I might follow up to five shows this winter, the most in years. In order of interest, they are:
Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica
Kore wa Zombie desu ka
• Do lepidoptera frighten the Japanese? When I see flocks of butterflies in anime, it’s usually a prelude to danger or horror, e.g., the blue butterflies in Paprika. Butterfly motifs seem to be one of the signals of a witch’s presense in Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica.
• The first clue for me that Madoka might be darker than most magical girl shows was the announcement that Yuki Kajiura was doing the soundtrack. I recently put together a two-hour program of music by Yoko Kanno and Kajiura. I was impressed once again by the width of Kanno’s range; she can do anything, from intensely dramatic to cute and silly. However, Kajiura’s music, good though her pieces are taken individually, eventually all sounds pretty much the same: cool, minor-key, introverted, a little exotic, a little strange. ((I was surprised that Kajiura placed first in zzeroparticle’s recent anime composer poll. She’s good, but not that good.)) When a show fits her abilities, the results can be very effective, e.g., Noir. Madoka thus far is another good match for her.
• Discussions of Fractale so far have mentioned such works as Dennou Coil, Ghost in the Shell, The Matrix, The Naked Sun, etc. I’ll add one more: the trio looking for Phryne reminded me of the duo in Brazil who wore the caps with very long bills.
• I can understand the Fractale committee’s frustration with fansubs, but their action means that people outside Japan now have the choice of a) hoping that it will soon be licensed and available for a reasonable price; b) breaking the law; or, c) joining twelve-step programs to overcome their anime addictions. I really do want to play by the rules, but the case of Dennou Coil indicates that I can no longer expect that all first-rate anime will licensed during my lifetime.
• A frightening thought: boys will cosplay as Ayumu as he was garbed at the end of the first episode of Kore wa Zombie desu ka, and pink chainsaws will be the most annoying props since Wolfwood’s cross.