Author Archives: Frog-kun
In the span of a few short months, Makoto Shinkai’s latest anime film, your name., has become one of the top-grossing films in Japan of all time, surpassing even Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke and Howl’s Moving Castle. The film is nothing less than a cultural phenomenon at this point, tapping deep into the anxieties of a post-Fukushima Japan while telling an emotional love story. Personally, I think it’s great, but I won’t be talking about the film itself in this article. The question I’m interested in here is one that interests many of us and yet involves no spoilers—how does your name. fare overseas?
I first read the My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU novels soon after the first season of the anime hit the airwaves, and it’s been one of my favorite light novel series since then. It’s hard to describe exactly what makes the series so appealing to me, but it essentially comes down to this: it’s the most true-to-life representation of the high school experience that I’ve encountered through fiction.
The Asterisk War was one of the most-watched shows on Crunchyroll in 2015. Now, before anyone goes on about the shit taste of the average Crunchyroll user, consider why viewers would have been drawn to the show beyond the magic high school premise.
What is it with Tsukasa Fushimi and making every pairing in his stories so shippable except for the main one? After Eromanga Sensei volume 3, I’m rooting for the MC to bang anyone except his sister, but alas, not all things in life go the way you want them to.
Cole Brown was a FUNimation voice actor, best known for playing Blackbeard in One Piece and the frog-faced doctor (Heaven Canceller) in A Certain Magical Index. He’s very good at playing those “genteel older men”-type characters, which is no doubt helped by the fact that he is one himself. Tragically, however, he passed away last year while he was still working on Izetta: The Last Witch.
I recently dug up my Index DVDs and discovered that Cole Brown had done commentary for one of the episodes. It was apparently his first time doing commentary for a DVD release. He talks a bit about how he got into FUNimation and what the company means to him, and I thought his words were worth sharing.
This conversation likely took place in 2013, after the series proper was recorded. I’ve transcribed the relevant part of the conversation below:
I’ll be moving to Japan next month. I haven’t decided how long I’ll be staying yet, but for now I’ll be starting a new job in Tokyo. If you’re in the area and want to meet up, feel free to send me a message.
I finally caught up on the last chapter of Scum’s Wish today and… it was kind of lame.
Brief spoiler-ific thoughts below.
Let’s look at some of the stories that Makoto Shinkai referred to when creating Your Name. Below is a translation of a column written for the official Your Name guidebook. It’s written by Mizuo Watanabe, a manga critic and the main writer of the yearly Kono Manga ga Sugoi! guidebook.
I’ve never understood the hipster mentality. While it’s true that not all popular things are good, I don’t see the point of getting mad about the duds or attacking the fans for being mindless sheeple or whatever. Take Sword Art Online, for instance. This series has a laundry list of flaws but the Youtube reviews in particular blow them way out of proportion. What is it about SAO that inspires so much ire? I have no idea, since its narrative flaws exist in just about every mediocre anime ever. Even if I disliked the series, it’s just not worth the energy to rant about.
The above paragraph is fairly moot since I actually like SAO, and I wrote multiple articles this month apologising for it. On Anime News Network, I wrote a piece on Reki Kawahara’s career, arguing that he’s improved as an author over the years and that SAO is mostly the product of his amateur web novel author days. On Crunchyroll, I praised SAO‘s visuals and pointed out that the anime is a good adaptation of the novels, all things said and done.
All this SAO talk was in anticipation of the Ordinal Scale movie. I was particularly looking forward to it because I got the opportunity to write interview questions for the creators, and I knew beforehand just how much love and hard work had been poured into it. The film was a pure fanservice from start to finish, but let’s not interpret that in a negative light. I think iblessall put it best in his review of the movie:
…it was delightful to see Ordinal Scale speaking a language only those who care about this franchise—warts and all—can understand. In the moment when we see Starburst Stream unleashed once again or Yuuki’s spirit embracing Asuna as the Mother’s Rosario Sword Skill appears in a burst of purple lights, the film clearly, unavoidably asks but one thing of its audience: “Remember. Because if you remember how you felt when you watched Sword Art Online, this is for you.”
I’m sure that this film has its fair share of detractors, but Ordinal Scale was unquestioningly Sword Art Online at its best (to me, at least). Can we finally agree that SAO has its legitimate good points?
My Little Sister Can Read Kanji is a novel I’ve complained about before. In a post from two months ago, I said that Siskan had an entertaining premise but was not a well-told story overall. I still stand by these opinions, even after reading the second volume.
And yet I haven’t stopped reading the series, nor have I stopped thinking about its themes. It makes me question my beliefs about literature, not because it’s a good satire, but because it’s a bad one.
This must be getting confusing for you, so let me take a step back and explain what the satire in Siskan is all about.