12 Days XII: Make a contract with me and (ry

「魔法少女まどか☆マギカ」/「ゆーげん」

This show was made for me.

I think that should be your sign that you won’t find a paean to the greatness of Madoka and why it is man’s greatest work.

I mean, I was sold on the show already back when it was just “Shinbo makes an original anime”. That’s all it took.

And then it became “Shinbo makes an original magical girl anime” and I’m like, whoa, even better. I mean, I liked Nanoha. More of that? Yes, please.

And then it became “Shinbo makes an original magical girl anime with character designs by Ume Aoki, music by Yuki Kajiura, and script by Urobuchi Gen”. By this point I’d gone nuts. Magical girls! Designed by Ume-tentei! I mean, yeah, Kajiura and Urobuchi were kinda weird choices for a wide face magical girl show, but still, they’re great too. This will be amazing!

And then the characters! The character designs! Aoi Yuuki! Friggin Chiwa Saitou voicing mahou shoujo Senjougahara. Mizuhashi Kaori voicing a magical girl WITH GUNS. KitaEri voicing swords girl. An adorable mascot character!

If the anime that we got was the anime that was presented through only these CMs, I would have been ready to call it anime of the year already.

And then the actual first episode happened. I watched most of the episode going THIS IS AMAZING and then we get to the witch barrier.

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

And then Mami comes with her Gate of Babylon and her GUNS.

I mean, you can probably imagine my mental state as I wait for each week of this cartoon. And so this goes on and I flip out each week and once episode 3 rolls around I go, screw this, I’ll just watch the live stream.

Yes, I watched episode 3 raw when it aired.

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

And of course, each week while I’m watching this, I just send my friend a series of FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFs.

And then we get to episode 10. I don’t know if it was apparent, but my favourite character is Homura, probably largely because Senjougahara is one of my favouritest characters. So yeah, we get to episode 10 and this is the best anime of the year and possibly of all years.

The end.

Yes, I know a lot of people have problems with it and a lot of what people have said about the show is pretty hyperbolic. Maybe there it does strain itself in trying to be deep and all. Maybe the characters weren’t amazing. I will admit that it very likely is not the best anime ever.

But I don’t think there’s been an anime that has been quite so attuned to my brain. And that is why I love it so.

This week’s old animu: Hidamari Sketch

This week’s old animu is Hidamari Sketch. Hidamari Sketch is a slice-of-life anime about four girls who live in the Hidamari Apartments and attend an art school. Like Azumanga Daioh, which is something like a gateway to slice-of-life anime, Hidamari Sketch was adapted from a four-panel comic.

The most distinctive thing about the show is its direction and style. It won’t take you long after starting it to realize that it’s produced by SHAFT. It’s really strange to see SHAFT’s style applied to slice-of-life, since the other series it works so well with are very different. Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is black comedy and the weird style complements the show’s twisted viewpoint. ef is a drama and romance and in this case, the style fits the quasi-intellectual mood of the show.

The direction definitely helped Hidamari Sketch stand out more. Without it, it would have been a lot quieter and muted and it would have been a lot less interesting to watch. After all, the show is fairly formulaic. Each episode begins with Yuno waking up and ends with her going to bed. It’s the most slice-of-lifey of the ones I’ve watched. At the same time, the anime was also made different by going with a non-chronological order in the plot.

This is different from Haruhi’s broadcast order, since the chronological order is used in the DVDs. Rather, the plot for the anime is deliberately not chronological and jumps around to various spots in the year. It takes advantage of the fact that slice-of-life doesn’t rely on prior knowledge very often. This allows for some interesting things that crop up over the course of the anime, like Yuno’s caterpillar. The ending in particular works incredibly well because of this.

If slice-of-life is your thing, then this is a good one, if only to see how SHAFT would make a slice-of-life anime.