On Anime

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Starting a story with a bang—and when not to

The conventional wisdom is that fictional stories need to appeal to their audience right after they begin, lest the audience get bored and wander off. That’s why so many action stories start off with an action scene, romance stories with a lovey-dovey scene, mysteries with something that hints toward the mystery. Grab ’em quick before they lose interest, that’s the ticket! Youjo Senki started with an episode of action, and it sucked. The second episode, which had less action, would have been a...

Re Zero: The hero who strives

There’s a reason most people prefer Asuka rather than Shinji in Neon Genesis Evangelion*, even though they’re both about as functional as human beings (i.e. not very). Asuka isn’t even as effective at her job as Shinji is, much to her intense frustration. Yet it’s Shinji that’s universally reviled, whereas she’s just reviled in certain circles. (No one comes out of that series looking good.) Why? Because she strives. Ineffectively and often recklessly, but at least she tries. Asuka is a fighter, the type who will...