Episode 128 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. "Now they've really jumped the shark," you're thinking to yourself. "I could stand them talking about manga, since you can kind of flip through the pages quickly and pretend that it's animated, but live-action TV and movies?" Well, I'm here to tell you that every podcast runs out of ideas, so we need to start laying the groundwork for the hosts to be able to complain about Ahsoka and Doom Patrol. Kidding! But also Ben, Andy, Duncan, and Jeff discover that they've watched more live-action adaptations than they might have thought, when this topic was first pitched, and that they have some hot takes on them, too!
Episode 127 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. I'm sure everyone's experienced it: some of your friends happen to throw a party or something while you're out of town, and when you get back you realize that they seem to have had so much fun without you that you can't help but... I don't know, question yourself? "Am I the problem?" you wonder. "Is my constant fixation on production pedigree and overintellectualized themes dragging down the conversation, rather than elevating it? Would everyone be better off without me?" Well, Ben doesn't feel that way at all, on the first mainline Key Frames episode that he's not on. Andy, Duncan, and Jeff handle the task of running down the list of anime from the summer 2023 season just fine! Except for that "cheesy chips" bit.
Episode 126 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. How are you really supposed to decide which to watch first, though, in a duology where there is no canonical order? I feel like it's a personality test that never gives me the result, unless the result is my enjoyment. I guess that makes a kind of sense? Anyway, tune in to hear Ben, Andy, Duncan, and Jeff take the quiz that is To Every You I've Loved Before and To Me, the One Who Loved You, plus some other shows that they've been watching lately. There are no few surprises, let me tell you.
Episode 125 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Interpersonal politics are intense in the cloistered complex of the harem. Ben, the would-be intellectual, knows only disdain for the latest season of Rent-a-Girlfriend and, though Andy is his ally in that regard, there are darker paths that he walks alone. Yohane the Parhelion? Perish the thought. Meanwhile, Duncan has unearthed a piece of Fate/stay night media that he thinks will change everything, but will it win the shogun's favor or doom them all? Only someone as well-versed in the new Ooku anime as they are could say.
Episode 124 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Sometimes, while writing the post for an episode, I have to remember to add a content warning when an anime dabbles in the medium's darker tendencies, like depictions of self-harm and sexual assault. This time, I get to do it for two different things in two different shows! Oh boy. Still, you should tune in to hear Ben, Andy, and Duncan talk about Oshi no Ko and Tengoku Daimakyo, along with the rest of the highlights of the spring anime season, because there was some good stuff there. Ben even liked more than one show! No, not either of the aforementioned ones.
Episode 32 of Key Frames: Inbetweens, a mini-podcast about anime. It's time to rock out with Masaaki Yuasa's latest movie, Inu-Oh! Not to spoil, but everyone loves it. What all do they like? Is it the real-life talent behind this medieval Japanese rock opera? Is it the wonderful celebration of difference? Is it the opportunity to bring up Heike Monogatari as much as humanly possible? Listen and you're certain to find out.
Episode 123 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. What follows is a list of podcast HR violations in this episode, as reported by a certain B. Halliburton:
- Andy talked about the new iDOLM@STER show for over five minutes;
- Duncan brought up Trigun Stampede unprompted, for the purpose of causing emotional distress;
- Andy refused to concede that the new KonoSuba spinoff is unfunny;
- Andy willfully misinterpreted the boomers in Bubblegum Crisis to be senior citizens;
- Duncan and Andy scoffed at the spring 2023 anime season being described as "slow";
- Duncan needlessly sexualized the casts of Tsurune, Yuri on Ice, and Free.
Disciplinary action is forthcoming. We at Key Frames appreciate your patience and understanding during this difficult time.
Episode 122 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Yes, Ben got way too mad about Trigun Stampede, but he also has such nice things to say about the second seasons of Tsurune and Vinland Saga. Yes, Duncan's watched some skeevy shows, but he's dropped most of them and is willing to hold Andy to account (or maybe vice versa) on Onimai, at least? Yes, it was a lean season, leaner than most, but there's still a lot of stuff to talk about. It's not like we get paid, but it's still our job, so tune in!
Episode 31 of Key Frames: Inbetweens, a mini-podcast about anime. It is we who plowed the prairies, built the cities where they trade / Dug the mines and built the workshops, endless miles of railroad laid / Now we stand outcast and starving midst the wonders we have made / But the union makes us strong! Come listen to Ben, Andy, and Duncan express their solidarity with a red panda and a hyena as they muse on the end of Netflix's Aggretsuko.
Episode 121 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. You know, someday we're going to find a way to get through the beginnings and ends of anime seasons in an efficient manner. We've tried pre-prep, agendas, a timekeeper, hand signals, a rota system, and plan ol' talking over each other. Nothing works! You get deep in the weeds talking about the wonky pacing of Urusei Yatsura remake or the dramatic stakes of Chainsaw Man and suddenly ten minutes have flown by. You let that happen a dozen times and suddenly you've got a movie-length podcast about all the crap Ben, Andy, Duncan, Jeff, and Jon watched for the fall 2022 and winter 2023 anime seasons. Oh right, Jon's back, too! See how the disorganization creeps up on you? We'll do better. We always do better.
Episode 120 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. There's always something left over at the end of the year, isn't there? Andy has some awards to hand out, many of them to manga and live-action films. Duncan wanted one more look back on the changing face of the anime industry, and Ben has eight shows (maybe more) that he hasn't gotten to talk about yet. Jeff just needs to finish Akiba Maid War! As the uncomfortable immediacy of this episode description prompts you to reflect on your own unfinished business, why don't you put us on? You can zone out to ninety-odd minutes of freeform discussion about almost everything, with a hearty side of holiday cheer. Look forward to what 2023 holds!
