There are two kinds of episodic stories. The first follows the same cast, just that their adventures are broken into smaller parts, each with its own beginning, middle and end. Often, they can be finished in half an hour. Stories can still form naturally as a sort of overplot, but for the most part, if you understand the premise, you can pick a random episode and begin from there. The other kind of episodic storytelling is much harder to pull off, because the cast is constantly changing. There may be one or two characters that play a role in all the stories, but each installment is a fresh experience, needing to set its own tone and message. This is the anthology.
Anthologies are actually pretty rare in anime. Hatsukoi Limited tried to become one, but its focus was so split that it had to force an abrupt ending. The anthology I’m here to talk about is Sengoku Collection. While other warring states series – Basara, Oda Nobuna and Otome – are all fairly similar to each other in their exaggeration and condensation of Japan’s civil wars in the name of entertainment, Sengoku Collection is a unique beast. The basic premise – generals are turned into girls – does add some flavor to the show, but it’s only part of what makes the show work. What it created was one of the most unique anime in recent memory.
The correlation between the anime and I watch and whether they have character songs is not necessarily a 1:1 kind of deal, but even for shows I don’t follow, I maintain a Twitter to continually give news. I love character songs. As I’ve said in previous articles, the heart of any shows it is characters, and these songs are based around those characters, reflecting what they’ve gone through in the series. I’m also a fan of tokusatsu, but my articles that are primarily about toku go somewhere else. Today, we’re going to be looking at the fanservice comedy Kamen no Maid Guy.
We live in a world where three-minute anime are increasingly becoming a viable method for studios to adapt manga. With the 30-second theme songs removed, it’s closer to 2:30. Every second counts when you’re working in a time frame that small. Most jokes should land (naturally, most of them are comedy), and the animation should have as much motion as the small budget will allow. This is the most notable form of short anime, but it’s existed pretty much since anime (and DVDs) began.
DVDs, mostly. The incentive of director’s commentary or bonus features are a major part of what makes those Limited Editions so tempting to buy. Additional media on a separate disc, such as soundtracks or character songs, also play a part, but for the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on the bonus features. The animated equivalent of a 4-koma manga on the back of a volume jacket (sometimes literally), these may flesh out the universe a bit or comment on things that even the creator found a little odd about the workings of their universe. A place for self-parody and blowing off some steam.