Brief Note: On Anime and Fluff

Currently crashing my way through the last few scenes in the rough draft of Leatherbound. A bunch of action and drama happens, and I personally need some fluff to recover.

Thank goodness for Crunchyroll. Loads of anime fluff.

I’m currently slowly working my way through Dog Days. Silly as the premise may sound (gymnast summoned as a Hero to assist in a Friendly War… where no one gets killed, the worst injuries are usually bumps and clothing damage, and it’s all broadcast as entertainment), there’s some really good worldbuilding in the story. The detail that towns and fortresses are all built where the “no-serious-harm” spells are possible, for one; because there are huge beasts and even demons in other spots. Holding “battles” as entertainment – so if demons do attack, every country has a healthy, well-armed, trained force to face them with steel and magic. Éclair admitting that yes, more serious battles and wars have happened in the past, showing this world isn’t all fluff and perfect people.

…And then there’s the funny. Like the deliberate double entendres, for example when the cat princess tells the Hero next time she’ll be back to invade him properly….

Poor, poor Cinque. *Amused.*

I really hope sometime they put the full series out on DVD. Official, not the Malaysia who-knows-who-has-the-rights one. Because sometimes I just want to be away from the computer with my anime.

Would love it if they’d do that with Demonbane and Spider Riders, too. Spider Riders was, I think, the first anime I ever saw – and I didn’t know it was anime when I saw it, because it was the dub on broadcast TV. Subs would be just fine, I just want pretty shiny fluff and story…. ahem. 😉

Anyway. If you’re tired of grimdark and just want some upbeat fun, I recc’ Dog Days. 🙂


29 thoughts on “Brief Note: On Anime and Fluff

  1. Also in the category of fluff and sparkles*: Gundam Build Fighters. It’s pretty much Angelic Layer with Gundams. It’s very tournament-centric, yes, and roughly a third of the references will go over your head if you’re not a Gundam nut (of which I am not). But. It’s got all of a Gundam series’s storytelling and world building with 100% less angst. The characters are memorable, if not tropperiffic, and their relationships feel //real//.

    *By sparkles, I mean 1/100th scale massive explosions.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s my favorite Gundam. I like Gundam’s explosions, but the political worldbuilding tends to hurt my WSoD. Build Fighters has the explosions, doesn’t have much politics, and I’m a fan of the ad copy for bits of plastic and cardboard genre.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. As someone who experienced Iron Blooded Orphans as being light hearted and healing, and who thinks PMMM wimped out and cheated us out of grimdark, I am inclined to concur.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I haven’t seen it, but my Teen has very strong opinions on Puella Magi. Imagine this in the aural equivalent of all caps: no no no it is not fluffy.
        Elaborated on with: It’s analogous to Neon-Genesis-Evangelion’s place in the Giant Battle Mech genre. Both grimdark deconstructions of the premise underneath all the fluff and lightheartedness. Nihilistic, all about the futilty, they revel in how futile it all is …. Teen went on, but I think you get the picture. Has enough personal troubles with depression to avoid these.

        For fluff recommends Gurren Lagan (I’ve watched with, and must point out people die, but the overall effect is grand, hammy awesome keep trying) or Slayers Next and Slayers Try, the latter which deconstructs some elements.

        Adds for epic worldbuilding, interconnection, and juggling tremendous number of characters very well, and a thoroughly satisfying conclusion, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. FMA can be a little dark, if you go into it expecting fluff. Inciting incident is kids trying to bring their dead mother back to life, in a setting where that is impossible and magic has a price, sometimes very high, for results.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Dog Days was, IIRC, made by the same folks who did Nanoha. Which has a fair amount of dark bits, and I really like the setting. (Fairly deep history with lots of super destructive war.)

    IIRC, because I heard about it on the late Denbeste’s blog many years ago.

    In the same line as PMMM, how about Berserk, Blade of the Immortal, or Lone Wolf and Cub? Grave of the Fireflies and Barefoot Gen are for kids, right?

