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I just finished watching Angel’s Egg, an OVA by Mamoru Oshii made in 1985. That is pretty anime, lots of well drawn scenes, with interesting character designs and nice atmosphere. I’ll post a few pictures so you can see some of what I mean.
The anime is simple and silent, with barely a few lines of dialogue here and there. But you can watch it if you want to see how good you are at reading symbols. The anime more or less tells a story with them.
I am sure you will be able to figure out what the egg stands for and what the end of its and the girl’s storylines mean. Also try to see what the fishes stand for, that is a bit more interesting. And all the dead fossils too. And if you figure out what the angel is all about, then do tell me, that one I am interested in.
I always think that there are so many people I admire, people whom I would like to show my respect. MAL gives us space to mark a few anime/manga industry creators as your “favorite”. It never felt satisfying to me though. And anime and manga aren’t the only entertainment I like. There also books, music, YouTube creators and others.
On the other hand, I am not fond of lists. And things like “the favorite writer” are temporal, and it would be too complicated to talk about all people whom I found interesting through my life. So, a while ago I thought I would write a post about people who influenced me in this year. And here it is, read at your discretion.
Let me start with simple things. This year I’ve read a few manga by authors I haven’t read before that I found interesting, namely Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou by Hitoshi Ashinano, Tetsuwan Atom by Osamu Tezuka and Nisekoi by Naoshi Komi. Each of these is a decent story in its own right, all in terms of art and Yokohama and Atom in terms of story too. I got an omnibus of Atom, an English translation, in a shop I walked by in Hague, just to pass time on the train; Yokohama I was able to read thanks to MangaTube, an excellent German manga translators community; and as for Nisekoi I bought one volume in Berlin a while ago, just to see if this kind of romance/comedy would maybe be my thing after all. Back then, I couldn’t even speak to the shopkeeper in her language, so buying German translations was partly about learning too.
Also, I can’t forget Hideo Azuma and his Shissou Nikki (thanks again, Shaurya! :) ).
A special mention goes to Souichirou Yamamoto, the author of Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san and to Rei Hanagata, the author of China Girl, both nice romance stories I started reading in 2017 and continued this year. Also, this year I changed my opinion of Hiro Mashima, thanks to his new manga Edens Zero, which I think is pretty good. I have also been reading Dragon Ball Super, didn’t find it too bad after understanding what kind of story it is.
Next, to anime!
Leave it to Gintama to throw a random curveball at you out of nowhere. Gintama season 8 has officially ended today. I repeat, Gintama season 8 has ended. Gintoki spent the entire second half of this episode explaining to us why this season had to be ended so abruptly and then complaining about Sorachi and the anime staff.
Let us start from the beginning. Here are a couple of nice pictures of Gintoki’s torture.
It would have been awesome if someone actually skipped the previous episode. They would have been treated to this nice visual of Takasugi hanging from the ceiling wearing a diaper. It would have been totally worth skipping an episode. Torture in Yoshiwara included getting molested by a bunch of old ladies. Gintoki, after going through that trauma twice, gave up on all his worldly desires and became a saint. Everyone lived happily ever after.
Seita became a delinquent. Not that it is weird, considering the fact that he was made to work in an adult toy shop when he was little. Here is one of the best piece of news we learned in this episode. Hinowa can walk now. She still needs a walking stick but I am really glad she can use her legs again. On the other hand, her taking so long to heal acts as a cruel reminder of the torture she has been through.
Gintoki used the
sno… mole he got from Tama to hide his identity and get away from the lady monsters. I am glad that he is still carrying that device around. It would have been pretty stupid to throw away something that convenient.
This is another episode filled with random comedy moments. We got to see Gintoki, Hijikata, Yamazaki and a fake Takasugi pretending to be mannequins. This review will have a lot of screenshots since there are some really good moments in this episode.
We also learned a lot of random information. Firstly, Yamazaki can fly!
Some time ago, I started reading this romantic comedy manga about middle school students – Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san by Souichirou Yamamoto. You may have noticed its recent anime adaptation. It is a little weird that, even though I don’t read that much manga, it is the second time I start reading a series before it gets adopted into an anime.
But anyhow, my experience with Takagi-san is limited to the manga, and specifically to the beautiful translation by ziM and Anni from manga-tube.me. It was also my first time reading scanlators’ talk in a chat as new chapters get released. I always knew there were real people standing behind any manga scanlation release, but it was Takagi-san and its team that made me feel it.
