How Music Affects Japanese Animation: The Soul of An Anime

Think about your favorite animated show of all time.  The emotion, the action, the memorable characters.  How would you sum it all up?  How would you encapsulate everything that the show means to you, in as short a time as possible?

I don’t know about you, but to me, the only way this is possible is through music.  Words are a bit too clumsy–meaning gets lost in transit, our personal experiences of the stories just…aren’t done justice.  Some strange, untouchable quality about the music of a show, and how it relates to the full experience of an anime, is undeniably special.  When you hear the signature chord, the epic brass, the quiet piano, your mind is whisked away to that special anime, to that moment that reminds you, “Yeah, this is gonna be something great.”

So, how exactly does music do that?

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Dissociative Identity Disorder, and Finding One’s “True Self”: Boku wa Mari no Naka

Having multiple personalities can be a lot stranger then one might initially believe.

Boku wa Mari no Naha is a strange manga–definitely the strangest I’ve read in a long while.  But that doesn’t make it bad at all, of course not.  On the contrary, it’s one of the most fascinating stories I’ve experienced as of late.  You can read more on why exactly I think so in my review of the story, but for now, I’d like to focus on one particularly interesting part of it: its depiction of Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Before I get any farther into analyzing one very, very broken mind, I’d like to give a heads up–there’s HUGE spoilers ahead for Boku wa Mari no Naka.  Huge, in that you will not be able to experience this story in remotely the same way, if you read this analysis before the actual manga.  So I HIGHLY recommend you take a look at it beforehand, I promise it’s a pretty good read.

That being said. Let’s get started.

Continue reading “Dissociative Identity Disorder, and Finding One’s “True Self”: Boku wa Mari no Naka”

Crafting The Perfect Story: The Three Elements of Storytelling

Everyone looks at stories differently.  It’s why people have differing opinions when it comes to stories that we enjoy.  Some of us like anime, manga, or other similar Japanese stories.  Others enjoy the attachment of watching actors on the big screen, or experiencing stories first-hand through a video game.

Stories are universal, but as we all know, every story won’t work for everyone.  Knowing that, I’d like to introduce you today to what I consider my Three Elements of Storytelling–the three factors, that I believe makes a story great, from an objective point of view.

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Attack on Titan Analysis: Eren Jaeger’s Underappreciated Character Development

Eren Jaeger’s received some flak for his depiction in the Attack on Titan anime, for being a simplistic, basic character.  An angry, mindless protagonist who was depicted far better in the manga.

Well.  Frankly speaking, that’s not true.  Especially considering the release of Season Two, Eren’s actually been portrayed just fine in the anime, and I’d like to explain why.

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Team Fortress 2 and Overwatch: The Team-Based FPS Formula

In recent years, a game has been released that helped to redefine and clarify what a “Team-Based First Person Shooter” is.

Overwatch is coming up on its one year anniversary, on May 24th, and since then, it’s made waves in the gaming world.  Tens of millions have played it, and for good reason.  There are many, many aspects that make Overwatch a masterfully crafted game. However, as many people have noted, there was a game that defined the Team-Based FPS far before this: Team Fortress 2.

The two games have enjoyed huge success in their own times, and undoubtedly, will continue to enjoy that success moving forward.  Despite being, at this point, almost a decade old, Team Fortress 2 has an average of 50,000 players a day, even as Overwatch has gradually become more and more of a competitive e-sport, carving out its own niche in the gaming industry.

Now, considering this, what has made the two Team-Based FPS games so successful?  We’re going to delve into this question, and consider some aspects of both games that contribute to their lasting value!

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The Sales, Reception, and Popularity of Pokemon!

Pokemon is one hell of a franchise.

The second-best selling video game franchise of all time, only behind Mario, Pokemon has become a legitimate worldwide phenomenon, known to essentially anyone and everyone.  It’s a huge franchise, released to positive reception with every new title, and one that everyone knows is going strong, but really, how strong is it nowdays?

