Dragon Maid is a story about unorthodox families, but it goes much deeper than that. Unorthodox familes are a dime a dozen in anime, and while Dragon Maid does a good job at portraying them, I wouldn’t say it does a better job than, say, The Eccentric Family. What makes Dragon Maid stand out is how it focuses on the family’s effect on the main character. Dragon Maid is ultimately the tale of an introvert, someone who’s used to minimal interaction, and how her newfound family helps her to open up and become more comfortable around others.
This can be considered a replacement to my earlier post, Iyashikei: The Genre of Catharsis. That post is outdated and bad, so please ignore anything in it that contradicts with this post.
Describing iyashikei is hard. I’ve tried it before, and it didn’t turn out that well. However, after reading a fairly large number of takes on the subject, including academic papers focusing on the healing genre outside of 2D culture, I think I’ve been able to come to a semi-workable definition. This is going to take a bit of time and quite a few words, so strap in as a I explain my current understanding of iyashikei as a unique genre.
I think it’s clear that there isn’t much yuri anime. Sure, there’s plenty of yuri subtext in anime, and I’m glad for that, but actual yuri series are few and far between. It’s getting better, especially if you include shows where the relationships are blatant and reciprocated even if they’re not quite textual, but still, there’s a long way to go. Given that, I think we need to look at why so little yuri anime gets produced, because I think it’s important to those who want to understand the genre as a whole.
There have been a lot of comparisons between the movie and manga versions of A Silent Voice, and to an extent that’s understandable. The movie did cut a lot of material, and I can see why that would leave some people less than happy with the adaptation. Personally though, I’m fine with the changes from the source, and I think that the cuts generally made the film a better work.
Fellow blogger Thoughts That Move recently put out an article describing how hard it is for him to choose media in an environment that bombards him with it from every direction. It’s a problem I share to some extent: there’s just too many things I want to do, too many works I want to get around to. I’m not very old, so I assume I’ve got plenty of time left on this planet, and yet I know that I’ll never be able to consume all the media I’m currently interested in, and the amount of interesting media increases by the day.
Lain is a series that I primarily remember for its mood. Lain is very dark and very lonely, and at one point that was something I could heavily relate to. Paranoia jumps out at you from the unnervingly large shadows, while Lain’s social ostracization leads to little dialogue and therefore little sense of safety. From the beginning it’s clear that Lain can’t really make human connections, and that leaves her feeling fairly depressed. This depression is reflected across the entire show, and it’s something that was once incredibly comforting.
All art is political, but anime is an art form which tends to shy away from engaging with that fact. It isn’t hard to tell where a show like GATE’s ideological biases lie, but shows like this rarely engage with ideology on a more explicit level. It’s rare to get shows like Ghost in the Shell or LotGH that not only explicitly engage with politics, but make it totally apparent where their opinions lie, and it’s always nice when it happens.