Anime Nights

A. and I decided to restart our Anime Nights, something we used to do at our old place in North Beach but hadn’t done in ages since.  I’ve always been a huge fan of anime since the mid-90s, though my watching habits always tend to come and go, depending on how much time I can devote to it and when it’s available. I was a huge fan of Cartoon Network’s Toonami back in the ’00s, and it introduced me to some great titles like Naruto (of which I’m still a fan), One Piece and more. We would also rent out anime through Netflix, checking up on some great titles like Haibane Renmei, Ergo Proxy and Trigun.

I kind of let it go for the last few years, mainly due to wanting to focus on finishing and publishing the trilogy, and also needing to get myself back into a consistent writing habit.  But lately I’ve come to realize that maybe I should at least take a night off and watch more of the things that inspire my writing in the first place.  Maybe in the process I’ll be inspired once more by newer, different stories.

Last night’s viewing, courtesy of Funimation, was finally catching up with Yuri!!! on Ice, which I believe all of our otaku friends have already seen when it was first released not that long ago.  It’s a lot of fun to watch (and I now understand the plentiful shipping that went on back then).

I should also point out this was a great example (one of many) of why I love anime so much: it’s a cartoon series about competitive figure skating. It proves you can write a compelling story about pretty much anything, whether it’s about sports or cooking or high school girls starting a rock group. As a writer, it reminds me that no idea is too weird or too corny or too goofy.  It really is the storytelling that counts.

It’s also made me think about finite serial storytelling. For instance, something like Cowboy Bebop. It tells a specific story over the course of its twenty some-odd episodes and its film, but it also has many shorter stories within the span of each episode. That gave me a lot to think about as a writer; it made me rethink how to interweave the main story arc around several smaller subplot arcs.

[I should add that I recently rewatched an episode while on our flight home from Boston, and realized just how great that show really is; I definitely need to watch it again.]

Then of course there’s my favorite movie of this year, hands down: your name.

I’m totally a fanboy for this film, because a) it’s beautifully made with some absolutely stunning shots, and b) its storytelling is amazingly detailed (I pick up more bits the more I watch it) and woven together in a really creative way. On the surface it looks like a girly ‘star-crossed lovers’ story but it’s not. I’ve watched it three times already this year (twice during our UK trip earlier this year) and I’m pretty sure I’ll watch it again before the year is over, just to study the storytelling.

So yeah…I’m looking forward to watching more anime in the coming months again.  It’s not only fun, it almost always inspires me to come up with new story ideas and storytelling styles.

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