authors.  Reading itself often helps me remember what I have read, which helps me add more substance to what I write.  Now, reading books, it pains me to relate, often feels like a chore–a sure-fire sign that I have been watching too much anime!

Cake

The worst thing about watching too much television lies in that it is designed to appeal to sentiment more than reason, as Russell Kirk, a 20th century American Conservative thinker known especially well by Hillsdale College graduates, writes in Redeeming the Time.  Is this a bad thing?  Not necessarily: there exist noble and moral sentiments which are good to exercise.  For example, we would think a man a poor American who never becomes moved by the Star-Spangled Banner.  The danger comes in relying upon sentiment to dictate all our actions.  It is possible for the mental muscle of reason to become so weakened that we are unable to judge our sentiments and emotions objectively–just think back to the final episodes of Gokukoku no Brynhildr.

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Anime Report for Winter 2015

 

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As you know, my dear readers, I’ve dedicated this season to watching the classics, with Ashita no JoeAngel Cop, and Urusei Yatsura featuring prominently among the following anime.  But some new shows managed to sneak onto my list due to the good things I have heard about them: Death ParadeAssassination ClassroomRolling Girls, and–most recently–KanColle.  Usually, this kind of post appears in the middle of the season and seems extraneous with the season’s end around the corner.  Yet, I wish to collect my thoughts on various shows and place them before you before writing my final ratings.  The shows are listed in order of enjoyment from least to greatest.

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Laughing into the Abyss: the Role of Laughter in Ashita no Joe

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The desire to write another article on Ashita no Joe has chaffed me for a long time.  Considering that Ashita no Joe contains as many themes as Hamlet or King Lear, I have no fear that I shall exhaust the topics I can use for my upcoming column on Beneath the Tangles.  Before I get into the idea of laughing into the abyss, watch the following clip–it’s short.

Frightening and insane, isn’t it?  About thirty percent of all the laughter in Ashita no Joe partakes of some insanity, another thirty percent strikes the ears as pathetic, and much of the rest is derisive.  The laughter is not happy because few of the main characters are.  Our heroes struggle against nihilism after obstacle after obstacle is placed in their attempt to realize a truly human life.  Before the eyes of Joe Yabuki, whose heart has taken a glacial hardness, and before the eyes of Danpei Tange, whose everyday life revolves around draining saké bottles, there lies a great and unfathomable abyss.  These two heroes start out at rock bottom.  The very uselessness of their lives renders Danpei’s laughter pathetic and imbues Joe’s with scorn.

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Candlemas Resolutions and Joining Another Blog

For a long time, I have admired the work TWWK does on Beneath the Tangles and have been subject to equal admiration on his part.  (Much more than your humble otaku deserves.)  Our rapport has led to several guest posts, which are really quite good:

  1. How The Swan Princess Demonstrates that Lies are the Foundation of Evil
  2. Buddhist Detachment in Shikabane Hime vs. Christian Charity
  3. Suisei no Gargantia and How One’s Goal Dignifies One’s Life
  4. Contra Divitias: Kill la Kill’s Opprobrium of Wealth

Fight Another Day

For some reason, I have not guest blogged on Beneath the Tangles since the post on Kill la Kill.  This is a shame, because writing for another blog compelled me to make the extra effort to write polished articles.

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Medieval Otaku’s First (and Possibly Last) Quick Takes

Nami of the Budding Philosopher’s Quick Takes have given me the inspiration for this kind of post.  As I understand it, the object is to quickly apprise one’s readers of the things uppermost on the blogger’s mind, which works for me.  You see, I won’t be writing another post until February because of a certain project I have underway.  But, I hope that these tidbits will tide you over until I am able to write a more polished article.  I’m even departing from my usual modus operandi by typing this out without relying on a prior handwritten draft.  At any rate, here are my seven quick takes for the week.

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Only five days separate me from the deadline for revisions in Athanatos Christian Ministries’ Novel Contest!  The other finalists promise to give me some stiff competition in my quest to take first prize, but I shall give it my all.  Since the Christmas season began, I’ve procrastinated because work has gotten busier, but I finally feel that I have the urgency necessary to dedicate enough time to the novel.  Pray for me and wish me luck!