Episode 30 of Key Frames: Inbetweens, a mini-podcast about anime. Revue Starlight is a story of podcast hosts guided by the sureness of their opinions. They agree and disagree. They make good points even as they miss the overall picture. However, eventually the episode ends, never to be revisited again. It is a somber experience... but the story of those nine girls hopelessly captivates Ben and Duncan. Knowing all that they face, the tragedy that shall someday come, will you still choose to join them on stage? I understand.
Episode 119 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. A slice-of-life show about building and repairing things by yourself? Too much work. A high-budget reboot of a storied anime from the eighties? Maybe your grandpa cares. A new installment of Gundam? I ought to check out the original series first. A thrilling action-comedy about mid-century spies? I'm not bothering with it if the source manga doesn't have an ending. Chainsaw Man? Chainsaw Man. There are so many reasons out there not to watch anime, but this episode is full of Ben, Andy, Duncan, and Jeff telling you why you should... well, unless it's something Ben doesn't feel like watching, we aren't responsible for him.
Episode 118 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Apologies are in order for this episode. Apologies that it's taken us four years since our episode on The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl to talk about the anime that started it all, The Tatami Galaxy. Apologies that two of the shows we discuss in our end-of-season wrap-up, Overlord IV and Call of the Night, weren't even done airing when we recorded this. Apologies for lifting this episode's title from an excellent review of Rent-a-Girlfriend 2nd Season by Nicholas Dupree. And, most of all, apologies that we recorded this while Ben thought he had ragweed allergies but was actually coming down with a bruiser of a cold. It doesn't affect the energy that much, we promise!
Episode 117 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Well, now that Ben has watched Vision of Escaflowne and Magic Knight Rayearth, he's decided that he likes isekai anime, so in this episode he joins Duncan to dive into the development of the genre. What nuggets of wisdom will they unearth from the distant eighties and nineties? Will Ben discover that he is actually able to appreciate The Twelve Kingdoms now? Will Duncan be able to thread the needle of InuYasha being isekai? Ben certainly tries to do that when they talk later about Aria, the "other world" in question of course being Mars. Check it all out for yourself!
Episode 116 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Nine out of ten doctors agree, it's best to get one's excitement or disappointment over new anime out at the very beginning of the season. Accordingly, in the interests of good health, Ben declares war on the latest season of Rent-a-Girlfriend, shocking absolutely no one, while Jeff has nothing but hope for yet another girls-with-guns show. Andy, brave as ever, has declared that an isekai parody is the best anime of the season, despite its lack of songs by Creepy Nuts, and Duncan... well, Duncan's doing just fine with his theories on heavy metal and masculinity. Strap in, this one's a biggie!
Episode 115 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. That's right, it's another discussion of everyone's favorite cyberpunk franchise! It's been barely a month since Ben and Duncan cautiously praised the first few episodes of the second season of Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045, but now they're back to say that the caution was warranted and that the series represents a nadir for Kenji Kamiyama's otherwise interesting career. What did they like, what did they hate, and how does it relate to the broader conversation about producing and marketing franchises in anime? Why, you'll have to listen to find out! Also, note that this is the last of Key Frames' biweekly episodes: from this point onward, we'll be releasing episodes on the first Tuesday of every month, to permit more of our hosts to attend more regularly.
Episode 114 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. What's the biggest surprise in this episode? Is it that Jeff managed to watch eight love comedies, in whole or in part, and found none of them to be particularly great? Is it that Ben expressed disappointment about two of the spring anime season's biggest hits after claiming repeatedly to be jaded about all of them? Is it that Duncan's favorite show happened to be something called The Executioner and Her Way of Life? All of this and more will be revealed to you when you listen to this latest episode.
Episode 29 of Key Frames: Inbetweens, a mini-podcast about anime. We just did a tween on Mobile Suit Gundam, one of the defining franchises of anime, so why not another? Jeff and Duncan drink deeply of the original Ghost in the Shell movie, which they praise for asking questions more than giving answers, and they ponder how it pointed the way forward (and, in a handful of cases, backward) for cyberpunk as a genre, anime as a medium, and cyborgs as a lens through which to view alienation from one's own body and society. It's not quite what it could be, since Ben couldn't be there, but maybe he'll be back in the next episode to give everyone what for.
Episode 113 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Isn't it strange sometimes how things can have opposite meanings in different contexts? If I call something "magic," depending on the tone of my voice, I could be saying either that it's a beautiful spectacle of otherworldly mystery or that it's complete bullshit that doesn't explain anything and means nothing on its own. I guess that's just how context works, though. Is "selling out" really a possibility if all anime, at least outside of crowdfunding, is corporate on some level? Is it really a sequel to Ghost in the Shell: Stand-Alone Complex if it's just recycling elements from previous installments in the franchise? Ben and Duncan discuss this and more in our latest episode!
Episode 112 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. I know we talk a lot about sex on this podcast but, to be fair, anime is extremely horny. As fans of it, we have to apologize for (or at least tolerate) jiggling boobs, panty shots, and more or less everything about the "harem" subgenre. That's why it's kind of a relief to talk about adult relationships in the shows we like! You know, people having sex first and then catching feelings, people whose connections with their partners are more about comfort than romance, and of course the endless (and endlessly) homoerotic fan service of shounen and seinen battlers. Not to mention that, after the break, we have One Piece talk from Andy, Magic Knight Rayearth talk from Ben, and School Days talk from Jeff, while Duncan scoffs at us all!
Episode 28 of Key Frames: Inbetweens, a mini-podcast about anime. The creeping obsession with Mobile Suit Gundam shared by Ben, Duncan, and Jeff gains another toehold in the podcast with this tween on the celebrated 1989 OVA written by none other than Hiroyuki Yamaga of Studio GAINAX fame. Hear our hosts talk about being anti-war in an anime designed first and foremost to sell toys, about the beauty and demise of hand-painted cel animation, and their evolving relationship with this, the nonpareil of mecha anime! And don't worry, complaints about how annoying Al is and how dumb Lt. Col. Killing's name is are kept to a minimum.
