Blog Archives

The Basics of the Animated Mise-en-scène

vlcsnap-2016-06-18-19h23m22s129I’ve been having interesting conversations with various Twitter folk lately about the kind of anime-related criticism they would like to read. One of the main things people said they wanted to see was more writing about the nitty gritties of the animation craft and how it impacts the viewer’s experience (obligatory reference here to the excellent Sakuga Blog, a new animation blog on the scene which all of you should check out pronto). For what it’s worth, I happen to agree with this assessment, but I’m not terribly educated about animation theory, and I don’t think that many anime fans are.

And this is okay! I don’t think you need to know theory to love and appreciate anime. But what if you want to convey to others how much you appreciate the animation craft, beyond just “the animation looked cool!” or “the voice acting was good!”? I think that most of us are aware that the visuals and sound impact the way we perceive the characters and narrative, but we lack the vocabulary to describe what exactly is going on. This can be frustrating when we’re trying to explain why we like (or don’t like) something about a work of art to another person.

Also, for critics who take themselves and their opinions seriously, this sort of thing should matter a lot. Pure formalism may not be a highly-regarded form of media criticism these days, but it does lay the important groundwork for any lens of analysis. So let’s not disregard it out of hand.

Since I’m a beginner too when it comes to animation theory, I figure we can learn about these things together. This post is about the basics of scene composition. I drew most of the information here from the revised edition Art in Motion: Animation Aesthetics by Maureen Furniss, which I think is a really well-written and accessible guide to the main issues in the field. I also encourage anyone with an education in animation theory to do us all a favour and leave a comment and/or some links to further reading. Your knowledge and insight would be very much appreciated!

(Note: While this post draws on general theories about animation, the examples I use are all from Japanese anime. While I’d love to discuss non-Japanese animation too, that’s a topic for other posts.)

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An Exclusive Interview with the Hyouka Characters

1a8e806a63c9c0b7d21a2d28e280b9d7In anticipation for the upcoming live action film adaptation and a new entry in the novel series, I present you this exclusive interview with the Hyouka characters! Today, I sat down with Eru Chitanda  and Houtarou Oreki to discuss their feelings about the series and its themes.

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Froggy’s Top Anime of 2015

vlcsnap-2015-10-12-21h12m21s164Hello, everybody! It’s that time of the year again! Time for anime bloggers to write long posts and poop on each other’s tastes.

This year, it was surprisingly easy to throw together a top 5 anime list. You see, I only finished about 5 anime. As I will explain in tomorrow’s post, this has a lot to do with my shifting interests as a blogger. If you want opinions on the latest shows, there are plenty of other blogs and reviewing sites you can go to. Personally, I don’t think that I add much new to the discussion.

But oh well, this post is for anime, so here we go!

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Gosick has the cutest main couple

Artist credit: Gochou (Comedia80)

Gosick aired in 2011, but I’m going to write about it here because I watched it a few months ago, and Kujo and Victorique is the cutest and most endearing anime couple I’ve seen this year. Just look how adorable they are! This is way better than watching cat videos on Youtube.

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The Pressures of Being an Anime Academic

Hyouka_-_02_-_Large_02As I’ve mentioned a few times before, I am currently completing my honours thesis about light novels. No, it’s not technically about anime, but as we all know, light novels are more “anime” than anime, so I put myself in the same basket as the anime academics.

It’s not all fun and games being an academic, as anyone who has been through university should know. It’s downright exhausting reading piles of books and articles all day. This is especially the case if you take your work seriously, like I do. Since I’ve been trying connect my thesis to a lot of other disciplines, I read heavily outside my field. But I also routinely feel as if I’m suffocating under all the reading. Sometimes, finding the time to watch anime feels like work. 

I want to talk about some of this pressure that I feel, because it’s a very real issue for me.

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I wrote fanfiction for nine years

Kaoru-and-Tsukasa-WTF-facesHO-LY CRAP.

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My Top 5 Valentine’s Day Anime Episodes

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Happy Valentine’s Day/Singles Awareness Day, my readers! <3 Froggy

To celebrate the occasion, here is a quick list of my favourite Valentine’s Day anime episodes.

Note: There are spoilers for the series listed in this post, so be warned.

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The Current State of English Light Novels

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LN translation is in a similar place fansubbing was in before Crunchyroll and other forms of legal streaming came along. There aren’t too many light novels officially translated into English, and many series are out of print and discontinued. As a fan translator, I do my part in making Japanese LNs available in English, but I know that what I’m doing is actually illegal. But in many ways, it really can’t be helped, at least for now.

The good news is that the situation is changing, little by little. With more LNs being adapted into anime than ever before, people are taking notice of LNs (for better and for worse). Yen Press has recently licensed the guaranteed cash cow known as Sword Art Online, with other popular LNs like Kagerou Daze on the way. And with the shift from print books to Ebooks, LNs have a better chance of finding exposure at a cheaper price. The digital revolution has opened up possibilities for every literary subgenre  imaginable, so it’s not as if there is no market for LNs, even if they will remain niche for the foreseeable future.

Beyond translated LNs, there’s another type of English light novel, one that’s been eking out a humble living in the dark corners of the internet up until now: original English light novels, written by English-speaking anime fans. It’s this kind of LN I’ll be focusing on today.

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Narrative Self-Projection and Hypocrisy: Why Suzaku is a Better Character Than Lelouch

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If you pointed a gun at my head and asked me what my favourite anime of all time was, I’d probably tell you that it’s Code Geass. It’s not the series I have the most nostalgia for (that would be Card Captor Sakura). It’s not the title that I consider anime’s finest artistic triumph (that would be Neon Genesis Evangelion). It’s not even the anime that’s resonated with me as a person the most (that would be Hyouka). But I’ve engaged with Code Geass on practically every level – as a robot fan, a shipper, a literary nerd, an otaku, etc. It’s the series I’ve gotten the most out of as a fan of anime.

tldr; I could write about Code Geass all day, but today I’ll focus on my single most controversial opinion about this show: I think Suzaku is a better character than Lelouch.

Yes, I’m serious.

Now let me write a whole essay about it.

Warning: This blog post contains Code Geass spoilers, word vomit and slight traces of yaoi shipping.

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How Would You Write A Mushishi Episode?

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I promised a Mushishi post, so here we are!

I really tried to keep this article simple and straightforward. Rather than writing a bunch of analysis for the sake of analysis, this is a post through the point of view of an artist. As an artist, how would you go about making an anime like Mushishi? What influences do you draw upon? How do you convey it through art and in words?

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