Top 10 Best Anime Eyebrows of Winter 2018: The Countdown You Absolutely Have Not Been Waiting For!

Wowee, the new anime season is upon us! And I…well I didn’t really watch enough of last season to really comment on it! Oops!

Truth be told, this season I’ve really only finished Citrus. Sora yori mo tooi basho was my actual Winter 2018 front-runner, but my little sister was really enjoying Citrus and Pop Team Epic, so I made more time for those shows instead so that we could watch them together.

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The weirdness of me watching Citrus with my little sister is not lost on me. It’s not like that!

Even though I didn’t actually watch that much of Winter 2018, I still want to join the fun in doing a little “best of the season” countdown. Except…I didn’t watch enough to really declare a best show or best director, or even best opening. I don’t even know enough to declare a best girl. I watched enough to get a feel for, um, what some characters in some shows look like? I can’t even remember most of the names of most of these characters… but for some reason, I do remember their eyebrows. I don’t know what it is, but whenever I’m watching an anime, the first thing I notice about a character is their ‘brows.

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The Unanimous Queen of Anime Eyebrows

I just love it when they’ve got those thick nubby brows instead of a simple thin arc, you know what I mean? They’re more expressive, more elegant. Think about it – don’t you dig an anime girl more when she’s got some big ass caterpillar brows up there? I’m very passionate about thick anime brows…I even have a soft spot for scruffy old man anime brows, too.

So without further ado, here is my top 10 anime eyebrows of the Winter 2018 that I felt the need to put together, for some reason.

Continue reading “Top 10 Best Anime Eyebrows of Winter 2018: The Countdown You Absolutely Have Not Been Waiting For!”

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[Citrus Finale Review] Okay, okay, maybe Citrus is just bad

Citrus is like, half good. When it’s fun, it’s fun, and sometimes it’s even close to being touching and poignant, but gets drowned out by trashy lesbian drama before it can ever reach the point of being, well, fully good. The finale perfectly encapsulates this issue of being so close, yet so far.

Since I run the risk of repeating everything I’ve said in all my other Citrus posts, I’m going to try to keep this mostly to the last episode.

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Very subtle.

Continue reading “[Citrus Finale Review] Okay, okay, maybe Citrus is just bad”

The sweets & the sours of Citrus’s portrayal of girls in love

Citrus, I don’t know how you do it, but you manage to both exceed my expectations and fail to meet them at the same time with each passing week. While watching just about every episode, my thoughts have been equal parts, “wow, this is surprisingly poignant for a show about stepsisters in love” and, “wow, this is surprisingly trashy, even for a show about stepsisters in love.”

[Warning: spoilers up for everything up to episode 10]
Continue reading “The sweets & the sours of Citrus’s portrayal of girls in love”

[Mid-season review] Citrus is good…kind of? Sort of? Maybe?

You can tell a lot about what kind of yuri fan you are by whether or not you were excited about Citrus. If your taste is a little more sophisticated (a.k.a., your favorite yuri isn’t Sakura Trick), you were probably disappointed that this super fetishistic manga was one of the Lucky Few yuri to recieve an anime adaptation.  On the other hand, if your appeal to yuri is strictly, “I wanna see some boobies touch,” you were probably pretty hyped for this one.

Or, you were somewhere in the middle, like me. I wanna see some boobies touch, but like, in a more ~sophisticated~ way.

But I’m desperate for content so I’ll take whatever the Gay Anime Gods are willing to throw me. It’s like, I want a full-bodied four-course yuri meal with a diverse range of flavors, but instead I’m getting a Taco Bell party box – still fun and satisfying, but it’ll really make you hate yourself for consuming so much of it.

 

I don’t actually dislike Citrus. I’m actually really, really enjoying it, despite all of its pesky issues like romanticizing abuse and swerving pretty darn close into sister-fucker anime territory. That stuff is where the “hating yourself for watching” feeling comes in.

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Guess who her first kiss is going to be with? That’s right, her new little sister. It’s THAT kinda anime.

Warning!! This post contains spoilers up to episode 6, and a not-very-spoilery screenshot from episode 7. Be careful in there, kids!

