Welcome to my Ani-Manga archive!
This is a list of reviews and ratings for anime and manga of my choosing, enjoy the mindfuck material
I have to say this one caught me somewhat off gaud, I thought I had heard of most of the hidden gems out there, at least the ones this good. Aoi Bungaku is a story based around the novel 'No Longer Human' by the acclaimed author Osama Dazai.i have not yet read the novel but I was very familair with the author and the premise of the book before watching the anime. The structure of Aoi Bungaku is much different than most anime even the abstract ones I have seen, I believe they built up the anime to shed light on the author Osama Dazai and his daily struggles leading up to his suicide while also providing us with the animation and the actual story of his book 'No Longer Human'. The story follows a man who has trouble connecting with society and human beings in general, seeing his true self as a monster inside of a human body. The man wishes for nothing more than to die at this point as he meets a woman who also feels as if she is not living as a human being. They plan their suicide together and decide to jump off of a cliff into deep waters. The woman is pushed by the man and we see her die, the man goes next and in a turn of events, wakes up instead of dying. The suicide attempt was a failure and now the man feels even more lost than before. This storyline mirrors the life of Osama Dazai who in fact attempted to kill himself many times before ultimately succeeding. We can consider the novel as Dazai's last words in some notion and I am quite happy in a strange way that they animated this and told the story in a documantary way as well, both to give some visual insight and interest to people who haven't heard of him. This representation of depression is probably the most accurate one I have seen in an anime if not really, in general. The feeling of separation between your human self and the identity you are on the inside, the rejection of suicide as it's simply not "enough" for you to end your suffering, the never-ending cycle of losses that lead you into the spiral of hopelessness. I love this animation for lots of reasons, I think the biggest reason is that this story is more than just an animation based off of a novel, it's a mirror of a suicide note from one of Japans most well known authors, it's a parallel to everyone who is hiding between the crowds of people, waiting for a moment to say good bye to this world. A painfully honest, weak and lifeless view of the world through the eyes of the people who have no use for their human identity. I cannot rate this by any of my usual standards, I will only say that it left somewhat of a scar on me.
Aku No Hana, Flowers of Evil (Anime Adaptation)
So, Aku No hana. There were a lot of people (from the looks of it) that disregarded the anime completely due to it's unique animation style. I, was not one of those people. When I first seen Aku no Hana wandering around MAL I was immediately captured by the visual style as I am a huge fan of rotoscoping animation as well as stylized animation in general. I was familiar with the manga and had heard of it but never had the time to dive into that. I do have to say I am an extremely visually biased person and when I see something I'm visually attracted to I will most likely drop everything I'm doing to look further into it. This was exatly what happened to me after watching the trailer and seeing some gifs here and there loitered around the web. I searched it up and eventually found a platform to watch it all on and starting from the first episode my mind was captivated by the honesty and realistic desires of the main character as well as the beautifully done opening theme. The story starts off with a middleschool boy Kasuga, Takao walking to school and reading a book titled 'The Flowers of Evil' by the french poet Baudelaire. The book in mention is what the anime is somewhat based on or rather I should say it's what the anime takes it's inspiration from as one of the main foundations of Kasuga's character and his motives toward the love interest Saeki, a seemingly perfect girl who is at the top of her class. Flowers of Evil is a collection of poems by Baudelaire stating his love and desire for his muse, some of which also state his obvious understanding that she is not a perfect being in fact comparing her to a siren, a beautiful creature that lulls men to their death. In 'Hymne à la Beauté (Hymn To Beauty) he asks this of his muse: "Do you come from the stars or rise from the black pit?", a question that is perhaps only to himself inquiring if she is truly a goddess or simply an object from what we can assume is lust. Most of these poems only describe the muse in surface level ways which is quite a bit of foreshadowing on Kasuga's part as he takes a huge inspiration from these poems as his proclamation for love