Anime Scareup: October 31, 2014
The autopsy on cosplayer Darrien Hunt, shot to death while dressed as Mugen, shows he was shot six times. Four shots hit him in the back. The investigation is ongoing. I dub thee: FUNimation is now doing English dubs...

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© Hajime Isayama, Ryo Suzukaze / Thores Shibamoto

Short Takes: 'Attack on Titan: Before the Fall'

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The first of the 'Attack on Titan' prequel novels dives back into the history of the 'Titan' setting, although without the same compelling characterizations that made the original series so worthwhile

© SEGA / BAYONETTA FILM CLUB

'Bayonetta: Bloody Fate': Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

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It's as ridiculous, preposterous, and outlandish as the source material demanded, but there are side effects to being slavish to the very attributes that made 'Bayonetta' enjoyable as a game

Well, Is Anime A Genre Or A Medium?

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How people see anime, as genre or medium, says as much about how we label cultural experiences generally as it does about the beholders

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'Claymore': The Beautiful And The Damned

Rare these days is the series with an all-female cast where character, story, and drama are the goals, not titillation or eye candy

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In 1994, the July/August issue of the now-defunct Anime UK (which sported none other than ur-fan Helen McCarthy in the editor’s chair) featured an essay by Peter Evans, “The Beautiful and the Terrible”, a paean to all strong female leads from Ellen Ripley on through Motoko Kusanagi and beyond. “I find it a constant joy," he wrote, "that anime continues to give us a welter of strong, competent, sensible heroines who do not exist purely as a prize or objective for the male ‘hero’."

Evans went on to ask why there were not only so many female leads, but all-female casts for so many shows (Knight Sabers, Eternal Story, et al.), back when such a thing was more of a selling point and less of a warning sign. Evans mused about biology and physiology, the sociological implications of “male” and “female” role behaviors, and in general found a lot to mull over apart from the fact that, yeah, hot chicks in armor kicking ass is a major ratings draw, and sometimes as much for women as it is for men (if not quite always for the same reasons). It's a shame Claymore wasn't around back then, because it would have been A-list evidence for his thesis.

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© DNDP, VAP, avex entertainment, Madhouse
© NTV · VAP

'Berserk': War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning

Limited and fragmented as it is, this brutal fantasy still achieves wonders, thanks to the sheer strength of its storytelling and the force of its vision

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Strange how one of anime's most troubling failures is also, with no contradiction, one of anime's most stimulating successes. Berserk, the TV series, is only a failure in that it is incomplete logistically: it covers only a fraction of the story laid down by its source material, and it ends with the infuriating abruptness only possible to a show that still had so much more territory to cover. But within that space it accomplishes so much, and in such a powerful way, that I'm prepared to forgive most anything. The largest reason why Berserk works so well is because does the one thing I almost never see in epic fantasy: It takes seriously the full, and ghastly, implications of its setting and story.

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'Paranoia Agent': We Have Met The Enemy And He Is Us

The real monster in Satoshi Kon's genre-defying black comedy of horrors is human nature itself

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The best works of horror don’t simply scare us, but give our fears form and make us look objectively at them, help us understand what it is about them that is so frightening. To that end, Paranoia Agent is terrifying in the best way -- it’s scary not just because of what happens, but because the bigger implications of what it presents are even more unnerving. Its antagonist is not a shadowy urban legend who skates out of the night and attacks without warning, but a monstrous embodiment of the inability of our fellow man -- and by extension, each of us alone -- to own up to ourselves and be honest about our frailties and failings. It's easy when the enemy is some monster lurking in the shadows; all you have to do is kill it. What if the enemy is human nature itself, and thus borne from every heart, your own included?

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© Satoshi Kon · MADHOUSE / PARANOIA AGENT COMMITTEE
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