Cowboy Bebop is one of those things that’s so unique in construction that it’s hard to see the pieces it’s built out of. That’s one of the reasons it’s brilliant. But it is built out pieces, no matter how brilliantly they’re disguised. For instance, you have to look at it a lot (a pleasure, let […]Read more "The Power of Three: Cowboy Bebop"
One of the cool things about a person in my racket – I’m a professor of Communication – is you can see the stuff we talk about in class coming out in anime and manga. Right? Art imitates life, right? Well, in a way it has to. If you are trying to write a believable […]Read more "Fun With School: Citrus"
At some point someone realized that pointing out the absurdities and contradictions of everyday life could be really funny. I mean, seriously, going back to at least George Carlin. Then of course there’s Jerry Seinfeld. Even Krusty the Klown figures it out, and he never figures out anything. You know why that’s relevant to Saiki […]Read more "The Outsider: Saiki K"
Okay, I hope everyone has seen Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0 by now. If you haven’t, please do. It’s really good. It’s really good even though it changes the essential Evangelion story. But you knew it would. You knew the rebuild was going in a different direction from the start of 2.22, where we all met […]Read more "Character Analysis: Mari Illustrious Makinami"
One of the nice things about A Silent Voice is that it’s about kids growing up, and it treats the kids honestly as characters in that it lets them do it. Right? Not just Shoko and Shoya, but the people around them change as well as they confront their own bad behavior and resolve to […]Read more "The Power of Three: A Silent Voice"
What can you say about Madoka Kaname? She’s obviously the central character of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, so much so that the show is named after her. But for eleven episodes she doesn’t really DO anything. That makes it kind of difficult to describe her as the hero or the protagonist of the series. The […]Read more "Character Analysis: Madoka Kaname"
I REALLY REALLY wanted to like Girls und Panzer. Seriously, among other things I have been a World War II buff for years. My dad – Staff Sergeant John J. D’Alessio, 525 Squadron, 86th Fighter-Bomber group, winner of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart – fought in the Big One. And he was a pretty […]Read more "How Not to Build a Series: Girls und Panzer"
I always like a nice case of Stealth Storytelling. Look, in a lot of ways, when you have a really basic story what you’re really exploring is character development, right? Like there’s this novel I’ve been working on. It’s just a Comedy: Girl meets Boy, Girl loses Boy, Girl gets Boy. Like, it’s that simple. […]Read more "How To Build a Series: Toradora"
I’d hate to be a mangaka. I mean, it’s a real “shotgun” sort of business: The publishers throw all sorts of stuff out there looking to see what sticks to the wall. And as the writer you want it to stick, too. I mean, you’re not a salaried member of the publication staff; you get […]Read more "Off the Rails: Arakawa Under the Bridge"
I have said it before and I will say it again: one of the things I like about Shinichiro Watanabe’s work is that he treats female characters with the same respect he treats male characters. Faye Valentine, Lisa Mishima, Carole Stanley; even when they are tropes (Faye is a Look at Me Woman and Carole […]Read more "Character Analysis: Fuu Kasumi"