Dear Hollywood, leave Cowboy Bebop alone

Dear Hollywood, leave Cowboy Bebop alone

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“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 […]

The high life: drug use in anime

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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 […]

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Guardian, neighbour, trickster: aspects of the anime faery

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Wee folk, fair folk, good folk. Faeries travel under many guises and by many names, the mischievous gatekeepers of nature’s small and secret realms of nature. But in all their forms they are irresistible, and humanity’s unified wondering about these oft-invisible beings is no less present in anime. In the latest instalment of our series […]

Mourning my mother through anime

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There is no fact of life harder to face, or conceptualise, than its ending. Since I lost my mother last year, I’ve been struggling for ways to guard against the fact she will never be a phone call away, that strong, vital voice of reassurance. There’s the regret that I should have treasured her more […]

Get a clue: the great anime detective

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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 […]

The demonisation of youth culture in Devilman

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If at any time the human race is invaded, permeated or otherwise undone by exterior forces, it’s likely that the threat already exists from within. Whether that’s for observation, reconnaissance or a simple prelude to invasion, who could say, but this unseen enemy is a blank canvas, allowing respective societies to project their own fears […]

Growing pains: the philosophy of Kiznaiver

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Kiznaiver follows a group of high school students who are chosen to be a part of an experimental program which creates bonds between people by forcing them to share each other’s pain.  White haired and vacant, Katsuhira “Kacchon” Agata lives a half-life, neither fully present or entirely withdrawn, numb to the sting of experience and […]

Afflicted escapists: MMO Junkie, mental health and identity

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As of this year the World Health Organisation (WHO) has posited ‘gaming addiction’ as its own bona-fide mental disorder. But even though “persistent or recurring gaming behaviour” can have a negative or damaging impact, naming so-called ‘gaming disorder’ as an illness is one that raises many problematic questions. True, gaming seems to be a draw […]

The death of innocence: how Hiroshima haunted anime

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With frank discussions of war, death and destruction, this piece isn’t an easy read, and may upset some readers. In the first instalment of this series, we explored the origins of anime as a propaganda tool in Japan’s war effort, specifically around the bombing of Pearl Harbour in 1941. The focus of this follow-up will […]

Forget me not: anime’s amnesia problem

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Tropes help form the vital architecture that enables a storyteller to weave a narrative, but in so doing they become part of a wider dialogue. Art, as they say, doesn’t exist in a vacuum, meaning that all creative endeavours are inevitably in conversation with what came before. And so it is with amnesia, one of […]

Suffer little children: the naive unease of the anime zombie

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Zombies provide an outlet for that most mortal of fears and fascinations; death, and what comes after. It’s a universal thread that’s tugged by all cultures, linking all human thought. This gives the walking dead a power that transcend interpretive borders; for instance, between anime and the western viewer. Subtleties of language and cultural significance […]

The sparkling heart of darkness: Madoka’s message of hope for mature audiences

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Magical girls have long been illustrious in empowering the feminine, and framing fragility as the groundwork for true strength. Sailor Moon may never have become fearless, but she did learn to face the terrors of her world – including death itself – with the resolve to defend her friends and the world she belongs to. […]