hey guys~ so we're finally in full swing with all our new titles! hopefully everyone has found a title that you can enjoy during the fall season. If you don't know what is airing on CR, you can check out the FULL LISTING HERE!!! What's you're favorite title for the fall? There's so many to choose from!!!
Long before the times of computers, televisions, and video games, there was an era when magic dominated the land. These ancient times contained small villages, monarchies, and witchcraft. It may be hard for people today to imagine living in a world like that considering our current way of life, but with anime, we can experience anything. Anime tends to makes the ancient times come alive before our eyes with the power of storytelling, animation, and various elements of the ancient times themselves. In Erin, a young girl named Erin and her mother live in a village directly within this world of magic, mythological creatures, and kingdoms. The story opens up with Erin as a ten year old girl, fascinated by her mother’s job of taming magical creatures called Todah. She eventually is able to control Todah, and then becomes involved in the war happening outside of her village. This anime’s interpretation of the ancient times is captivating, but the question is, what is it that makes it so?
There is no way to prove that mythological creatures actually existed, but they always seem to be intertwined with the ancient times. Dragons are usually seen being slain by knights to save various princesses in legends, and then the princess and her saviour marry each other back at the kingdom. With Erin, instead of dragons or phoenixes being common creatures, the mythological beasts are called Todah, but they are extremely similar to komodo dragons. Unlike in other anime or legends with mythological creatures, the Todah are trained to be rode upon like horses in war, and their enormous strength overpowers the enemy’s horses and give the army an advantage. Todah are beasts specific to Erin alone, and their creation adds a twist to the anime, giving Erin a chance to be unique from any other anime. However, their design still keeps with the time era, and they don’t look out of place. In anime, the appearance of mythological creatures and such can liven a show up if their design is drawn well enough. The appearance of something different and unordinary is usually enough to catch the human eye with the “cool” factor, and there is no exception to that with anime.
Another commonly associated element of ancient times, that makes its appearance in this particular show too, is the application and integration of magic. Magic had several different forms and practices in the past, and they were all taken extremely seriously. Today, most simply look at their horoscope in the local newspaper for fun, but the past’s magic has since created most of today’s religions and practices. Some of the ones you may recognize are Shinto, Wicca, Kabbalah, and voodoo. In Erin, Erin has the ability to calm the Todah as if she were simply playing a musical instrument. The todah are normally very dangerous and violent, so her ability to calm such beasts truly is magical. When it comes to anime, the use of magic in a show is not shocking, but there is just a certain flair to an anime when there is older, traditional magic used in ancient settings. A lot of the magic used in today’s modern-set anime are “random, God-like powers” and “concentrate-and-see-what-happens magic” over the older, sometimes preferred necromancy and elemental spells.
It’s rare to see a monarchy, villages, or knights anymore, but they used to be extremely common throughout the world. Royalty ruled the land, and different social classes for people prevailed. Knights would fight for their country, and they could be considered the equivalent of today’s army. There was also no formal technology, meaning the people from the ancient times had no electricity, and most of all, no guns. In Erin, Erin lives in a small village, but there is a war going on outside the safety of her home. The knights ride on Tohda, and they fight with swords, bows and arrows, spears, and other weapons that are no longer used today. In this aspect, it is the swords and the other weapons that make anime with an older setting so popular. Older weapons, especially swords, are quite revered with many fans of both anime and video games, but with the invention of guns, it’s extremely hard to include these weapons in modern-set anime and still have plausible fights. However, within an older time frame, it is completely acceptable and normal to have sword fights, as well as archers shooting arrows at incoming soldiers. There are the other weapons too, such as spears and lances, that are no longer used today, but work perfectly in an older setting. Anime, being a wide genre of animation, can easily involve medieval-like wars and older weapons into a show, and it can still feel natural.
The ancient times were absolutely incredible, so it’s no wonder that the elements of it work so well in anime, Erin included. Even though it’s almost like another dimension compared to our world today, the ancient times were once this world’s reality. Anime can give us a taste of what that era was like, and easily suck us into the different aspects of it.
Anime fans need to watch more old anime.
When I say this, I am not implying that anime was better back then or that anime fans do not give classic series the proper amount of respect they deserve. I merely state this fact that there are plenty of great shows made during the 70s and 80s that yield enjoyable and memorable watching experiences for their viewers. Fist of the North Star is one of the many series released during that time period that still remains both entertaining and relevant to this day.
Almost any anime fan worth their salt is at least aware of this landmark series. With its unique character designs, art style and action scenes, more recent shows such as Hayate the Combat Butler and Great Teacher Onizuka have gone out of their way to pay tribute to the show’s main character and his mind blowing (pun intended) fighting style.
