Tag Archives: social commentary
This next series of episodes, specifically Episode Nine, mark a tonal shift in Mawaru Penguindrum‘s presentation. Much of this is owed to the closing of Ringo’s story arc. As we discover just exactly what Ringo’s been up to, it leads us into a whole other universe of speculation and conflict involving the Takakura and Oginome family pasts, and a certain horrific event in Japanese history.
“What’re you gonna do when you graduate?
I’m going to high school, of course.
No, I mean in your future.
Haven’t decided yet.
I wanna be an actress.
Do you really believe you can pull that off?”
-“The Shadow Girls,” Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 39
One of the signature elements of Kunihiko Ikuhara’s direction is the borrowing or adopting of classic stage elements and putting them to work within his series, giving the audience a grander presentation of the story. One of these key elements is the idea of a Greek chorus: an informed perspective on the story being told that often hints to overall thematic elements presented in the performed piece.
ajthefourth: Please disregard a few of the speculations I made on Tabuki’s character last week. Although I still see him as partially representing that equalizing sort of attitude that I described from a few interviews in Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche, it goes a bit deeper for Tabuki personally. I was wrong in saying that he has completely shut down emotionally, for there was still one thing that could stir Tabuki’s heart: Momoka.
vucubcaquix: I was honestly a bit at a loss for words for last week’s post. I didn’t dislike it and found it quite funny, but the animation was a bit weak in places and there wasn’t much to visually parse amidst the gags and slapstick. That’s not so for this week. In fact, halfway through I had to remark to my partner how absolutely beautiful some of the compositions for the scenes were. It’s not just the beauty that struck me, but also what’s being communicated through the imagery.
We’re a certain breed. Chances are that if you’re reading this, you go out of your way to consume media that was meant primarily for a foreign audience. Yet, rather than be content with consuming just what is easiest for us over a television signal, we download special programs, specific players, mess with codecs, and seek out like-minded volunteers who have built an entire infrastructure on the internet just to watch these stories that were written in another language. We’re so wholeheartedly dedicated to these stories, and really to the idea of stories in general, that we sing out and celebrate what speaks to us in a multitude of ways. Sometimes literally.
“Like I said, the apple is the universe itself. A universe in the palm of your hand. It’s what connects this world and the other world.”
“The other world?”
“The world Campanella and the other passengers are heading to!”
“What does that have anything to do with an apple?”
“The apple is a reward for those who have chosen love over everything else!”
“But everything’s over when you’re dead.”
“It’s not over! What I’m trying to say is that’s actually where everything begins!”
-Mawaru Penguindrum, Episode 1
Dantalian no Shoka and I have a rocky relationship. Upon watching the first episode, the only thing that struck me about the series was the question of how something that was so beautiful to look at and listen to could have such uninspired dialogue.
Due to this somewhat crippling handicap, the series has been hard for me to immerse myself in, which is unfortunate because, if the series excels at anything it’s creating a haunting and beautiful atmosphere. However, it’s hard to envelop one’s self in an atmosphere when the dialogue is clunky and straightforward, jarring the viewer out of their lovely suspension of disbelief.
Parents are a tricky thing in Japanese animation. How often is it that one finds the main protagonist alone with nary a parent in sight? There’s a certain measure of narrative sense in this, since the presence of either or both the parents could hinder the premise and progress of certain series aimed at an older teen/young adult demographic right from the outset. But like with a lot of other things, Tiger & Bunny approaches this well-worn trope with a measure of sophistication and nuance. Continue reading →