Criticizing A Fave: Things That Don’t Work in Shirobako

Aoi Grumpy Face

Shirobako is my favorite anime in 2015, and being a critical and commercial darling during the past year, I figured there’s a lot who shares similar sentiment. It’s been winning awards right and left, and you can easily scour the Internet to find many pieces written about its merits. It’s all deserved, and I could add even more gushing by detailing on how great it is as an educational look on anime production, a slice of life that captures the flow of an office space and makes it extra compelling through endearing set of characters, or a deeply resonant work to anyone who’s ever worked in creative industry.

Except that’s not what I’m doing now.

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Character Building in Coming of Age Fantasy: Yona & Arslan

Yona & Arslan Eyes.png

This year, we’ve seen two adapted fantasy shows that covered a lot of the same ground, Akatsuki no Yona and Arslan Senki. Both series carry the familiar premise of sheltered teen noble thrown into chaotic circumstances, gather a Party of Heroes™ to reclaim what they’ve lost, and grow up a bit in the process. Drawing inspiration from ancient Korea and Persia/Iran respectively, they also have enticing cultural flavor and substantial amount of geopolitics to accompany the standard fantasy hero arc.

Yet, in spite of all those similarities, Yona and Arslan had markedly different approaches in fleshing out and developing its characters. Only one of them managed to have me properly invested in its characters (and, by extension, its plot), and here’s where I’m going to pinpoint on the how’s and why’s.

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Super Peace Ghost Busters: Retrospective Thoughts on AnoHana’s Writing

Ano Hana Clean Up.png

Mari Okada being everywhere and writing everything these days compels me to revisit one of her most beloved works in AnoHana: The Flower We Saw That Day, which had me discussing it with a couple of people and watching the epilogue + recap movie for the first time. One thing lead to another, and here I am writing this to express my thoughts on the show’s script work, what’s great (character design, themes) and not so great (plotting, composition) about it, and my hypothetical re-working of it just to see how the great pieces it had could be better utilized to their utmost potential.

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