My Top 8 Favorite Anime of 2018

2018 was a big year for me, anime-wise. I really started keeping up with the anime reviewing community, particularly Anifem and ANN, and that meant I jumped on a bunch of series and had a lot of great finds.

I figured that a top 8 list would be fitting. I ruled out continuing series and kept it to stuff that debuted in 2018, but Golden Kamuy and My Hero Academia are still good. Also March Comes Like a Lion is the BEST, I don’t care if I haven’t finished it, it’s a fantastic, breathtaking drama with amazing characters everyone should watch and would totally be number one on this list if it was eligible.

These aren’t exactly ranked, since I have a hard time doing that with stuff I like, but the anime I found most impressive is nearer to the bottom.

Honorary mentions for Skull faced Bookseller Honda-san which was a thoroughly good time and Violet Evergarden which was pretty and had some episodes that made me cry.

How to Keep a Mummy

image

Let all easily-offended anime fans choke over the fact I choose this cheap-looking fluffy show over daring artsy stuff like Devilman Crybaby and the like. This adorable series about a boy and his friends adopting miniature fantasy animals is charming as heck

This show just really clicked with me, and its honestly my go-to when I really need to calm down from my anxiety. The characters are so sweet and likable, the atmosphere is so pleasant and the cute fantasy animal shenanigans hit my sweet spot. It’s a thoroughly soothing experience, but it also has enough of an “edge” to keep me from getting bored, since it gently touches on stuff like anxiety over losing pets you love and so on. Full review here.

Zombieland Saga

image

Part idol show, part killer comedy, Zombieland Saga has a loveable cast of quirky undead girls to enjoy. It goes all out with its body horror gags and outrageous slapstick, but still manages to have a lot of heart underneath it all- and that’s not just referring to one that routinely bursts out of girl’s chest cavity.

The show is about a group of misfits bonding together to find a life after death- and though they become a team of idols, they’re idols who ultimately celebrate weirdness and individuality. There’s even a ridiculous delinquent girl, which is one of my weaknesses. And shoutout to the show for having a trans character in the group, who is treated with empathy rather than derision and ultimately accepted.

I do feel the arc that wrapped up the show was kind of “meh”, and I have some trepidation about what was revealed about the girls’ manager but the stronger episodes and fun characters make up for it. I’m also intrigued to see bits of a larger plot start to form- I’m genuinely curious to see where the show goes and looking forward to more. Full review incoming!

Planet With

image

Planet With follows an amnesiac boy who lives with a cat monster and quirky maid-looking girl, who task him with fighting the local superheroes in a cat robot. This anime goes full-speed-ahead, balls-to-the-wall and never lets up, packing in more story, twists and climactic battles in its 12 episodes than a lot of anime do in 50. Yet the entire thing remains cohesive, engaging and fun while taking the time to explore cycles of violence and the power of empathy and forgiveness. It has solid characters, a strong story and is just a good time overall. I feel like this anime was really overlooked by many this year, so I only hope more people will discover this hidden gem as time goes on. Full review here.

Hinamatsuri 

image

This comedy about a yakuza thug who is dragged into being the guardian of a psychic girl is all the wacky found family shenanigans you could ever want. The characters are entertaining, the twists are unexpected and it is full of great girls. It can also be surprisingly touching and empathetic in how it deals with things like homelessness. It avoids the skeezy and uncomfortable aspects a lot of anime comedies has an remains a fun time throughout. The animation is also wonderfully expressive. Full review here.

Continue reading “My Top 8 Favorite Anime of 2018”

Advertisements

More Anime Openings I Adore

Because I couldn’t contain myself, here are a few more of my favorite OPs. These are either a). OPs I love but have to admit are not perfect or remarkable on a technical level or b) OPs I think are really good but one aspect just doesn’t completely click with me.

