[Essay] Chitose vs. the World: the Millennial Struggle and Anime

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Let’s get the obvious out of the way, first. Chitose Karasuma’s character from the show gi(a)rlish number can be insufferable at times, where she often comes off as ridiculously obnoxious or self-entitled. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration, either, to say that her unwieldily attitude was the reason that many people dropped the show early on during its Fall 2016 run. There’s also the fact that some people unfortunately compared the show to Shirobako given its setting within the anime industry, which made it subject to slews of criticism that smacked down on the show’s overly caricature-ish depiction of the anime production process (and I’m talking to you, Kuzu-chan).

But on closer inspection, the show seems less a satire on that industry than it is, really, a satire on the millennial mindset and the struggles they face in the modern day workplace. And this only becomes much clearer come the latter half of the series when it explores the troubled career paths of its two industry veterans, Momoka and Kazuha. This also probably lends more strength to the argument that anyone who felt irked by Chitose’s unruliness is perhaps not so different from her in a more literal sense. But take note, Chitose being a satire on the millennial mindset means that she is obviously exaggerated, meaning her character is pretty much the personification of anything and everything that infuriates you on Facebook or Twitter multiplied by ten. So even if you refuse to see yourself in her, that’s probably just a sign that the issues of the troubled millennial are not so estranged from you as you’d like to think. Continue reading

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Fall 2016 – Season End Ranking

I made it to the end of a season! Wohoo!

We made it to the end of a year! Wohoo!

Yeah, 2016 was a pretty bad hand, but instead of brooding over what was, I think it’s also just as important for us to appreciate what we have. And true enough, 2016 was quite an adventure for me. I’ve been to three different continents, seven different countries, and fourteen different cities; I’ve met random people on the street and have met new friends and faces in all of my travels. And I’m not here to show how blessed I am; rather, I’m here to tell you that it’s important to count your blessings as well.

It’s one of the reasons why I rushed in a review for Flying Witch, to remind everyone to look for the magic in a dismal world. Because it’s only in realizing what’s important to us — the things we value — that we actually strive to see to it that these things are upheld. It’s what ignites passion and fuels change. Never lose sight of the things that have made your life worth living, no matter how shitty 2016 was.

Because the truth is, there’s no telling how shitty 2017 will be. Or the year after that. But if you know what it is you live for, then that’s an entirely different story.

But what does that have to do with anime? Well, nothing really. But I’ve been trying to link the anime I watch with life in general, and to a certain extent I think I’ve achieved that. What I write basically tries to prove to people that you can learn quite a lot about life through moving images on a television screen, and that every story has a hidden message just waiting to be told. We can bitch and rant about the things we hate about 2016 — just as much as we can bitch and rant about the things that sucked about anime. But I’m here to talk about what makes us enjoy the things we enjoy; what makes us hate the things we hate; what makes us keep coming back for more and more anime despite all of that.

In short — anime is love; anime is life.

And before I go on aimlessly with this lengthy entry, let’s move on to the season end ranking, yeah! (man, what a messy segue) Continue reading

Fall 2016 – Week 13 in Review

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We’ve finally reached the end of a great season!

Yeah, I’m actually quite happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this season. It definitely wasn’t what I expected it to be, but in retrospect a large chunk of the shows I watched actually did a good job. That and the fact that I entered the season with relatively low expectations. But then there were amazing shows like March comes in like a lion, the venerable Sound! Euphonium, and even the wonderfully inventive Flip Flappers, which I am quite aware received mixed reviews.

So farewell 2016 — you were a shitty year, but at least your anime wasn’t shitty in the least. And also, a slight congratulations to me for finally completing an entire season worth of blog entries for the first time! I honestly wanted to post more editorials and series-specific write-ups, but I guess this continuous stint of writing articles has helped give me an idea of what sort of approach I’d like to take in writing as an anime blogger. Part of the gratitude also goes to the people who have interacted with me and share their appreciation with me.

So yeah, this is the last stint before the new year! No best anime of the year or top 10 anime of 2016 lists from me — I don’t really believe in that stuff. So here’s to more thoughts and more anime for the year to come! But before that, let’s run ’em down one last time for the year! Continue reading

Fall 2016 – Week 12 in Review

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Yeah, it’s that time of the year when you just want to cuddle up in your bed and not move an inch. I know I did this morning, because the cold was just insufferable. And then I realized I needed to go shopping, only to end up getting drenched in the rain on the way back. Thankfully, the anime was ready to greet me back at home, complete with a cup of steaming hot cocoa.

Merry Christmas everybody. 🙂

So yeah, the shows are ending. It’s a little sad, but at the same time there are still some shows that have an episode left before ending forever. And then there’s one show that’s going to go on for a second cour. So let’s recap what happened this week! Continue reading

Fall 2016 – Week 11 in Review

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This week was a little nerve-wracking for me, given I finally submitted my written dissertation proposal, followed by an oral defense that didn’t exactly go as well as I’d hoped. Regardless, I spent a lovely afternoon eating out with friends at a pretty authentic Japanese restaurant (which is hard to find in west England, mind you), after which I treated myself to a performance of the London Symphony Orchestra playing to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4.

But what about the anime? Well, it did reasonably good; although the funny thing is that even though the shows are obviously preparing to close shop for the year, I honestly can’t help but feel a little indifferent. It’s hard to express the feeling — I do want to see how the shows will end, but I sorta feel like I want to get on to the next season. And it’s not because the shows aren’t doing any good — in fact I feel that their approach to their closure is moving within reasonable expectations (as they should). But at the same time, I think I’m not as excited as I should be. Does any of that make sense?

Oh well, whatever. Let’s take a look back and see what happened last week! Continue reading

Fall 2016 – Week 10 in Review

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Wow, we’re in the double-digits now. Week 10, and then it’s just a little bit more till 2017 — and that means obligatory year-end rankings and what not. But as much as I’m excited for the new year, I was quite similarly excited for what happened this week. If I were to describe this season, I’d probably call it out as some kind of misfit. There were those shows that were obviously good from the start… and then there were those that were just so bad… and then there were those that yo-yo-ed up and down as if trading seats during a game of trip to Jerusalem.

It’s a strange dynamic that is quintessentially Fall 2016. Sure, I feel like it’s screwed me pretty hard, but I feel like it’s been a fun ride nevertheless. So let’s run down just what happened this week: Continue reading

Fall 2016 – Week 8 in Review

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This week was a pretty unproductive week for me. I promised myself to complete a 4,500-word report as part of the initial submission for my dissertation, and so far I’ve only written about 300 words worth. And here I am right now, writing down my regular 2000-word weekly column — all for the sake of animu.

But there were other reasons for the setback in writing. For one, I’m having a hard time putting down into words what it is I need to say. That and the fact that I watched Fantastic Beasts and where to find them on Monday, and I just came from the premiere of Your Name. a few hours before writing this. Yeah, both so much and so little has happened this week that it’s making me feel a little dizzy.

But wait, what about the anime? Well, at eight weeks in, much of what I’m saying right now is just filler material. That’s right — I’m just saying a couple random things to get the ball rolling, but suffice it to know that the anime has been pretty much steady this week, give or take a few that gave me some mixed feelings.  So enough of that and let’s get things started! Continue reading