Notes from the Kraken: May 15th 2016

In All, Notes by David

Welcome again to We Have Always Lived in the Kraken, a pop culture blog transmitted directly to you from the belly of the beast. Here in the Notes we’ll show you this week’s posting schedule, but first, a little Seafood for Thought.

Yeah, this show is awesome. Watch it, and welcome Amazon to the anime game.

While I am an admitted fan of anime (much to Kyu’s chagrin), I think that this current season is unexpectedly strong. There have been seasons recently that have managed to have either one great show (such as last season with Erased) or a number of really good shows without necessarily a great one (such as as last year’s spring season), but few rarely have both. This spring season does, and its great show is Kabaneri of the Iron FortressWIT Studio grew tired of waiting to make more Attack on Titan (that manga takes forever to write), so the studio simply made its own with zompires and trains. It is beautiful, and seems to have fixed a lot of Attack on Titan‘s pacing problems. Meanwhile, this season brings one of the funniest shows in a while, in Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto, which may be a one-joke show with a ten dollar budget, but man, the show is all in, and it is awesome. Then there is Re:Zero, which takes a tired concept and makes it work. In many seasons, Studio Triggers’s Kiznaiver would be the best thing a season would offer, but instead it is simply a solid show that doesn’t have to stand out. Bungou Stray Dogs combines detectives, weird super powers, and suicide into a melting pot of ideas that manages to mostly work. My Hero Academia is a great manga that has been skillfully adapted into an anime. Even a show that should be trash in And you thought there is never a girl online? is remarkably good trash. I don’t know how long this time of peace and plenty in the realm of anime will last, but I shall cherish it, and so should the rest of you. And if you can’t there, is always Hundred, which is trash piled upon trash made of trash, so the world isn’t completely crazy.

David Robertson

From the depths of the Kraken, here is what we are bringing you this week.

Monday: The Life in The Kraken Podcast returns with a very timely episode starring David, Kyu, and special guest Bryant Canon, Lead Engineer at Night School Studio. In this episode we’ll talk about the first release of Night School Studio, the walk and talk horror/adventure video game Oxenfree, which releases May 31st on PS4 (with new content!), and then it’s 1, 2, 3, 4, we declare Captain America: Civil War. (Sam is still missing, but he swears no discussion of Civil War is complete without watching this video, which, warning, is filled with both spoilers and anime.)

Tuesday: Now playing in the Screening Room… well, Kyu made a promise to meet you here two weeks ago to reconnect with Richard Linklater’s groundbreaking romantic trilogy. But he didn’t show up! What could have kept him? Will this doom all of our notions of love (for the blog)? Hopefully he’ll return sooner than 8 years from now.

Wednesday: Nothing new today. The Kraken wants to go cloud jumping, and we need time to pick the best route, because last time he jumped on a thunderstorm cloud and it took weeks to get the static electricity out of our clothes.

Thursday: TV Roulette returns with a look at AMC’s The Talking Dead, the show that kicked off the trend of specialized talk shows discussing popular programs immediately after they air. In this case, The Walking Dead and now Fear the Walking Dead. So let’s check in to see one of the many reasons Chris Hardwick rules the pop culture world.

Friday: A special piece from Atomika today (with contributions from Kyu), talking about an awful loss the world of comics experienced one week ago: Remembering Darwyn Cooke.


Catch of the Week:

Each and every week the residents here in the Kraken will offer one recommendation for the week that we think you all would enjoy. It might be a movie. It might be a book. Who knows? This is your… Catch of the Week.

David: Hulu has been slowly getting into the original content game. The service is unique in that it releases its shows on a normal weekly schedule, as opposed to the binge watching model followed by Netflix and Amazon. Its latest original series, The Path, is nearing the end of its first season, and has proven to be quite the show. With a stellar cast led by Aaron Paul, Hugh Dancy, and Michelle Monaghan and a more nuanced look into the nature of cults, this show has been a slow, but welcome burn that that is well worth a watch.

Kyu: After last week’s Hamilton rec, I feel I should recommend more musicals throughout May. Hopefully I have enough of them to last–this really isn’t my genre. Although next week might be a bit more of a stretch, today I’ll take the easy way out and recommend Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, a Stephen Sondheim musical that sets a gruesome, blackly comic tragedy of murder, cannibalism, and some very close shaves in a period England where injustice, poverty, and misogyny reign. Is a little light on meaningful thematics, beyond the central metaphor of the victimized eating their oppressors? Sure. But as Dr. Zoidberg once said, it’s toe-tappingly tragic. These are catchy, clever songs that tell a full story, weaving multiple perspectives together into a bloody good (and just plain bloody) musical.

Keskel: I recommend watching this recording of Hatsune Miku’s 2014 New York performance. While it’s probably too late for you to see her 2016 concert (but check here for dates), that video may give you some idea of Miku’s appeal. To me, Hatsune Miku is Plato’s theory of forms made real thanks to technology and millions of fans. She is a pop star at the nexus of everything art, culture and technology can and will be. Hopefully you’ll love her as much as I do.

That’s it for this week. As you visit, ‘ware sharks where they shouldn’t be.