In a new column, Sakura Brandi introduces us to the world of anime and takes us through the shows to watch right now.

23rd November 2015

Anime (short for animation) is a Japanese style of computer animation  that started in 1917, although it became more popular after WW2. Its style and plot change greatly depending on the artist and the era in which it was produced. Most often they are based on manga (Japanese comics) or light novel stories. There are anime in any genre imaginable, and some have also been adapted to live action dramas. Through subtitling and dubbing, anime has become a world wide phenomenon, with passionate fans all over the world.

Anime can either be seasonal shows (around 12 or 24 episodes) or be a long term project that can last for many years (such as One Piece, which aired it’s 718th episode last week). My three favourite animes of this Fall season (Sept – Dec) are: Young Black Jack, Gakusen Toshi Asterisk and Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider.

Young Black Jack and Subete ga F ni Naru (Everything Becomes F) are definitely for a more adult audience. Young Black Jack follows the story of an incredibly skilled medical student in a world full of turmoil and uncertainty. It is set in 1968 and it manages to portray the Vietnam War and student protests in a realistic and thought provoking way, something that not many animes can achieve. Although it does not show any actual surgeries it does show blood and the psychological effects of war so it should not be taken lightly. However if you are looking for a slightly different twist to the shounen genre, and are interested in the ethics behind being a doctor this may be an interesting anime to follow; especially as this is the prequel story building up to the main character’s adult life (shown in the anime/manga Black Jack).

Although Subete ga F ni Naru also covers themes of death and life, this is a much more phylosophical take on what it means to be alive. Based on the 1996 mystery novel by Hiroshi Mori it is intriguing and sometimes even disconcerting. Although I wouldn’t recommend watching all of it at 3 in the morning like I did, it is a powerful anime that completely involves you in the story. The only reason why it may not be as popular as other animes this season is that it is quite dark and it tackles some very heavy topics. Although it may sound confusing or the theories slightly ridiculous this anime is definitely worth watching till the end. A tv drama series is also available for those who prefer to watch real actors play out the story.

Gakusen Toshi Asterisk on the other hand is a completely different type of anime. With colourful drawings and the inhuman powers of the characters, it is much more of a traditional shounen anime. Although it does have some hints of harem in it, the fanservice and general exaggeration of the female body is not too bad and can be easily ignored. However many say that it is quite similar to another anime airing at the moment, Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry, which is either a good thing, if you can’t get enough of that genre, or proof that the plot may be dissapointingly cliché.

Noragami Aragoto and Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?? are also worthy of mention but they are both airing their second season now so I would suggest watching them from the beginning.

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