NOTE: This is a rewrite of two pieces I wrote last year for Funcurve. You can find links to the original posts here and here.
At the very beginning of Revolutionary Girl Utena we’re given a fable-like tale of a girl whose parents have died. She meets a prince in a fateful encounter, and that prince empowers her with the will to keep pushing forward. And so she decides from then on that her dream is to become a prince herself. That girl in question is Utena Tenjou. “Is that really such a good idea?”, says the narrator. After all we surely understand that princes are men and princesses are women. But that doesn’t really mean a whole lot to Utena. Utena is willing to dream, and even if she doesn’t yet fully understand the weight of her own convictions they’re still a defiant gesture — defiant of all our entrenched social norms. Utena’s one hope of making her dream a reality is to bring revolution to the world. It’s a tall order for a 14 year old but she’s giving it a shot. Her dreams will be challenged, they’ll be crushed, they’ll be rebuilt, and they’ll be re-evaluated. This is Utena’s quest for revolution.
Continue reading “Adolescence Apocalypse: Utena Tenjou Character Analysis”
I think Puella Magi Madoka Magica is pretty neat. I wrote about it not too long ago but it’s a series I frequently feel compelled to write about. I probably consider it my all time favourite anime series, whatever the heck that’s worth. It’s a series of great craft and empathy.
One of its biggest achievements is how it pulls off its core mystery elements, which isn’t an easy thing to do. Make no mistake, there are a ton of stories that handle mystery really badly. They can be hollow or even downright deceptive. Some would even accuse Madoka Magica of this, but I’m going to make the case that it’s quite the opposite. Madoka Magica is a series that gets mystery.
Continue reading “Madoka, Mysteries & Plot Twists”
One of the reasons Neon Genesis Evangelion stands as one of anime’s biggest cultural icons is the boldness of its framing and shot composition. Nothing that came before it and very little that came after conveys quite as many things as Evangelion does in the dynamic composition of its space. Most vividly this is seen in the construction of Shinji’s space, cold and distant by default but veering on tense and claustrophobic in moments of conflict. In the first episode of Evangelion alone there’s a lot to pick at in the way Shinji is framed, and we’re going to do just that.
Continue reading “Evangelion Episode 1 and Framing”
I have no hesitation when saying there has never been a better time to be a fan of western animated television. More things have grown on me, blown my expectations away, touched me and brought me to tears from this medium than ever before. But none with the sheer emotional gravitas of Bojack Horseman. That a sneering pop culture satire built around so many unlikeable individuals could carry this much sincerity and vulnerability itself is a feat well beyond many of its peers, but that it never lets go of that dignified seriousness and takes it into so many dark and extraordinary places is what puts it at the apex of its craft. ‘Fish Out of Water’ is at once one of the most ambitious and most tragic episodes of the series. It’s wonderful, it’s funny, it’s experimental, it’s deeply painful, it’s Bojack Horseman.
Continue reading “The Beauty and Sadness of Bojack Horseman’s ‘Fish Out of Water’”
Let’s talk about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Yes, that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The once revered and controversial show about cartoon horses learning the magic of friendship is still going strong with a seventh season and a feature film on their way later this year, but it seems to have more years behind it than ahead of it at this point. The viewer base and the overall enthusiasm towards the series has seen a significant drop-off, and most notable fandom personalities have moved on to other things (sometimes as in the case of Digibro much bigger things). There’s been a lot of reasons for this, both specific personal reasons and reasons that broadly reflect the current state of the series. Putting aside fandom drama I want to talk about the direction the show has gone in and how that’s sparked disinterest.
Continue reading “What happened to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic?”
Broadly speaking we tend to see society become a little more open towards different groups over time, and with that comes slowly but surely increasing media representation of them. A cynical way to look at this is that it’s simply because their existence has become profitable, and that’s certainly a very valid way to look at it given the slew of middlebrow oscar bait exploiting historical prejudice and hamfisted tokenism. A more positive way to see it is that media representation gives us a platform to humanise different groups, to become aware of their existence and their validity as individuals. I believe both perspectives can be true at once, and in that sense there needs to be conscious thought about how representation is implemented.
Continue reading “On Representation”
Casey Neistat explains his philosophy very simply in the video Life Explained in 27 Seconds: “Life is like going the wrong way on a moving sidewalk. Walk and you stay put. Stand still and you go backwards. To get ahead you have to hustle”. Casey Neistat is always moving.
Continue reading “Life and Creativity with Casey Neistat”