Hanamonogatari and the Crossroads

“When they love you, and they will
Tell ‘em all they’ll love in my shadow.
And if they try to slow you down
Tell ‘em all to go to hell.”

Kanbaru knew who she was, once. She was a runner. A basketball star. A girl in love. She was somebody, at least – a specific person. There were things typical of her; she knew where she stood and where she was running to. But at the beginning of Hanamonogatari, her path has shifted from a fixed track to an open field – her past offers no clues, her future holds no direction. She’s not a basketball star anymore. Her schoolgirl crush has shifted to respect for an absent friend. All that’s left now are hard choices, and a heavy rain of insistent, contradictory advice.

Continue reading

Barakamon – Episode 12

Barakamon’s ending is a little messier and less graceful than I’d hoped, but it still hits all the notes it needed to hit. A reasonable ending to one of this summer’s best shows.


Sword Art Online II – Episode 13


Yep, this episode went back to the Bad Place. I had to keep it civil for the ANN post, but was somewhat less respectful on twitter. Goddamn you, SAO. God damn you.

[HorribleSubs] Sword Art Online II - 13 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.41_[2014.09.27_17.36.27]

Zankyou no Terror – Episode 11

Welp, here we are. In spite of everyone’s best wishes, the bomb’s been set – nobody wanted this, but this is where alienation has brought us. I’ve really enjoyed this show, and I’m confident it’ll end well, but I can’t say exactly what that ending will be. I doubt it’ll be happy – the context this show is stabbing at isn’t a happy one, and our actual world doesn’t offer any easy solutions to the questions of power dynamics and societal disconnect we’re dealing with here. All I’m hoping for is an ending that stays with you – I think one of art’s highest purposes is holding a mirror to the world, and I think Zankyou is as angry and driven a show as I’ve come across in recent memory. Let’s see it through to the end.

Continue reading

Summer 2014 – Week 12 in Review

I don’t even know what to say in this intro, because nothing else this week comes close to Aldnoah’s lunacy. Everything else was fine, good shows are good, yada yada. Let’s get to the show.

Oh wait, also, I’m apparently gonna be one of ANN’s staff reviewers now in addition to my streaming work. Meaning I’ll be doing regular full-show reviews there, along with participating in their completely insane Preview Guide. Meaning I’ll be watching the first episodes of basically every goddamn full-length show coming out this season, and writing some sort of reflection on every single one of them. Meaning my hands are probably going to be bloody stumps by the end of next week.

So that’ll be fun! Something to look forward to. Anyway, Aldnoah fuckin’ Zero.

Continue reading

Shounen Hollywood – Episode 12

Shounen Hollywood continues to chug merrily along as the sleeper flop of the season. Would this show be more popular if its central cast were girls, instead? Probably? I guess its current incarnation just doesn’t really give anyone what they want – it’s too idol-indebted to appeal to people who’d like its cynical edge, but too melancholy and understated to appeal to standard idol/cute boy fans. It’s a shame! I’m really enjoying this show – it’s earnest without being blindly optimistic. It’s a nice thing.

Shounen Hollywood

Barakamon – Episode 11

I’m sad to see Barakamon ending, but I’m glad to see it ending well. It’s nice to see the show has decided to legitimately pull Handa’s various art-related anxieties into a legitimate finale, instead of the show just ending with a brief goodbye – that meant this episode wasn’t quite as endearing as they usually are, but the show’s always had compelling ideas at its center, and they deserve to be honored with a real resolution. In spite of that, I’m looking forward to the last episode hopefully bringing Handa home.