Episode 111 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. You'd think that Ben and Andy couldn't hold down a podcast by themselves, but you'd be wrong. These hosts are two great tastes that taste great together, and they even agree on some anime! Hear them heap praise on Ya Boy Kongming! and Spy x Family, two of the big winners at the outset of the spring 2022 anime season, and hear them heap... other kinds of things on the rest of the shows they're watching. Just kidding, it's way better pickings that last season!
Episode 110 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. What do you do when recapping an anime season almost entirely dominated by two or three shows? Why, you have an end-of-season episode where every anime gets a full five to fifteen minutes of discussion, for once! My Dress-Up Darling and The Case Study of Vanitas are the clear winners, in terms of time devoted to them, but Ben, Duncan, and Jeff find something to love even in relative disappointments like Akebi's Sailor Uniform and Ranking of Kings. And that's not even taking into account the older stuff they talk about near the end! Surely, not one to miss.
Episode 27 of Key Frames: Inbetweens, a mini-podcast about anime. It's time for a rematch on whether Violet Evergarden is profoundly moving or manipulatively sappy! Duncan, Andy, and Jeff square up over the sequel movie that was released two years ago in Japan and last year worldwide, but don't worry, it's not Violet-loving Andy vs. the world this time. Jeff and even Duncan join him at times in praising the movie, in between analyzing it as a meditation on discomfort with modernity and the instantaneous communication that underpins it. Should you watch Violet Evergarden: The Movie, even if you haven't seen the show first? Well... maybe you should listen and find out!
Episode 109 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. If you thought that last episode's dissection of a particular host's taste in anime girls was a good time, you're really in for a treat! It's the topic now, although Duncan dresses it up by making it about how off-putting fan service in anime can be. Listen to how everyone loves tsundere characters, Andy recommending Jeff some peak yandere content, and Jeff being disappointed that The Case Study of Vanitas isn't hornier! Oh, also, Ben watched Kageki Shoujo!! and of course he loves it.
Episode 108 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Once upon a time, Andy bought Ben a couple of video games as gifts, but Ben didn't make the time to play them, so Andy made Ben feel really bad about that fact on a podcast to which dozens of people listen. This is now the final episode, because Ben's going into hiding. Kidding! We are talking about NEETs and hikikomori, though, so Ben's embarrassment and shame are fitting in a way. Also, after the break, Andy and Jeff talk about Ranking of Kings and other anime currently airing, while Ben gives his take on the decade-old Mardock Scramble movies.
Episode 107 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. I hope you're prepared to hear Ben, Andy, and Duncan say, "I don't know," a lot! Turns out, there are a lot of different ways to come at depictions of religion in anime, from its function in society to the nature of divinity. Don't worry, all of the hosts find plenty of opportunities to bring up cyberpunk and isekai, so you'll still know that you're listening to an anime podcast. To further cement that impression, after the break, they talk about recent shows and movies like Belle, Orbital Children, and the Shirobako movie. Check it out!
Episode 106 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. The thing about writing blurbs for the podcast is that sometimes your present self gets mad at your past self for squandering ideas. Like, sure, last episode's end-of-season coverage was barren enough to joke about, especially without Jon's contributions, but it was like a lush, fertile field compared to this episode's beginning-of-season lineup. Four hosts watching six shows between them, three of which are sequels or continuations! Goodness gracious, what a world. At least Ben, Andy, Duncan, and Jeff get plenty of conversation out of Akebi's Sailor Uniform and My Dress-Up Darling, as well as reaching back to the anime of previous years to talk about Steins;Gate, Magic Knight Rayearth, and whatever nonsense show Andy's in love with.
Episode 105 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. After an entire season of complaining that there weren't many shows worth talking about, can Ben, Andy, Duncan, and Jeff fill up almost two hours with conversation anyway? What are you talking about, of course they can! They have Komi Can't Communicate and the fourth season of Aggretsuko to wrestle with, as well as Blue Period and Ranking of Kings to praise as pleasant surprises. Even in a leaner season of anime, there's always something to say.
Episode 26 of Key Frames: Inbetweens, a mini-podcast about anime. Six years and a hundred and twenty-three episodes ago, in an earlier era of the podcast, Ben pitched an episode spotlighting the film adaptation of Clamp's apocalyptic manga. Instead, everyone picked Natsuyuki Rendezvous, an anime that Ben hated. Now he'll have his revenge! Duncan and Jeff join him to wonder in bafflement at the attempt to cram a half-dozen volumes of material into an hour and a half of screen time... and maybe find something to love? Not Andy, though. Andy calls in at the end to say that it's pants.
Episode 104 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. These anime are short, but so are our attention spans! Whenever they manage to stay on the topic of short-form anime, you'll get to hear Ben talk about anthology movies, Duncan about the Japan Animator Expo, and Andy about music videos (and a very randy robot). Also, tune in for the scoop on the newest installment of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, which definitely doesn't involve any phonetic shenanigans with the protagonist's name.
Episode 103 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. You thought we covered maids in episode 41, the one about And Yet the Town Moves, but the joke's on you! Ben, Duncan, and Jeff barely talk about that anime at all this time, preferring instead to wallow in garbage like Mahoromatic and He Is My Master. After the break, at least, they class things up a bit with discussions of Heike Monogatari and the Type-Moon franchise? You'll have to see for yourself if it was all worth it.
Episode 102 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. What, again, is the taxonomy of school anime? First, This School Is Real, where school is depicted realistically and features teachers, classes, and grades. Second, We Have Clubs, I Guess, where school exists only insofar as clubs and their requisite activities exist. Third, School Is Just a Place, where school is just a backdrop for unrelated characters and situations. Last, What Even Is School, where school bears no meaningful resemblance to school in real life. Tune in to hear Ben, Andy, and Duncan discuss all of this and more!
