Adventure, Culture, experience, TV

A Gateway into the Anime Sekai

I know a lot of people who brand anime as yet another cartoon show. I ask, so what? Cartoons are fun, especially the good ones!

The first Anime I ever watched was Dragonball Z (courtesy of Cartoon Network) and oh boy, was I hooked! The concept of aliens, ki and transformations just blew me away. I never came out of that rabbit hole.

Since then, my interest has gradually grown and thanks to recommendations from friends and internet, I am proud to call myself a newbie in this sekai. The following things fascinate me the most.

Variety in genre – There’s something for everyone
One For All, All For One

There is action, fantasy, romance, horror, comedy, drama, mecha, sci-fi, mystery to quote a few; the list quite endless if you ask me. Whatever you are in the mood for, guaranteed that you would find some anime show for it.

The meaning of imagination taken to new levels
Imagination ^ Infinity

Most shows feature really crazy concepts and alternate universes that you just can’t view realistically. It takes you a few episodes to wrap your head around what the show is all about. Even after that, the writer keeps the show alive with twists and new concepts leaving you wanting for more.

Characters
Prince of All Saiyans!

The characters are real. I know, I know, they are not actually flesh and blood but they’re voice actors,but the feelings they evoke in the viewer are real. People can actually identify with them and they are inspirational to say the least. Vegeta from Dragonball Z is one of my favorite characters in the anime world. In the words of a close friend who is yet another Vegeta fan “Prince of Saiyans! He taught us being proud can be good. And that you don’t need to be a hero to be liked and trusted by everyone”. His comebacks are really witty as well. An inspirational character to say the least.

 Lessons of Life
Too “Wisdomous”

I do not exaggerate when I say that anime shows touch upon crucial life lessons. The plot lines might be unrealistic but they do explore at least one thematic issue central to human existence. For example, Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood explores the themes of kinship, death and corruption. Friendships & nakamas are priceless in One Piece and most of them stress on the fact that “Nothing is Impossible”

 Escapism
Aah, where am I?

I am an avid reader and one of major reasons why I love books is that they transport me to a whole new world. Anime is yet another way of achieving that – more so given that the worlds are so artfully created that they could only be a product of imaginative minds. You can lose yourself for a few hours/days in these universes.

 Music

Some anime shows feature a mind-blowing set of tracks for the background score. It’s not all just electro-pop with high-pitched voices, either. The genres range from instrumental jazz to operatic choruses, power ballads to heavy metal and everything else in between. And even if you don’t understand the lyrics, the music is usually enjoyable by itself. If you still don’t believe me, listen to this.

So, come on down, take a seat while we fire up the first episode. We might make an otaku out of you yet.
Till then sayonara, arigatou!

Culture, experience, life, Music

The Wonder That is Music

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music – Aldous Huxley

Whether it be the soothing melodies or hard-core rock, all of us have sought refuge under music at some point of time in our lives. Some look at music as a hobby; for some music is their passion, while some pursue it as their career. When we listen to music, it evokes something from within one’s heart. I feel that’s what makes music so powerful – to tap into our deepest emotions that we didn’t even know we had. The impact is felt so strongly because of how much it means to you, how much you can relate to those lyrics.

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain – Bob Marley

Music has the power to shift our feelings from joy to sorrow in a split second. It can bring us back to memories we forgot we had or forward to the world we have yet to create. I sometimes feel that it is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful. It has the beauty of loneliness of pain: of strength and freedom. The beauty of disappointment and never-satisfied love. The beauty of nature and everlasting bitterness of monotony. Another brilliant aspect of music is that it manifests itself in so many genres that it can cater to the entire populace. There is something in it for everyone – right from soul melting R&B, timeless classics to hard-core death and metal.

the_wonder_that_is_music

When at live gigs, the feeling you get when one of your favorite bands come on and play that one song that means so much to you is just unexplainable. There is honestly nothing better than standing arm to arm with thousands of other fans like you listening to the same number and all feeling the same thing from it. The connection and pull that you experience is just ethereal.

Out of a huge list of favorites, with a lot of difficulty I managed to downsize it to these six tracks (in no specific order)

Thamizha Thamizha by Hariharan (A.R.Rahman)
This is song is special to me for many reasons. Debut for one of my favorite singers Hariharan and ARR in the Tamil Industry ; associated with several memories from college. This song gets my blood pumping, heart beating and a wave of patriotism surges within. The beautiful lines coupled with the grand orchestration leaves me overwhelmed.

Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven
To me, this has always been a bed-time lullaby on nights when sleep evades me. This starts out with a melancholic melody and suddenly morphing into more cheerful, quicker and surprisingly even more intense than before. The picture it paints is rich and complex but it is bittersweet and quaint at the same time.

Raaja paarvai Violin by Ilayaraja
In my view, Ilayaraja is one of those composers who can tug at your heart-strings with his “raw” instrumental music in all its glory to leave one spell-bound literally. In this piece he just transitions across scales and styles(Classical, Hindustani and Western) seamlessly and I end up just closing my eyes and relishing the beauty of construction and genius.

Deliverance by Opeth
This is a 10+ minute monster track to say the least – heavy and dark as hell. The song traverses through heavy progressive riffs, acoustic portions(very less mind you), creative drumming and stunning vocals. Then there is a beast of the outro in this track which takes my breath away. Full of energy, air guitaring and drumming.

Maalai Neram by Andrea (G.V.Prakash)
The true joy of listening is not just with your ears, but to just be absorbed by it, the lyrical poetry and finally to lose yourself in it.  This is the perfect song for a lonely day – a slice of heaven in your own lonely world. The husky vocal just makes you go weak in the knees.

High Hopes by Pink Floyd
Always a trip down the memory lane when this song comes on – childhood, friends, laughter, school corridors and all the glorious moments in the past; a song of hope for the future to come. This one literally trips me and ultimately I am left blankly staring at a wall.

A fitting way to end this would be to quote Shakespeare from The Merchant of Venice

The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils; The motions of his spirit are dull as night, And his affections dark as Erebus. Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.

It’s time to get high on music 😀