If you asked me at the beginning of 2014 what I thought of Love Live, I would’ve responded with mild indifference. I’d heard of it, sure, but only vaguely; I knew it was some anime series that involved characters who were idols and, despite my enthusiasm for the much-beloved Idolmaster, the Love Live series remained something of an enigma to me. For one, I thought it was ‘the low profile’ Idolmaster, and the character designs, at first glance, seemed nothing out of the ordinary. I figured it was just another one-off moe-moe idol anime series that wasn’t really worthy of my attention.
As the first part in a series of Love Live related posts, I am pleased to kick things off with the mechanism that enabled my glorious fandom: the mobile game Love Live! School Idol Festival.
Slice of life comedies are a dime a dozen in the anime world. If you ask me, it feels like the genre can mask bad storytelling while simultaneously providing studios the creative freedom to basically do anything in the name of comedy, and ecchi fanservice is typically one of the first attributes thrown around for no reason. The Pet Girl of Sakurasou definitely doesn’t shy away from these provisions, but it manages to steer away from being labelled as overly shallow with its very normal coming-of-age plot. That, and an interesting set of main characters to really grab viewers from the get-go. (more…)
Something I find interesting about many anime fans is their apparent lack of knowledge and interest in Japanese light novels. Typically, anime are not the first form of media released for a franchise due to the large production costs involved, so most animated series draw from existing source material that has already run the gauntlet of scrutiny by a particularly judgmental fanbase. There are some exceptions, of course, like Cowboy Bebop, Madoka Magica, and series based on video games, but more often than not you’re going to find source material in manga, visual novels, and light novels. While manga definitely has a thriving fanbase and community in the west, it’s much harder to find fans of light novels. It’s a shame, if you ask me. (more…)
I’ll just say it: the girls with guns genre is pretty well-represented in anime. Noir, Madlax and El Cazador de la Bruja were all stylish depictions of girls with guns that managed to present some mature themes and relationships while not skimping on the stylish action, and though the trilogy has long since ended, it’s not like anime’s trying to get away from gun-toting female protagonists or anything. Aria the Scarlet Ammo and the upcoming Sword Art Online arc are evidence enough. But recently, another spiritual trilogy seems to have emerged in a related genre, which I can only informally dub “military moe,” starting with Strike Witches and Upotte!, and rounded off by the recent anime season’s conclusion of Girls und Panzer. (more…)
Disclaimer: I’ve tried my best to tread lightly on many topics throughout this post. If you are headhunting in search of charged words or semantics in regard to mature themes, then you are missing the point. Take my words as opinion, observation and as a forum for discussion, and not to further a hidden agenda.
It’s no secret that one of the current trends in anime is widespread moeblob. Chalk it up to a combination of evolving art styles and public appeal. Another interesting trend, at least within the past few years, is the abundance of brocon or siscon as main features of recent series. Here, I don’t just mean minor subtext like in True Tears or Gundam SEED. I’m talking about series that present relationships between siblings, not necessarily blood-related, as a main theme. (more…)