Episode 101 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Is the party over? Has the band stopped playing? Have the guests all left? Good, now we can go back to phoning it in, and what better way to do that than to combine our end-of-season and beginning-of-season coverage into one big omnibus episode! Tune in to hear Ben, Andy, Duncan, and Jeff talk about how great The Aquatope on White Sand and Sonny Boy were and how bad Girlfriend, Girlfriend was, for the summer, and about how great Komi Can't Communicate and Heike Monogatari are and how bad The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated! is, for the fall.
Episode 100 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. For our hundredth episode, we've pulled out all the stops! There are dramatic readings, quiz games, and lots of navel-gazing about how our relationship with anime has evolved over six years of podcasting. Experience the thrills of Ben finally watching Revue Starlight, the chills of Jeff managing to work Baki into the conversation yet again, and the spills of Duncan blaming Ben for all the bad shows he's stuck with! You'll even learn some of the podcast's lore, like where the inside joke about Andy and a wedding in Blackpool came from. Above all, you'll get our thanks for listening to our podcast, whether for one episode or one hundred, and our hopes to record a hundred more!
Episode 25 of Key Frames: Inbetweens, a mini-podcast about anime. It's finally here, the moment where we get to talk about tanks as much as we want—as opposed to every other episode of this podcast, where Ben just talks about tanks until everyone else makes him stop! Duncan and Jeff join him now to chat about Girls und Panzer, a 2012 anime by Tsutomu Mizushima that's somehow spawned a massive franchise. Tune in to hear them discuss everything from the ethics of a show that gamifies war to the best tanks and their teams!
Episode 99 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. So here I am, writing a recap of our podcast episode on anime recaps, and you better believe that the irony does not escape me. Although Ben, Andy, and Duncan make great points about the logistical and commercial pressures that have brought about recap episodes and compilation movies, none of that will make an appearance here, not beyond that passing reference. Along similar lines, further discussion of My Next Life as a Villainess X, The Aquatope on White Sand, and How Not to Summon a Demon Lord Ω will only be alluded to. That way, you've been informed of the episode's content but still need to listen to get any real benefit out of it! Recaps truly are a wonder...
Episode 98 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. The sun, cold and distant, crests the rim of the crater in which you're taking shelter. You raise your hand as you squint against it, the ghost of a reflex from before you lived on the moon, then go back to eating your Nissin Cup Noodles. Sure, you miss the hills and fields of Earth, the blues and greens and whites that are simply nowhere to be found in the icy depths of outer space, and you wish each and every day that you could see them again. Still, you know what can be found in space? Nissin Cup Noodles. Rather than return to nature, you return to your instant ramen.
Episode 24 of Key Frames: Inbetweens, a mini-podcast about anime. What even is a metaphor? Is it meant to be a comparison between every aspect of two objects, or just one between their most salient features? Is there value in unsuited metaphors, ones mischaracterizing the nature or intent of one object (or both), or is there an intellectual and even ethical responsibility for metaphor to reveal a deeper truth? Is wanting to eat someone the same as wanting to have sex with them? All this (and more) will probably not be answered as Andy, Duncan, and Jeff explore the latest season of Beastars!
Episode 97 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Jon got chased away again because Ben, Andy, Duncan, and Jeff are talking about love! How interested is anime in romance for the sake of romance versus romance for the sake of comedy? Do the tropes make the genre or the genre make the tropes? How long until Ben brings up His & Her Circumstances again? All this and more are in this latest episode.
Episode 96 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Hey, guess what? Jon's back! It's only a limited-time engagement, of course, but for now let's enjoy him running through his massive list of anime for the summer 2021 season. Kageki Shoujo!!, Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid S, and Sonny Boy are all highlights, but isekai fans shouldn't worry, because there's plenty for them as well! Oh, also Ben and Duncan are there, and one of them's changed his mind on a much-derided anime.
Episode 95 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Oh boy, a podcast full of white guys talking about depictions of race and foreign culture in anime! Believe me, we understand how it looks, but I think we manage to acquit ourselves decently, covering everything from Japan's love of stereotypes and caricatures to the role of colonialism and imperialism in shaping the media landscape. Still, it's a lot, and you'd be excused for thinking that it's just one long ad for Hetalia: Axis Powers. Don't worry, though! After the break, we switch over to long ads for the Godzilla franchise and Urusei Yatsura. Something for everyone, I guess!
Episode 94 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Hello and welcome to Hot Anime Summer! We're excited to kick off the new shows that are starting to air right now, but first we've got to clean our plate of spring's leftovers. Hear Jeff groan and cringe about Higehiro! Hear Duncan express mixed feelings about Vivy! Hear Ben say, "I don't have much to say about this one," at least three times! Hear about how SSSS.Dynazenon turned out good, as expected, and how Battle Athletes Victory ReSTART! turned out bad, also as expected! There really is something for everyone here.
Episode 93 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. No goofing around this time! Okay, well... Some goofing around? Just a little. Ben and Andy have as a guest Van Paugam, a Chicago-based DJ whose work has contributed greatly to the meteoric rise of city pop as a genre over the past several years. We discuss old anime (something Ben loves) and old music (something Andy loves), and we even find time to talk about more recent hits like The Tatami Galaxy, Ergo Proxy, and the monster that is the Demon Slayer movie! Thanks again to Van for coming on, we couldn't have hoped for our first big-name guest to be more gracious, charming, and funny.
Episode 92 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Ah, it's summer at last! Really, what are these scorching hot months if not the filler episodes of the show that is the four seasons? Thus inspired by (and tired from) the heat, Ben, Duncan, and Jeff delve into the time-honored practice of setting midseason episodes of anime at beach or a hot springs. Sorry, summer festivals need not apply! After that refreshing break, Duncan takes a look back at Spirited Away, Jeff breaks the unwritten rules of the new format by talking about two shows instead of one, and Ben rants about a sequel no one cares about to an anime no one watched. Something for everyone!
