Saturday, 8 July 2017

Changing Tastes in Anime

I started actively looking for and watching anime when I was fourteen years old when my then step-dad's friend brought home a disk of twenty episodes of Dragonball for me, since I told him I used to watch a lot of Pokemon and Sailor Moon. I say watch, but I was basically obsessed with those two shows. I even sang the opening for Pokemon live in front of the whole school during a student talent show and people talked about it for years because of how bad it was.

But that is neither here nor there. My point is that back then I used to be really into, not the typical shonen like Naruto or Bleach (those never really stuck with me for some reason), but still fantastical shows like Death Note or Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann among many others. But as the years passed by, I started to loose the interest in anime for a few years, thinking that I had outgrown it.

But a somewhere around two years ago I got back into anime in a big way. Not to the extent that I was before, where I could binge-watch a show in a day because I just don't have that kind of time these days with work and other things. But what I noticed was that those fantastical and over the top shows didn't captivate me as much as they once did. These days, when I watch an episode or two of a shonen series (with an exception for Jojo's Bizarre Adventure) I find myself becoming kind of bored and thinking "I've seen this so many times before".

So what are the shows that captivate me these days? While I still like some space operas or fantasy shows, it's the more grounded stories about normal people and their relationships that interest me and can keep me watching for hours on end. Sure, the shows can be a bit silly and comedic. But at the end of the day we get to follow actual people in situations that you can relate to, be it in high school or adult life instead of a person piloting a giant mech, which is a thing you will never do in real life.

It was also recently I found my great passion for yuri and shoujo ai manga, which is something that I would never have imagined myself reading when I was fifteen years old. That and I am also more open these days to watching different things like Yuri On Ice, which became one of my favorite series in recent memory.

So what made me want to write about this was sitting down and watching Tsuki Ga Kirei and just thinking about how it really hooked me and made me want to watch more straight from episode one. How a show about two kids in middle school and them growing up could be so captivating to me. I think it's because we've all been there. Being the awkward kid in a new class trying to find what group of friends you fit into. It's just more relatable than someone being stuck in a video game for example. But that's just my opinion of course and yours might be totally different and I would be really interested to hear if and how your tastes in anime have changed over the years.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

First Impressions: Netsuzou Trap -NTR-

As a really big yuri and shoujo ai fan, I must sadly say that anime has never really had a good track record with adapting yuri and shoujo ai manga. Most of the adaptations and original series we do get end up leading up to the kiss or the big confession between the girls and never explore a homosexual relationship between two girls, until now. This year we are getting adaptations of two of the biggest yuri series, Citrus and Netsuzou Trap, the later of which released on Crunchyroll just a few hours ago.

I have not read all of Netsuzou Trap, mostly because I find it kind of uncomfortable, yet very intriguing to read. Why? Because while the series does explore an actual romantic relationship between two girls and the questions about ones sexuality that comes with that. But the problem is that these two girls are already in relationships with their respective boyfriends. One of them, Mizushina Hotaru is knowingly cheating on her boyfriend by kind of forcefully engaging with Kamuka Ai, making her question her feelings for her boyfriend. While the idea of cheating on your significant other does not appeal to me in any way, I am still very intrigued by how far this series was willing to go in comparison to most of the other yuri and shoujo ai anime that I have watched over the years.

The art style and animation of the show is not really anything to write home about. It has these typical soft pastel colors and there is not much impressive movement, not that I expected that from a show like this. One thing that I will mention though, is that the lighting looks amazing in some scenes.

The only thing that did actually annoy me while watching this is how short the episodes are. They are only ten minutes long and with both an opening and ending that only gives us around seven minutes of actual show to watch, which is kind of disapointing since I think that the show would only gain from having the usual twenty minute episodes, giving them a lot more time for character development.

But I will definitely keep watching this show since it is one of the few and far between yuri shows that actually explores a homosexual relationship between two girls, even if the context makes me really uncomfortable. Netsuzou Trap - NTR is available to watch on Crunchyroll!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Review: Anonymous Noise

So a few days ago I was bored and sat down bored in front of Crunchyroll looking for something to watch and I saw this picture to the left. I've seen K-ON, Sound Euphonium, I really like anime about music and this girl is holding a guitar, so why not give this a shot. Anonymous Noise follows Arisugawa Nino, also known as Alice, a weird girl who always wears a mask and headphones, who sings a nostalgic melody by the beach every morning.

Why is she doing this? Because six years ago she experienced two heart-wrenching partings and has been singing towards the sea ever since, bound by the promise made with her two childhood friends, her first love Momo Sasaki and Kanade "Yuzu" Yuzuriha who used to compose music for her back then, that they would be able to use her voice as a beacon if they were ever to be separated.

I really liked Anonymous Noise, since I have a fondness for anime following bands and people playing music, because it is not often you get to hear actual songs in anime that are good and are not only background and ambient tracks. That being said, the series is not without it's problems. My main issue is that the dramatic turns never let up, every episode has some kind of major dramatic turn and sure, I understand that the reason their doing that is because the show is meant to be watched on a weekly basis and I binge-watched it over three days, which made these issues more apparent to me.

But another thing that I really do like is the very evocative character design with it's large expressive eyes and mostly tall, lanky and not very moe character designs, which is a really nice change of pace. The only thing that bothers me here is Nino's mask that she always wears. It looks silly and I can't help but to think that it was a choice made to save money on animation rather than good design, but that might just be me.

But the best part of this show was definitely the music. Every scene that had the characters playing music had me hooked. The animation when playing instruments is not on the level of K-ON, but the musical scenes and the music is just so full of passion and the songs are actually really so good that I would really like to buy the songs from the show and have them on my iPhone.

At the end of the day, I really enjoyed Anonymous Noise, even if it might be a little flawed and I really tend to enjoy the shoujo genre. Anonymous Noise is available to watch on Crunchyroll!