towards Saeki. As he continues to read through the book his desires grow stronger and he starts to think of Saeki in a slightly obsessive way, imagining her as something like the moon, the only light in the darkness of the night. Kasuga wakes up like any other morning and walks to school, we see him read the book in class as he usually would and as the teacher is calling names out to recieve tests we are introduced to another very interesting character named Nakamura,Sawa. Nakamura jumps out as the polar opposite of Kasuga and comes across as someone with low levels of empathy and lack of care for others. She confidently walks around calling people cruel insults wih a dead look on her face, showing that she really has no care for common people, even adults and higher ups like teachers and parents. After school Kasuga sees Saeki's gym uniform in a small bag, appearing to have been dropped by her and forgotten. Kasuga goes through a period of mental agony in which he isn't sure whether he should give in to his desires and steal her gym uniform or if he should leave it alone and forget the thought altogether. He thinks about the possibility that he would be outed as a "deviant" and how that would negatively impact his image so he chooses to walk toward the door and dismiss the naughty ideas. As he makes a last turn around and looks at the uniform though we see that he cannot overcome his impulse and desires to steal Saeki's uniform and rushes to pick it up off of the floor. We hear a creaking sound in the hallway as he does this but we do not get to see who it was making the sound in mention. Later on at home Kasuga is currently obsessing over the stolen gym uniform and lays it out on his bed as if Saeki were actually there beside him. He does not do anything too lewd with her uniform as we find that he sees Saeki as a muse and a form of light within his world, the town he cannot find comfort in. The next day after school yet again Kasuga is panicking and thinking of what to do with the uniform when he finds Nakumara sitting outside on the trail he is biking on. Nakamura asks of him what he is reading and why it looks so strange like noone else would know what it is, Kasuga becomes even more panicked and simply evades the question when Nakamura tells him that she saw him take Saeki's gym clothes after school. She is clearly using this information as blackmail it seems but instead of being disgusted she appears to be content with what he did. We soon find out that Nakamura is an 'honest to god deviant" and is not ashamed of it one bit. She forms a contract with Kasuga stating that she wants to reveal him for who he really is, a deviant of society, a piece of shit.They go on to do criminal activities on a lower level like trashing the classrrom and throwing black paint everywhere. We're then thrown into the abusive relationship between Kasuga and Nakamura and the changing perspective of what Evil actually is as the opening theme changes from each characters point of view. I quite loved how Aku no Hana chose the simple storytelling method and avoided coming across as preachy in the end of it all. We aren't left with any specific moral obligation, the story is simply trying to state that there is evil and desire hidden within each and every person on the planet. Regardless of how perfect someone seems we can compare their thoughts and feelings to the evil people of the world and find similarities the same way we could if we compare evil people with good people. There will always be some sort of blurred line bewteen the two. I think that is really what makes Aku no Hana a realistically hard pill to swallow. We feel understood by the story while at the same time wishing that there was such thing as a purely good person, wishing that person was us in some way. If you enjoyed hearing about it and aren't feeling discomfort by the animation style I highly, highly reccommend you try this bitter one out.
Kizumonogatari Part 1-Tekketsu
Kizumonogatari is without a doubt the greatest animated film trilogy I have ever watched. I have seen the trilogy a total of 5 times now and it simply never becomes outdated . Kizumonogatari is to me what Akira is to a lot of anime fans and animation fans in general. This statement is not to take away from Akira as i will also be doing a review on that as well, rather, I make this statement to say that every part of me connected to Kizumonogatari. I consider the Kizu films the greatest masterpieces that have come from modern animation thus far, at least in the regard of anime films. Kizumonogatari Part 1-Tekketsu is a film that starts the origin of the Monogatari Series. If you want to watch the entire series it's often regarded as the best way to watch it the first time over. For me, Kizumonogatari was the last thing I watched after finishing all of the arcs. I can say that doing it this way will create a rush