3-Gatsu no Lion Episode 1 – Oppressive Success


This is a Studio Shaft show, more specifically, it is credited with Shinbo’s name, so many “Shaftisms/Shinoisms” are on display here, such as a head-tilt, a print on a dress that is perfectly aligned regardless of the contours of clothes,rails and a city under construction, amongst others.

3-gatsu no Lion anime / March Comes in Like a Lion anime / Sangatsu no Lion anime Episode 1 - Black and white Kiriyama Rei

The real point here is that a lot of thought went into the construction of scenes here. Some of it is “just” stylistic touches, but some of it has meaning. Such as this sequence, where Rei travels to the Shogi Club, and he’s absolutely dwarfed by the architecture, he gets swallowed up by the environment. A lot of it has to do with pacing, which I’ll discuss soon enough.

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Aku no Hana / Flowers of Evil – Horror is Skin-Deep


Aku no Hana / Flowers of Evil Anime EditorialAku no Hana, known in English as “Flowers of Evil” received the 13th spot in my top anime of 2013 post. I am not sure how much I “enjoyed” the show, but it certainly felt unique enough that I didn’t feel like I could avoid mentioning it on the list. Aku no Hana is based on a manga by the same name, which in turns draws its name from Charles Baudelaire’s “Les Fleurs du mal,” a French poetry book. The show’s “protagonist”, Kasuga Takao, reads and prides himself for “getting” the book, which he claims everyone around him is too simple to manage.

Usually I’m wary of adaptations, but I think the series format made Aku no Hana work for me in ways reading it wouldn’t have accomplished, but its failings as well might be unique to the series-form, which I’ll discuss again later. Aku no Hana isn’t a plot-driven, or even a character-driven show as much as it’s an atmosphere-driven show. Not much happens, at least not externally; most of the time is spent on waiting for something to occur, for the other shoe to drop.

(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that have risen in my mind as I’ve watched it. There will be very few spoilers, but not too many, cause not that much happens ;-))

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Media Month in Review – December 2013

Well, I’m resurrecting my old “Media Consumption” posts. Turns out it might be hard to remember what I watched when otherwise, and it’s also an opportunity to write 2-3 sentences about something, when I might not have more to say (or don’t have the time for it). I did watch more anime than usual this month, for the sake of the “Top Anime Shows ending in 2013” list.


  • Gravity – This movie is an experience, more than it is a plot-driven movie, and what little plot there is is focused on the very American message of the human triumph. Regardless, floating in space, seeing explosions while hearing nothing had been well-done. A good movie? Probably not. A great experience? Very much so. The use of silence had impressed me, as it always does when it’s used well.
  • Kara no Kyoukai / Garden of Sinners 1-4 – It’s interesting, to treat this as films. I’ve watched it as part of an anime watching club online, but fell behind, so hope to get one more film watched and an essay for it written every week or two. It’s a supernatural mystery thriller, it’s very artistic, very pretty. Very interesting.
  • Steins;Gate Movie (Fuka Ryouiki no Déjà vu) – This is a fan-service movie in the best sense of the word. We get more time with the characters we enjoy. In a manner very fitting with the show, we have a story quite similar to the one in the series, but now Kurisu is the one who has to go and save Okabe. It had some pacing issues, and it didn’t hit as hard as the series, but it only had 2 hours to do everything. The concept of memory alongside reminding us of stuff from the series at every turn made this a very welcome movie.

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Top 13 Anime Shows Ending in 2013

Well, the year is ending, and I’ve actually watched a large amount of anime shows ending this year (over 60), so here is my list of the top 13 shows which ended in 2013. The shows and their positions are factored by how much I enjoyed these shows and how good (artistically, thematically) I think the shows are. Only full shows had been considered, no OVAs or movies of any sort. The names link to the show’s description and information on My Anime List (MAL).

13. Aku no Hana (Flowers of Evil)

Aku no Hana / Flowers of Evil anime

This show is all about atmosphere. An oppressive atmosphere of self-inflicted fear, of being closed in, that one can’t escape. Not much actually happens in the show, but the constant fear of what is about to happen, of what is going to strike our protagonist drives both him and us as we watch the show. It’s hardly a “fun watch”, with each episode weighing you down until you seek respite elsewhere. Its masterful control of psychological horror and how well it conveys Kasuga’s life and the feeling of the town in which he lives make this show one that cannot be ignored, however.

It seems that had there been a second season a lot more would actually occur, and all that happened in this season was merely a precursor, but due to exceedingly poor sales, that is unlikely to happen. The rotoscoping is interesting, but believe it or not, the show I believe is closest to Aku no Hana is K-On! due to its absolute reliance on atmosphere over plot or character development.

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