“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
Author Archives: ajthefourth
“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
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.
“When I made up my mind that leaving the home I had been born and raised in was inevitable, I was very sad and unhappy. But when I thought about what everyone there truly felt, it gave me pause. If I had been eliminated and disposed of by the village then, after much grief and tears, my parents would’ve eventually forgotten about me. Just as your parents eventually accepted the fate of your sister.”
-Maria Akizuki to Saki Watanabe, Shin Sekai Yori Episode 16
“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
A little secret: I hate writing reviews. I also despise putting together “Top Lists” due to an inability to rate one thing over another. Say I was called upon to list my favorite series of this past year, 2012. Immediately springing to mind is Tsuritama, for I honestly cannot think of an anime more jubilant than that one. It was tightly-plotted, colorful, and emotionally satisfying. Then again, how could I possibly compare the burst of emotion and energy I received from Tsuritama with something that make me laugh warmly week after week like Polar Bear Café? This idea continues to fall to pieces when fondly remembering the other series I so loved this past year: Hyouka for it’s exploration of detective fiction, Tari Tari for its warm heart in spite of a rather cynical backdrop, Aquarion EVOL for its over-the-top ridiculousness, Smile Precure for its Cinderella episode alone, and Acchi Kocchi for washing away the troubles of the day with fuzzy romantic sweetness.
The fact is, that when called on to compare them, I simply cannot. They’re all too different. I loved watching each and every one of them, and this is well before any mention of the perpetual war between emotional resonance and objective quality in reviews; a war in which I refuse to speak for one side – although one may hazard a guess to where my opinion would fall. Now having established my hatred for these sort of things, what should follow this introduction when asked to list my top five anime of all time? Well, I refuse to rank them, although feel free to argue amongst yourselves in the comments section about quality versus emotion and how to place things on your MAL user list with an insignificant number. I am simply here for the sole purpose of speaking to five spectacular series, in no particular order. All are highly recommended.
Amidst the hulking bodies of twelve year-old boys who look like men, and grown men whose bodies rival those of only the greatest bodybuilders, it’s easy to overlook the development of Erina Joestar neé Pendleton, the love interest of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure‘s first protagonist, Jonathan Joestar. After all, what viewer would pay attention to an unremarkable supporting character when there are bombastic fights to be had, powers to be gained, and fabulous musical fade-ins with Yes’s “Roundabout?”
The answer is a large number of people, when said unremarkable supporting character has become a powerful and formidable matron. More surprising is how easily her new role simply fit. Characterization, and character progression, are shadowy demons who often escape the grasp of even the most competent. For Erina’s transition to be so widely-accepted, the groundwork had to be laid early.
When choosing to wax lyrical on one episode, and only one episode of anime alone, usually the writer has an idea in mind. A concept. A plan. Often, they will have watched the rest of the series up until that point, and help you along in your understanding of said episode, and the series’s overarching narrative. This is not one of those times, for I have only seen one episode: this episode. Episode Nine of Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere.
If you were led here with promises of hilarity, I am so sorry.