Music Monday – What’s an anime?

Monday is here, and I am frantically writing before I rush off – gotta wrap this Music Monday up as there is Working to be done. You know I am pretty lucky to have a job, it’s not like 17 year old girls that look like lolis just walk up to you asking if you want work. Working conditions are terrible though, your boss treats you like dirt while stuffing their face, the other employees are as weird as they come, and the customers… well, lets leave that for another time. I’m just your typical casual employee at Wagnaria. We even have our own theme song, why don’t you have a little listen – SOMEONE ELSE by Kana Asumi, Saki Fujita and Eri Kitamura. Cya at Work~

I have been out of date anime-wise for about a decade or so and correct me if I’m wrong, but I am pretty damn sure that was a play on the Working!! OP with the characters from K-On!… It was? Ok, cool! I’m not as out-of-date as first thought.

Back on topic. During the mid-late 2000’s (a time I am still not very familiar with) there was a surge of 4-koma/slice-of-life manga, which that ushered in the period of what I like to call ‘The lolwhat-ning’ (simply because the humor of these series produced 500% more ‘what?’ reactions). Eventually becaming popular anime (for the most part, before the fan rage), they had their time in the limelight and now for the most part (except for one) have faded into the obscurity of ‘old stuff’ (my domain). These fabled anime (or at least the main ones) that I speak of are of course – Lucky Star, Working!!, and K-On! (too many exclamation marks…).

Now to set something straight, I’ve never been much of a fan of slice-of-life anime, as I find them to be badly paced, fairly predictable, and the story/characters are as 2D as they come (…wait, I mean in the way of depth, not…argg…). In a twist of fate, however, I have re-re-rediscovered 4-komas in the past month, and I think I may have to take back all the mean things I said, undo all the evil curses I place upon the various series that utalise it, and potentially forgive the anime adaptations (at least a little).

The issue is this, I think that the conversion from a 4-koma/slice-of-life manga does not translate well into a 23-min-ish (no, not that zelda thing) anime. The design of a 4-koma is meant for a quick laugh but is actually very well structured, in that the beginning panel sets the scene, the second develops upon the first panel, the third is the climax, and the fourth shows the effects of the third panel. Slice-of-life, while more dynamic and allows for more complexity in story and characters, still follows the trifles of characters and their ‘plain’ (or sometimes extraordinary) life. Now compare this to a typical anime episode, which is meant to be filled with various scenes to further the story, be it action, character development, or some type of revelation. For these 4-Koma and slice-or-life series the transition between mediums can be jarring, as the skits don’t always gel together and and seem a bit frantic.

So while I might be hammering down on the anime adaptations, I do have to give them at least a little credit. For the most part, they present a different perspective that is not typically seen in an anime character’s life, at their work, in their down time, and with their friends doing random junk, which is kinda refreshing in comparison to the action packed lives of more story driven and action orientated series. I’ve found that a character’s charm is well and truly found when the viewer understands the character and their quirks, making it a pleasure to see them do what they do and react how they react.

I can say with… careful confidence that 4-koma and slice-of-life anime adaptations can be done, but I think it there are only a few truly outstanding ones, with the one that instantaneously comes to mind being Azumanga Daioh, mostly since the characters were layered and had enough quirks that the series could go the 26 episode distance. However, I am still very much a manga man (not mega man), and find that the situations encapsulated in 4-komas and small chapters of slice-of-life mangas to be more satisfying than an animation about it (still not very open to new things -sigh-)… but I am getting better.

For the last month I found a few new favorites added to my collection – namely Working!! (manga and anime), Nichijo (manga and anime again), and Houkago Play (sadly only a manga…) to name a few (with the last being a personal favorite). With the world of manga and anime so big, I’m bound to find many, many more. So what have you been reading/watching? Something new? Something old? Going for the re-re-retry of a series or genre? Go out into the big wide world that is our fandom and keep on searching for something that makes you giggle, tear up, or smile a heart-filled smile~

Wait… what was that about music? Oh cra…