It is a story about two students, Takagi and Nishikata; and the gist of it is that Takagi pesters Nishikata, makes fun of him and makes him embarrassed in a variety of ways. Sounds malicious, but it really isn’t; Takagi clearly likes Nishikata in a very clear and direct way (no inner conflicts and other tsundere shenanigans) and her picking on him often does good for both of them. I’ll talk about it in a sec. Nishikata almost always falls prey to Takagi’s schemes, even though he tries his best not to.
If you have watched/read Tonari no Seki-kun you may find the setup to be somewhat similar. And it is kinda true, in both series there are two students, and a stronger one constantly “defeats” the weaker one in a funny way. Except Seki-kun is mostly just a comedy, there is no romance there. But it is not the main difference, I’d say. When watching Seki-kun you are tempted to ask yourself “is Seki going to be alright? Is Yokoi going to be alright?” They are always wasting their time at school, and Yokoi getting into small troubles is almost a theme there. You can safely say that Yokoi would have been better off if she never saw Seki, at least from the pragmatic perspective. I know this is a comedy and all, but still, it is tempting to think along these lines. In Takagi-san, this aspect is completely different.
For one thing, most of the Takagi’s jokes are aimed at Nishikata’s childish ways, like him being embarrassed to say certain words, being embarrassed to admit he secretly reads a romantic manga and so on. On the other hand, when it is something that could be good for Nishikata, Takagi would encourage it. When Nishikata started athletic training, Takagi made fun of his muscle soreness and said, “It would be good if you don’t quit after three days”. When he didn’t quit she praised him for it. Of course, she turned it into a taunt as well, but you get the picture; Takagi wasn’t just having fun at Nishikata’s expense, she was trying to make him a better person as well.
Here is a confession. I honestly didn’t think that Utsuro’s parting words were in fact a threat.
Of course I expected Utsuro to come back but I didn’t realize that he had made plans to continue his carnage after getting revived. The way I saw it, Utsuro always thought that to live is to suffer. So it would make sense for him to pity the humans who foiled his plans to destroy humanity and chose to continue living, doesn’t it?
Gintoki, who knew Utsuro well, knew what his last words meant and set out to find his next incarnation. He went searching through all the Altana reserves for him.
This has got to be one of the stupidest mistakes made by Sorachi. Or more like, Sorachi simply refuses to acknowledge that Japan is not the only country in the world. Gintoki didn’t even have to step out of the country. Utsuro got magically reincarnated in Japan again.
Gintoki searched all over Japan, found baby Utsuro and tried to kill him.
It turns out, Kanna really is Kagura. She can now transform from being a little girl to an old woman in a matter of minutes. Sorachi hasn’t explained how she manages to do that yet.
I am sure Umibozu would love to learn this trick, turn back into a teenager and flaunt his hair.
Kagura didn’t find a way to heal Sadaharu. She felt bad about returning to Yorozuya without achieving anything. So she lied about being Kagura’s daughter. To be honest, it is an extremely stupid thing to do. Lying about being Kagura’s daughter and causing all kinds of problems to Shinpachi is way worse than admitting that she hadn’t found a way to restore Sadaharu.
I honestly thought I had watched enough anime to not be surprised by anything any new anime throws at me. Then along comes Doggy Poo, a Korean anime about a piece of dog poop, to remind me why anime is such an interesting medium.
Doggy Poo is the story of an abandoned pile of dog poop and it’s struggle to find its purpose in life. I will be calling the protagonist Poo from now.
Poo is not the least bit happy about being born as dog poop (who would?) and dreams of being useful to someone or something. It meets several living beings during it’s life, namely some birds, a leaf, a lump of soil and a dandelion plant. Some of these creatures act rudely towards Poo while some of them willingly listen to its fears and offer support.
Poo hates being called dog poop, so much so that it cries when someone calls it poop for the first time.
To be honest, I feel a little bad about badmouthing Katsura. He is actually planning to follow Shige Shige and Nobu Nobu’s footsteps. He is even writing a constitution for Japan all by himself. Only in Gintama can a terrorist become a country’s prime minister.
Also, imagine the advantages of having a prime minister like Zurump. You don’t have to waste any resources for providing him security. He can take care of himself just fine.
Some people tried to assassinate him and he threw a couple of bombs at them with a smile. Watching Kastsura trying to change Japan is going to be fun for sure. Matsudaira is not the least bit happy about Katsura sitting at the top of the country and is trying to assassinate him.
Here is the big news. Meet Kagura’s daughter – Kanna.
Kanna is more of a clone than a daughter. Kagura apparently traveled to the Dragon Ball universe and learned how to make clones.