The following are some of my favourite pieces of media, grouped into one glowing list of graciousness! From them, I derive not just entertainment, but also concrete meaning and personal connection to things that would otherwise seem mightily far away. Things I may never have come to understand myself. Each of us have pieces we treasure equally as much. It’s my pleasure to share mine, with the hope you’ll find value in them, just as I do.
I recently wrote about Hellblade and its inherent connection to mental illness. Being the most recent addition to this prestigious list, it had to grab at my soul like nothing else has, or might ever again.
I plan to write something more in-depth on each of these. (I also have another post for Hellblade in the works – one wasn’t enough! At the moment, this will focus on its use of Norse mythology as a bearer for its themes.)
Once I’ve written something on each piece, its title will be linked to the respective page.
Naturally, we’ll start with anime, this being primarily a place of anime!
Welcome to the N.H.K
Welcome to the N.H.K was the first anime I watched that imparted real emotion within me. Before, there were shows such as Fairy Tale, Spice and Wolf, Haruhi, Clannad, SAO, Mirai Nikki, Accel World, and Steins;Gate. And, whilst some of those shows are brilliant in their own rights, nothing ever struck me in quite the same way Welcome to the N.H.K did; the same is true even to this day, years later.
No doubt, much of this is because of the person I was – the person I am. The main character, Sato resonates with me on an intimate level. I can put myself, without hesitation, into his shoes, into the suffering he experiences on a daily basis. Now, this doesn’t always make Welcome to the N.H.K the most comfortable of shows to watch, especially throughout the island episodes. Despite this, I treasure it, and its characters.
For those of you who haven’t watched Welcome to the N.H.K, you should certainly add it to your list, for it is a classic that deserves far more attention than it currently gets.
(500) Days of Summer
I harbour nowhere near as much love for any other piece of media, than I do for (500) Days of Summer. It must have been five years ago when I first watched if. It tore my world apart. It stuck pieces of it back together again in places where I never thought they would fit – where they maybe shouldn’t have fit. Nevertheless, it is beautiful. And, I know no other film will ever be able to come close. Maybe that is an irrational notion, but it’s the truth. The essence of (500) Days of Summer runs through my veins.
Like Welcome to the N.H.K; I know it comes down, in part, to who I was when I first watched it, and as to what I was feeling at the time. Which to be honest wasn’t anything but pure sadness. Something which Summer, took the edge of; Alongside others too: Lost in Translation, Short Term 12, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Silver Linings Playbook. I found true heart in each other them, in the ways in which they made me both very happy, and very sad.
Hellblade is, in one word, stunning.
Of course, there are other games I have greatly enjoyed: The Bioshock franchise, Wolfenstein: The New Order and Old Blood, Metro 2033, and Last Light, Fallout 3, Life is Strange, and Stardew Valley. Just to name those that come straight to mind. Though, Hellblade seems to set itself apart, coming in far above the crowd.
From the above list, it’s no surprise I love deep narrative, and brilliant characters in games – as much as I do in all other mediums. I don’t think games should be less about storytelling than anything else, despite what people have come to expect. There are exceptions of course, fun games that require little narrative, Stardew Valley being one of this. Yet, these have to be impeccable in all other areas – a feat which many games fall far short off.
Hellblade is chilling. It is powerful. It is truly important in todays climate. I wish there were more games like it – more media like it.
The Works of Murakami
Haruki Murakami has, for a long time being one of my favourite authors. His novels, Kafka on the Shore, and Norwegian Wood being among my all time favourites. Though, not to disregard any of his other work, for it is all beautiful and full of character.
Murakami has a uniquely distinct writing style. He explores surrealism, using almost exclusively first person narrative. He interweaves humour, music, and pop-culture into his writings. Music being a very important part of his life, after having owned and run a jazz bar in his youth, before abruptly deciding to become a novelist around the age of thirty, during a… baseball match. The very idea of it is like a plot-line from one of his novels.
As you might now know, I have something of a predisposition for beautifully worked characters, and impeccably crafted interactions between them. Murakami is king of this. I have never felt such emotion for characters like I do when reading his writings. He’s truly a master of modern literature.
Do you have any particular stand-out favourite in media, that is incomparable to other pieces?
Thanks for reading, as always!
-Chris (Follow me on Twitter, below!)