    Also. Puella. Latin, singular, I think nominative, ‘girl’. I’m guessing Puella modifies Magi, that Puella Magi modifies Madoka, and that Puella Magi Madoka modifies Magica. But it has been a long time since I really touched Latin, and I haven’t even checked a dictionary. I’d need to check a dictionary to identify the grammar, for sure, and would need to check a Grammar to see if the construction even made sense.


      1. Maybe not sarcasm, but I don’t think any of those are what you are looking for in fluff.

        That I found IBO light hearted and healing does not mean that I am quite mad enough to think it would be fluffy for anyone else. Perhaps not even me, I was in a much worse mental place back then.

        One of the things that always bugged me about the magical girl genre was the degree to which, in my eyes, unfounded trust was not bad decision making. Eventually I realized that it was genre convention. The girls are implied to have very good judgement when it comes to people.

        Guess which convention PMMM deconstructs? That interested me when I heard about it. Then I found out about the ending, and went nope. Ending is probably better than Eva in terms of providing a somewhat clear and positive conclusion, but negates what I liked about the idea. The story I would have wanted told should not be told in long form.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t actually seen Puella Magi Madoka Magica, but I have read quite a bit up on it. (I find dark and/or sad or even just bittersweet endings to not be my cup of tea, and occasionally even difficult to get through, but I love seeing deconstructions at work)

      My understanding is that the ‘Puella Magi‘ in the title is supposed to be translated as roughly ‘Girl Magician’ or – more accurately – ‘Magical GirlSPOILER: it’s also potential foreshadowing of one of the series’ major plot twists partway through, because it can also be translated as ‘Witch’.

      Madoka‘ meanwhile is just the main character’s name, giving us ‘Magical Girl Madoka‘. NO idea what the ‘Magica‘ means tho’.

      Totes agree about recc’ing Nanoha though. I never got through season 3 – lost track of the site I was watching it on, and last I heard Nanoha somehow still hasn’t been liscensced for official release in the west. Either way, the fights are awesome, the Power of Friendship can apparently be seen through your eyelids when applied with enough determination, and in the tradition of Superhero comics everywhere small and extremely earnest young girls tend to possess the most overwhelming – and alarming! – amounts of firepower.


      1. Nanoha is less superhero comics and more mecha transposed into a magical girls setting. Some of the characters are apparently inspired by super robot wars.

        The magica in PMMM is most likely Latin for magic. It may be of the form such that it could be translated as the magic of (Madoka.)

        Magi is the definitely a word that is translated wise man. It is used for the three wise men of the nativity.

        It MIGHT be Girl Magi Madoka’s Magic, but I don’t have the information in my head to confirm or deny that that.


  3. PMMM was a joke suggestion… didn’t mean to have it turn into a big argument.
    as true fluff, i think slice of life anime is best-one i recommend (and not as joke this time) is ‘Tsurezure Children’…
    Its about school kids, and awkward attempts at romance-namely asking out and dates…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No worries pal, I’m pre~eetty sure most of us guessed you were joking… I think.

      In a tangential vein, however, I do think anyone who enjoyed Madoka – or at least found it interesting – would be well served to read Sailor Nothing.

      Sailor Nothing isn’t an anime or manga, it is an original web novel written by an American fanfic writer who was inspired by the Magical Girl genre, and most especially Sailor Moon. Like Madoka, Sailor Nothing is a deconstruction of the genre, but manages to be both bloodier and less nihilistically hopeless in premise and setting. It was originally written back in 2001, so parts of it have definitely aged, but I still recommend it to people.

      Plus, anyone who knows Nanoha seasons 1 & 2, Sailor Moon‘s basics, Sailor Nothing, and isn’t afraid to do a bit of TVTropes reading for more obscure entries might find the Battle Phantasia writing project from the Spacebattles[dot]net forums interesting. The project died before completion – tragically – and the second and third writing attempts struck me as just… not as good as the first take on it – especially the stuff by the contributor Gamlain – but what there is… *nostalgic and heartfelt sigh*.