Episode 91 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Oh, who can't wait for it all to end and, after the ashes and smoke clear, to take up a new life as a humble fisherman on a far distant coast? Ben, Andy, Duncan, and Jeff are definitely looking forward to it, but in the meantime they talk about the idyllic pastoralism of post-apocalyptic anime in general and Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou in particular, before being drawn to the minisodes for Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid like moths to a flame...
Episode 90 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. For once, let's forget isekai and talk instead about the other micro-genres of anime that exist out there! Ben brings up "supernatural giant-robot realpolitik" when discussing Gasaraki; Andy wrestles with flirtatious bullies in shounen romance in general and with Don't Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro in particular; Jeff just finished The Way of the Househusband and has opinions about tough-guy slice-of-life anime; and Duncan's dipping his toes back into "period drama/thriller but there are vampires" by watching Mars Red. Hear about all of these and more in their first look at the spring 2021 anime season!
Episode 89 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. You are seated at a table in a restaurant. Confident that the quality of the establishment will ensure anything you order is delicious, you choose a dish you do not recognize. It's steak, after all. How strange can it really get? It's only when a round patty of cold meat arrives at your table that you realize the enormity of your error. Snatching at the sleeve of a passing server, you urgently whisper, "Excuse me? This steak tartare is cold." "Of course," he replies. "Were you expecting something more... mainstream?" Two tables over, feasting contentedly on bizarre French cuisine, Ben, Andy, Duncan, and Jeff discuss anime's relationship with media culture at large and why there aren't more breakouts like Studio Ghibli and your name.
Episode 88 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Would you believe that, when four people get together to talk about the fifteen shows that they've been watching over the past several months, the conversation takes a while? It was a surprise to us as well, especially given the dozens of minutes that were left on the cutting room floor. Anyway! Among so many other things, Ben, Andy, Duncan, and Jeff sum up the winter 2021 season of anime, with special attention paid to Horimiya, Jujutsu Kaisen, Re:Zero, and Wonder Egg Priority.
Episode 23 of Key Frames: Inbetweens, a mini-podcast about anime. We were going to call this episode "Two Guys, a Girl, and a Transforming Robot," but Duncan and Jeff prevailed upon Ben... somehow. Anyway! You've spent a year hearing the hosts of this podcast gush about Escaflowne, so now you get to hear it for another hundred-odd minutes. They go into the craft of the show's plot and characters, its historical and cultural context, and the mediocre feature-length remake that came out in 2000. Check it out!
Episode 87 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. You know how difficult it is to recommend anime to people? You think that you're handing them an examination of human perception and the corrupting effects of desire, but then they give it back complaining that every single scene had an upskirt shot. Did it? It's so hard to remember. Still, Ben, Andy, and Duncan try their best, before they move to talking about Wonder Egg Priority, the second season of That Time I Was Reincarnated as a Slime, and Horimiya—all of them shows with no problematic elements at all!
Episode 86 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. That's right, we've killed the author, and now we're free to give the most outrageous interpretations imaginable for our favorite anime. The Gnostic imagery of Neon Genesis Evangelion? Important to the plot. The dozens and dozens of filler episodes in Naruto? Really important to the plot. The final episode cut from Excel Saga? Also really important to the plot. And... that's it? Nah, listen to the episode to find out what Ben, Andy, Duncan, and Jeff are really talking about, then stick around for discussion of an underrated Studio Ghibli movie and a spinoff from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure!
Episode 85 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. If you've come to hear a discussion of comedy in anime, you've come to the right place! Who better than Ben, Andy, Duncan, and Jon, four people who spend most of every episode of this podcast laughing at their own jokes, to talk about the many forms and functions of humor in this medium? After you're done laughing with satisfaction at their keen insight, stick around to hear Jon's thoughts about this season of anime, as well as about Earwig and the Witch and flashbacks as a storytelling device. You won't regret it!
Episode 84 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Sometimes, when you're talking about a topic for a podcast, you forget a very obvious and useful term that would have both grounded and elevated the discussion. In this instance, for our episode on harem anime, it would have been really nice for one of us to remember the word "adhesion," which in the craft of writing romance novels refers to the forces preventing either character from walking away from a relationship. Anyway, Ben, Andy, Duncan, and Jeff muddle through somehow and are also experiencing a real sense of adhesion with some of the shows airing this seasons, like Dr. Stone: Stone Wars, Non Non Biyori Nonstop, and Wonder Egg Priority. Check it out!
Episode 83 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Winter really is the season for isekai anime, if you think about it. You're stuck inside by the wet and the cold, surrounded by the boring signifiers of your everyday life, so what better to do than imagine that a literal (or figurative) death that enables you to experience a literal (or figurative) rebirth in a strange and exciting new world where the laws of reality are a lot more reasonable for and recognizable to someone who's spent decades playing video games? Ben, Andy, Duncan, and Jeff deal with this deluge of power fantasies in the new season of anime, at least before Ben spends half an hour exploring his feelings about a not-so-historical drama about tea and ceramics but also politics.
Episode 82 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. None of us did the math when recording and editing this, so we didn't realize that it'd come out well after the holiday season. Just think of it as a brief return to leisure and laughter, as Ben, Andy, and Duncan talk about how the fall season of anime turned out. As is unsurprising for the year 2020, it was a mixed bag! Also, Ben watched what is notionally a harem comedy and tried to convince everyone that it was anything but.
Episode 81 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. How can we swing an episode where Duncan gets to talk about art and animation, Ben gets to talk about Studio GAINAX, Jeff gets to talk about Studio Shaft, and Andy gets to complain about J.C.Staff? Why, we'll have a discussion about anime studios, with their distinctive genres and styles, and make it last almost an hour! Stay tuned for the second half, though, to hear how Warlords of Sigrdrifa and Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club are faring with this year's challenges.