Well, the trends aren’t exactly surprising, honestly: but they were certainly interesting to look at!  And here’s the results.

Continue reading “The Sales, Reception, and Popularity of Pokemon!”

Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood: A Theological Analysis of The Homunculus, Alchemy, and The Truth

Now, now, now, I know what you’re thinking.  Symbolism?  You mean like those cool tattoos the homunculi have?  The seven deadly sins?  Father’s Jesus symbolism?  We’ve seen that before!

No way, that’s simple stuff.  Here on Reading Between, we got bigger fish to fry.

Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood has received critical acclaim from many sources, myself included.  It is one of the greatest anime of all time, in my humble opinion, and a big part of that was an adventure that perfectly blended action, character development, and thematic strength.  Among its thematic strengths, was the prevalence of knowledge, and the seven evil Homunculi or artificial humans, each named for one of the famous Seven Deadly Sins.  This is common knowledge, however: and what is lost in many a symbolic analysis of the series, is a meaning that is far greater.  What I am talking about is The Dwarf in The Flask, The Homunculus, known as Father.

Father is one of my favorite anime villains of all time, but not for an imposing presence, not for his sheer evil, not even for really being a stereotypical “good” villain throughout the series.  Rather, Father sums up the thematic patterns of Full Metal Alchemist WONDERFULLY, his existence in and of itself so full of symbolism, that I’m surprised people haven’t noticed it.  Yes, Father does fit the “wise old man,” Jesus stereotype, he dresses in white, and his name alludes to God himself, but man, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Just a heads up, this is gonna be LONG and DETAILED.   And is in fact, the LONGEST and MOST DETAILED analysis on Reading Between up to this point, that tackles basically everything about FMA, from the thematic significance of alchemy, to the meaning of “Truth”.  So, hope I can keep it entertaining and educational for ya’ll- let’s get it started.

…Or you could skip to the TL;DR version at the bottom.  It’s cool, you can do that too.

Continue reading “Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood: A Theological Analysis of The Homunculus, Alchemy, and The Truth”

Mob Psycho 100: A Psychosocial Look at Shigeo Kageyama

Mob Psycho 100 is a fun series.

Centered around the story of Shigeo Kageyama, aka Mob, the overpowered psychic youth who just wants to live his life, Mob Psycho 100 wows its audience in multiple ways.  Animation-wise, it’s fantastic, conceptually, it is intriguing, and its characters are engaging and fun.  That being said, our main character is not quite like most other series.

Mob’s a very interesting main character- he’s not designed to be very attractive, he’s not funny for the most part, and comes off as disinterested, when other main characters are passionate and engaged.  He’s an odd one, and I think, given his odd personality, and very restrained nature, he’d be quite an interesting person to psychoanalyze.

Now, this post is going to be a LONG one.  There is a lot to explain about Mob’s psyche, but that just makes it all the more interesting.  Hope you’ll join me for the ride- let’s get into the psychology of Shigeo Kageyama.

Continue reading “Mob Psycho 100: A Psychosocial Look at Shigeo Kageyama”

The Legend of Zelda: A Psycho-Analysis of The Usurper King

Anyone else hype to play the Switch?

Anyways, in honor of the release of the Switch, and of course, The Legend of Zelda, Breath of The Wild, I wanted to take a look at one of the best one-time villains of the series, Zant.

Zant, The King of Shadows, the Usurper King, was featured in the game, Twilight Princess, as seemingly the main villain.  Cold, intimidating, and powerful, Zant was extremely effective at being a dreaded presence for the player to confront, he was an antagonist that had tangible presence throughout the game.  However, come his actual boss battle, the facade drops, and he seems to go wild- throwing child-like tantrums, screeching maniacally, hopping around the battlefield, Zant displays his true nature as a psychotic lunatic.

That all being said, this behavior made me curious- what kind of person is Zant, really?  What caused him to be this way?  And of course, honestly, just what the heck is wrong with him?  Well, that’s what I’ll be exploring today-just what is the psychology of The Usurper King?

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