Author Archive


November 7, 2011 3 comments

I mentioned in my final post on Usagi Drop that one of the strengths of narrative is the ability to give a greater understanding to lives and situations that differ from our own. That, in my humble opinion, is one of the best things about reading fiction, or watching movies, the thing that can elevate it beyond wasting time on mindless entertainment. And one of the best parts about anime and manga’s willingness to tackle unfamiliar ground, to cover strange and obscure concepts no other media will touch, is that they provide windows into experiences we are unlikely to ever have ourselves.
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Usagi Drop Episodes 10 and 11 – An End Has A Start

November 3, 2011 1 comment

As winter comes, there are a lot more sniffles around the office where I work. I’ve had a sore throat the last few days, the lady in the office next to me spent the whole today clearing her throat constantly, and our office manager is once again going around telling the story of when our company was a lot smaller, and everyone in the office was sick or home with a sick child.

There are a lot of single mothers where I work, and they spend much more of their time off caring for sick children or taking them to the doctor than they take off for their own reasons. I’d never thought about it much, other than to roll my eyes at the extra work I’d have to do because one of them was home with a sick kid.

If you had asked me about it, I’d probably have agreed, purely on an intellectual basis, that being a single mother is substantially more difficult than just being single, or having another partner to help take care of children. Thinking about all the time and energy that went into taking care of you, you can kind of map that onto the average amount of free time someone who works a full-time job has on any given day, plus the additional expense of all the stuff kids need and want badly enough to whine about, and realize that working full time and being the sole caretaker of one child, let alone several, is a pretty tough job.
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Usagi Drop Episodes 8 and 9 – How Can I Make You Remember Me?

October 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Last time I wrote about Usagi Drop, I wrote about Daikichi’s cousin, and my discomfort with the show’s insistence that she remain in what seemed to be a demeaning and unfulfilling existence. The show’s emphasis on traditional Japanese family values has been something of a reoccurring theme so far, and it comes back again strongly here, with its most untraditional female character.
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Mawaru Penguindrum Episodes 8 and 9 – Turning Point

September 20, 2011 Leave a comment

It should be obvious that I think the Ringo arc has gone far enough, and fortunately episode 8 wraps it up with a bang. Not only that, but episode 9 takes the show into a completely new direction. It might only be for one episode, but I feel like Mawaru Penguindrum is finally going someplace again.
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Usagi Drop Episodes 7 – Final Straw

September 15, 2011 1 comment

One thing interesting about watching anime is how familiar the values and ideals expressed in it often are. While watching the product of a different (and, in the case of most anime, non-mainstream) culture is one of the style’s main draws for me, most of the time when what I’ve watched has sharply contrasted with my own beliefs, it’s been because the show is unabashedly focused on the sexual desires of lonely otaku, or because it’s just terribly, terribly written.

It doesn’t often happen in drama shows, or shows that aren’t otherwise flawed in other ways that make the dissonance easy to write off. That’s part of what makes this episode so jarring.
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Mawaru Penguindrum Episodes 6 and 7 – Slow Ride

September 9, 2011 2 comments

I like short anime series. If you go back and look, you’ll notice every show I’ve covered in full has only been a season long (except Durarara!!, of which I only covered the second half).

That’s because I like series that come in, say their piece, and finish up. While I enjoy long form storytelling, it’s a rare show that can maintain its quality indefinitely, and even more scarce in the genre of heavily experimental anime that I tend to prefer. If you’re throwing things at the wall to see what sticks, I’d rather only have to sit through 12 episodes of your best ideas, rather than 24+ of whatever garbage you can come up with.
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Usagi Drop Episode 6 – The Great Chain of Being

September 3, 2011 Leave a comment

We are all connected to the people who came before us, just like our children and grandchildren will be to us. Those ties can be weak or shallow, depending on whom they are with, but they exist nonetheless, stretching back beyond antiquity to our very first ancestors.

To me, that’s a grand, powerful thought—that all of us are folded together into the great narrative of humanity—but it’s equally true on a smaller level, as well. Because we’re also connected to our family, to the people who created us, the people who raised us, and the people whose impact has irreversibly changed our lives.
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