Episode 80 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. You might say that Ben, Andy, and Duncan are experts on spinoffs, having created Key Frames: Inbetweens as a way of giving Ben a break when he's too tired or busy or depressed to host. No one's getting put on an island to live out the rest of their lives in solitude and obscurity, though, so is it really a spinoff? You'll have to listen to the episode and decide for yourself. Also, the movie SaeKano the Movie: Finale, which is the titular ten-out-of-ten anime for Ben, gets discussed, as well as the second season of Great Pretender, which isn't a ten-out-of-ten anime for Ben (but only because he hasn't seen it).
Episode 79 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. It's the episode about surrealism and absurdism in anime, so you know the drill! Ben, Andy, Duncan, and Jeff talk about Masaaki Yuasa. They talk about Satoshi Kon. They talk about Akiyuki Simbo and Shaft. They talk about Excel Saga and Puni Puni Poemy. They talk about... Mushishi? Huh. They talk about Land of the Lustrous, too. Maybe they went a little off the rails... Well, enjoy Ben ranting about historical accuracy in Hyouge Mono while things get sorted out!
Episode 78 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Did you know that Roald Dahl nearly died while flying (or, rather, crashing) a Gloster Gladiator because of its extremely inflammable construction? Did you know that we don't really know the performance capabilities of the Henkel He 100 because most documents at the factory (including the blueprints) were destroyed in Allied bombing raids? Did you know that the Macchi M.C. 72 was the fastest aircraft in existence for five years, until it was surpassed by the He 100, and still holds the world speed record for a piston-engined seaplane? Thanks for listening in on this episode of the podcast Plane Facts. As a bonus, we're releasing a couple of hours of Ben, Andy, Duncan, and Jon talking about new anime from the fall 2020 season. Enjoy!
Episode 77 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Come on in, we're making a stew! Hand me the salt, but be careful. The right amount of seasoning is the difference between Kiki's Delivery Service and Howl's Moving Castle. Oh, adaptations? Yeah, I've got lots of thoughts about adaptations. I'll tell you all about them over a steaming bowl of this stuff. We'll leave Library War, Usagi Drop, and Sweetness & Lightning for dessert.
Episode 76 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Because of mic issues, Ben's recording this episode with a tin can routed through a concert hall's speakers. Don't worry, it's very safe. He joins Andy, Duncan, and Jeff to wrap up their thoughts on the anime of summer 2020, before talking about Boys Over Flowers for what is hopefully the last time. Dig in!
Episode 75 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Yes, we've talked about mothers. Yes, we've talked about families. For a change of pace, though, Ben, Andy, and Duncan are now talking about parents! Specifically, modern anime's tendency towards absent or invisible parents, which somehow involves a digression about the TV sitcom Friends. Don't worry, we eventually get back on topic with conversations about Boy and the Beast, Aggretsuko, and Great Pretender.
Episode 22 of Key Frames: Inbetweens, a mini-podcast about anime. There... Can you hear it? If your soul has not truly given up on Ben, Duncan, and Jeff finishing their Revolutionary Girl Utena rewatch, then you can hear the sound that races through the last fifteen episodes of that series. Come! Come with us and our guest, friend and Utena expert Katie! Follow us to the podcast episode you seek!
Episode 74 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Come in, have a glass of barley tea, and sit with us next to the fan. It's another scorcher of a day, one in a series that never seems to end, but eventually this summer of pandemics, unemployment, and anime will be over and we'll all have to go back to school. In the meantime, enjoy the sounds of Andy practicing the recorder out on the porch. Once he's done, we'll find Ben and Duncan and get snacks from the corner store.
Episode 73 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. JoJomi stumbles backwards onto the pavement as Dioko advances on her. "You think you can defeat me, the immortal Dioko?" sneers the towering blonde vampire. "I am unstoppable!" "Maybe I can't on my own," JoJomi replies, "but you haven't seen the final form of my Stand, 'Hand to Mouth'!" Dioko tries to say something in return but suddenly, impossibly, JoJomi is behind her. As fists and sparks fly, a cry rings out above it all: "Ara ara ara ara!" Anyway, Ben, Andy, Duncan, and Jeff talk about OPs and EDs in this episode.
Episode 72 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. I genuinely thought that our discussion of KanColle hentai a few episodes ago or Andy's description of kaiju semen a few before that would be the nadir of this podcast, but here we are with an entire episode on waifus, best girls, and the various -dere types. I looked briefly into what kind of text formatting would convey my weariness here, to no avail, so I guess you'll just have to trust me when I say that I'm sorry... again. Anyway, after that, Ben talks more about Durarara!!, then Jeff and Duncan praise Deca-Dence, before Duncan leaves the room when Jeff brings up Japan Sinks: 2020. Enjoy, as best you can!
Episode 71 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Seasons are born, they grow old, and they die. We are here to watch them, because anime is in our DNA. It's like... ANA? ANAme. Is that anything? Probably not. Let's start over! Ben, Duncan, Jeff, and Jon look back at spring and forward to summer before talking about Re:Zero, the Space Battleship Yamato 2199 movie, and Lovely Complex!
Episode 70 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. After seventy episodes, we finally begin to find some flaws in the way that we tag what anime have been discussed. Ben, Jeff, and Jon talked about plenty of shows while talking about this episode's title in the first half! It's just that most of them didn't hit the forty five-second mark. Don't worry, though—after the break, there's plenty of conversation about Durarara!!, Ascendance of a Bookworm, and... uh, Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! Sorry about that.
Episode 69 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. We've revamped our format a little bit, to be able to bring you better content, and you know what comes with spring cleaning? That's right, we gotta air some of our dirty laundry. Come listen to Ben, Andy, Duncan, and Jeff show a remarkable absence of guilt over their so-called guilty pleasures, then there's talk about the second season of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, Dorohedoro on Netflix, and The Eccentric Family 2!
Episode 68 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Oh ho ho, it's magic, you know? Never believe it's not so! After talking about shows both new and old, Ben, Andy, Duncan, and Jeff get into a fairly far-ranging discussion of magical girls in anime. Is Princess Tutu a magical girl anime? Is Bubblegum Crisis a magical girl anime? Is Show by Rock!! a magical girl anime? Jeez, this is worse than the isekai episode we did...
