Glancing Upstream: Fall 2015 Retrospective and Review

The autumn colors were certainly on display, I’ll give Fall that, at least.

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This was a slim season for me in terms of overall series completed, and would have been a pretty disappointing one if not for a couple happy surprises and a pair of standout shows from the ever-reliable Studio BONES. Still, there’s good variety here, with a strong focus on action/adventure titles, so there’s a pretty good chance something out there will speak to everyone’s tastes.

One thing Fall did have in droves was plenty of style. From the jaw-droppingly dynamic animation of One Punch Man, to the ’60s comic book-inspired design of Concrete Revolutio, to the painted landscapes of Seraph, the glowing monsters of Noragami, and even the washed-out color scheme and bursts of acid-trip weirdness in Perfect Insider, a lot of creative teams threw themselves into making the shows this season visually striking, and they by-and-large succeeded.

While ultimately I’m the kind of viewer who needs a developed set of characters and a meaningful (or at least entertaining) narrative to keep me invested in a story, that should by no means take away from the sheer amount of hard work and talent on display this Fall. Animation is art, and (narrative content notwithstanding), these creators have made that abundantly clear.

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Season Review: Concrete Revolutio, Part 1

Though this be madness, yet there is method in ‘t.

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“Those who do the right thing, not for themselves or their country, but for a single…”

“A single what? Justice? Peace? Freedom? Defending my freedom disturbs the peace! Pursuing your justice violates my freedom! There is no single answer!”

—Jiro and Jin; Concrete Revolutio

Concrete Revolutio is an alternate reality, a blending of pop art and fiction with historical events to create a sensationalized truth. It’s an attempt to make sense of history through fantasy, to find causality in the real world the way we would in a fantastical one. And, in so doing, it reminds us that history itself is written like a fiction, and that (much like fiction) the same general narratives and tropes continue to play out in multiple times and places, despite our best (or perhaps worst) efforts.

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