Adolescence Apocalypse: Utena Tenjou Character Analysis

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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.

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Madoka, Mysteries & Plot Twists

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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.

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Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade (2015) Review

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Little Witch Academia: Enchanted Parade, even more so than its predecessor, embodies the sheer fundamental joy of animation. The sincere joy of seeing images come alive, images bound only by the limits of imagination coming into motion. Enchanted Parade is sometimes breezy and whimsical, sometimes awesome, sometimes funny, sometimes intense. But through genuine mastery it makes all those moods look like second nature. It’s Little Witch Academia‘s ongoing love letter to the traditions of animation and so much more.

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The Idolmaster Movie: Beyond the Brilliant Future! (2014) Review

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For a business as manufactured and suspect as the idol industry we sure do see a lot of well-crafted anime surrounding it. Of all the ones I’ve seen I found The iDOLM@STER to stand above the rest of the pack, bringing together an ensemble of incredibly talented animators to create a work filled with endearing subtlety and tons and tons of engaging vignettes and little narratives. The iDOLM@STER Movie is essentially cut from the same cloth, a continuation of all the little things that made the original series great in an extended feature-length format.

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The Re-Watch Pile: Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011)

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Every time I watch Puella Magi Madoka Magica it reverberates through me for days. It sticks to me aesthetically, thematically and emotionally and refuses to let go. It’s often noted that Madoka is a “dark” series, and in many ways that’s true. It’s filled with loss and tragedy and a hint of existential dread. It acknowledges and understands the struggle of humanity in a troubled world that can’t begin to value all our sacrifices, contained in a universe where the way we think and feel is utterly miniscule. And yet it’s ultimately a tale of hope.

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Quick Reviews – Pokémon Origins

Pokémon Origins is a refreshing slightly grittier take on the Pokémon world, that much is true. Its battles are slightly more violent than the main anime series, its character designs and voice acting are more grounded and mature and generally it fulfils my childhood desire to see a more serious anime about an actual Pokémon game. So for all of that I think this is a pretty cool thing. But on the whole Pokémon Origins is more or less just a serviceable slice of fanservice.

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Quick Reviews – Little Witch Academia

I watched the original Little Witch Academia short way back when it was all the rage and I got plenty out of it. I thought it was cute and fun and engaging, a sign that Studio Trigger was a force to be reckoned with in the industry. But it’s only rewatching it now that I appreciate its craft. It’s an absolute pleasure of a work that almost anyone can find something to appreciate in, and it’s full of all sorts of little details that make that possible.

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Funcurve Summer 2016 Anime Roundup

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In the interest of getting enough sleep for Wrestlemania (which begins in the morning in this tragic timezone) I’ve decided to delay today’s article. Instead I figured I would give an update on Funcurve. In light of personal struggles I stopped being able to contribute to the site and eventually moved to just being a guest writer, but before I stopped contributing as an actual writer I did some more articles on the Summer 2016 Anime season. You can find them after the break. Enjoy!

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Evangelion Episode 1 and Framing

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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.

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Recent Funcurve Content Roundup

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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.

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