Episode 67 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. With the arrival of new anime for spring 2020, you'll get to hear plenty of things you've never heard before. Just think, Duncan talking about a Ghost in the Shell anime! Or how about Ben gushing over an adaptation of a Koji Kumeta manga? If that's not to your taste, why not check out Jon watching an isekai with a very wacky premise? There's also Andy talking about a shounen battler, for those of exotic and discerning tastes. Truly, something for everyone in this episode!
Episode 66 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Everyone's been rampaging through anime during self-isolation! Ben swallowed Battle Athletes Victory, Sailor Moon, and the first Urusei Yatsura movie whole! After whetting his appetite on Princess Connect! Re:Dive, Andy joins Duncan in savoring Kiki's Delivery Service. Jeff is also there, doing a Godzilla-like thing, I'm sure. Can you tell that the topic of discussion is kaiju? Stomp on over and give it a listen! Just... watch out for the game that Andy left lying around.
Episode 21 of Key Frames: Inbetweens, a mini-podcast about anime. There's a new anime on Netflix and everyone is talking about it! Join Andy, Duncan, Jeff, and Jon as they talk about the thematic and artistic value of Beastars and struggle not to mention Zootopia too much. How many times is too many? Four? Five? Listen and decide for yourself!
Episode 65 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Look, we don't make the rules, okay? Every two weeks, you get another podcast from us, come rain or shine or global pandemic of zoonotic virus. At least this one is on the meaty side, covering the end of the winter 2020 anime season. Are Ben and Duncan still under the sway of A Certain Scientific Railgun T? Does Jeff get dad feelings about Somali and the Forest Spirit? What shows didn't Jon watch? Listen and find out! Or don't.
Episode 20 of Key Frames: Inbetweens, a mini-podcast about anime. You want to hear Ben, Duncan, and Jeff talk about the "Black Rose" arc of Revolutionary Girl Utena? Deeper. Go deeper. You want to hear them talk about nostalgia, toxicity, deviance, and intimacy? You want crackpot theories and genuine insights in equal measure? I understand. Your only choice is to listen to this episode. The file you must download has been linked for you.
Episode 64 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Even in the darkest hours of a global pandemic, Ben and Duncan refuse to leave their posts as anime critics and commentators. Honestly, this works out well for everyone, because they've got a host of shows to recommend. Are you all caught up with the newest reality TV and documentaries on Netflix? Why not check out Escaflowne, BOFURI, or Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken? And, if you want to delve even deeper, because of course you do, then check out their discussion after the break about roles and depictions of otaku in anime?
Episode 63 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. We have scientifically determined that these are the most optimal anime for you to hear opinions about in the next fourteen-day period. Please ingest eleven minutes and thirty-six seconds of Ben talking about Space Brothers, twelve minutes and thirty-eight seconds of Duncan talking about Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, and thirteen minutes and thirty-five seconds of Andy and Jeff talking about Re: Zero. Afterwards, please take our discussion of scientists, doctors, and other STEM types in anime!
Episode 62 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. We know what you're thinking. "Really? Thirty-eight minutes of discussion about Girls und Panzer? Ben must have lost his mind." Would you believe it's as much the fault of Andy and Duncan for egging him on? Of course you wouldn't. Well, stick around anyway for talk of Makoto Shinkai's latest movie and the best of the winter 2020 anime season!
Episode 61 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Your eyes do not deceive you! This is, indeed, the longest ever list of anime discussed on an episode, because Ben, Andy, Duncan, Jeff, and Jon all go through their top ten lists of the decade. What made the cut? What didn't, like Daily Lives of High School Boys and Death Parade, but somehow got brought up anyway? Tune in to hear impassioned defenses of anime that have already been talked to death over the past eighty-odd episodes of this podcast... plus some real surprises, I promise!
Episode 60 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Hey! Do you want to hear Ben, Duncan, and Jeff discuss the anime about which they've been talking constantly for the past three months... one last time? What are we thinking, of course you do. Tune in for some closure on Vinland Saga, Cautious Hero, and Stars Align, as well as some throwbacks to the comedy harem craze of the early 2010s!
Episode 19 of Key Frames: Inbetweens, a mini-podcast about anime. Once upon a time, there were podcast hosts who were very sad, for they had finished a rewatch of the Monogatari Series. Before Ben, Duncan, and Jeff appeared a celebrated anime called Revolutionary Girl Utena, which said, "Little podcast, bearing up alone in such deep sorrow, lose not thy obsessive nitpicking and theorizing, even if thou gets famous. As a token of this day, take this Blu-ray remaster, which should guide thee to me." Was the Blu-ray the anime gave them for review? That was all good, but the podcast hosts were so impressed by Revolutionary Girl Utena that they decided to do a rewatch of it next! But was that such a good idea?
Episode 18 of Key Frames: Inbetweens, a mini-podcast about anime. Make a joyful noise! Even though it's the holidays and they're all off celebrating, the hosts of this podcast have managed to put together a ranked list of their favorite anime about music. Why not hear Ben defend Eureka 7 as a "music anime" or Duncan give his thoughts on Andy's beloved Love Live!? There's even a coda to the endless Carole & Tuesday talk at the beginning, as the pun in the title promises. Have a wonderful year, everyone, and we'll see you in 2020!
Episode 59 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Well, it finally happened. We discuss The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Studio Trigger in the same episode, giving us our longest runtime ever! Still, every second that Ben, Duncan, and Jeff spend talking is gold and we couldn't cut any of it. Also, Vinland Saga's on the menu again, plus a special surprise! You'll definitely be eating your fill with us.
Episode 17 of Key Frames: Inbetweens, a mini-podcast about anime. I shouldn't have wasted my butchering of Frank Sinatra's "My Way" on the description of episode 51 because this really is the end of an era. Ben and Jeff discuss the final arc of the Monogatari Series franchise and look back on six episodes of navel-gazing speculation about one of the most intellectual and perverted shows out there. Lots of important questions are asked and answered, like whether Ben is more into eyebrows or feet. Thanks for listening, and we hope you enjoyed it!
