Aoi Bungaku ends with a pair of short stories from Akutagawa Ryunosuke. After watching these two episodes, I was left with a couple questions. First, did “The Spider’s Thread,” a children’s parable, really deserve one whole episode? Furthermore, why did a complex story like “Hell Screen” get so little time? I deliberate over Madhouse’s decisions in this entry.
I was trying to come up with an idea of what to blog about, but the latest Letter Bee was a filler episode and I couldn’t be assed to watch another Miracle Train. In the end, I decided to take a look back at 2009. This post doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of Moe Sucks as a whole nor is it meant to be comprehensive. If I didn’t mention a particular anime, it’s only because it wasn’t the best, surprising nor disappointing. I didn’t want to talk about the bad either because, well, I think most anime are just plain bad (I’ll never understand why people think this is an odd position for an anime fan; most movie fans would agree that most movies suck) and the rest of the blog already covers a part of that.
Aoi Bungaku‘s adaptation of “Run, Melos” weaves multiple narratives together into one complex but coherent story, masterfully utilizing the mise en abyme technique to its fullest potential. Although each narrative strand is merely a simple reflection of the legend of “Damon and Pythias,” they build and build upon each other in a unique way to deliver a refreshing story of vengeance, forgiveness, understanding and, naturally, love.
Kokoro, at its heart (no pun intended), is Soseki’s attempt to capture the loneliness of man, the isolation of our hearts from others. In this respect, I think the anime adaptation is somewhat successful despite being a wild departure from the original text. There are significant sections of the novel deliberately left out of the adaptation–whether this is due to having only two episodes to tell the story or for artistic liberties, I’ll leave that up to you. In other words, I won’t compare the anime to the novel as I had done with No Longer Human. I think the anime here is interesting in many respects and I would rather devote my effort to its deconstruction. In order to understand Kokoro, we must ask ourselves what makes man lonely? Drawing from the post’s title, I suggest that the answer to this question is modernism (by this, I mean the movement that preceded postmodernism).
In the Woods Beneath the Cherry Blossoms in Full Bloom (which is quite a mouthful so, from this point on, I shall refer to this arc simply as Cherry Blossoms) is a metaphorical story of man versus woman, rustic masculine ideality versus progressive feminine liberation.
Everyone is at fault. Everyone does poor ol’ Yozo wrong. Horiki keeps exploiting him. Daddy didn’t like his pictures. Society keeps reminding him that he’s a monster.
In my previous entry regarding Aoi Bungaku, I lamented Madhouse’s decision to tweak certain aspects of Osamu Dazai’s No Longer Human. The first episode had piqued my interest in Dazai’s work so much that I acquired for myself a copy of his famous novel (along with other Japanese classics but we can talk about them some other time). To my surprise, I found No Longer Human to be very enjoyable, but to my equal disappointment, Madhouse’s adaptation is different in ways I found wholly unnecessary. Does this, however, make it a bad anime?