Toradora Opening 1

This OP is so darn catchy and cute. I can’t watch it without remembering how equally cute and fun this show was and being overcome with affection. The visuals of this opening don’t fully keep up with the energy of the song in places- but that doesn’t matter to me. It’s adorable! I also just adore the bouncy tune and pink and white silhouettes and aahhhh.

And Taiga’s glares in it are A-plus. Seriously, I love a good intimidating glare from a girl and the one she gives at the beginning gave me chills the first time I saw it. I also love the quick succession of shots of the girls being badass in their different ways at the end- this show had SUCH GOOD GIRLS and watching this OP reminds me of that and isn’t that all that matters?

Xam’d: Lost Memories Opening

Ahhhh I remember I could never skip this OP when watching the show. I just love how it starts out with the characters tapping their feet to the music, I love the cool backgrounds, and I especially love that is just has this whole sequence with a monster chasing everyone and the Captain casually defeating it with her bigass fuck-off gun. It’s so well animated and an exhilarating action sequence that allows you to see the dynamics of the squad instantly.

However, much as I love it, I’ll admit storywise it kinds falls apart at the end. Akiyuki, why did you throw away those perfectly good apples you took the trouble to get? Why did you turn into your robot-creature-whatever form only to instantly transform back and get a letter? It looks cool, but these questions distract me. Still, great OP that always got me pumped to watch the show.

A Certain Scientific Railgun Opening 1 

I adore this OP with all my heart and soul, and that’s almost 100% because the song is banger and the opening and ending shots are super badass. However, I will admit the visuals in the middle fail to keep up with the energy of the song, which is shame, because like, this song was clearly specifically written for the show. You’d think they’d be having an action scene during the whole “only my railgun can shoot it” part of the song but nope, they decided that was the time for a long shot of Misaka on a train. The song basically carries the OP, with the visuals in the middle being somewhat slow and generic.

But that doesn’t matter because I love the opening bit- it looks so badass and actually syncs with the music- and I adore the end shot of Misaka using her powers too. It’s just beautifully animated, and that utterly makes up for the lacking visuals in the rest of the OP for me.

…And 2

The second opening of a show is a little more action heavy and well synced with the music and also has a bangin’ song.

Erased Opening

Honestly, this one is a near-perfect OP- I debated whether to put it in my 15 favorite OPs for a long time. The song is really intense and memorable and I really like how it incorporates the time travel motif and represents it via film- the beginning shows the main character in a theater with his younger self, then later you have the film spinning by as the character’s silhouette writhes in the background and he reverts to his younger self. I also really like how even the shots in this OP that seem random and generic are actually REALLY significant to the plot of the show- there’s a lot of clues to how the plot plays out. For once, the OP focusing on random empty classrooms and fields is actually REALLY significant to a reoccurring motif in the show. The show gets extra points for making a change to the OP in one of the later episodes that reflects the events of the episode in a chilling way.

Continue reading “More Anime Openings I Adore”

Some of my Go-To Youtubers (reposted Patreon Post)

The $5 tier on my patreon allows people to nominate/vote on one post a month- about anything!  This is one of those posts, which I did on Tumblr back in September. Go to my patreon here to learn more.

I haven’t really gone DEEP into Youtube, but i do have a few channels I’m subscribed to or that I frequently visit I wouldn’t mind talking up. I’m a media analysis geek, as y’all can tell, so I love me some good video essays on pop culture, social issues and whatnot. Here’s some channels I visit and recommend if you share my tastes

Lindsay Ellis– She has a ton of thoughtful and funny examinations of media and pop culture trends. Her videos are well-researched, detailed and I learn a lot from them! Example: Her Hobbit documentary is especially of note, its worthy of being shown in theaters- I had no idea about the actors strike or any of that, but it’s fascinating. She also did a great piece on the Shape-of-Water-style “monster boyfriend” throughout the history of media and why marginalized communities in particular are drawn to that archetype.