Episode 58 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Look, we know what you're thinking. "Really, a meme that's half a decade old? I can't believe that's the best that came out of this episode." First off, yes, a meme that's half a decade old and still hilarious. Second, Ben, Andy, Duncan, and Jeff have great conversations about perennial favorites Chihayafuru and Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro, as well as a throwback to last year's Dragon Pilot, before shifting to their topic of cicadas and summertime in anime. Only one of them has firsthand experience with those loud-ass bugs—guess who it is!
Episode 57 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. It's so tricky sometimes, starting a new anime. Is it going to be a good crime, like Babylon or Kabukichou Sherlock, or is it going to be a bad crime, like Hataage! Kemono Michi? Well, worry no more, because Ben, Duncan, Jeff, and Jon are at hand to steer you through the fall 2019 anime season. Also, Ben watched another Mamoru Hosoda movie, just... because. No, not the anime Just Because.
Episode 56 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. In hindsight, it would have made more sense to bring up the atrocities committed by Unit 731 in Manchuria for this episode, wherein the depiction of Chinese people in anime is the topic. Oh well! After they discuss the career of Mamoru Hosoda and the earliest arrival of the fall 2019 season, Ben, Duncan, and Jeff do the best that they can anyway. If you're looking to hear about the decade-old Sword of the Stranger movie, you've come to the right place!
Episode 55 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. In some ways, this is a typical end to a season of anime. Jon has a long list of shows that he stuck with, albeit longer than usual, and Ben has one that he probably shouldn't have stuck with. Duncan and Jeff discuss matters of subtle emotionality, while Andy's always game to defend baser pleasures. And yet! We discuss the war crimes of Unit 731 during the Second World War, superhero movies as mythology, and terrible nineteenth-century houseguests. Don't miss out!
Episode 54 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Ben, Andy, Duncan, and Jeff emerge from their bedrooms and basements to spook everyone with their opinions on anime. They heap disdain on Carole & Tuesday and the new Baki, no doubt driving many fans of those shows away, and then turn to this episode's topic, creepy loner girls. True, there aren't exactly a wealth of examples of the character archetype, but it gives them the opportunity to talk about WataMote and The Wallflower, so it's all good.
Episode 16 of Key Frames: Inbetweens, a mini-podcast about anime. What, puppets? Don't worry, Jeff and Jon are here to guide you through the confusing world of Thunderbolt Fantasy, a Taiwanese show set in fantasy China with Japanese voice acting. What are everyone's names? Do they all die at the end? How is "wuxia" pronounced? All this and more may or may not be answered!
Episode 53 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. It's strange sometimes, the things that bring us together. We'd always planned to cover the works of Kyoto Animation as one of the topics for our podcast, but last month's arson attack on that anime studio, which has claimed the lives of almost three dozen people, was not how we expected it to come up. Still, Ben, Andy, Duncan, Jeff, and Jon put their sadness aside in order to celebrate the amazing work that KyoAni has done over the years, from Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu to Tsurune, and to share fond memories of watching it all.
Episode 15 of Key Frames: Inbetweens, a mini-podcast about anime. What rhymes with "summer"? That's right, "bummer"! After catching up with Jon's list of shows that he's watching for the summer 2019 anime season, Ben chats with him about their experiences with hype and disappointment as anime fans. What shows let them down? How did they let them down? Is the internet to blame? The internet's probably to blame.
Episode 52 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. It'd be so easy to make fun of the tropes of shounen battle anime in this description, but we're better than that. Ben, Duncan, and Jeff don't need to fight in order to reconcile their differences and become friends. Instead, they celebrate those differences as they discuss the beginning of the summer 2019 anime season and their topic for the month, shounen battle anime. Believe it! Sorry, couldn't resist.
Episode 51 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. And now, the time is near / And so we face the season's ending / As hosts, we'll say it clear / We'll give our thoughts, and hope they're trending / We've dropped some boring shows / We've read a few intriguing essays / But more, much more than this / we've watched anime!
Episode 50 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. In the end (or, in this case, in the beginning) it's family that counts. That's why Ben, Andy, Duncan, Jeff, and Jon have chosen the topic of "family" as their theme for this episode, in a reboot of their podcast format that's moving away from deep dives on individual works and towards wide-ranging discussions of tropes and themes that apply to all anime. What old standbys will come up as they talk about bad dads, toxic siblings, and powerful moms? Listen and find out!
Episode 14 of Key Frames: Inbetweens, a mini-podcast about anime. As Von Clausewitz said, mahjong is the continuation of politics by other means. Join Jeff and Jon as Andy schools them on the centuries-old game of tiles and hands, learning a little bit about right-wing Japanese politics and Olympic skeet-shooting along the way. Is The Legend of Koizumi funny in spite of its extremely niche appeal? Is it funny because of it? Listen and find out!
Episode 48 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. Life is pain, folks. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something. More importantly, however, anime isn't pain, but Ben, Andy, Duncan, and Jeff still do their best to sell you on the highs and lows of the shows that they're watching. Enjoy thirty minutes of Sarazanmai, twenty minutes of Carole & Tuesday, and a comparison between the old and new versions of Fruits Basket. Once you're ready, you can close out the episode with the discussion of Kiznaiver, the 2016 series that's the spotlight, and begin the healing process all over again.
Episode 48 of Key Frames, a podcast about anime. What happens when production difficulties force an anime podcast to delay its beginning-of-the-season episode? Well, listen and find out! Ben, Andy, Duncan, and Jon all give their thoughts on the shows of spring 2019 and they're not too untimely. There's even a long digression on... Attack on Titan? Huh. Anyway, after the break they pick the 2016 anime Kiznaiver as their latest (and perhaps final) spotlight!