I’m adjusting to the new semester, so new content may be more erratic or fluffy for some time. Somehow, in the space between this post and the last, I’ve become nominated for two different blogging things over at Medieval Otaku, a state which will be dealt with in good time. But speaking of fluff, I haven’t penned an anime-related post in quite a while.
I intend to rectify this by bringing the hammer down and pronouncing…
Josh W.’s Top Five Anime
I won’t argue with anyone who claims that Sailor Moon is a brainless and repetitive show, because it is. But, to paraphrase what Samuel Johnson said about Clarissa, if you watched Sailor Moon for its plot, you’d kill yourself. No, you watch Sailor Moon for its moxie and camp value, and indeed, the show is the epitome of a certain kind of campiness that peaked in 90s anime. Besides, this was one of the first things ever put into the IV drip of anime that has flowed for much of my life.
On a different note, Trigun is a show that seems to be a dumb action anime, but below the surface turns out to be quite thoughtful. In the midst of all the explodey gunslinging is an examination of violence and morality, and the sacrifices required to live an uncompromising code of ethics in a violent world.
A paranoid little anti-thriller that plays like a mashup of Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media, the X-Files and an arthouse flick. Through some strange alchemy, Lain manages to be a coherent piece of entertainment while remaining one of the most opaque animated shows ever. It’s probably the most interesting non-literary take on the unreliable narrator conceit since, I dunno, the Kubrick adaptation of The Shining.
Like Lain (of which it shares Yoshitoshi ABe as its brain child) Haibane-Renmei is a sort of anti-genre experiment. In this case, the show presents us with a metaphysical puzzle which it stubbornly refuses to explain, instead preferring to turn itself into a character study of its titular Haibane; a group of beings who superficially resemble angels. We follow all their little triumphs, failures and struggles over the course of some several months. It’s much more low key and meditative than most anime, but also much more human.
The postmodern and/or revisionist faerie tale has become a rather tedious subgenre. Deconstruction is cheap and easy in an era of smug cynicism.
Princess Tutu inverts all this, taking a whole arsenal of pomo metafictional conceits and putting them in the service of a baroque, but ultimately loving riff on the European faerie tale tradition.
But that’s only one side of it – for Tutu is also a show about ballet, an artform which I am quite fond of, and which somehow fits snugly as Tutu‘s aesthetic center.
But there’s yet another side – Tutu is also a magical girl show, sharing one of Sailor Moon‘s directors. And it’s a darn fine one at that.
That’s three things I love mixed up into an aggressively surreal brew. What’s not to like?