of impact when you've finished all of the series episodes and are ready to watch the films. Kizumonogatari is the foundation for the rest of the series and because Monogatari moves at such a fast pace, visually & in reference to dialogue, it can be hard to understand everything that happens the first time around. If you're like me and actually enjoy the process of being confused and finding the answers yourself well, that's wonderful. I can say that I don't regret waiting on watching Kizumonogatari because I felt as if I was being thrown in a universe that was already built, relationships that were already bonded, feelings that had already been developed. It was a strange understanding that I had watching the series. I knew there was more that I didn't understand quite yet and because the Monogatari series is not ordered chronologically I felt that some spaces might be left blank forever. After watching Kizu Part 1 it felt like relief washed over me and I was in (almost) complete understanding of the timeline of events. In Part 1, a highschool boy named Araragi Koyomi goes walking at night and finds a woman meeting her death in the subway station. She's all alone, wailing and moaning about how she doesn't wish to die, she's bleeding out and her arms and legs have been ripped off of her body. It becomes clear through this process that the lady in mention (Kiss-Shot) is a vampire and Araragi offers his life to her (wich can also be considered an act of cowardess) so that she might be able to live on. She feeds from him and becomes revived though she has transformed into a much smaller version of herself in order to preserve. Araragi, surprised to not be dead, wakes up iin an abandoned building where Kiss-Shot has taken them and begins to wander around in an act of confusion. He reaches the roof ot the building and takes in the sun, in turn his hands and body catch fire and he begins to burn. Kiss-Shot saves him from his possible end and it's once again clear what he is now, a vampire. The mission now becomes to retreive Kiss-Shot's arms and legs an we eventually find out, her heart as well. Araragi must fight the men who have taken this from Kiss-Shot for her to return to her final form again. Kiss-Shot and Araragi are now bound for life which becomes one of the themes of the Monogatari series. The animation in Kizu is very expiremental and includes a range of traditional 2D animation, rotoscoping and 3D architecture visuals. Kizumonogatari (parts 1-3) is the trilogy that stands out among the 13 arcs and has a very unique direction. The camera movements and composition in Kizu is another one of the things that I was quite attracted to as it was done absolutely flawlessly. The movements of running, chasing and fighting were excellently done and I give endless props to SHAFT and the head directors Akiyuki Shinbo & Tatsuya Oishi. I can't tell you how this ends because as usual I would reccommend you watch yourself and come to your own conclusions. I can leave this review with a final note, Kizumonogatari will not be like any other animated film(s) you've watched, regardless of your interest in genre. Kizumonogatari tackles love, war, internal conflict, suicide, friendship, sacrifice and acceptance all at once, attaching us to the hip of the story and whispering for us not to forget what we felt and understood. Whether you find yourself in Kiss-Shot, the cold immortal vampire who hides her vulnerability at every attempt, Araragi, the boy who wants to do the "right" thing regardless of if it's in his heart or not or even Hanekawa, my personal favorite character, a girl who is just who she is, somewhere in between everything ranging from intelligent and bold to lonely and desperate. You'll find yourself somewhere in the story and all you'll be left with in the end is "wow"
This is one of my favorite animated films, I really love the use of silence and visual metaphors. I think when storytelling especially in animation it's better to show not tell. The experience of the viewer can be expanded when they're confused because it makes them think and ponder on the small things they might've never considered before. Angels Egg displays countless parallels to spirituality and the meaning of god, further more, the pure faith one must have to succeed in consistent belief. The relationship between the man, the egg and the young girl are all familiar methods of story telling within christianity. The idea of the pure and innocent woman, the reincanated man, and the egg representing the fragility of human faith. I'm happy to say there really isn't a way to spoil this film due to its ambiguous nature. I strongly feel that this is a film people who want to expand their view on spirituality or creativity with lack of dialogue should watch- but even if you are not interested in those things, you're sure to find it as a unique and thought provoking piece.
