Monday, August 28, 2017

The Eccentric Family 2

I really enjoyed the first season of The Eccentric Family. It was whimsical and magical in a very low-key way, even when the stakes became very high for Yasaburo and the rest of his tanuki buddies/family. Of course it always helps when the art is pretty as well, I liked the semi-flat, far less moe than most PA Works shows, style and there are still so many scenes that I can crisply remember thanks to both this artwork and their tone.

I was excited for the second season of the show, I wasn’t quite sure what else needed telling in the story but I was up for it! And now that the second season has ended I’m left asking myself, What was the point of that season?

The second season was not bad but it did not have the clear character developement and drive of the first season. I’ve seen folks mention that the source material for The Eccentric Family is a book series and while it’s set to be a trilogy the final book isn’t out yet (all I’ve heard about it is that it contains The Great Tengu War WHICH I AM SO DOWN FOR). That would explain some things, in my opinion the middle installment in a trilogy is the trickiest story to tell satisfactorily since it lacks the natural draw and tidiness that comes with either a beginning or an ending. 

And it certainly feels like we’re in the middle of Benten’s story. I was a bit frustrated that this season didn’t do even more with her since she is the most fascinating character in the series. It’s not that I don’t love our tanuki main cast but we already know them well; from their histories, hopes, to why their conflicts play out as they do. But Benten, born human Satomi Suzuki and spirited away and then trained by Akadama into becoming a tengu, is a real mystery all around (fun tidbit, it looks like Professor Yodogawa’s assistant is her brother!). Equally mysterious is another character with a name that’s not a name, Nidame (literally, The Second) who appears to be Benten’s inverse; a tengu (whom at this point I’m presuming born to Akadama) but who vocally eschews his tengu status, despite constantly doing things no human could. This is a thematic conflict ripe for development, even though I fear it might make the story messier as a whole (if, as Yasaburo says, there are tanuki, humans, and tengu, is it possible for someone to switch classes? And what about those oni in the demon world? Etc etc) 

The Eccentric Family 2 advanced some of the plots surrounding the Shinogami Family but it did not change anything about the larger tanuki society, or the even larger Kyoto society, really at all. And that’s where this season fell flat for me. The Eccentric Family is clearly a story with ideas of mixing in themes and conflicts between both personal and larger levels and yet it didn’t deliver this time. I can only hope that this second season was one of house-keeping, merely tidying up, for a grander, more foolish, finale.  

Monday, August 21, 2017

Summer Anime 2017 Initial Round-UP

Let me tell ya folks, I have NOT missed messing around in blogger to try and make sure my posts are actually legible. HOO BOY.

Anyway, as anyone who listens regularly to the The OASG podcast probably knows, I tried out a heck of a lot of anime this summer! I'm not keeping up with all of it but that's fine by me, I'm forever trying to find that happy balance between "this anime is only okay but I want to watch it alongside other people" and "this anime just isn't doing enough for me, let's work on my backlog instead." I am trying to plow through last year's Precure show, Mahou Tsukia Pretty Cure, since my plan is to finish that witch series before watching Little Witch Academia and then finish THAT before I go back to this year's Precure series, but really that's the only backlog show I'm watching right now too. Especially since I am still watching three shows from the spring (which again are Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul, My Hero Academia, and Sakura Quest) so once again I've got a full plate of shows to watch!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Spring 2017 Anime Final Thoughts

Hot damn, what do you mean I haven't even worked on a post since March?!
As I continue to struggle to figure out a new, sustainable posting schedule for NI (and probably won’t until September, grad school starts at the end of August and omg my life is going to be busy as heck) I did find the time to write about the spring shows I finished with a few exceptions:

The first set of exceptions are my three carry-over shows: Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul, My Hero Academia Season 2, and Sakura Quest. I will be talking about those shows, and writing related essays on them, once they wrap up in the fall.

 The other set of exceptions are two series where I’m more interested in writing short essay on aspects of them rather than doing one of these quick write-ups. Those two are The Eccentric Family 2 and Atom: The Beginning. So hopefully I will have two short essays up later in the month as well, and my thoughts on the summer shows should be posted soon too!

 Now, onto everything I finished, including some shows I started very late in the season (link to ANN pages for summaries so save myself time & energy hah).