Head tilting and the glory that is Bakemonogatari

Bakemonogatari

When looking for a new show to watch I usually scroll though the shows on Hulu, Crunchyroll, and Netflix. See what image captures my eye, read the show’s description, then often go and read a reviews on myanimelist.net.

This image caught my eye. A girl lifting up her skirt. I am mildly ashamed to admit that, but I am glad that it did.

Bakemonogatari is one of my favorite shows. It is put out by the animation house, Shaft, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite studios due to their unique sense of art direction.

Ghost story follows highschool senior, Koyomi Araragi, who had earlier that year survived a vampire attack. The show mostly centers around him helping several girls who have had problems/ encounters with spirits, demons or mythical creatures of some sort or another.

It was adapted from a series of light novels by Japanese novelist Nisio Isin. Since it didn’t come directly from a manga the art style was more from Shaft and from illustrations in the novel by a Taiwanese artist, Vofan.

I liked the use of lines and shadow in the show a lot.
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It made for a visually interesting treat. Also the barrage of info derived from the light novels that would show up at the beginning of shows made for interesting viewing.
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And of course the famous head tilting is a trade mark of Shaft and nowhere is it more apparent in Bakemongatari.

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(admittedly some of these were from other seasons. Not Bakemonogatari, but you get the point.)

The show is dialog heavy and is one of the strongest parts of the show. There is much that goes over my head since there is Kanji word play going on. That being said, if you are not a fan of reading subtitles, this is not a show for you.

Parenting bit: There is graphic violence and blood ( although sometimes uniquely colored). There is adult sexual humor and some fan service (but by no means over the top). That coupled with a lot of reading and older themes may not make it the best for younger viewers, but that is up to you.

I can’t recommend this show enough. If you want a deeper explanation of the story go to myanimelist.net , wikipedia, or the show’s wiki. I am not a professional reviewer or writer. I am just a fan and a parent.

I love this ED. By Nagi Yanagi

The full song:

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My first anime series- Clannad and Clannad: After Story

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The first ever anime series I ever watched on my own was Clannad and it’s follow up, Clannad: After Story. They are based off of visual novels that were released for the PC (and later other video game systems) in Japan by Key animation. The story follows Tomoya Okazaki, a directionless high school student who is considered to be something of a delinquent and his friendships he develops with five different girls during his last year of high school. There are separate story arcs in which Tomoya helps them with problems in their lives. The “After Story” story  (as I understand) was what happens after you have unlocked all the story lines in the original PC game. It follows the 7 years after Tomoya graduates.

I stumbled across this when looking for something to watch on my kindle, for free, and saw this and thought I’d give it a try. My boys were already anime fans (although not as hardcore as they are now) and had watched a lot of the standards: Pokemon, Dragonball Z, Naruto, and One Piece. My biggest impression came from Dragonball Z that anime was largely a lot of yelling and drawn out fight scenes that didn’t go anywhere. I wasn’t a fan. I liked things like the American made “Avatar- The Last Airbender” which I knew from reading about it was heavily influenced by Japanese anime, but I had yet to sit down and find a show that I connected with. Admittedly, this was the first one I gave a chance to do that with.

I didn’t know what to think of it at first. It was slow paced, understated, and there was this weird sequence with a girl and a robot friend she built. What kept me watching was just that. It was unlike anything I had watched prior. I wanted to know what was up with the girl and her robot friend (which seemed to have nothing to do with the main story), I liked the pace, and most of all: it was beautifully animated.

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After years, as my children grew up, of watching Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network shows, this was something different. The animation, pacing, and story was on a whole different level. This is not to say anything bad about American animation (I still love me some Spongebob and Looney Tunes), but this was something new to me. The backgrounds and art direction is quite beautiful. One does have to get used to a few things: Key animation has a thing for huge eyes, and purple hair.

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The story is drama and romance. The romance is a lot more understated than American audiences are used to (hand holding is a big deal in this), but that is probably more of a cultural thing than anything. It gets pretty “Hallmarky”. The story goes to make you “have so many feels”, as my 14 year old would say, and it succeeded with me. There is comic relief built in as well so it is not all embarrassed hand holding and tears.

If you’d like a more in depth explanation of the story, here is a link to the Wikipedia page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clannad_%28visual_novel%29#After_Story

Down to the parent portion. There is not a lot objectionable in here. A few mild curse words may be used (ie: Bastard, etc), but not often. There are a few mildly off-color jokes (mostly played on Fuko). Fan service is mild at best. For young viewers there are concepts around death and loss that some may find challenging.

I first watched this show by myself and then with my boys when they were 12 & 9. I loved the show and so did the boys. The boys and I were emotional wrecks with tears streaming down our faces, crying our eyes out. It remains one of my favorites to this day. I hope this helps and that you give Clannad a try. I am not a professional reviewer or writer. I am just a fan and a parent.

This OP still tears me up to this day.

Anime and adventures in questionable parenting

railgun“Adventures in questionable parenting” is what I dubbed the weekend when I took my 2 sons (11 & 14) Anime Midwest in Chicago this last July.

It started out innocently enough. We got there early. Checked into our hotel room. Got our badges and we were set. One of the first panels we thought would be fun to see was: “The Anime Fan Parody Show”. Fan made parodies of anime’s re-dubbed. There was no age restriction, so I thought: “Why not?”

The first parody was really funny. It definitely had some salty language (to which I cringed at) and several jokes that (thank god) flew over my 11 year old’s head (you know you may have made a bad decision when you hear Ash Ketchum talking about blowjobs).

The second parody was entitled “Fisting of the North Star” (of course a parody of “Fist of the North Star”). It was largely made up of “gay” campy voices, homoerotic suggestiveness, and sodomy jokes. I was telling my 11 year old: “why don’t we do something else?”, but he was interested in the show (all of which was going over his head). Thankfully my 14 year old said: “Dad, we really need to get out of here”. So with additional prompting we left.

This was perhaps the most questionable event we did at the Con. Otherwise it was just staying up too late, eating dinner at midnight, giving young kids coffee drinks and being around a lot of cursing young adults.

But it leads to a question: What is your threshold level of bad behavior or influences when it comes to your children and media?

It is different for everyone. It is different between my wife and I even (she is not a fan).

I made the mistake of letting my boys watch “A Certain Scientific Railgun”. I really liked the story and how it dealt with how people can corrupt science for power. So I kind of glossed over (in my brain) a certain aspect of the show.  Kuroko’s rather “adult” obsession with Misaka. Kuroko is the standard anime pervert character. However when my 11 year old son was watching Kuroko sexually harass Misaka in the shower my wife was not amused. She was really disturbed. She did not want him to see anything like that at his age. Fair enough. Like I said: I glossed over this aspect of the show (a small part) for the larger part for me which was a good story.

That being said. That is in part what I hope to address on this blog. To tell parents what might be in a show that they may find objectionable. Not to make a judgement or suggest an age guideline.  Each individual will have their own feelings about what is appropriate for their child and what is not. I am not a professional reviewer or writer. I am just a fan and a parent.