      Ngl, I discovered Sailor Nothing in 2008-09, right around when I first found Vathara’s stuff, and fell similarly in love. Battle Phantasia meanwhile I stumbled across in 2013, about a year after it had died.

      …I’ve never been someone who was big into rereading, but for more than a few years in a row I would once a year go back over my favorites of Vathara’s works and Sailor Nothing. I still occasionally do with Vathara’s work – specifically Shadows in Starlight and Witchy Woman – but I fell out of the habit with Sailor Nothing. With Battle Phantasia tho’ that habit is still going strong. I don’t know if I’d describe Battle Phantasia as ‘fluffy’ per se, it’s more about people coming together to help eachother… But I would definitely describe Gamlain’s writing as Inspiring.


    2. I’m pretty sure it was a joke that I would have found funny if I were telling it. I may have even told it before. I’m an argumentative jerk, and have an easier time doing a wall of text than writing succinctly.


    1. Battle Phantasia? Personally, I recommend looking up the TVTropes page and Battle Phantasia wiki linked there for a full mostly chronological list of all the various scenes and parts. That links you directly to what was actually written without having to hunt through archives worth of discussion, and the TVTropes page helpfully fills in the blanks for things that were planned for the project but never actually written before it died.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Whoops, need to post a correction: it’s Battle Fantasia, not Phantasia. I remembered there being a (theoretical?) videogame of the same name as the writing project, but apparently got my wires crossed and misremembered it as being spelled the same as the Tales of Phantasia game. My bad.


  4. RWBY is fluffy until you hit the Vytal Tournament, which is actually still fluffy until the double battles. Where it takes a sharp and sudden left turn across four lanes of busy traffic into, hmm, gritty? But it’s Rooster Teeth, so, there’s that. The, sadly and much missed, creator of the show deliberately did not do up the skirt shots, no one curses until one of the Big Bad’s minions gets a battlefield amputation, and the world building is delightful. On Crunchyroll, and no need for sub because it’s in English.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Shingu: Secret of the Stellar Wars. It’s pretty fluffy, even though it also has a real story and characters and drama. People survive and work together as a community, despite a lot of obstacles. They also don’t make much of a fuss; it is a low-angst show.

    The first ep is good, but it doesn’t make as much sense at the beginning as it will later. The second ep is when you really start to follow the story.

    The amusing thing is that anime tropes, or going against tropes, actually turns out to be important to the plot and worldbuilding. It’s not inside baseball, but it gets funnier and deeper the more you watch it. And yet, it’s fluffy enough to be a great show to watch when you’re feeling depressed or sick.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I will recommend Tonari no Seki-Kun to anyone, anytime.
    If you want something fluffy and warm-hearted, I recommend Flying Witch – gentle jokes and characters you really like hanging out with. It’s a very sunday afternoon kind of show, if that makes sense.
    Another of my faves is Girls Und Panzer – it’s set in a world where tanks are a kind of sport/traditional martial art. Basically, it’s a bunch of likeable, cute high school girls rolling around in very accurate portrayed tanks blowing shit up for fun and glory for their school!
    I don’t know about calming, but another good one is Food Wars!, which redefines the term ‘food porn’. Don’t watch if you’re hungry. The manga’s a great source for new recipes, though.
    One of my favorite rom-coms is Nodame Cantabile; there’s a live-action version as well as three seasons of the anime, though it can be a bit hard to track down. It’s a rom com about a bunch of students studying various instruments at a music college. If you’re into classical music at all, this is not to be missed.

    I haven’t watched all of it, but this season there’s Laid Back Camp, which is slice of life/comedy, about a bunch of school girls who love camping out… and that’s pretty much it. I’ve heard its very soothing.
    Also, there’s How to keep a mummy, which has a lot of miniature, very cute monsters as pets.

    All of these should be on crunchyroll, except Nodame Cantabile.

    Liked by 1 person

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