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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The second season of Bojack Horseman ends quietly with titular character Bojack going on a jog up a hill. His life, for lack of a better term, seems like an inescapable dumpster fire; and this early step in trying once more to turn it around seems physically impossible. He proclaims running to be terrible and everything to be the worst, and then he drops to the ground in exhaustion. A stranger approaches him and gives him a piece of advice:
“It gets easier. Every day it gets a little easier. But you gotta do it every day. That’s the hard part. But it does get easier”
As you may have noticed, this blog has been pretty dead over the last few months. Meanwhile, my content stream for Funcurve has continued and I’ve just neglected posting any of it here. So in the interest of consistency I’ve decided I’ll just post everything I’ve done since then right here. Links to it all can be found after the break.