Jenny Nicholson She has a great dry sense of humor and really takes on the weirdness of the internet and is excellent at eviscerating bad or mediocre movies. Unlike a lot of Youtubers, she’s not pretentious or pedantic about it- she can often get you to think about why these stories exist and how they can be improved. Example: Recently she did a video of some of those silly “dark rituals” they post on the Internet, I cracked up through the whole thing. She also destroyed The Greatest Showman in a satisfying way that I appreciated after being forced to see it.

Sarah Z-She has some really thorough and thoughtful essays on the kind of media I’m interested in. She’s especially good at explaining some of the social criticisms and breaking down why the concerns of *deep voice*SOciAL JuSticE WaRriors can be worth listening to.  I’m often nodding along, but occasionally I learn something new. Examples: She completely eviscerated Riverdale and the Heathers reboot in a satisfying way and recently did a good comparison of the Series of Unfortunate Events adaptations. She also has a good breakdown on what is and isn’t “queerbaiting”.

ProZD: I post his stuff a lot on here, so it shouldn’t surprise you. Very funny skits about important subjects like anime, video games and cats. A lot of geekery to be found here, and I enjoy how he handled Q and A’s too.

Press Buttons ‘n Talk– My fave Lets Play channel. ProZd and Manky are both incredible voice actors and have bought me to tears of laughter on several occasions. Anne Marie’s always a blast too. Example: an entire, voice acted lets play of the first two Ace Attorney games, I’ve introduced people to the series via these, they’ve been invaluable. I also recommend the Hamtaro playthrough.

Gibi– My go-to ASMR person. She has a very soothing voice and does a lot of fun role-play skits based in various fandoms (a lot of anime) and its a good way for me to calm down.  Her Team Rocket skits are genuinely funny, she clearly adores the characters.

Honorary mentions:

Continue reading “Some of my Go-To Youtubers (reposted Patreon Post)”

Favorite Anime Movies

The $5 tier on my patreon allows people to nominate/vote on one post a month- about anything!  This is one of those posts. Go to my patreon here to learn more.

Out of the nominations I’ve received from patrons, I chose a post on my favorite anime movies! I’m afraid I’ve watched a ton less anime movies than series, so there probably won’t be a ton of surprises here.

Favorites Anime Movies List

Movies by Hayao Miyazaki– It’s no surprise this tops the list- any movie of his is worth a look, as are Studio Ghibli movies in general. My favorites of his work are Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Kiki’s Delivery Serviceand Spirited Away. It’s apparently a bit unusual to have Nausicaa as a favorite, but it was my first time really paying attention to a Ghibli movie, I think it’s wonderfully told and I just love the protagonist- a compassionate friend-to-all-animals warrior princess who is deeply invested in giant mutant bugs. Spirited Away is just a masterpiece with a vibrant fantasy world and colorful characters and Kiki’s is deeply heartwarming and has a lot of great things to say about inspiration, growing up and the creative process.

Whisper of the Heart- This is hands-down my favorite non-Miyazaki Ghbli movie. As a writer, I connected it so powerfully, it really depicts the struggle honestly while being a great coming of age story. I feel like the main character is probably the closest person I’ve ever found to me in a story- she just felt so real and grounded. I too both love and hate to write, flop on the floor in despair and would follow a random cat for miles.

image

In this Corner of the World I saw this one recently and was blown away. It can be a little confusing at times, but it’s ultimately a story about finding a way to live when war is tearing everything around you apart. It’s a slice of life with soft colors and lovely animation, but it’s set during WWII and the main character is from and lives near Hiroshima, so I don’t need to tell you it gets dark. But there’s always hope as well.

Wolf Children Ame and Yuki- This is a great, bittersweet tale of a single (human) mother raising two werewolf children. It’s adorable and also quite sad at times, but it really impresses on you  both the struggle and strength of this mother  raising kids on her own, while also exploring these children who grow and try to navigate a world where they are so different from other humans.

image

Millennium Actress This is my favorite Satoshi Kon movie by far. It’s follows the story of an aged actress and shows how her long and vibrant career intertwined with her search for a man she was in love with (who was a protester of the Sino-Japanese war on the run from the law). It uses the various movies the actress was a part of to represent the different stages of the woman’s life, so it often suddenly switches genres- one second it’s a samurai movie, the next it’s a space drama- and it becomes hard to separate the actress herself from the parts she plays. It’s visually and narratively stunning and a trippy look at how deeply joined art and artist can be.

