Seattle Symphony with Guest Conductor and Composer Joe Hisaishi: Performing Ghibli Works

A couple of weekends ago I had the pleasure of experiencing Joe Hisaishi live in concert with the Seattle Symphony and Chorale. His works encompass many of Studio Ghibli’s films directed by Hayao Miyazaki. We had originally purchased these tickets for April of 2020, which as you will notice was right near the start of the pandemic. Like most everything else around that time, the concert was postponed and as the threat of COVID became more apparent I expected outright cancellation. Miraculously, the concert rolled forward two years to today, and I, along with the rest of the sold out seats, experienced a journey both nostalgic and unforgettable.

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I’m Quitting Heroing & Rebuilding Fantasy Kingdoms

“Protect humanity; save the world.”

Leon Demonhart, I’m Quitting Heroing

Fixer-uppers are all the rage lately, and I’m not talking about home renovation. The anime seasons have seen their fair share of rebuild narratives, with a few in recent memory jumping immediately into mind: Realist Hero, Genius Prince, and, currently airing, I’m Quitting Heroing. Each of them features a fantastical kingdom in economic and/or political turmoil and in each of them a hero comes along to save the day. While some aspects are refreshing in their approach, other areas perpetuate troubling beliefs and boring writing. I’m Quitting Heroing is the latest and, arguably, the best example of this type of story with its increased focus on notable side characters rather than the lead.

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Mecha March and Mobile Suit Gundam

Amuro, Amuro

A couple nights ago, while browsing my Twitter feed, I came across #MechaMarch for the first time. I assume this writing event has been around for a while and I am just now learning about it given the responses I’ve seen thus far. I don’t consider myself knowledgeable in mecha anime by any stretch of the imagination; I came to the genre relatively late compared to my exposure to other styles, like isekai and school-set comedies.

If I had to remember one of my earlier experiences, Full Metal Panic!, Code Geass, and Neon Genesis Evangelion jump to mind. Since then, I’ve picked up some classics, dabbled in novelties, and tried enough mediocre to awful entries in the field. Current favorites include FMP Fumoffu, Macross Frontier, Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, Knights of Sidonia, and Break Blade. Now with this month’s theme in mind, I’m determined to find something new and equally engaging.

It was with surprise and delight that I discovered the original 1979 Mobile Suit Gundam in full on Crunchyroll. My experience with the franchise is limited to a few entries, with those other than IBO getting dropped early on. From the handful of episodes seen so far of Gundam 79, I’m happy to say that the likelihood is high that I’ll keep with it and finish; I’ve already the 2019 prequel origin series to my future watchlist out of sheer curiosity about a couple of the major characters.

I’m hoping my time with the classic will encourage some writing in response, but I’m also resistant to pressure to just produce–I might just end up tweeting passing thoughts not long enough for a blog post. If any of you have any suggestions for topics or anime titles you think I should check out in line with the mecha theme of the month, let me know!

[12 Days of Anime] Day 2: The Heike Story

Let me preface these next two posts by saying that it was ridiculously difficult to order them—both The Heike Story and ODDTAXI took my breath away with their writing, visuals, and even soundtrack. I knew they were classics very early into their respective seasons, and I’ve already recommended both numerous times to friends in the hopes that more people will appreciate these works for the masterpieces they are.

In the end, I chose to place The Heike Story on the penultimate day of my 12 Days of Anime not because it’s inferior, but because of transparency. I was not surprised in the slightest before starting this series that it would succeed. Everything about it screams, “Look at me! Listen!” And I did, and will do so again, and again.

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[12 Days of Anime] Day 3: The Faraway Paladin (but just the start)

Sometimes I forget that the 12 Days of Anime can be as flexible as the writer likes; I have this habit of assuming each post should match an entire series, rather than something smaller like an arc, or a single episode, or even a popular theme of the year across multiple series.

And so after my barely-related FFXIV post, I follow now with admiration for the beginning arc of The Faraway Paladin—a fully contained story with complex characters, an intriguing setting, and just the right amount of tension.

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[12 Days of Anime] Day 7: THAT show, Mushoku Tensei

I know I’m probably going to get some heat for including Mushoku Tensei in my 12 Days, or even just watching it to completion at all–of all the isekai that aired this past year (and there have been a lot), it seemed like Jobless Reincarnation alienated people with its protagonist, a self-aware scumbag with a penchant for young girls.

…yeah that sounded just as bad written as it did in my head. It is bad.

But, HEAR ME OUT, this scumbag actually showed physical and mental growth throughout his journey. His environment and the people in it shaped him into the young man that he becomes over these past two seasons, reaffirming my belief that we are shaped by our experiences rather than born to a set path.

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