Welcome to week two of Brain Sprinkles, in which I discuss more anime, music, novels, and add a new category: cartoons! Let’s dive right in, but first: my intro.
Creativity is one of the most important things a human being can express. It’s good for our brains, our hearts, and our souls. It allows people to explore themselves and others in a deep way, something introspection and discussion can’t always do. When consuming others’ creative works, you’re getting a piece of who they are as a person, whether they wanted or intended that or not.
Creativity allows us to function as a society. We’re not merely surviving—we’re living, hour to hour and day to day. How we spend our time digesting others’ creative works—whether that’s a movie, a novel, or a collection of poems—is important to how we grow as people and a community of human beings. I hope reading about the creative content I enjoy (or don’t) gets your creative juices flowing and inspires you to make something great and uniquely your own. At the very least maybe you’ll discover something new you might be interested in.
No Game No Life
Sometimes I wonder how Japan gets away with what it produces, and to know what I’m talking about, you’ll just have to watch this series for yourself. No Game No Life is about a brother-sister otaku pair who make up “Blank,” a mysterious persona incapable of losing any game they play, regardless of what it is. At the beginning of the 12-episode arc, they’re transported to a fantasy world where every dispute is solved through games. Naturally, teenager Sora and his 11-year-old sister Shiro rule there as Blank. The writing is hilarious and smart, the anime present no filler, and the cleverness and wit of Blank as they manage to win every game they play never gets old to watch. The art style might be a bit too much for some (each episode looks like a Lisa Frank piece on acid), but I loved it, especially how everything is outlined in red ink instead of black, giving it a dreamlike quality. The series ends on a huge cliffhanger, so there better be a sequel, because I want more.
Bravest Warriors is the strange and delightful brain child of Pendleton Ward, the creator of Adventure Time. It’s a series about adventurers who heroically save the innocent from dastardly situations (sound familiar?), only it’s in space rather than a fantasy world and features slightly more mature humor than what may be allowed on Cartoon Network’s kid-friendly programming. Each episode is short (only about five minutes long), and they’re all free on YouTube as a part of the Cartoon Hangover channel. Bravest Warriors is fun, colorful, and requires the attention span of a rock to enjoy (plus there’s Catbug). Go watch.
After falling in love with the soundtrack from Her (mentioned in last week’s post), I decided to check out Arcade Fire. They’re an indie rock band from Montreal (apparently the founding member is the brother to my girlfriend’s father’s ex-girlfriend, but I digress). I’ve heard some pretty sweet musicians from the Great North, but I was pretty underwhelmed with Arcade Fire, to be honest. Wake Up from their first album might be worth checking out, as are It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus) and Supersymmetry. Their best work, though, is definitely the Her soundtrack (in which Supersymmetry is featured).
I was introduced to Vessels with a YouTube video of their performance of Blue Clouds in which the band members are wearing distorted masks of their own faces and dancing while playing crazy music with multiple drum kits, keyboards, a guitar and bass, and other random instruments. I was hooked right away. Their music is a bit hard to find because I guess they’re really not that big at all, but these multi-talented musicians are going places. Vessels is essentially a rock/electronic jam band, but they do have songs that feature singing. Give Monoform a listen (and watch Blue Clouds while you’re at it).
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
I mentioned The Chamber of Secrets a few days ago after saying last week how I didn’t really like it that much. I’ll admit the ending made up a bit for the slowness of the book (especially when Harry realized why he was in House Gryffindor and not House Slytherin), but even just a few chapters into the next book, I can tell Rowling’s writing hasn’t improved much (so many adverbs!). I think people put way too much nostalgic value on this series, and its immense success can probably be contributed to the planets aligning in Rowling’s favor—not that I’m jealous or anything…