I used to be an avid defender of sorts for slice of life anime. Now I’m less enamored by most of them but they’re still an easy watch. If Kyoto Animation’s works stand as the peak of the genre then Doga Kobo would be the middle point, generally not hitting the craft or subtlety of a K-ON! but usually being competent at fun character animation and comedic timing. To that end the first season of New Game! is well up to par, a standard slice of life wrapped in a mellow workplace story with a few good laughs and some surprising sincerity.
Continue reading “New Game! (2016) Review”
Sonic Adventure 2 is a pretty good game. The original Sonic Adventure was overflowing with ideas and constantly vying to be on the cutting edge of its era, but it spread itself thin and ended up being seen as an awkward product of its time. By contrast Sonic Adventure 2 is a noticeably tighter game, with a more singular and solid focus that brings everything into a more complete experience. It’s a similarly bumpy ride to the original, but it manages to hit a lot more highs along the way.
Sonic is… well, Sonic. Very few things can compare to the way people react to Sonic. The adoration, the hatred, the obsession, the ridicule. For a lot of years I was an outside observer of the strange roller-coaster phenomenon of Sonic despite dabbling in most of the games. But thanks to the stellar Sonic Mania I’ve become genuinely hooked. I’ve been able to fully appreciate the original games for being truly great platformers but probably more importantly I’ve started to find the personality of the series endearing – quirks and all. So here I am with that mindset getting into the nearly 20 year old Sonic Adventure for the first time.
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.
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.
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.
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.