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Visual bookending, mirroring, and storyboarding in Arcane

Am I interrupting? Spoilers for all of Arcane and some League of Legends game lore/backstory below. Tw: suicidal ideation Sometimes, when people speak of anime or animated works (especially the former) they separate the technical quality of animation or storyboarding from the plot or emotional narrative of the series. More specifically, this is...

The “Anicamera” in Arcane

Arcane immediately had my attention due to the way in which it used its own “camera” to frame its first act, in addition to other visual languages used in tandem with the series’ emotional narratives. In its second act, Arcane completely changes the framework that it set in its first act with poise and purpose. Years ago in my anime blogging infancy,...

Art Nouveau and Art Deco in Arcane

Two specific points struck me as I was watching the first three episodes of Arcane. The first was the series’ use of a “camera.” Animation, by nature, unchains the camera view or perspective from having to be anything grounded by reality. Arcane deliberately chose to use shots that could only be achieved by an actual camera following the characters...

Flower language in Heike Monogatari

“The color of the sāla flowers reveals the truth that the prosperous must decline.” -The Tale of the Heike During her time at Kyoto Animation it was a truth universally acknowledged that any Naoko Yamada work must use flower language in some capacity. This remains true in her first work with Science Saru, an anime adaptation of the Japanese epic,...

Hundreds of ways to say hell is other people and also love is other people: Evangelion 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon A Time

There are myriad reasons why I feel unqualified to talk about anything related to the Evangelion franchise, but the primary one is that it’s not my thing. It’s a lot of other people’s thing, but not mine. Evangelion 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time, is the first time I felt myself so deeply affected by an Evangelion product. My thing is the much less acclaimed...

Costuming in Sailor Moon (Part 1: Le Smoking and Tuxedo Mask)

Was this post inspired solely by the fact that Tuxedo Mask has an attack in the manga called “la smoking bomber” and reading way too far into that? You decide. A brief history of Naoko Takeuchi and her relationship with fashion Sailor Moon‘s creator, Naoko Takeuchi, drew inspiration from high fashion advertising and runway shows — as well as movie...

Welcome back to Love Live!, Takahiko Kyougoku (visual direction in Love Live! Superstar!!)

The opening sequence to the original Love Live! School Idol Project still charms me to this day. It was made back when Love Live! was a budding multimedia adventure and not the successful franchise it is today, the time period of its latest iteration, Love Live! Superstar!!. It features a shot that’s actually rotated in a spinning motion like you would...

What we leave behind: On returning to Maid Dragon

Yasuhiro Takemoto left behind a legacy. There isn’t an artist in the world who doesn’t think about how people will view their art. If they say that they’ve never thought about this, then they’re lying. Once you release something into the ether, it’s no longer wholly yours, but yours and others. And the other people who experience your art may find...

The flowers of Wonder Egg Priority’s opening (and series reflections, I suppose)

Following a three-month wait for a finale that was half-recap and half-nonsense, Wonder Egg Priority will go down in anime history as yet another promising passion project that was stymied by poor planning — exacerbated by the general state of the industry. Wonder Egg Priority‘s production woes have been thoroughly documented and were especially apparent...

Colors and Cinematography in SSSS.Dynazenon

The opening shot of SSSS.Dynazenon is purposefully reminiscent of its predecessor, SSSS.Gridman. Anyone who has watched Gridman immediately will recognize the sequence of shots. This time, these snapshots begin with a nod to students’ various backpacks, which were used to define and color-coordinate characters by their tokusatsu archetypes (or defy...

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