Movies that are spin-offs of an anime series

Continue reading “Favorite Anime Movies”

Fifteen Favorite Anime Openings

“Favorite anime openings” was nominated on my patreon to be this month’s special tumblr post.   (Check out my patreon if you want to be in on all the goodies!)

Unfortunately, this unleashes a MONSTER because I love anime openings. I love watching them. The best ones get you so excited to watch the show. They can contain gorgeous animation and imagery. I like to discover songs through them, and I like to watch the ones for shows I love when I’m feeling down because it reminds me of all the stuff I love. It’s like a mini amv or music video or whatever and I’m alllll about those.

AND IT TURNS OUT TUMBLR ONLY LETS YOU EMBED 5 VIDEOS AT TIME AND OBVIOUSLY THAT WOULDN’T DO so I turned to this blog.

My favorites were pretty hard for me to pick,. I decided to go with the ones that I love that were excellent on BOTH a visual and musical level and the visuals were really timed cohesively with the song. They tend to be from shows I actually like too. I just like ops more when I actually am attached to the characters.

Also, I chose to put openings everyone and their mother hasn’t seen near the top and more popular/obviously-I’m-gonna-put-this anime on the bottom, so hopefully more people can appreciate the less well-known openings. Check ‘em out, they introduce you to a great show!

Natsume Yuujinchou Roku Opening

The imagery in this opening is so flippin’ gorgeous that immediately after seeing it I posed an excited photoset, as some of you may remember. The song is calming too. It’s so tranquil, and exquisite, celebrating personal growth and natural beauty. perfectly reflecting the warm, lovely, soothing tone of the show it comes from.

(I’m trying to keep these to one op per show, but I also love the Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou  op, which starts out showing these empty spaces…then goes back to them at the end and shows them through Natsume’s eyes, and we see yokai were there all along. It’s very cool).

Michiko to Hatchin Opening

I looove the aesthetic of this opening and the jazzy, jaunty tune. The bold, tropical colors that switch from scene to scene, seeing Michiko expertly outrace the cops on her scooter while Hana clings on- it captures the energy and cheekiness of the show so well. My only qualm is the nude images of Michiko being kinda eye-rolly, but even they’re done more tastefully than most anime would manage.

Chihayafuru 2 opening

This is another opening so pretty I remember post screencaps celebrating its prettiness. I love how the card game aspect is incorporated, with the words/characters floating around in circles and Chihaya eventually grasping one, I love the sequence where the younger versions of the main characters are framed with card shapes, but then bb Chihaya breaks out of the frame when she excitedly grabs her friends… and I love the leaf blowing by as younger Chihaya turns to the older one. It also all really syncs well with the song, so it feels cohesive.

Nichijou Opening 1:

This is a perfect example of an OP reflecting the energy and zaniness of the show it comes from. The wacky imagery is non-stop and lets you know just how weird these characters are, and the song is frantic and contains several different melodies and it makes your head spin. It packs so much in that the OP actually feels longer than it is, and that’s impressive. But it still comes together to be an enjoyable watch and listen.

I actually might like the melody and energy of opening 2 of this anime even more, that op is also pretty obviously meant to be a viewed as a sequel to the first one (its style and format being the same and also there’s callbacks). Since they’re a matching set I figure part one should be the one on the list.

March Comes in Like a Lion Opening 3:

March Comes in Like a Lion has many gorgeous openings, but I think this one is my favorite. The eye-candy visuals, the arc, the warmth of it all…and the action matches the pretty song and even the lyrics are taken into account. I did a full breakdown of the OP here.

