Well, it LOOKED cute: A look at art style dissonance in anime

Hey all, this is a repost of a blog entry from 2018. I’m trying to get back into writing stuff like this, so I’m giving it a reblog as inspiration for me! Plus, consider this a placeholder while I try to get back into my groove 🙂

Have you ever been fooled by an anime’s cutesy art style? Were you one of the people who were absolutely floored when episode three of Madoka Magica came around, or someone who wasn’t expecting Made in Abyss to involve so much gore and vomit based on the character designs? Did you think Doki Doki Literature was just an innocent dating sim?

Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. Even Cactus Matt was fooled by a manga’s cover art recently! The poor fella just wanted to see some cute anime girls, but instead he got cute anime girls melting!

This concept of having an art style that doesn’t necessarily match up with the show’s tone is commonly utilized in anime. It’s called art style dissonance. The logic behind it is simple enough – if you see a cute looking character getting absolutely obliterated, you’re (probably) going to be more shocked by what’s happening. That can’t happen to her, she’s got pink hair and big moe eyes!

There are the more well-known examples like Madoka and Made in Abyss that I mentioned above, but those just scratch the surface. There are many, many series that utilize this method. Let’s take a look at some of my favorites.

Content warning: since this post is specifically talking about anime that are secretly fucked up, there’s some mention of some fucked up stuff in here. Some mentions of body horror and sexual assault beyond this point.

Continue reading “Well, it LOOKED cute: A look at art style dissonance in anime”

The Great Ketchup Cake Caper of Magia Record

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.

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WHERE DID IT COME FROM??

A few others have speculated on this odd phenomenon. Scott posited that maybe she’s eating a potato cake somehow. Remy gives the impression that she might just be a monster, like theYouTube lady who puts ketchup on her French toast. K at the Moviespoints out that she should just cut out the middle man and eat one of those Canadian ketchup cakes.

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!

Great, now I definitely am going to play the game to learn more about this girl…

Anime Escapism, or why my depressed ass watched so many Japanese cartoons

It’s been a long time since I’ve actually sat down and watched any anime. My anime-viewing habits are pretty fickle. I either binge watch ten series all the way through in a month, or I don’t watch anything other than snippets of whatever shounen my boyfriend’s watching in the living room.

Maybe it was a bit foolish to start a whole anime blog based on such a spotty interest. It’s not that I like anime any LESS during my dry spells…it’s just that I really only gravitate towards anime when I’m in need for some hardcore escapism.

Image result for anime escape
That’s me, escaping my problems

Continue reading “Anime Escapism, or why my depressed ass watched so many Japanese cartoons”

Jenn’s Scary Movie Collection | Shlock Footage

HEY!! Remember when I said I was going to try my hand at writing some non-anime stuff? Well, I did! Check out this movie review I wrote up for TehBen. I intend to write more stuff for them in the future, so consider giving the page a follow, too! 🙂

TEHBEN.COM

On the top floor the towering pink and purple TehBen office building located somewhere between Colorado and Maryland, a fed up Associate Editor is flipping through documents. With an ever growing pile of crumpled papers and bad ideas, he takes to his notepad to draft a letter to a promising young nerd with some questionable interests…

Dear Jenn Coulter,

TehBen.com is in dire need of your assistance! I’ll be blunt, we’re just about out of ideas. With our editor Ben cooling his heels in Mexico after that unfortunate steamroller/clown parade incident, and with the door to Nelson Rockingham’s sex dungeon being jammed by an umbrella, I feel it’s finally time to turn to some new talent for help. From what I’ve seen on your blog and on twitter, I can only hope to put you to work for our readers before the FBI catch wind of your lurid…

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“Hey Jenn, what have you been up to?” “Not much, just watching short films about talking penises and vaginas.”

penis animated lol sawako kabuki

Whoa! Long time, no post! I’ve been slacking in the anime-watching department – in fact, I don’t think I’ve actually finished an anime series or even watched an anime movie in MONTHS. It makes it pretty hard to upkeep an anime blog when you’re either watching a million anime at once or abstaining from it completely. I’ve been reading about anime, sure – I haven’t logged on here in a bit, but I’ve been lurking what you all have been sharing on Twitter and popping on to check out your opinions on the seasonals and whatnot. But I just haven’t been in the mood to actually watch or talk about any anime stuff myself.

But you know what I have been in the mood for, apparently? Watching animated short films about dicks and vaginas!!! I started using Letterboxd recently, and I keep stumbling upon movies that I had never even heard of before. I’ve fallen down a hole full of obscure animated features and shorts, and somehow stumbled upon a glorious grouping of experimental animated shorts featuring singing, purring, sprouting, and dancing private parts. Please, let me regale you with my finds!

