Living in the database: the appeal of the unreal

Ever since the Wachowskis repackaged the themes and imagery of Masamune Shirow’s cyberpunk staple Ghost in the Shell for western audiences in 1999, the notion of living in a virtual world has become something of a fascination among creatives, consumers and conspiracy theorists. The most frightening aspect of The Matrix was in how perfectly the illusion recreated our own existence so that no one thought … Continue reading Living in the database: the appeal of the unreal

Poem: Divine intervention

  God-like and fragile, the boy Shun gave his lips to man and woman, whose touch he knew but couldn’t handle. Spectral in darkness in wait, him awake and slumbered, living yet lifeless, nothing and other. Brave Shun behind his white mask, a doll’s face devoid of all but the blankest expression, serenity of surrender. Born of fear and martyred this poor boy who loved … Continue reading Poem: Divine intervention

Why watch... Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens

Why watch … Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens?

A departure from the monochrome and long shadows of film noir, Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens is an exuberant and vividly animated crime show. It’s set in a city with a disproportionate number of hitmen organisations and business is booming. The neon lights blur and bleed, and the city comes alive to the sound of acid jazz, making the nocturnal scenes a delight to behold. On a … Continue reading Why watch … Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens?

Dear Hollywood, leave Cowboy Bebop alone

Dear Hollywood, leave Cowboy Bebop alone

“And the work which has become a genre unto itself shall be called: Cowboy Bebop” This phrase is proudly emblazoned across the seminal series like manifesto, a mission statement that this stylish mix of music, form and story is entirely its own beast. Sure enough, while the series – and creator Shinichiro Watanabe – is indebted to western media, its aesthetic is unique, nurtured during … Continue reading Dear Hollywood, leave Cowboy Bebop alone

Review: Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!

For some, the magic of Pokémon never really went away, but even stalwarts have to agree that the success of Pokémon GO was a shot in the arm, giving the veritable franchise its second wind in the mainstream. I Choose You! is an exercise in nostalgia, serving to celebrate two decades of this franchise. As the 20th movie in the series, this legacy flick had … Continue reading Review: Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!

Poem: Even the smallest things

  Hidden, the forest floor bejewelled in fallen leaves and berries, more beautiful from the bottom peering up, than above. The verdant trees hang dream-like speared in sunshine and spotlight the trails through the tall grass travelled by beetle-back and carriage. A wizened owl watches while the sly cat sells its wares in the market square where even the smallest things take form and dream. Continue reading Poem: Even the smallest things

The high life: drug use in anime

Like all art, anime is a reflection of the society that bore it, a means to echo its beliefs, traditions and behaviours. But in isolation, art alone is not enough to decode an entire coutry and can instead present a skewed image of a nation. There seems to be this shared assumption that Japan doesn’t have a drug problem, that its cultural conformity is a … Continue reading The high life: drug use in anime

Review: Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions

Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions was one of the more middling titles on the Winter 2016 slate and up against some pretty stiff competition in Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, Erased and Ajin. But it’s the earlier Sword Art Online that tends to overshadow the series. While both were produced by A-1 Pictures, the similarities all but end there. While SAO was concerned with teens trapped in … Continue reading Review: Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions

Cowboy Bebop and my anime awakening

Cowboy Bebop and my anime awakening

How do you make an otaku feel old? Remind them Cowboy Bebop is turning 20 this year. To celebrate its 20th birthday, we’ll be running a series of posts, articles and poems. To kick things off, I cast my mind back and explore how I first discovered the show. Time and places have a way of resonating with us despite having never lived in or … Continue reading Cowboy Bebop and my anime awakening

Review: Hyouka – Part 1

Right from the get go, and under the glittering façade of Kyoto Animation’s visuals, we’re introduced to jaded highschooler Hotaro Oreki, who sees himself in shades of grey. Imagine that instead of being simply listless, Tanaka-kun was nihilistic, and you’ve got a fair approximation of Oreki, who shuns school clubs, romances and almost everything else to save the effort. As he’s so fond of reminding … Continue reading Review: Hyouka – Part 1

Poem: There but for the roses

  The poet deadheads the roses in the warmth of the morning sun, bidden by the thirst of flowers and his own heart a threatened clutch of thorns. Between the scented petals and stonewall he stole a glimpse and saw her, dressed in negligee sheer on skin that sipped the moon glow and eyes of violet requited. So one look sustained him until those last … Continue reading Poem: There but for the roses

Get a clue: the great anime detective

Television detectives can be loosely categorised into two camps. The first is the gruff, “too old for this shit” type drowning their sorrows in stiff liquor. The other is the kooky wunderkind, sporting an intimidating intellect and usually sitting somewhere on the spectrum. While the former often prioritises immediate action and brute force, the latter draws on deduction and a meticulous attention to the minutiae … Continue reading Get a clue: the great anime detective