Continue reading “Fifteen Favorite Anime Openings”

Summer 2018 anime from Weakest to Strongest (Quick Summaries and Tumblr Links)

I watched six anime during the Summer 2018 anime season and I’ve now written full length reviews on tumblr for each of them! So here my personal rankings of what I watched from weakest to strongest. Each anime title links to my in-depth review of said series, so feel free to click! For all the reviews at once, please see my anime overview tag here.

I wouldn’t call any of the anime on this list bad, nor would I give any a blanket anti-recommendation for any of them. It’s just some of these series were weaker than others in my opinion and there’s ups and downs and things to warn for. Hope you enjoy and find it useful!

Banana Fish (episodes 1-12)

Eiji meets a seventeen-year-old gangster named Ash Lynx on a trip to New York and is quickly pulled into a world of violence and conspiracies.

When we judge this series as an adaptation, its definitely the weakest thing I watched, because the modern update of this 80s manga is almost entirely superficial and that can be quite jarring. We’re supposed to believe this is set today, but the narrative is extremely 80s and some of the conversations the characters have don’t make much sense in a modern setting. Though the story is something that’s fascinating and valuable taken in the context of its place in the history of shoujo manga, removing it from that context doesn’t do it any favors.

There’s charm to both the characters and the sweetness of the romantic relationship between Ash and Eiji, but a lot of the content is both endlessly and melodramatically tragic and also potentially triggering. Definitely be prepared for a TON of rape, csa, abuse, violence and murder if you watch this.

Phantom in the Twilight

Bailieu Ton arrives in London expecting an exciting college life, but instead ends up on a quest to rescue her best friend who has been kidnapped by demons. She finds allies in a gang of supernatural young men who were acquainted with her magically powerful great-grandmother.

While the plot is mediocre and the animation even moreso, this series shows its value in being an otome story that has a truly awesome leading lady. Ton is dynamic, self-possessed, has a strong friendship with another girl and she kicks a TON of ass. She has a fun relationship with her squad of boy-toys and is always on equal footing with them and the few times any of them try to act controlling they are called out hard.. So if you want a reverse-harem story/paranormal romance that features a more active heroine and jettisons the more toxic tropes that pervade the genre, this is a good choice, even if the narrative itself is nothing to write home about.

My Hero Academia (episodes 52-63)

Izuku Midoriya continues his quest to become the greatest superhero and takes his hero provisional license exams.

This is probably among the weakest arcs MHA has had so far, though it still has its fair share of entertaining and worthwhile moments, not to mention one truly excellent episode. The characters introduced at the very end of the season have potential too. Mostly it was an enjoyable enough watch, but definitely didn’t live up to the high-stakes thrills of the arc before it.

Cell at Work!

Anthropomorphized cells do their best to keep the body they inhabit alive and well.

This is an extremely cute edutainment show. It’s nothing mindblowing, and the narration can be a bit much, but if you want an adorable, fun time that teaches you a little something about the human body, this is a good choice. Also I want to marry NK Cell.

Planet With

Soya Kuroi is an amnesiac boy living with with a weird cat monster and a cheerful but mysterious girl dressed like a maid and his life gets even stranger when he’s told to jump in a giant robot and  fight the local superheroes.

These 12 episodes contained more plot and climatic moments than a lot of anime has in 50 episodes and despite the breakneck pace and huge amount of events packed in, it was extremely cohesive and solid story throughout. The characters were lovable and varied, there was a loft of thematic heft to the series exploration of pacifism and freedom vs justice and security, it was goofy and weird while also being emotional heartbreaking at times…I definitely recommend this show. It’s the full Wacky Space Mecha Anime experience in a compact package. Also, it has cool ladies.

Revue Starlight

Karen Aijou is doing her best at her Takarazuka theatre school, only for everything to change when her childhood friend Hikari suddenly transfers in. She follows Hikari down a mysterious elevator and discovers her friend is engaged in a bizarre swordfight competition to become the “Top Star”, preceded over by a talking giraffe.

