Sunday, October 18, 2020

Bloom Into You

And Yuu/Tainted my entire world

There's something about the central relationship in Bloom Into You that I can't quite gel with. It's frustrating, because otherwise it's completely up my anime alley: a high school romance with a large dose of emotional turmoil and self-examination.

Spoilers follow.

Yuu, a high school freshman, has never fallen in love. She suspects she never will. When she meets Touko, an upperclassman with a similar attitude, they become friends, bonding over this shared aromatic outlook – until Touka confesses that she's fallen for Yuu.

Normally this would result in a fairly rapid reciprocation (and, depending on the decade, a bunch of angsty reflection on the part of Yuu), but here she just kinda… goes along with it?

She doesn't pretend to have feelings for Touka, and tells her as much, but she's willing to put her own discomfort completely aside to indulge the (at times frightening) emotional storm that Touka is going through.

There've been quite a lot of shows recently which have this kind of one-sided romantic interest, and there's even a tendency for the characters to explicitly state as much. Both Re:Zero and OreGairu's protagonists admit to themselves and others that their actions are driven by their feelings for the female lead, but that they are willing to disregard (or in some cases run roughshod) over her wishes in order to prove the strength of their affections.

It's pretty baffling, and more than a little alarming, that these monomaniacs are so commonly commended by these shows.

Where Bloom departs from this mould, is how we're allowed into the thoughts of the recipient of the fixation – but rather than fixing the problem, it somehow makes it worse.

It's disappointing that Yuu doesn't value herself, her time or her feelings enough to push back against the unreasonable demands Touka is putting on her. Yuu spends a not-insignificant amount of time wondering how to get Touka to value and accept her "true" self, all the while apparently denying herself the same courtesy.

Is it too much to ask for a show in this genre where both participants have some degree of self-respect..?

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Kowpelésh Ere da Vedipelésh

Mi finyish vedi ere fo translate wang mo sowngit fo langbelta: All Along the Watchtower

(I have tried to translate another song to langbelta: All Along the Watchtower)

(Asilik kowltim, sili tolowda mebi tenye wawe fo du im mogut, fodagut showxa mi!)

(As always, if you have any way to make it better, please tell me!)

Kowpelésh Ere da *Vedipelésh

Mogut fo desh wa we fongi
Da *dzhoka ta showxa fo da pirata
Desh walowda walowda govatét
Mi na kang ge pash natím

Inyalowda beve rowm mi
Imim leta kowlting mi
Namang na gonya natim du mi eka
Imim na gonya gif mi wowt imim

Na desh radzhang fo ge natét
Da pirata showxa nadura
Walowda walowda milowda xiya
Pensa da livit im kaka

Amash to unte mi finyish du im fore
Unte im na shukumi milowda
Mogut fo setóp fo showxa nasheng xitím
Da ora xiya kasi da nax

Kowpelésh ere da *vedipelésh
Inyalowda vedi fong
Detím kowl sésata ta kom unte go
Oso welwala nawit but

Fongi de ere da pelésh nawowm
Wa koyo ta showxa tet
Tu kapawu ta ando kom
Ere da kuxaku da belék

Thursday, October 15, 2020


Gleipnir is a vaguely body-horror manga adaptation, about a guy who has, somehow, found himself with the ability to transform into a "monster" with the appearance of a Japanese prefectural mascot. After his secret is discovered by a classmate, she finds a zipper down the back which allows her to climb inside and pilot him.

Also, other "monsters" (with various other abilities and transformations) are trying to kill them, in an attempt to collect enough alien coins to unlock the power to destroy the world. (Not a word of this is an exaggeration.)

The season starts out strong, but I felt like it very quickly fell back on fairly predictable shonen tropes, without spending any time on the much more interesting psychological implications of the main characters' unique bond. They're very different people – a scared, reclusive nerd and a borderline-sociopathic gyaru – and the way they complement each other's issues and weaknesses, both in and out of the costume, had a lot of potential for interesting character work that was ultimately squandered.

But then, given the parade of obvious shonen villains in the OP, I was probably expecting too much from the get-go.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Dear Brother

Oniisama e

After some… let's call them recommendations on Twitter, I have started to watch the 1992 shoujo manga adaptation Oniisama e. It was described to me as "pure uncut black-market shoujo" and I honestly cannot find fault with that assessment.

This is melodrama in its concentrated form. Directed by Osamu Dezaki – whose better-known works include the sports anime Ashita no Joe and Ace o Nerae, as well as trashy assassin thriller Golgo 13 – this takes all his trademarks and crams them into a genre that is, frankly, not prepared for it.

Split-screens, dramatic watercolour freeze-frames, lighting cues that would make Edgar Wright sit up and take notes; all in the service of a story that has no rights being so intense. It's something of a credit to the direction here that in the first episode the tension around a teenager's first day at a new high school was ramped up to the point that I genuinely expected the third act to end with a horrific murder.

One of my favourite shows, Kyoto Animation's exquisite Hyouka, is a detective series about nothing of consequence, but does an admirable job infusing its ultimately-insignificant mysteries with dramatic tension and satisfying reveals. Oniisama e doesn't have that whodunnit structure to rely on, but manages (with the liberal application of over-the-top thunder-and-lightning) to make "my new friend seems overly concerned with her position in the social pecking order" feel like the kind of life-or-death situation that most anime shows could only dream of portraying.

In short: I don't know what the hell this thing is, but I love it.