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Review: Lain

Lain is an introvert. She grows up in a family which for the most part ignores her. She is quiet and uncomfortable in crowds. In many ways, she’s an utterly unexceptional girl. Only one thing makes her unique. She is God (of the Wired). Lain is an interesting series: it’s cyberpunk in the Gibson sense, [...]

Review: Bakemonogatari

Realism is easy. Everybody knows and agrees on what reality is, at least in the visible details. Anime is never perfectly realistic; if that were the goal, it’d be simpler to film a live action series. Despite the fact that certain aspects might be highlighted, caricaturized, or extrapolated, simple reality remains the baseline of the [...]

Sita Sings the Blues

This is an odd film. It’s the Ramayana, illustrated in a dizzying medley of visual styles and set to roaring twenties blues. It’s narrated by a trio of people who seem to be modern Indians-on-the-street asked to tell the story collaboratively without reference to authorities. It’s also intercut with what appears to be an autobiographical [...]

Ponyo

I’m generally a fan of Miyazaki’s work. However, he exhibits a lot of variation in the quality of his films, and this is one of his poorer ones. A human-faced “goldfish” seems to be the natural form of the mermaid. One of these creatures is accidentally captured by a human boy, who in the course [...]

Review: Kimikiss (Pure Rouge)

Kimikiss wants to be a moving drama about high schoolers discovering romance. It is set in the real world, so there are no fight scenes, magical events, or characters who revolve entirely around some unrealistic aspect of the setting. Those things aren’t necessary because high school romance is complicated by its very nature, as people [...]

Review: Asatte no Houkou

Asatte no Houkou is, at its heart, a fairytale. It conforms perfectly to the classical structure: a normal person leads a normal life. A single act of magic grants a well-intentioned but poorly-worded wish. This creates confusion and distress for the wisher and all around her, but everyone eventually adapts to the new situation. Finally, [...]

Review: Kurenai

Sometimes when writing reviews for anime I feel like a sommelier gone rogue: anime has exactly the same style of jargon. There are the broad classifications that everyone who is not blind can tell the first time they encounter an example, and there are the fine distinctions with weird, non-intuitive names which can only be [...]

Review: Mahoutsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto

This series is about a girl on summer vacation working as an intern. The only thing, really, that makes this unusual is the nature of her profession: she is practicing to become a professional mage. Magic is a regulated profession illegal to practice without a license, like medicine or law. It is is a natural [...]

Review: Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei means, approximately, “Goodbye Mr. Despair.” The concluding line of the initial episode summarizes this series as well as anything: a man who sees in life only despair meets a girl who sees only hope. Only, this series isn’t really about her, except when she’s needed to foil the incessant gloominess of the [...]

Review: Haibane Renmei

The previous review was insufficient. It read as follows: —– The Charcoal Wings Foundation is an association of apparantly angelic people, living a life within a large walled area including a small city and enough farmland to support it. It’s all about self-discovery and the inner conflicts within people. What is a good person, anyway? [...]