Four weeks ago, I wrote about how the first episode of the new season of Full Metal Panic! indicated “a(nother) turn for the franchise.” My argument was in short that, whereas Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid subverted its “grand return” of the franchise back in 2005 by repurposing the attributes of its cast and premise from a fun action comedy to an intricate character drama, Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory subverts the franchise once more by abandoning said attributes entirely through its total lack of a “grand return” in favor of an entirely new, external narrative. So far, the season has done more than delivering on this indication; it is not just a turn for the franchise, but a complete breakdown of it. Episodes two to four potently executes this breakdown through sekaikei-esque apocalypticism.Read More »
Establishing shot of what appears to be an Edo era city street. Cut to a group of uniformed men with wooden sticks in fighting positions, one of which strikes at a mysterious person dressed in green. His attack is blocked by a wooden cylindrical statuette with a face and a blue wig, held by the person in green who is revealed to be a young red haired woman. In an elegantly choreographed, fluidly animated and solidly shot and edited fight sequence, the woman effortlessly takes down all the henchmen using the statuette as a weapon. Another henchman observes the action, commenting: “No wonder she’s considered the top practitioner of Naika-ken.” As the two face off, he reaches inside his breast pocket but is stopped by her throwing the statuette, making him drop the cell phone he was grabbing. “My smartphone!” he shouts. His plan gets realized nonetheless, as reinforcements arrive around the corner. “Hang on, Hina-chan,” the woman says in her head while faced toward her next group of opponents. Cut to an establishing shot of a modern night city and a title card that says: “Japan, ~ Three years ago ~”Read More »
I should clarify. I do not mean “montage” in the traditional Eisensteinian sense, as a sequence of short shots that collectively convey a narrative idea. No, rather than narrative montage, what best encapsulates what I consider to be My Hero Academia‘s strongest quality is a form of character montage. See, with HeroAca revolving around an extensive ensemble cast of various distinct “quirks” and a tight interpersonal chemistry, the result is a wonderfully diverse and dynamic mixture of vibrant individuals. Nowhere do these qualities shine brighter than when the cast is thrown together and activated into one concentrated melting pot. Whereas the traditional narrative montage consists of event snippets that together form a narrative entity, the character montages of HeroAca are what convey these melting pots, consisting of character snippets that together form an ensemble entity.Read More »
Well, one can argue that it never has been. Even though the epicenter Food Wars! Shokugeki no Souma is indisputably food, this center has always been framed within some form of elaboration, whether it be food eroticism or a cooking variation on the shonen genre. In the series’ more recent stages however, the framing has notably evolved beyond the food and cooking motif to a focus on the people that eat and cook. Two particular scenes come to mind that illustrate this focus most prominently.Read More »
In his video essay “TARANTINO | Let’s get into character”, YouTuber MUST SEE FILMS identifies two dualistically juxtaposed character states in the films of Quentin Tarantino: “informal” and “dramatic”. The former is “a neutral … state that a character expresses when alone or relaxed in comfortable company”, while the latter is “a heightened … state when they take on a certain kind of persona.” He illustrates these two states inter alia through the famous apartment scene in Pulp Fiction and the dialogue that precedes it. From that characters Jules and Vincent are in their car driving to the place to that they arrive in front of the apartment door, their dialogue consists of informal, (seemingly) narratively inconsequential small talk about the French term for cheeseburgers and foot massages. When they subsequently enter the apartment, they shift to a dramatic state of serious and aim-oriented action (MUST SEE FILMS).Read More »
At long last, the new season of Full Metal Panic! has arrived. For me and (I would imagine) many other anime fans of my generation, this is a big deal. Full Metal Panic! was not only one of my initial major introductions to the medium, but in a lot of ways the representation of an era. While not particularly seminal, it was a staple for the 2000s with its mishmash of the many things that the medium had to offer at the time; from past genres such as mecha to new emerging genres such as high school comedy and romance. To quote Tristan Arkada from his Crunchyroll Anime Lightning Round: “it has almost everything that … anime was from the 2000s”. Although as Arkada in the same breath points out, the medium has evolved significantly since then – not only in terms of its style(s), but an entire new generation of anime fans has come to fruition.Read More »
I did an article for The Artifice about abridged series. Check it out!