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“Encourgement of climb” – as a short compared to a normal length anime

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encouragement of climSo I was looking through crunchyroll looking for an anime I could really get my teeth into. Something deep, something with no filler, something with substance. So I came across this show “encouragement of climb”, I assumed that I was going to drop it after an episode but before I knew it, the episode over. I looked at the length of the show and it was only three minutes per episode. So I said “screw it” and watched the whole season, and to my surprise I thoroughly enjoyed it. HOWEVER, in my opinion, this anime only worked in a short episode format. After trying out the second season, I found this verdict to be true. The episodes of the second season felt boring and dragged out.

After watching this show, I formed an opinion that at least 80% of slice of life shows should be a short. The other 20% of slice of life shows that are at least capable of being in a twenty-minute format are shows similar to Haruhi and Genshiken (to be fair, this could be a pretty enjoyable short), where the content is already dense and there is no wasted time. I feel that it is often the case that the exposition takes too long for a subsequently disappointing execution. 

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Short formatted slice of life episodes are dense and therefore allows the user to experience a range of emotions in a shorter time frame. There is never no wasted time, and I always immediately see what I want to see. With The Disastrous Life of Saiki K (one of my favourite shows of all time), every single episode was a unique experience, the jokes were always fresh, and even the jokes that were based on-going gags were built upon, instead of being repeated. Another reason why I think the short format is superior for most slice of life shows is because the artists behind the show can spend more time on how the show looks rather than being constrained by the time limits. I saw this in Encouragement of Climb, the first season was gorgeous but in the second season that flare was lost and it was now boring to look at and listen too.

Now I’m not saying that ALL slice of life need to be a short, I acknowledge that melodrama is often the main ingredient in these kind of shows. My argument is that sometimes replacing melodrama for dense humour, story telling and beautiful production will do more good for a show. 

Introduction: Project – “Cute girls doing things”

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Slice-of-Life-Anime

Now that I have finally finished exams, I have infinitley more time to do projects that I have been thinking of doing, one of which is completing digibros list of cute girls doing cute things which I’ll link below.

Digibros list

The reason I’m doing this is because, I especially enjoy watching anime when it is part of some project and I also want to become very well read on slice of life cute girl shows. What I’ll do is what the shows in a category and write a single blog post containing all the shows in the category and just explain what I liked and disliked about the shows.

So I’m going to start with the first category “Cute girls do highschool” which include the anime:

  • Azumanga daioh
  • K-On
  • Manabi Straight
  • Hidimari Sketch
  • Lucky Star

If I’ve already seen the show on the list then I’ll try to write what I remember about it and try to link it with the shows from the same category.

Saddle Club vs Slice of Life anime

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“Saddle Club follows the life of three young girls as they make their way through their horse riding classes and develop their friendships”, without any knowledge of the show it would be safe to assume that this show was an anime about young girls and horses. It’s actually an Australian show which aired in 2001, and its one of my childhood favourite shows. I think that this show and other shows like this set me up for watching slice of life anime, because instead of watching episodic action packed cartoons I was introduced to “mundane”, adolescent drama with relationships that were built up over a number of episodes and new characters constantly being added to the dynamic. I was basically groomed to enjoy Genshiken and Haruhi at a young age.

‘Darling in Franxx’ so far [Episodes 1-14]

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When I first wrote about Darling in Franxx all I said I was excited to look at the aesthetic of the show but I was wary about what the actual story would entail. But now that I’m 14 episodes into it, I can safely say that I am extremely enjoying it. Briefly, all I can say is that the show is about a group of eight kids who were groomed from birth to pilot the Franxx machines against the Klauxosaurs. One of the kids ends up meeting a Franxx pilot who is part Klauxosaur (Her name being Zero-Two) and starts developing a complicated relationship with her which is condemned by some members of the group since all the pilots this girl rides with ends up dying. My explanation is probably not so good so here is a link to the MAL synopsis.

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But anyway, what I loved about this show was the amount of character developement that was present, most notably with Zero-Two. We saw her transform from somebody that was totally at ease with herself into a damaged, anxious girl going through an identity crisis. This show also highlights the dangers of a dictatorship, these kids are literally being brainwashed by the ‘Father’, and whenever they are about to enter a life threatening mission they constantly bring up how they all desperately want to impress him, but they are now starting to realise that they it is most likely that they are going to die before they reach adulthood; and I think that the later episodes are going to address this and lead to a revolt against the state… Well thats what I’m hoping for at least.

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Disastrous life of Saiki K (Episodes 1 – 12)

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Thank god!! For the first couple of episodes I was worried that this season of Saiki K wouldn’t be as good as the first. That’d it be a watered down season that for some reason lacked something vital that was present in the first season. But luckily that wasn’t the case. After the show started to get going, I got used to the characters again, I got used to the comedy again and everything felt great again.

However, what I have noticed is that the show relies on introducing new characters to keep the show fresh. We’re 12 episodes in and three new major characters have already been introduced. So far I don’t see anything wrong with this method and I don’t think I’ll ever get bored with it since with each new character introduced comes along multiple funny stories that can be told, so I don’t really care nor understand why some people find this approach to be lazy.

I’ve particularly enjoyed the addition of the two new female characters; mostly because they are competition for Teruhashi. But to be honest, I care more about the upcoming romantic compettition between Teruhashi and the new female psychic, because Saiki is finally going to have a harem. Hopefully we get another girl in the mix so we can see more of Teruhashi fighting off the compettition for Saiki.

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This show is…. Interesting

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The thing about this show is that (for me) it can be binged. Its something that you tune into once a week to relieve stress, but I tried binge watching it today but I just got bored. The thing is, the show is really funny and I dont want to drop it so what I’m going to have to do is keep it on my watch list and watch it whilst I’m watching something else of the season.

