Grace. いただきます. Bismillah. Cultures across the world have developed means to express gratitude for what they consume. This is possibly borne out of an innate quality, as recent studies suggest, that rituals before a meal may alter our perception of its taste. The idea of gratitude being expressed serves another ancillary function: it staves off the guilt of consumption.
In this season’s The Eccentric Family (Uchōten Kazoku | 有頂天家族), we follow a family of shape-shifting Japanese raccoon dogs. Yasaburō, the narrator and main character who poses as a young human, spends his days avoiding and cavorting and playing with Benten, the powerful and dangerous psychic woman seen in the image above. The dialogue between the two is brisk and spry, with a back and forth that moves at a nice clip. But none of that is remarkable on its face to me, until we understand that she ate the young raccoon dog’s father in a year-end ritual meal and that it is common knowledge in their community.
Something almost unbelievable happened last night. Trigger Inc. set up a campaign to crowdfund the next episode of their 2013 Anime Mirai title Little Witch Academia, and in less than five hours, they met their $150,000 goal and more.
art by ajthefourth
“I don’t want to change. I want to change. We all hold in our hearts conflicting feelings, each back to back.”
-Dera Mochimazzi, Tamako Market, Episode 11
“Maybe it’s arrogant to talk of supporting Acchan, but I succeeded 0048′s captain, Takahashi Minami. So I decided that I had to change. I had to be strong enough to support Acchan. That’s what I thought.”
-Minami “Takamina” Takahashi the 5th, AKB0048 Episode 20
Galaxy Express 999, 1978
Alternate title: In which AJtheFourth attempts to force you to watch Ringing Bell.
Fifty years ago, a little anime titled Tetsuwan Atomu, or Astro Boy, directed by creator Osamu Tezuka, aired on January 1st, 1963. Its popularity marks the beginning of what we now know as the anime industry. To celebrate this Ani-Versary (yes, mind the pun) Geoff Tebbetts of AniMaybe organized an amazing tribute to the past fifty years of anime with various anime writers, researchers, and bloggers picking specific years to cover. I’m honored to be a part of this project, and recently wrote an article on the year 1978 which covers, among many things, Leiji Matsumoto’s Galaxy Express 999 and Space Pirate Captain Harlock, Hayao Miyazaki’s directorial debut in Future Boy Conan, and the most depressing children’s movie ever imagined: Sanrio’s Ringing Bell. Please head over to The Golden Ani-Versary of Anime to read all of the articles. Then watch Ringing Bell and let me know what you think.
“Say it’s only a paper moon
Sailing over a cardboard sea
But it wouldn’t be make believe
If you believed in me.”
-It’s Only a Paper Moon, Harold Arlen
Radar: I can’t because I’m ignoring her all the time.
Radar: Because she’s ignoring me.
Hawkeye: Ah! But you ignored her first!
Radar: Yeah, that’s because I’m trying to beat her to the ignore.
-a conversation between Radar O’Reilly and Hawkeye Pierce, M*A*S*H Season 3, Episode 6
So, it’s finally my turn. Let me tell you a story about how I like my pictures.
Generally, I try to come from a straightforward place when I talk about “favorite”. Years ago (like 10 or 15), I came to this decision when people asked me about my favorite movie. It remains The Princess Bride for the simple reason that it’s the one movie that I’ve seem more times than any and can always be convinced to watch. When I went to assemble my list of top anime, this didn’t work as easily. If we list the the works I’ve seen the most, it goes something like this:
- Slayers OVA
- Read or Die OVA
- Hikaru no Go
This is not my Top 5 list. When it came time to make a Top 5 for Anime-Planet’s list features, I made a different call. But why? I’m not entirely sure. When I look at the list above, I am struck by how many of those things are solid, easy-to-watch OVAs that can sort of be chewed up in the space of a day, which explains why I watch them so much.