Continue reading “[Mid-season review] Citrus is good…kind of? Sort of? Maybe?”

Pop Team Epic – is it actually bad, or just not the anime for you?

One of the strangest anime of the season has been Pop Team Epic. People either love it or absolutely hate it. Over on Twitter (heyfollowmeifyouwantwinkwink), all the anime folks seem to love Pop Team Epic and sing its praises every week. Everything I’ve seen about the show on my WordPress Reader, however, has been the exact opposite. I’ve seen people saying that it’s absolute garbage, that it’s the worst anime of the season, that’s it’s the worst anime ever, etc. Just a whooooole lot of trash talk.

Which like, yikes! You’re allowed to not like something, but isn’t all the hate a bit much?

Do I want to watch it? Not really, no.
Did I hate watching the episodes I did watch? I did kinda hate it, yeah.
Did it feel like a waste of my time? Yeah, I’d rather watch the pretty Antarctica show.
Does all this mean it’s objectively the worst show ever? No!

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A show like Pop Team Epic obviously isn’t for everyone, and it clearly isn’t trying to water its wackiness down to be more palatable. In fact, I almost think that the creators would be happy to read about so many people hating it…this seems like the sort of anime that takes pride in how un-digestible it is.
There were some bits in the show that made me laugh, but I’m not really interested in watching entire twenty-minute episodes of weird meta-skits. I could probably handle reading the actual comics, since I could take its wackiness at my own pace, but the anime’s a bit too in-your-face for me. I just don’t have the attention span. But deciding that it’s the worst thing ever just because I didn’t like it wouldn’t be fair to the show or to the people fervently enjoying it. Which brings me to my main point…

Just because you don’t like something, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad! You can dislike something personally while still appreciating it for what it is. I don’t “get” Pop Team Epic, but I can see what it’s going for and how that could totally be someone else’s bag. It does have a unique balls-to-the-wallsness that I’ve never seen before, so even though it felt like my brain was melting while I watched it, I can’t really bring myself to haaaate it like some other people do.

To be fair, though, I did write a whole thing about how I really really didn’t like Darling in the Franxx not that long ago. After watching the first two episodes and seeing a few screenshots here and there, I can see that it is, in fact, very well directed and very pretty. This isn’t a shoddy production by any means, and there’s a lot of talent involved in the animation department. But I just…don’t like it. The story feels forced, and the characters (especially ZeroTwo) feel forced, too. Also, my gay ass doesn’t feel like watching a show about girl/boy exclusive pairs with a tired theme about gender roles.

Does that mean I think it’s the worst thing ever made and that everyone watching it must be a big dumb idiot?

Of course not! It’s just not my jam! Simple as that! I mean, I still think it’s kind of garbage, but y’know what they say, one man’s trash…

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…is another man’s waifu!

Obviously, people’s anime opinions aren’t That Deep, and there are more important things to worry about then some one else’s cathartic hate-posts about anime. Still, it’s frustrating at times to read a review that’s just, “this is dumb and I hate it.” Tell me why! Tell me if you think there’s anything positive about it at all! And if it’s a relatively popular anime, try and challenge yourself by finding out why people like it in the first place!

Anyways, I’m gonna go back to watching through the hot mess that is Citrus and try to sort through my feelings about it so I can write something coherent on the subject. じゃあね !

Visual loneliness in Sora yori mo tooi basho episodes 3 & 4

The way characters populate a frame can say a great deal about mood, the relationships of the characters, and rising tensions. I wrote quite a bit about the frequent usage of negative space in episode one and how it emphasized Mari’s fear of the future and her lofty dreams. Episode two also uses negative space to show Hinata’s loneliness and longing while she works another shift at the convenience store and watches Shirase and Mari chat.

Loneliness and isolation comes up quite a bit for our main characters. Shirase is motherless and teased at school. Mari feels like she hasn’t accomplished as much as her peers. Hinata doesn’t go to school and thus has a more difficult time forging relationships with girls her age, and, somewhat similarly, our newest girl Yuzuki hasn’t been able to make a single friend thanks to her overbearing mom-ager.

