Aaaaaaaaaah, yes. It’s that time again. Time for the most important anime coverage of the season. It’s time for me to rank the animated eyebrows that graced your screens this winter…a few weeks late, as always. Believe it or not, I actually watched quite a few of this season’s offerings – for once, I had a decent list of brows at the ready, instead of frantically looking through shows last minute to see if there were any contenders.
Was it a season where scruffy eyebrows reigned? Or a season full of waifish thin brows? Was it one where those thick ‘n short nubs peppered the foreheads of cute anime girls? Or was it full of average arches? Click on to find out whether Winter 2020 made our eyebrow dreams come true…
Part of the appeal of Shaft’s animations is that there is ALWAYS something going on in the background. It makes for great re-watchability. Once you’ve watched a new episode of the studio’s Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story, rewind, turn those subtitles off and look for pendulums swinging symbolically in the background. Check out the hidden details of a Witch’s Labyrinth, or see if any street signs start displaying tidbits about a characters’ emotional state.
Or, go rewind because THIS GIRL JUST PUT KETCHUP ON HER CAKE. Yeah. Are you seeing that screenshot? That’s for sure ketchup, right? And then, to make matters worse, it seems that she’s decorated the ketchup swirls with…candy and a wad of meat? Excuse me?
It can’t be some kind of meat pie, right? Then there would be beef pouring out the sides or something when she cut into it. Another troubling thing is the fact that there doesn’t seem to even be ketchup on the table. Does she have a secret stash of ketchup on her at all times? Lastly, none of the other magical girls seem to react to her decking her cheesecake out in ketchup – no one except for the newbie, Iroha, anyways. This leads me to believe that this is a regular occurrence. She must be dousing things in ketchup so often that her friends don’t even react to it anymore.
In all likelihood, it’s just a clever visual gag from the people who brought you similar fast-paced visual comedy in the Monogatari series. I love the idea of a conference room full of creators and animators being like, “yes, as Momoko is detailing the logistics of Witches, have this girl do some goofy shit in the foreground like putting ketchup on a cake.” Once again, Shaft is proving that they’re on another level, because they have the power to make me pause an important scene just to marvel at small details.
This anime is based off a game, too, and I gotta be honest – this mystery is making me want to download the mobile app just to see if this girl does more things like this canonically. Guess that’s just part of Shaft’s genius, too! Get me to download a game off of a freaking ketchup gag!
That's nothing. In the game, she puts paint in the stew to make the color stronger.
One of the things I miss the most about being a kid is just…being able to be alone. I miss being able to sit in the quiet darkness of the early-early morning, wrapped in a blanket, watching anime or playing video games. No expectations, no responsibilities awaiting me the next day – just me and whatever new world I’ve chosen to immerse myself in.
When I think of being a little kid, I don’t so much think about friendships or family Christmases. I think about the oasis that was my Mom Mom’s computer room – being able to sneak upstairs late at night to watch Naruto on YouTube and having nothing else but the hum of the air conditioner and my little sister’s light snoring to keep me company. Or, I think about those nights spent watching [adult swim], falling asleep as Detective Conan fades into the early morning shows like Baby Looney Tunes.
I mean, I can still stay up late, I guess – if I want to risk ruining my work day the next morning. It’s not really as fun, because, you know, by one in the morning I’ve realized that I’m about to ruin my sleep schedule for the week. The immersion isn’t quite there anymore – I can’t seem to fully divorce myself from Real World Bullshit anywhere near as easily as I could when I was a kid. Hell, even as well as I could when I was a college student.
There are two reasons I started thinking about the freedom of childhood cartoon-watching and video game playing. One was that my recent winter break from the office allowed me to lose myself in the world of Death Stranding until three in the morning. It’s been a looooong time since I was able to explore a video game world for so long, without having to feel guilty about it. The other reason was the premiere of the new Masaaki Yuasa anime, Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!