[Editorial] Stepping out of the Anime Closet

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Midday at a coffee shop. Two hours into the most boring transcription on viral uncoating and mechanisms of anti-retroviral drug resistance in HIV (as if it couldn’t be any more boring than that) and I was desiring a break. Anything to breathe some color into the monochromatic cloud that had seeped its way into the establishment like a dense thicket of smoke from some unknown source. I had recently updated my copy of The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls: Starlight Stage for the on-going event, so I figured it a great opportunity to let out some steam through some furiously timed button mashing. In goes the headphone jack into the audio jack of my cellphone and on goes the game, only for me to realize that the jack wasn’t all the way in. And to my horror, the opening fanfare blared out of the built-in speakers at full blast:

AIDORU-MASUTAA-SHINDERERAA-GAAAARUZU-STAAARAITO-SUTEEJI!!!

The shrill tone of teenage girls shouting full blown Engrish resonated from my spot in the center of the cafe, and all eyes were on me. The monochromatic haze was replaced with an even heavier hue of red, and my face was flush and salmon. I tried not to seem fazed — nonchalant almost — to the point that I acted just as offended as anyone else in the room (although in retrospect, I never did look at anyone’s reaction — I just assumed they were offended in some way). And just like that, my break came to an abrupt end as I decided to clear out the jumbled color space of the now red-heavy cafe back to a stale monochromatic grey. Continue reading

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Wataru Uekusa: The Existential Crisis and Anime

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Remember how I promised I’d bring out more editorials? Well, here’s me keeping that promise.

I’ve always wanted to do a series revolving around the actual creators behind the content we enjoy, and so for these next few editorials, I’ll talk about Japanese artists — illustrators, writers, directors — and the type of influences they bring into the works they create.

For this editorial, I’ll be talking about Wataru Uekusa, a relatively low-profile artist as far as anime is concerned, but a well-known illustrator who possesses a very unique art style that combines deceptively juvenile characters with violently surreal artistic flourishes. So sit back and relax as we explore more about the colorfully chaotic world of Wataru Uekusa.

(NB: this article has a preamble, but future articles will simply head straight into the topic.) Continue reading