Forest of Piano

There isn’t a lot to be said about this anime other than it is an underrated anime and you should really check it out if you enjoy music. Although, having knowledge of music is completely optional. The show gives you a real appreciation for classical music as it follows two children with vastly different backgrounds through their journey on becoming professional pianists.

With that said, its animation is pretty bad. Well, more like, really, really bad. The cut between 2d and 3d animation for the piano playing is jarring. Plus, any scene with a crowd is poorly animated, which is usually forgiven since these are one off occurrences in most amines. However, this show relies upon competing in front of a crowd, so the poorly animated crowds stand out like a sore thumb. This feels more like an anime that was produced in the early 2000’s and not a Netflix anime produced in 2018. The show is carried upon the music and plot alone.

Blue Period

Wow, Blue Period is an amazing and inspirational anime. Most of my thoughts can be summed up on this youtube video elaborating on the anime.

As somebody who picked up art as a hobby, this anime really inspired me to work harder and improve my skills. During episode one, a quote at the end of the episode really stuck out to me:

That doesn’t mean you have to go to art school to be an artist, there are plenty of great artists who are hapy to presue it as a hobby…

But, I may offer ‘Just leave your passion as a hobby,’ that’s something only an adult would say. I think that those who don’t give it their all are those who don’t have passion.

At first reading, this is a really inspirational quote and definitely encourages the viewer to pressure passions with more intensity and vigor. However, I’ve learned the dangers of letting the flames of passion burn too bright. I nearly depleted my passion for programming by turning it into a full-time job. That is one of the reasons I picked up hobbies like photography and art; I felt like it has helped me balance my creative outlets more. Since I started practicing art, I’ve learned that passion is very finicky, it needs to be nurtured and cultivated. Inspiration and motivation don’t come spontaneously, they to be egged on by action and a consistent routine.

Maybe I’m trying too hard to project myself into this anime. I’m not anything like the protagonist; I’m a recent college graduate working a 9-5 software engineering job. I’m surrounded by people who are sapped of all passion and are just doing the bare minimum for their job. It is frightening, to be honest. The fear of being lost in a sea of mediocrity… Recently art has been beckoning me. Something about this anime perfectly captures the energy and emotions of a new artist and it can only be described as pure excitement.

The Orbital Children

The Orbital Children is a six-episode Netflix ONA that is about several middle schoolers in space. Some of the children were obnoxious — especially when it came to the social media parts. But overall the characters were each interesting and had their own quirks. For such a short series, it managed to do a fair bit of world-building and hit on some pretty high sci-fi concepts along the way.

It needs to be said that most of the “sci-fi” was pretty bogus. The “hacking” was just clicking a button and having droids shoot lasers at each other. The AI was pretty out there, but the show never tried to explain how an asteroid suddenly turned into a giant AI, so I will just leave it as that…

The ending was quite satisfying, emotional, and left room for a second season, but a second season is yet to be confirmed by Netflix. However, the season summarized two years of events in the last 10 minutes of the show, so I really don’t expect a second season. Most shows that do this are just trying to give the audience a somewhat satisfying conclusion since they don’t know if they will get a second season.

Ready Player Two

Oh boy, it’s time we talk about Ready Player Two, the sequel book that nobody asked for.

I really enjoyed Ready Player One, the movie was meh, but the book was really good. It felt unique, was interesting, and had a lot of nostalgia. Plus, it played an hommage to geek culture with the inclusion of things like D&D. I am a big sucker for 80’s nostalgia, despite growing up in the early 2000s. However, where Ready Player One felt new and exciting, Ready Player Two felt preachy and non-unique. The root of this issue is that the first book was pure world-building and nostalgia. Where the second book skipped the world-building and skipped right towards being a Debbie-downer and preached about real-world events. Not saying that commenting on current events is a bad thing for a book to do, but making it your main plot is a big turn-off for fiction readers.

The main protagonist was cast as an unempathetic villain– the equivalent of the Mark Zuckerberg of their universe. Although the book tried redemption for Wade, it came across as flat. To top that off absolutely none of the problems the book got preachy about was ever solved during the book. Instead, we are left with an ending that just introduces a new technology that apparently makes everyone forget about the handbasket of problems the book started off with. Making social commentary about social media/technology addiction is a good thing– there are amazing books that do that. But, Ready Player Two simply drums it up as a big deal to then completely forget it during the end of the book. Nobody can argue that the conclusion that “Technology Will Solve All Our Problems” is satisfying.

Sonny Boy

Wow, I don’t really know what to say about this anime. It isn’t flashy, it doesn’t have high production, but nevertheless, it is definitely an anime that will stick with me for a long time.

The story follows a group of high schoolers who went a-drift in this weird multi-dimensional universe. Each scene in the anime has this painted quality adding to the sublime nature of their universe. This story feeds into this underlying feeling of existential nialism. If our lives are so small and inconsequential compared to the universe, what is the point of living? How do you live day to day if you can live for literally thousands of years? What is the nature of our universe?

Sonny boy tackles all these deep philosophical questions while at the same time is a story that heavily leans on character development and emotion.