Spring 2016 – Week 13 in Review

The spring season came to a full end this week, finishing off with a double helping of Flying Witch to help make up for our dearly departed Lost Village and Conrevo. Most of the other shows I’ve been watching have been pretty consistent, and this week confirmed that – Kiznaiver’s conclusion was the best it could be given the circumstances of its existing narrative, My Hero Academia finished a fairly simple arc with as much passion as it could muster, and Flying Witch charmed for every dang minute. Luluco was probably the biggest upset, as its fairly strong conclusion raised my overall impression of the show a tick. And heck, if I just pretend the cameo episodes never happened, it’s even better!

Anyway, enough preamble. Let’s sweep up the season’s loose ends and RUN ‘EM DOWN!

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The Girl Who Leapt Through Time – Review

Funimation finally rereleased Hosoda’s first original film, so I got to take another look at one of my favorite movies. The film is still a bit awkward in its construction, rambling in the middle act and arriving at an awkwardly exposition-heavy conclusion, but it’s also full of so many charming scenes that it’s hard not to love. Makoto is just the best – her enthusiasm brings the whole film to life, and makes her adventures a joy to experience. How can you not like someone who expresses such genuine delight at learning she can use time travel to regain the pudding her sister stole? It may have some clear lows, but the energetic highs make The Girl Who Leapt Through Time a charming debut all the same.

You can check out my big review over at ANN, or my notes below!

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Planetes – Episode 6

In today’s episode of Planetes, Hachi and Tanabe arrive at the moon only to discover it’s full of weebs.

I mentioned in my last writeup that I was fairly, but not one hundred percent sure Planetes was in on the joke. That episode was silly, but it still conformed to something resembling a conventional narrative shell. Some of its camp was clearly intentional, but the underlying humor of the contrived story didn’t have to be. It might have just been an unintentionally funny episode.

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Flying Witch – Episodes 11-12

Flying Witch concluded with a double dose of warm fuzzies this week, featuring flying whales and new robes and lots of delicious hotcakes. The flying whale was easily one of the show’s most overtly magical moments, but basically everything here was top shelf Flying Witch. Now that the show is over, I realize I was kind of taking Flying Witch for granted – the show was uniformly excellent, it legitimately made my week a little brighter, and it feels like these stories could go on forever. I’m really gonna miss this one.

You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my episode 11 notes below (I moved to the couch for 12 and didn’t take notes, which seems pretty Flying Witch to me).

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Kiznaiver – Episode 12

Kiznaiver ended on a fairly reasonable episode, all told. The introduction of Sonozaki’s crusade frankly could have done a lot more narrative damage than it did – in the end, this episode actually went a long way towards humanizing someone who’d been the show’s worst major character. And everybody else got a sprinkling of great moments, so I can’t really complain. Uneven as it was, there was still a whole lot to enjoy in this show.

You can check out my full review over at ANN or my notes below!

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Mawaru Penguindrum – Episode 3

Today is Curry Day! That most inclusive and all-purpose of meals, a general dish that can be suited to all palettes, perfect for enjoyment with friends and family. As Penguindrum #3 opens, we hear Ringo’s happy memories of curry with her parents, as her room is framed like some underwater treasure chamber. The Takakura siblings don’t have much, but they have each other – their family is happy, even if its fate is unclear. Ringo is very sure of her fate, but it seems like all she wants is a happy family.

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Wandering Son – Episode 1

If I were to describe Wandering Son’s aesthetic in a word, it would likely be “gentle.” The color palette is light pastels, painted gracefully with an uneven color density, as if the moving images are a series of watercolors. The character designs are rounded and attractive without moving into the deeply stylized; their loose shapes and curved faces lean towards a kind of universal androgyny. Those designs are offset by light touches of pure white, an inlay just inside of their outline that makes for characters who seem constantly lit by sunlight and also just slightly removed from their environment, like cut paper actors.

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Concrete Revolutio: The Last Song – Review

Concrete Revolutio’s second half sure was something. I was initially a little disappointed to realize the second half would largely stick to the same structure as the first – but as I say in my review, ultimately that’s just how the world works. It wouldn’t fit with Concrete Revolutio’s style to pretend all the problems it’s discussed can be resolved through some vast central conflict; problems emerge out of natural circumstance, we deal with them the best we can, and then we just keep doing our best to live. Concrete Revolutio’s mix of frank, almost bitter realism and clear optimism resulted in a wonderful experience all around, a show that was unafraid to either admit the world is a harsh place or submit to the fatalism that understanding might engender. This season might be called “The Last Song,” but it is clear right up until the end that the song goes on.

You can check out my full review over at ANN!

Concrete Revolutio

Spring 2016 – Week 12 in Review

We had a bunch of very fun episodes this week. Rallying from a weaker start, the conclusion to Red Hot Chili Pepper was one more power episode of Diamond is Unbreakable, and My Hero Academia refused to give any ground in its big All Might battle. And we also had a pair of solid season endings, with Concrete Revolutio and The Lost Village both impressing in their own extremely, extremely, extremely incomparable ways. No Flying Witch did result in a bit of a comfy shortage, but I hear there’s a comfy surplus coming up next week, so things should even out in the end. Let’s get right to it and RUN ‘EM DOWN!

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Planetes – Episode 5

This was a very silly episode of Planetes. How silly? Well, a running subplot involves an amateur film production of “Space Wolf Goes to the Moon,” a pickpocket at one point laments that his “nimble pianist’s fingers are only used to steal other people’s stuff,” and the climactic scene involves a pair of parents verbally underlining the lesson they’ve learned about parenting, each gasping, and then turning to stare at each other, their eyes filled with daytime soap opera wonder. Planetes can be a hammy and broad show at the best of times, but this episode pretty much reveled in a kind of archetypal TV storytelling that reminded me more of something like M.A.S.H. or the A-Team than anything anime genres approach. And for all that, it was a really good time.

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