Prior to watching Wandering Son, I had already noticed the past few years’ change in approach towards gender identity. I hadn’t given it much thought other than agreeing that if ‘he’ wanted to be seen as a ‘she,’ then who was I to disagree? Using the requested pronoun wouldn’t hurt anybody or inconvenience me, even if in my mind I still considered ‘she’ a ‘he.’ Nitori and Takatsuki helped me realize that my approach needed to go beyond the surface. Instead of just going with the flow, I should delve deeper and see how my own actions are only a drop in the ocean of human equality. Their characters, complex and conflicted, work alongside a strong script and aesthetic to tell a story questioning exactly what it is we’re made of.
Hey there, December, and everything you bring each year! This month means snow, decorations, and lots of blogging—12 Days of Anime and Anime Secret Santa, to be exact. I’ll be jumping head first into both and hopefully make it out in one piece by the time Christmas Day dawns.
My last of the three Secret Santa recommendations, Omoide no Marnie (or, When Marnie Was There) is a Studio Ghibli film detailing the story of a young girl who leaves the city for the country and stumbles across a very special mansion. Directed by Yonebayashi Hiromasa, who also directed the lovely Karigurashi no Arietti, Marnie has a distinctly melancholic air. The protagonist’s ever expressionless face and the still waters that surround the Marsh House smother the viewer. When it seems like the somber atmosphere might spread, we are instead refreshed by the brightness of the Oiwa family and magical encounters with Marnie. Like Anna, we are tossed back and forth between reality and the inexplicable, with each trade resulting in livelier and more colorful reactions.
“The present will always be different from the past. That’s what makes life good and at the same time sad. That sadness in turn gives our everyday life some flavor. Just like coffee.” -Yaobi Kunio
“How bitter! Milk, please!” -Kitashirakawa Tamako
As much as I adored the television series, Tamako Market, I could not deny the many flaws the show maintained to the end: Dera and the royals, the stagnant relationship between Tamako and Mochizou, and the death of Tamako’s mother. The main attraction of the show was the daily life of Tamako and her friends in and around her neighborhood market, yet the other three factors kept popping up fighting for attention. The most out of place of them all was Dera, the single supernatural addition to TM. Tamako Love Story removes the magic and focuses in on the two aspects I care most about–the love, and the future.
For the first year, Anime B&B is participating in Reverse Thieves’ Anime Secret Santa project. Traditionally, each participant receives another member’s name, Twitter/blog link, and full anime list, and must recommend three different single-cours shows, specials, or movies to be watched and reviewed by Christmas Eve. Once you receive your own Secret Santa picks, you must watch at least one of them—you need not apply yourself to all three. Then when Christmas Day rolls around, you find out the name of your Santa.
My gifts this year were all wonderful choices, and particularly well thought out due to my already heavy schedule. The only series was a short twelve episodes, while the other two were movies. All were works I had already had my eyes on, but for some reason or another had not yet begun. Given my attraction to all three and the ease of adding them into my line-up, I’ll be reviewing each of them in separate posts.
- No Game No Life
- Omoide no Marnie
- Tamako Love Story
Anime B&B has been up and running for almost six years now, and it was only last year that I opted to join the 12 Days of Anime. There are quite a few seasonal aniblogger projects flitting around, but the two that had always caught my eye were 12 Days and Secret Santa. I kept meaning to try Secret Santa, but repeatedly missed the deadline for application. Finally, this year I stalked the date like a crazy person and actually remembered to submit.