Evangelion 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon A Time
Alright, words can not express how much I love Evangelion and the parallel it has within my own life both realistically and fictionally. Evangelion is a series that matures over time as it discusses a wide range of topics from psychology, spirituality, religion and relationships to trauma, happy endings and the importance of moving past regret. Thrice upon a time was a film tha I didn't necessarily need considering the first ending in the original series was my personal favorite. I loved the lack of explanation for things and the bittersweet feeling it gave toward the audience that left everyone feeling both confused and alone. I think to overlook that this was Hideaki Anno's personal feeling at the time also makes me feel very content because regardless of what anyone would have wanted for the ending, you could tell this was an ending that was true to who he was and what his identity was made up of at the time. That said, I was completely blindsided by how ridiculously incredible the last rebuild film was. Thrice Upon A Time shocked me with a feeling much much different than the original series. The film runs across the past of failure and neverending torture into a reality of choices and maturity. You can sense the difference in the mindset of every single character in the film. They all had gradually changed from a position of entrapment or false superiority to emotional exploration and solutionistic methods. The characters remove the burden of living inside of themselves forever and open their eyes to reality without focusing specifically on the things that hurt them. Essentially, they had experienced a removal of their ego and replacement of empathy for the people around them. I think this really revealed how much Hideaki Anno has grown over the years and if not, it revealed how much he wants to grow. A wonderful wonderful ending film. Highly recommend.
Genius Party + Genius Party Beyond
This is an experimental film of short animations by different animation directors. Each short has a story behind it or rather an interesting premise like technology, heaven and magical realism. This is another ambiguous film that I would say is more about the visual value than anything. One of my favorites that inspire me to illustrate and create more nonsensical characters. I would recommend this to fans of hidden animations and art house films.
The climber is a shining gem in my archive of psychological manga. The story surrounds a young mountain climber who is very serious about the lifestyle of reaching the peak. Like most "sports" manga the storyline is based around the main characters need to get to a certain goal, what's different about 'The Climber' is within the mindset of the main character. Rather than treating the mountain as if it was a race or a team effort sport, Buntarou Mori has somewhat of an obsession with getting to the peak of the mountain. Everything he does in the story is to get toward the peak of the mountain and even in the moments where he is close to this goal, he appears to be in a psychological haze, starstruck by the experience instead of feeling elated and commanly happy. Mori treats the peak of the mountain like it was a drug, it doesn't matter where he goes, who he lives with, what he does, as long as he can experience the peak of the mountain, nothing else matters. Mori is an interesting character to discuss and I plan on doing a synopsis because he really is a complex character. He can be defines as a thrill seeker if you'd want to categorize him but even the thrill seeker title would be nearly dishonest to his personality. He doesn't do just anything for a thrill. The mountain is his life, the peak is almost like the lottery for Mori. The artwork in this manga is also insane, such good skin shading and shape design. Really one of my favorite reads, as usual, highly recommend!
Homunculus is at the top of my list as my all time favorite read. The story entails a man who is both homeless and rich, someone who had experienced plenty of the pelasures in life as well as experiencing the feeling of being unwanted, poor and down on his luck. He is living in his car near a park in the first volume, the best way to explain his initial personality is apathetic and indifferent to everyone, mostly doing what he wants to do without trying to change much of anything. The story changes when he is approached by a....quirky character who has a strange offer for him. There is a procedure that requires you to drill a small hole in your skull, the experiment is supposed to expand your brain or rather expand your perception of people around you to see the 'Homunculii' of other people. This can best be described as the representation of ones subconscious likely including trauma, life experience and hidden desires. Basically a distorted embodiement of who they are on the inside. The story takes a turn when he decides to become the test patient for the experiment and begins to see the homunculus of society. For someone who was compeletely stuck in a superficial reality of looks and lifestyle, we see him fall down the rabbit hole of identity and what it means to see the insides of others and if what he sees has any revelation about himself. Please. Read. This. If you do not, you will never reach immortality.
Heads is another psychological manga in which the main character gets shot in the midst of an hostile burglary and eventually recieves a brain transplant from the man who shot him. The character slowly loses himself as the brain inside of his head affects his perception of the world and he starts to notice that he is disliking all the things he usually loved. The foundation of his character is swept under the rug of the identity that was transferred into him and he is now battling with his true identity and the killer who is trying to dominate him. The story is quite interesting, specifcally in the area of psychology where it exposes an uncomfortable reality for the criminals and sick people of the world in which it displays their brain as almost unstoppable. Regardless of the initial perception of who the "evil" one is, we start to understand the definition of what evil is and really, if the term even truly exists from the standpoint of science.Yet another golden star.