Misc.

Music, Anime, and Me

Shigatsu wa Kimi No Uso. Sometimes it’s better known as Your Lie in April. It’s a show about music and the way it can tear people apart and bring them together.

Nodame Cantabile. A long series about what it means to be a performer, or an artist, and trying to find love along the way.

Music has always been kind of an interesting topic for me, especially classical music. I’ve been playing violin for thirteen years, and I’ve gotten pretty good in that span of time. It’s very important to me, and it’s also very conflicting with the rest of what I do.

Violin is probably one of the most painful relationships I have. It’s something that I give hours and hours of my life of, pour my heart into, master incredibly difficult pieces and know them like the back of my hand, but with no payoff. The conflict lies in what I can feasibly do with violin and what I actually do. I’m an engineer. I belong in the sciences. I know this; all of me knows this. I don’t have the time or the dedication to make violin my living. But I still practice violin as if I’m going to be playing in Carnegie Hall one day, even though I’m well aware that I probably won’t ever even step foot on the local theater stage.

“Well, why the fuck are you still in engineering then, if you like violin so much?” This is a question I get asked pretty much every time I bring this up. And the reason is because I will never be any sort of happy in my life if I am not doing science. I love knowing how things work and making things work, designing, theorizing, drawing logical conclusions. I like the feeling I get when I write a piece of code and it runs perfectly after hours of debugging. There is no profession for me that does not involve science. I love physics and tech too much.

So where does violin fit into that world? Well, simply answered–it doesn’t. There’s simply not enough time to keep up mastery of an instrument and perform and be able to be a rocking engineer. And yet, I keep shoving it in anyways, practicing every day, because I can’t let go of it.

These anime series are like a glimpse into what-could-have-been. In another world, one where I didn’t want to voluntarily sell my soul to science, or loved math and physics just a little less–that could have been me. I could have moved people with my music. Violin isn’t just a way for me to communicate with other people; it’s a way for me to understand others as well. It’s setting up scenes I would never have imagined by myself, or finding stories that I didn’t even know I was missing.

So I envy Kaori for her ability to turn heads. I envy Kousei for having his prodigal talent realized and he himself for the strength to keep on fighting. I envy Chiaki too for his insane musical prowess, and Nodame for her dedication to her art. I see too many could-have-been’s in these characters, and it is sometimes painful for me to keep watching. Knowing that these are things I could have had or could be, but will not have by my own choice.

But I also relate too. The way they love music? That’s me, right there. The way Kaori moves when she performs? I do that too. When Chiaki looks at a piece of sheet music and has it play out in his head? Every time I play a new piece. It’s like seeing the rarely acknowledged, haphazard pieces of yourself highlighted on a laptop screen.

So I appreciate these classical music anime. They’re good to me. I’m too in love with something I have no business loving, so in the end, I’ll just love it harder and know that even without anything else, it’s already loved me back hard enough that I’ll probably never stop.

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Animu Thinks and Thoughts

Hyouka

Ah, ice cream. Technically the English translation is much closer to “frozen dessert” or even something like “popsicle,” but those are semantics that usually are good at Ruining A Damn Good Show.

Now, I gave this show a 6.5 out of 10. Do not let the rating fool you; almost everything about this show is done masterfully. The art is fucking incredible, the protagonist is great, the music is stunning (and the instrumentation is absolutely flawless), and even the supporting characters are both well thought out and interesting.

No, the reason it’s a 6.5 is because Chitanda Eru was so. Goddamn. Annoying.

See, I don’t want to go too deep into why I thought her character was a poorly written mess of Mary Sue tropes because, well, that would take entirely too long and use up too much of my precious energy reserves. But damn, I feel bad for poor Oreki for having to deal with her.
Because she’s a main character, she is huge and integral to how the show works, and therefore also manages to singlehandedly drop the show from a solid 9/10 to a 6.5 in terms of enjoyment. Chitanda Eru powers, everyone!

Aside from Miss I’m-Curious-And-Fuck-Your-Personal-Space, everything else is so high on the enjoyment scale that I actually kept watching the show even though I wanted to strangle a two dimensional character. Houtarou Oreki’s character design and art is some of the best I’ve seen for any character; in fact, the art is why I started watching this in the first place. The details are amazing, the facial expressions are out of this world, and Oreki exemplifies the quality of the animation.

Another thing I really appreciated about the show is that everyone clearly has some human flaws (besides Miss So-Moe-That-My-Flaws-Aren’t-Actually-Flaws) and clearly shows development. Houtarou is brilliant, but so lazy that he cannot bring himself to do anything without outside motivation. Satoshi is cheerful and a hard worker, but is plagued by the fact that he will always be second best to someone else, no matter how much effort he puts into it, since he has no outstanding talents. Ibara is tough and resilient, but breaks down easily when things that mean a lot to her go wrong (A Corpse By Evening, Satoshi’s feelings…). The cast easily carries the show.

Hyouka is a show without an obvious storyline. It doesn’t follow one plot, and it doesn’t have one huge insurmountable obstacle. Rather, it’s like interconnected vignettes. One arc in this show can take one episode, or it can take six. It takes whatever time is needed for the story to be told properly, but doesn’t stretch it out unnecessarily. And also–I like the ending. I like the vagueness and that it doesn’t devolve into romance. Sue me.

So here’s the thing about this show. If Chitanda Eru doesn’t drive you absolutely shit bonkers insane, then there is very little I can really criticize about this show (not that I’m that much of a critic anyways). I’ve heard complaints that it’s slow and such, but that’s in the description–Slice of Life, so it says. The way that the mysteries are presented is so engaging, you can participate in the mystery solving as the characters do. Immersion!

Do yourself a favor. Watch the show. It’s brilliant. Just try not to let Miss Unholy-Child-Of-Modern-Anime-Waifu-Tropes ruin it for you.

 

(Ah, also–has anyone else noticed how Houtarou and Satoshi are drawn like aged-down, anime expy’s of Sherlock and John from BBC’s Sherlock?)

Image result for oreki houtarou vs. Related image

Image result for satoshi fukube vs. Image result for john watson bbc

Even their eye colors are similar!

 

now please excuse me i need to play with my cat so he stops scratching at my door my god he’s so fucking needy