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“Joe Yabuki isn’t Some Sandbag” : The Greatest Boxing Epic Ever

After watching twenty-nine episodes of Ashita no Joe, the time seems ripe to tell my dear readers about why I have become addicted to it.  In the past couple of weeks, I have only twice turned my attention to other anime: Rolling Girls and Angel Cop.  But, I might be forgiven for my narrow viewing by the fact that Ashita no Joe renders everything else mediocre in comparison–especially more recent anime.  Don’t get me wrong.   Rolling Girls is entertaining, Aldnoah.Zero 2 will likely be quite good, and Yuri Kuma Arashi just might find itself on my watch list.  But, none of these has a prayer of meeting the quality of Ashita no Joe.

Joe vs. Rikiishi

So, what makes Ashita no Joe so great?  It’s strongest suit is the characters.  Our hero might be the worst jerk you’ve ever seen; but, Joe Yabuki feels surprisingly real, and certain moments of his characters development blow one’s mind.  The Aoyama Arc’s conclusion almost made me fall out of my chair!  Sometimes you root for Joe, at other times you pity him, and much of the time you want to see him knocked flat.  With Joe’s proclivity for fighting everyone and everything, one does see that time and time again.  Yet, Joe always gets back up.

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Winter Season 2015: A Season for the Classics

Of late, my interest in anime has grown less as I’ve turned more to history and literature–especially fantasy fiction.  Anime used to be the last thing I did before hitting the hay.  Now, I find myself devouring Frank Herbert’s Dune, Douglass Hulick’s Among Thieves, or The Lord of the Rings.  It’s the fourth time I’m reading the Lord of the Rings, but Tolkien never gets old.  In the near future, I’ll probably pick up E. R. Eddings The Worm Ouroboros and Tolkien’s The Children of Hurin, which one of my friends tells me has inspired him to finally start writing fiction.

Book before Bed

 

And so, Caraniel’s Winter 2015 Preview delighted me by revealing that the upcoming season is as bland as steel cut oatmeal.  You ask why I’m delighted?  Because only two new shows, Rolling Girls and Aldnoah.Zero 2, have sparked any interest in me, which encourages me to catch up on my backlog.  In particular, I find myself excited for the following three shows:

I have never heard of Colorado-style shooting.  Anyone else?

I have never heard of Colorado-style shooting. Anyone else?

1) Angel Cop

This very violent and anti-Communist show was recommended to me by my brother.  I usually don’t care as much for the style of animation seen here, but episode one was exciting and pleasantly diverged from the tone, characters and plot lines we see in contemporary shows.  Essentially, our heroes belong to an anti-terrorist force which tries to foil the leftist Red May terrorists.

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2) Urusei Yatsura

A friend of mine in college frequently recommended this show to me.  He would always say that recent stories from the pen of Rumiko Takahashi paled in comparison to shows like Ranma 1/2 and earlier.  I have been enjoying manga from the Rumic Theater, so it seems like the time is ripe to try Urusei Yatsura (literally, “Noisy Guys”).

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3) Ashita no Joe

Man!  What a great opening set of episodes!  The male protagonists actually have character!  The animators actually know how street fights work!  It’s amazing!  Concerning the fighting, I was shocked to see out main hero, Joe Yabuki, actually run away in order to gain a more favorable position in order to deal with large groups of opponents!  How often do we see our hero standing in the middle of a mob and somehow managing to deal with all of them coming from all sides rather than positioning himself so that he only has to deal with one or two at a time?  And the fights are hard-hitting to boot!

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You can tell that I’m all in on watching the transformation of Joe from a roguish thug to a world class boxer.  If Ashita no Joe continues to be so entertaining, the show shall surely enter my top ten.

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In the meantime, I need to finish Denno CoilEl Cazador de la BrujaHyouka, and Nadia: Secret of the Blue Water.  Once that happens and I finish all the shows which I think will end this season, my watch list for the first quarter of the new year should look like this:

  1. Akatsuki no Yona
  2. Aldnoah.Zero 2
  3. Angel Cop
  4. Ashita no Joe
  5. I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying
  6. Psycho-Pass 2
  7. Rage of Bahamut: Genesis
  8. Urusei Yatsura

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Of course, I could not find accurate information for the projected length of certain of those shows.  So, if any of my dear readers notices that certain shows of the present season which will not run into the next, please tell me.  If I find more time or if any of the above shows have a shorter broadcast period than I thought, I’ll add The Flying Ghost Ship and Captain Harlock to this list.  What winter 2015 shows grabbed your attention?  Anyone else so disappointed with the upcoming season that they will end up watching shows on their backlog in preference to new shows?