If you love Takarazuka, theatre, sword fights,lesbians, weird metaphors, Revolutionary Girl Utena and other Ikuhara work or all of the above, I definitely recommend this show.. The series surreally and smartly explores Takarazuka, show biz and adolescence with lots of creative, beautifully animated musical fight scenes and contains a lot of twists and turns along the way. While I think it could have stood to be a bit longer, more in-depth and bit stronger with its characters, it’s definitely a series that’s fun to analyze and I’ve enjoyed a lot of the discussion that’s come out of it (see some linked in my review). Strap in for a wild ride and enjoy one of the Top Stars of the season.

Summer 2018 Anime Overviews (Ranked from Weakest to Strongest)

Once again, the season has ended and it’s time to take an in-depth look at the six anime that I’ve watched. I enjoyed all of them, but some were stronger than others, so they’re in order of weakest to strongest.

Banana Fish (Episodes 1-12)

banananfish23

(I’ve witnessed some drama on twitter, so I tried to be careful with my wording here- but I do express my discomfort and mixed feelings, so, up front, it anyone wants to start a fight about that I’m not interested. I tried to be fair but honest, so I want people to respect that. Also, this is LONG. My mixed feelings took a lot of explaining, it turns out. Warning for a lot of discussion of how fiction engages with csa and rape in general.)

Y’know, when I was thinking about how to approach reviewing Banana Fish, I had a weird realization. My experience watching it was  similar to the one I had watching Devilman Crybaby of all things. For both shows, there were a lot of times I didn’t really enjoy watching it in the traditional sense and I often felt pretty uncomfortable with it…but still found it really interesting from a media analysis standpoint, and found the conversation about it really interesting, so I kept watching. (Also I came to kinda care about the characters, even though the narrative seemed almost ludicrously hellbent on torturing them  so it felt kinda pointless to have any emotions about ‘em.)

And oddly, there are a lot of other similarities between the shows too? Both are adaptations of manga that was made around the 80s that have been updated so they’re set in the modern day, both seem to try really hard to be “shocking” but it’s just sort of exhausting at times and both have queer content that draws in the fandom, though that content is a mixed bag.

*(Also, both have issues with female characters. Banana Fish is no hellhole of titty monsters and sexual hang-ups, but it should be noted it barely has any women and when they do show up they get victimized to cause men angst).

image

Don’t get me wrong, though, Banana Fish is its own distinct thing. In fact the tone and construction of the narrative is very different, namely because unlike Crybaby, its aimed at women. The anime comes from a work that is fairly significant in shoujo manga history and its content falls well outside of how Western fandom think of “shoujo manga”.It’s a gritty, violent crime drama set in New York. The intense relationship between the leads was and is important to a lot of LGBT fans, as well as influential to many later works, BL and otherwise. So whether you like it or not, it has a deserved place in manga history.

The basic plot is Ash Lynx (not actually his real name, but the real one is even more ridic) is a 17 year old gangster trying to take down the man who indoctrinated him into gang life and also sexually abused him. On top of that, he has to protect his comatose brother, who somehow got in contact with a strange drug while in Iraq, one that caused him to go beserk and shoot his fellow soldiers. The only thing he said was “Banana Fish”, so Ash wants to know what the heck that means.

Ash runs into Eiji, a nineteen-year-old who came to New York from Japan. Despite the fact Eiji is fairly innocent and sheltered where Ash isn’t (or maybe because of it) he and Ash hit it off pretty quickly. But Eiji won’t remain innocent for long, because he’s quickly dragged into the gang drama.

image

So yep, that’s the summary. Hey, did you note that “Ash was sexually abused” part? Well, if you’re going to watch the show, prepare for an ENDLESS BARRAGE of that. The amount of horrible abuse and sexual trauma Ash has been through and goes through is honestly SO MUCH that you become numb to it very quickly- sometimes it almost feels like a parody. In addition to having the most tragic of tragic backstories, he’s threatened with rape at the rate of one or rmore times an episode- though this finally calms down around episode 11 (this is probably just a lull).