Continue reading “Visual loneliness in Sora yori mo tooi basho episodes 3 & 4”

Twilight of a new journey in Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho episode 2

I am in love with the way this anime looks. When I wrote about episode one, I focused a lot on the directing and the different ways the framing of shots emphasized the character’s feelings. Episode two is equally beautiful and well directed, but this time I’d like to take a closer look at setting, lighting, and shadows, and the ways they complement the show’s mood and tone.

The first half of this episode takes place in a warm bathing of twilight. Twilight can represent ambiguity, or a wavering attitude. In these scenes, Mari is starting to doubt Shirase’s plan to go to Antarctica, and with good reason. Will they really let a couple of highschoolers onboard? Does Mari really have what it takes to raise all the money she needs? Can they really get away with missing school? Do they even have what it takes to survive in Antarctica? The sun is starting to set on Mari’s naive optimism, and the chances of them actually being able to achieve their dream are getting dimmer.

Twilight can also symbolize a transition from childhood to adulthood, something that’s also fitting here. The fact that these questions are being raised about Shirase’s plans means that the two are being forced to face reality, and facing realities usually leads to characters maturing. Right now, Mari and Shirase are naive enough to fall for an ad involving sex work, but they are wising up as they start to learn that there will be more to getting to Antarctica than just raising money. They’re young, but are approaching the twilight of their youth, as well as the onset of adulthood and maturity. After all, the feeling that her youth is escaping her of is part of the reason why Mari is so eager to go on an adventure in the first place, and, somewhat ironically, the events leading up to said journey will cause her to grow up and learn a lot along the way.

Sundown also comes with harsh shadows and dramatic lighting, which makes it the perfect time for Mari and Shirase’s first fight. Nothing says moody like nice, warm sunset lighting. Shirase, agitated that Mari is pointing out holes in her plan, rushes off in a huff, leaving Mari to call out after her. Of course, Shirase knows Mari is right (that’s why it hurts her so much), and returns to her, sulking and shadowed in a way that reads, “you’re right, I’m sorry, I’m embarrassed.”

This moody atmosphere and lighting also helps emphasize Hinata’s sense of longing when she observes Shirase and Mari from inside her store. Although she doesn’t exactly say so here, you can tell that working instead of going to school has left her feeling lonely. She’s missing out on a lot of interactions with peers. Here, the twilight represents a change for her, as well. Finally, thanks to Shirase and Mari, she’ll be able to spend time with people her age and have some fun instead of just working and studying her youth away.

…By now, you might be saying, “Jenn, relax! These scenes are all happening after school, after all, so the sun naturally has to be setting, so chill with your symbolism talk.” To which I would respond, “look, I went to film school, buddy, and there’s no way I’m not going to read into every single piece of information a scene is giving me about lighting and setting!!!!”

In all seriousness, though, part of what makes good film/television/anime so good is that it can take even practical, obvious settings like, “this is taking place after school so the sun’s going down” and use the moods associated with that time of day to bring out other themes and symbols latent in the story.


I want to briefly touch on lighting in other scenes, as well. I’m not kidding when I say I absolutely love how this show looks, and it’s honestly difficult not to gush about every single frame in every single scene.

Here, we see other ways the show uses light to emphasize its characters, whether it simply be to highlight their plan-making or to give them a sense of isolation by having them be the only things lit in a dark, expansive, empty frame.

For the other half of the episode, the nighttime city setting helps to emphasize senses of danger, excitement, and wonder. What a great place to have Mari feel her youth in motion!
Unlike previous scenes, here, the girls are all dwarfed by their surroundings and the sense of isolation is gone. They’re facing obstacles and other explorers here, and the city makes them (and their ambitions) feel smaller.

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We also get another sneaky No Game No Life poster. I hope these subtle cameos happen every episode to the point that there’s just a random Shiro etched into some snow in Antarctica.

I’m very much looking forward to the next episode – luckily, my busy schedule made me put off watching episode two for so long that episode three is just around the corner! 🙂

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