Shiki – An Analytical Breakdown Part 1

I’m back! After a long hiatus, here is my newest article. I hope you enjoy it.

Shiki is a series that has long remained in the back of my mind since my first viewing two years ago. At the time, my general impression was that it was a compelling and powerful story that took an overly long time to get moving. All I can say now is that my viewpoint on the series has changed significantly since my first viewing, and I would say I feel much more positive about it now than I did then. I hope I am able to explain here why Shiki is such a captivating and well-made story.

Shiki is a story that bears shocking similarities to some historical plays or pieces of classic literature – in my view bearing a significant similarity to Arthur Miller’s 1953 play ‘The Crucible’. From what I am able to tell, I can be fairly confident that this was the intention of the novel series’ original author, Fuyumi Ono. While I have not read the novel, I can confidently say that this piece of structural similarity was most definitely portrayed by the anime adaptation.

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Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Miyazaki’s Overall Mindset

Hayao Miyazaki’s 1982 manga Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind paints an interesting picture of a world where nature has slowly begun the process of reabsorbing itself and starting anew. This displays an intriguing world where instead of humans being dependent on the environment which they are destroying like our world, nature itself is trying to remove and absorb all life on earth. In many ways, this world puts the reader in the perspective of the earth now, with people in positions of power actively trying to extort its value rather to find ways to coexist with it naturally. Miyazaki has been very open with his criticism of climate change and love for the natural world. Continue reading

End of Evangelion’s Emotional Catharsis and What it Meant to Me – Part 2

 

Rei is someone who doesn’t really know herself to begin with. She was created from the remnants of Yui Ikari’s body, and is effectively Gendo’s genetic experiment. She knows she is replaceable because she is nothing more than a cloned human body, expendable and individually lacking in value. he was constantly experimented on, and used as a pawn for Gendo’s experiments regarding the Eva project as well as the early developments of instrumentality. Unlike Asuka, Rei is someone who just doesn’t understand how to interact with people other than Gendo. She was created and raised by Gendo in an environment where she was never able to talk to or interact with anyone else, and thus is very blunt and emotionless when interacting with anyone else. She harbors a deep-rooted admiration and care for Gendo, and sees him as something of a father figure, but still maintains a distant relationship with him most of the time. Continue reading

End of Evangelion’s Emotional Catharsis and What it Meant to Me – Part 1

The End of Evangelion was one of the most impactful pieces of media I had ever seen upon first seeing it two years ago. I wouldn’t hesitate to say that it was the ultimate encapsulation of my interests in anime at the time, and upon rewatching it recently now I can confidently say that my interest in it has only grown. I find myself feeling more strongly about this film as my connection to it grows deeper as I spend more time pondering over Evangelion as a whole. Evangelion has helped me to contextualize many different feelings and emotions I’ve had been previously unable to explain. It is a complex and powerful story, which I find deeply fascinating. Above all else, End of Evangelion is cathartic, for it very literally presents emotional conclusions to everything that the series had built up. Some of these conclusions come in the form of character arcs completing and others come in the form of characters dying. After such a complex and uniquely interesting series, the emotional catharsis presented at the end is undoubtedly the single most powerful ending to a story I have ever seen. Continue reading

The Appeal of Art

Why create art? To such a question I would answer “to emote”. All art from any medium is created in order to express something that its creator felt. Even the most abstract forms of expression, such as a cube-shaped room I went in once in an art gallery which only contained a single metal wire connecting opposite corners was clearly created to express something. Not all art is intended to be easy to understand, some art choosing to be difficult and inaccessible to a broad audience of people. This will happen either because the creator was unable to express their emotions in a more accessible way or that they intended it to be inaccessible to a broader audience. Such forms of expression might become art because they stem from a feeling the creator simply could not put into words themself. No matter the root which the art you connect with stems from, the fact remains that the art was always created as expression. The purpose of expression is to form connections to other people, to appeal to something they value on some level. This is the purpose of art in my eyes. Continue reading

Devilman Crybaby – Nearly There

I first discovered Devilman through the two episode 1987 OVA series which adapts a portion of Go Nagai’s famous manga of the same name. The OVA was a visual feast, filled with gorgeous key animation and color design the likes of which are rarely seen in modern anime. Although I have not read the Devilman manga, every source I can find tells me that this OVA is a nearly perfect adaptation of said manga. Of course, we couldn’t have too much of a good thing because the OVA series only adapted a small portion of the manga, making it inadequate as an adaptation. Devilman was touched on and off throughout the ’90s and early 2000s with various OVAs, none of which tried again to properly adapt the whole series, instead focusing on self-contained or completely original side-stories related to Devilman, none of which are particularly notable. All of this changed with Masaaki Yuasa’s Netflix-supported adaptation of Devilman in early 2018. Devilman Crybaby was mostly great, but it has many things that hold it back from me being able to call it a masterpiece. Continue reading

Diebuster – A Sequel to a Finished Story Done Right

In 1988-1989, Studio Gainax released Gunbuster, which was the directorial debut of a certain key animator named Hideaki Anno. Gunbuster was a new, inventive sci-fi OVA which broke new ground in the animation industry with its slick animation, inventive storyline, and beautiful character designs. A lot of Gunbuster’s success rode off of its central cast being comprised of gorgeous young women, placed in the roles which were usually filled by male characters. These characters, the slick artwork and animation of the OVA, and the over-the-top positivity and determination which Gainax is now famous for made Gunbuster a massive success. This ending showed Noriko Takaya, the main character saving the solar system with the unfortunate side effect of dilating time, where she sped through 12,000 earth years in a matter of hours. This results in her returning to earth as a hero many years later to an unfamiliar earth without the friends and family she left behind. The ending of Gunbuster is one of its most renowned moments, because of its unique nature as well as how it ended up tying into the series thematically. This ending did not leave much room for any sequel to the series due to how conclusive and satisfying it felt. This changed in 2004, when Gainax released Diebuster; a sequel to Gunbuster on the studio’s 20th anniversary. Continue reading