For those of you scratching your heads, Fist of the North Star was an anime series based off of a popular manga which first aired on TV in 1984 staring martial arts master Kenshiro. In the anime community, Kenshiro is quite the memorable figure, sporting thick eyebrows and a chest with seven scars that he does not hesitate in showing off. Kenshiro’s influence within the anime world is most evident in the countless times he’s been the subject of parody; where modern anime characters are quick to copy his rapid fire punches and Bruce Lee-ish battle cries.
The central plot to Fist of the North Star is quite simplistic. In the year 19XX, the world has become devastated by nuclear war and humanity is forced to find a way to survive in this new barren environment. Lawlessness runs rampant as makeshift motorcycle gangs terrorize the weak and are willing to kill one another if it means getting an extra glass of water or a stale bread roll. Amidst this chaos we encounter Kenshiro, a man who has mastered the deadly martial art of Hokuto Shinken which utilizes techniques that specialize in finding the body’s unique weak points to destroy it from within. One of the focal points of the series besides Kenshiro’s quest to rescue his girlfriend and claim revenge is his desire to protect the weak and not use Hokuto Shinken for his own personal gain.
Like I previously stated, the Fist of the North Star anime was made in 1984, back during a time where anime studios would kill to have the financial backing and technology that current ones have. The anime is home to crude character drawings and animation shortcuts during their fight scenes where character close ups and moving flashing backgrounds imply a sense of dynamic movements without the viewer actually seeing the characters move. All of this might sound like I’m being overly critical toward the show’s production values, which is not true at all. There’s a difference between being frugal and being cheap and Fist of the North Star’s animation is more so a testament toward the effective use of animation techniques to compensate for technological and financial short comings.
When it comes to first episodes, Fist of the North Star manages to walk the fine line of showing the viewer its full potential while at the same time hinting at the possibility that even grander events lie within the horizon. Pretty much if you like what you see then you’ll enjoy the rest of the series, there’s no need to hang around for a few more showings just to see if things will improve.
"Music is all around us, all you have to do is listen."* This quote, although not from La Corda dOro (Kiniro no Corda), encompasses why a music anime can be so absorbing. All you have to do is look around and listen and you will hear music. You might hear the music of the streets, or you can hear the music coming from apartments, headsets
that someone is wearing on the train, somebody's cellphone, etc. Even if the music has words, it usually originated with sounds or a melody.
This is what Kiniro no Corda encompasses. Don't let the spunky mascot, Lili, fool you. This anime is about the music. And not just about the music itself but also the enjoyment of music. After all, as Lili says, the word music in Japanese is made of the words sound and enjoy - 'to enjoy sound.'** The music is really the major feature of this show - although it has plenty of points that makes it more interesting - a reverse harem (more boys than girls with one female main character), a competition, and a sprinkle of magic to top it all off.
The main character, Kahoko Hino, starts out not knowing very much about music or even how to play an instrument. But as the series progresses, and thanks to Lili's tips at the end of each episode, we learn about different instruments, composers, and the variety of music out there in the classical world. The show has a nice spattering of music, mystery, comedy, and magic but at the heart of it all is the music.
You know you have something special when you can just sit back and listen to the music. This is the type of show where you can tell what type of emotions are currently going through the characters without even listening to the voice track, but through the music that is playing throughout each scene. For those who know little about or have not had extended exposure to classical music, you still might recognize some of the music used in the show as the track selection was chosen for immediate viewer recognition. In fact many of the modern day songs and melodies we listen to have chord progressions and transitions that originated from these classical pieces. In that sense, this stands as another reason why music's resiliency can transpire through generations and still affect people today, as it did when it was first composed and performed.
Music really is all around us and thanks to Hino and Lili we can learn to enjoy it more.
*Quote taken from August Rush (movie).
**'Ongaku' - On (音 = Sound) Gaku (楽 = Tanoshii/Raku - Enjoy)
Amu meets a super-peppy transfer student to Seiyo Academy Elementary School named Hiiragi Rikka at school one day. Not only can she see Guardian Characters, but it seems she has some other, mysterious power as well. When she sees the work that Amu and the other Guardians do at school, she's awestruck.
Yuuto and Haruka were invited by Shiina to come to the hot springs with a group of classmates. Yuuto finds out ahead of time that there is an event featuring the voice actress of the heroine in Haruka’s favorite anime, “Nocturne Girl’s School Lacrosse Club”, at the hot springs town, and contemplates a way to sneak out to it with Haruka. But it becomes unexpectedly reckless when Mika, Hazuki, Nanami, Alice, and even Ruko and Yukari somehow join the group...
Word of the Day
HM (as the Japanese pronounce it: eeh-chee, ee-muu, エイチ・エム): This phrase's origin can be traced back to 2007, and is used amongst younger people. You use this phrase when you want to return back to the previous conversation/topic because you just don't want to continue the current converstaion.