He’s not the only one though, Eiji and others get their fair share of sexual menace too, and one female character is implied to be raped…To its credit, the show does not show rape onscreen- it’s talked about a ton and we see both the aftermath and some “it’s about to happen, he’s been stripped” but not the act itself. The show also always takes it seriously and touched a bit on the culture of victim-blaming and whatnot-there’s discussion of how messed up it is to see the police asking a seven year old if he led his rapist on and Ash’s lasting trauma is taken very seriously.

image

And that’s fine and all but I cannot emphasize that there is. so much. It feels icky and a bit exploitative- but the whole issue is pretty hard for me to parse. It’s kind of interesting to see rape being discussed so frankly and seriously in anime. And considering the manga was from the 80s, I think the fact it DOES discuss it so frankly, and focuses on male victims, was probably eye-opening for a lot of people.

Anifem has a really good article talking with two Japanese LGBT fans about the series, and one says their eyes were opened to the fact boys could be raped and feel trauma from it by reading these series. The rape is never romanticized, it’s treated as truly despicable and I’ve seen pages from the manga on twitter where Ash point blank discusses how in his experience, rape is about wanting to have power over someone and hurt them, and not simple sexual attraction.

image

This was written by a woman and aimed at women, and Ash’s tragic life seems to be kind of a way to explore the a lot of the anxieties women grow up with regarding rape and sexual assault. It’s a way for women to engage with the horrors while also being a little bit distanced in it, since Ash is a different gender. I think that has value. It actually weirdly reminds me of a lot of fanfic I’ve read. It’s common to see young female authors pile ridiculous amount of trauma on pretty male characters in them, and it often feels like a young girl’s (often somewhat clumsy) way of engaging with the fears that occupy her mind.

I did it myself- I wrote a lot of stories about REALLY gratuitous sexual violence when I was around nine, where I took the worst possible sexual abuse that could happen to a girl and dumped it on my character, because READING about that kind of abuse had both fascinated me and given me a lot of anxiety, knowing this is a thing that could happen, that it had happened to a lot of kids. So I wrote a story that luridly described all kinds of sexual torture, in a pretty gross way, but also had the girl ultimately fight back and be saved. I kind of doubt Banana Fish will have a happy ending, but there is a similar catharsis in the fact that Ash fights back and takes revenge against his rapist and finds someone who will support him in Eiji.

image

Speaking of which, note that my character was a girl, whereas most young girls do this with boys. I wonder if it has to do with the fact there IS a romanticized aspect to these narratives, and I’m a lesbian, even if i didn’t know it back then. Because lets face it, it isn’t JUST about exploring trauma and issues that haunt us. There’s also this fantasy part of it- piling such gratuitous amounts trauma on these characters because the more  tragic they are, the more tantalizing the fantasy of being the one to “comfort them” or even “heal them” is. The idea of an oasis in someone’s tragic horrible life, of BEING that oasis, is a fantasy of many women.

And I definitely feel that in Banana Fish- Eiji is definitely the audience stand-in, as the naive outsider, and he’s definitely like, Ash’s wonderful oasis in his ludicrously shitty life who can bring out his softer side. Banana Fish is a smart enough narrative to know Eiji can’t “fix” Ash, but I can definitely feel like the audience is supposed to swoon at the idea of being the one to caress Ash’s wounded soul.

Is there a exploitative aspect to this whole “piling on ridic trauma because it gets you excited to think about being the one good thing in this tragic hot person’s life?” That really depends on perspective , I guess. it does get uncomfortable for me with the emphasis on how hot Ash is all the time- even when he’s suffering. It’s YMMV I guess.

Continue reading “Summer 2018 Anime Overviews (Ranked from Weakest to Strongest)”