Review: Psycho-Pass

“This is the disease called serenity, a form of death that people have wished for.”
– Oryou Rikako, Psycho-Pass.

Psycho-Pass. Funimation, 2013. Streaming via Netflix.

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Wow. Being both a fan of Philip K. Dick and (generally) darker sci-fi, I was expecting a fun little romp with this anime. What I got was so, so much more. Not only did I get an anime that basically combined some of my favorite parts of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and sci-fi film Equilibrium, I got a fun, literary-laced anime filled with a dystopian society as well as interesting gender commentary. Continue reading

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Review: From the New World

“We have to change our way of thinking if we want to change the future.”
Saki Watanabe, From the New World.

From the New World. Sentai Filmworks, 2014. Blu Ray Collections 1 & 2.

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I first came across this anime in 2012. Based on a novel by Yusuke Kishi, it blew me out of the water as soon as I started. I was incredibly happy to find out there was a dub forthcoming; the blu ray quality is a treat to behold. However, this is NOT a show for kids. If I had to categorize it, it’d probably be science-fiction/horror.

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Review: Fate/Zero (Part 1)

Fate/Zero:
Light Novels: Gen Urobuchi with illustrations by Takashi Takeuchi, 2006-2007. Translations written by Baka-Tsuki
(http://baka-tsuki.org/project/index.php?title=Fate/Zero).
Anime. Aniplex, 2013.

To preface this review, I’d like to point out that the written light novels and anime were both original works; neither were based on any sort of visual novel (like Fate/Stay Night). While the mythos from Fate/Stay is used as a basis for what happens, the Fourth Holy Grail War is an original concept, with many backstories and information not originally conceptualized in the visual novel, anime, or graphic novel series of Fate/Stay Night. I do plan on reviewing Fate/Stay Night at some point, but I felt like reviewing this timeframe/universe first.

That being said, this series – both the light novel and the anime – are fantastic examples of a gender-balanced world building. Between the intellectually, but physically weak Waver Velvet, the deadly markswoman Maiya, and the gender-neutral Saber, the world based on Urobuchi’s light novels is a great example of people being people rather than forced into particular gender roles. My plan to deconstruct the series is probably more than I can chew, to be honest, so what I’ll do is split up parts of it, probably based on characters.

Master/Servant Waver Velvet & Rider (Alexander the Great)

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Review: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Kindness begets naivety. Courage begets imprudence. Furthermore, there’s no reward for devotion/dedication of any kind. Those who can’t understand that are not fit to be Magical Girls. – Akemi Homura, Puella Magi Madoka Magica (Episode 5)

I have fairly exacting standards when it comes to viewing anime; needless to say, I consider this show to be one of the few good exports from Japan in recent years. Between writing, themes, characterization, and subverting standard tropes, Madoka is a fine example of what can be done with a simple concept and turning it on its head. Sadly, the series is pricey to get ahold of (to own) in America; I lucked out with a good ebay auction. However, to view it, there are several streaming services (Crunchyroll comes to mind).

In examining the anime through the lens of gender studies/roles, however, I was fairly… disturbed and disappointed by some of what I found. While it is an excellent show in terms of feminine empowerment, it presents a mostly negative front for masculine identity and role.

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