NSFW from here on out, obviously.

Continue reading ““Hey Jenn, what have you been up to?” “Not much, just watching short films about talking penises and vaginas.””

Anime First Episodes: The Good, The Bad, and The Forced Exposition

Hinamatsuri Episode One anime

Minor spoilers for Sarazanmai and Hinamatsuri.

Supposedly, there’s this thing called a “three-episode rule” that says you should watch three episodes of an anime before deciding to drop it. But, if you’re like me and you’re checking out every season’s new anime, three episodes is TOO MUCH time to waste. No, I’ve honed my critical senses to the point where I can usually get a sense of whether or not a show is trash within the first twenty minutes. Bad writing will usually rear its ugly head right from the beginning – sometimes as soon as the very first scene.

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Please, spare me three episodes! Tell me your show sucks immediately!

If an anime series starts with a map and a five minute narration of the world’s history, I’m immediately going to drop it. Nothing annoys me more than when a character drones on about its setting instead of just SHOWING it to me. Forced exposition like this is exhausting, and it’s almost impossible to actually retain these information dumps once they’re over. A setting needs to grow and expand along with the characters. A fictional world needs to be explored naturally, not explained away immediately. Keeping a little mystery to a series’ setting and characters is what makes viewers want to keep watching. If everything gets given away in the trailer or the opening sequence, what’s the point of sticking around?

Continue reading “Anime First Episodes: The Good, The Bad, and The Forced Exposition”

Life n’ Blog Updates (and some thank yous)

Yo! Long time no post, yeah? I’ve been slacking on the content, for various reasons, so I wanted to write up a little post catching y’all up on my life and all that.

The biggest thing has been my move. It’s understandably taken me a bit of time to actually adjust to my new environment. I had been looking forward to the freedom of my own place for a while now, but I forgot how stressful having a new space can be. For some reason, I thought that once I moved in, I would immediately go into a fevered writing spree, catch my blog up, and get back to sketching but…I severely underestimated the amount of time it would take for me to adjust.

little witch academia oopss

Truthfully, this gap in content-writing has me in a bit of a rut. I really want to take writing more seriously, and the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that this site isn’t the right way for me to do that. I’ve been strongly considering starting a new site – one that’s not as boxed in by the topic of anime. I’ve thought of making something that focused on horror, sci-fi, and anime oddities, as well as personal essays. There are some Serious Topics that I would really like to do write-ups about, but they be awfully out of place on a site like this that has Top 10 Anime Eyebrow countdowns.

Continue reading “Life n’ Blog Updates (and some thank yous)”

“Doing the Thing” is pretty hard to do (but you’ll get there, bud)

Have you ever watched an interview where someone asks an actor/artist/writer/creator/whatever what their advice for other aspiring whatevers is, and their response is: “Just Do the Thing!”

This is not very good advice. Obviously, there were some extra steps that made that whoever whatever they are. It seems almost insulting to hear their success reduced to such a simple statement. It sounds like, “it’s easy, I did it, so just get off your lazy ass and Do, dummy!”

Yeah, I get the idea behind the advice –  don’t be afraid to fail, the first step is the most important step, everyone has to start somewhere, don’t let fear hold you back, blah blah blah. But starting is very, very hard.

Continue reading ““Doing the Thing” is pretty hard to do (but you’ll get there, bud)”

9 Underrated Female Characters – Anime Edition! [Tag]

If I had more free time (and maybe a bigger brain), I would write multiple giant essays about women in anime. Female characters in anime can be such a mixed bag – compared to other media, anime has more female main characters, but those characters are also more likely to be ridiculously titty-licious. Of course, showing female sexuality onscreen isn’t always a bad thing, but it is problematic if she only exists to be gawked at, lacks any real personality, or gets trapped in a harem plotline where they’re reduced to nothing more than “potential girlfriend #3.”

At the same time, there are also some insanely great female characters who subvert those aforementioned expectations. I could write a whole series of blog posts on that but…well, like I said – no time, small brain.

LUCKILY THOUGH! Moyatori tagged me in this 9 underrated female characters tag many moons ago, thus giving me the perfect chance to attempt to gather my thoughts on anime ladies. She brings up some really excellent characters in her post – I was super excited to see she had Ilena from Claymore listed – so make sure you check it out.


Rules

  • Please PINGBACK to me at Kate @ Melting Pots and Other Calamities. Or just Kate. And PINGBACK TO A SPECIFIC POST OF MINE. I won’t see the post otherwise, and I’d like to see it.
  • Answer the questions.
  • Choose female characters from books, movies, TV, anime, Webtoons, etc.
  • Tag as many people as you want, but at least one person.
  • Have fun!

Continue reading “9 Underrated Female Characters – Anime Edition! [Tag]”