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The silly 4-cell manga has become a pretty successful anime, just not one I can binge.

Takagi-san: Contender for waifu of the season

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I mean, there is just something about Takagi-san right? Is it her husky voice that in no way should belong to a middle schooler or is it just her quick wit that makes you feel a jolt of excitement when she out-smarts Nishitaka for the thousandth time.

There has to be a second season for this show, right? because after Nishitaka’s ‘critical hit’ and seeing her cute reaction to it, I need to see more.

Which Winter 2018 shows will I be watching?

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Winter 2018 Anime Lineup

Unfortunatley, I haven’t had any time to watch any seasonal anime due to me just having the most unproductive three months of my life. I was literally unenthusiastic in every aspect of life, from school work, programming and anime. But now that I’m back, I’m ready to binge on the season I missed, and I have to say, this season has a lot of shows I think will be really good.

I’m going to write a list of the seasonal anime that have been spoken about alot and ones that I think look cool, once I read the descriptions of the shows I will rate it from 1 – 4 starts (*) depending on how much I’ll want to watch it. Then write about why I will or won’t watch the show.

  • Violet Evergarden (****)
  • Darling in FranXX (****)
  • Ovelord II(*)
  • Citrus (**)
  • Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody (***)
  • Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-San(****)
  • Pop Team Epic (****)
  • Yuru Camp (***)
  • Koi wa Amegari no You ni (**)
  • The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. 2 (****)

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  • Shows I’m definitley going to try:
    • Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-San – Looking at all the memes on 4chan and the clips of it on facebook and twitter, I can just see myself liking it. It seems like it’ll be a mixture of Tsuki ga Kirei (which I really, really enjoyed) mixed in with some slapstick slice of life comedy.
    • The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. 2 – After the first season of this show ending up in my top 5 list, I’m obviously giving this season a watch too.
    • Pop Team Epic – I’ve heard its just a meme show, so why not watch it.
    • Darling in FranXX – I first came across this show on a crunchyroll poster and I loved the asethetic so I put it on my watch later list, but I’ve been hearing many mixed reviews from the community. I’m defenintley going to check it out but I’m wary of it.
    • Violet Evergarden – Its the show of the season. To be honest, I don’t think I’m going to like it. I have the same feeling as I did when Mahoutsukai no Yome came out, and that show was underwhelming for me. I just wasn’t my cup of tea. But regardless, I have to see what all the fuss is about.

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  • Shows I might try… if I have the time:
    • Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody  – Since I told myself that I wanted to try out more shows from the isekai genre, I put this show on my watch later list. The appeal was that the protagonist was a 29 year old programmer; However, when I saw the clips from the show, it just looks like a clone of SAO. I was hoping for a more grittier look and this show doesnt have that, hence the low priority it has on my list, but I’m still curious about it
    • Yuru Camp – A show full of cute girls and a cute aesthetic but the story seems quite boring. I think I’ll check out an episode or two, but if it doesnt grip me by then I’m going to have to drop it.

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  • Show I probably won’t watch:
    • Ovelord II – Even though I kind of liked the first season, my taste has changed a whole lot since the first season came out, so I don’t think I’ll watch the show. However, I did say that I wanted to watch more Isekai shows so the only way I would give this show a shot is if I dropped Yuru Camp or Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody quite early on.
    • Citrus – The story looks generic and from what I can tell from the clip, it looks like a poorly funded hentai series. I doubt I’ll watch this show.
    •  Koi wa Amegari no You ni – Looking back, this show looks cool. I don’t remember why I didn’t want to watch it. I’ll probably give it a go.

My anime aesthetic

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asethetic collage
List of anime in the collage:

  • Beck
  • Genshiken
  • Welcome to the NHK
  • Ping Pong: The Animation
  • Serial Experiments Lain

The art style of anime from 2003-2006 really resonate with me. I don’t think the collage shows it, so I might have to screenshot frames from random episodes but I just love looking at anime from this era. The backdrop from shows like Beck and Genshiken (more so in the manga) is just so detailed that it makes me think that the artists put 100% effort into the work. For example, in Beck the random alleyways or streets look so real, from the wires running across the ground to the random fridge on the side of the pavement. Also I really like the colours used. In the collage, the characters from those shows usually have dark hair and there are hardly ever any vibrant colours like pink or light blue in the backgrounds unless it is used to add something to the scenario or emphasize something else.

Also, 2003 – 2006 are the years I really got into reading. I would have been around 5 – 8 and all the books I read had a similar art style to these anime. I even used to read books with Japanese illustration without me knowing about Japan. So when I found the books again, I was struck with loads of nostalgia but extreme familiarity since I consume a lot of media containing Japanese culture and influence.

The Made in Abyss soundtrack – A work of wonder

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The ‘Made in Abyss’ soundtrack is truly a work of art. I remember when I first listened to the first song on the OST I thought to myself “Wait this sounds just like something Joe Hisaishi would produce”, but then it just snapped into something completely different. It was still classical but it felt contemporary at the same time and now every time I listen to it I find something new to love about the soundtrack. Also, this I definitely think that this soundtrack does in fact make the anime much better. It’s the reason why Made in Abyss was one of the best anime of 2017, the music just stood out so much. One thing I also loved about this soundtrack is that it is one of the only soundtracks I have heard that truly heightens the emotional investment in the show. I really don’t know how it did this, but when something of importance happened in the show I would gasp but when the music played it just upped a notch, I was almost compelled to start flailing my arms around in distraught.

Anyways this is just a few thoughts I had when re-listening to the soundtrack but I’m excited for the second season and can’t wait for the developments.

Here’s a link to the OST – [https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-0Nayk1C_AXs14nt__6zHKbXIhP0zuky]